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Nuclear Analytical Chemistry

The Nuclear Analytical Chemistry (NAC) section is a specialized nuclear analytical organization within Chemical Sciences Division (CSD) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The section’s expertise is in the development and advancement of cutting-edge measurement methodologies for elemental and isotopic characterizations in environmental and nuclear matrices. The section performs high precision elemental and isotopic determinations mainly using mass spectrometry and high-level radiochemical counting techniques. The section is an expert in the analytical chemistry of the lanthanide and actinide elements as well as the preparation and separation chemistries required for analytical characterizations in a wide variety of nuclear sample matrices.  The section’s unique laboratory capabilities allow for the handling of samples containing curie levels of radioactivity down to preparations requiring cleanroom spaces for ultra-trace determinations.  The section provides leadership for a number of DOE sponsoring agencies’ analytical laboratory needs and works closely with those organizations to advance future technologies and analytical methods to support nuclear research, isotope production, and non-proliferation and safeguards. 

This section encompasses the following research groups:

Chemical and Isotopic Mass Spectrometry — Develops and applies ultra-trace analytical measurements to address national and international nuclear safeguards, security, nonproliferation, verification, forensics missions, and stable and radioisotope production efforts.

Radioactive Materials Analytical Laboratory — Advances and applies radiochemical and mass spectrometry protocols for detailed characterizations of environmental and nuclear matrices within the nuclear fuels cycle and for production of anthropogenic and medical isotopes.

Transuranium Analytical Laboratory — Advances and applies radiochemical and mass spectrometry protocols for detailed characterizations of high-level nuclear matrices within the nuclear fuels cycle and for production of heavy isotopes in support of ORNL mission.