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Seminar: Nuclear Analytical Research at the Idaho National Laboratory

Russell Watson, PhD, Idaho National Lab
Wednesday, March 21, 2018, 9:35 am to 10:55 am
E141 Scott Laboratory
201 W. 19th Ave.
Columbus, OH 43210

The Idaho National Laboratory (INL) is charged with changing the world’s energy future while securing and modernizing our critical infrastructure. Because nuclear energy is an important part of our energy future, the INL is a leader in the Gateway for Accelerated Innovation in Nuclear (GAIN) science initiative. The Analytical Laboratory (AL), housed at the Materials and Fuels Complex (MFC) at the INL, plays a major role in this mission. The AL supports multinational nuclear research stemming from more than a dozen scientific programs. Like the INL as a whole, the AL is continuously seeking collaborations on nuclear fuels research, analytical method development, and other groundbreaking endeavors. The AL is uniquely equipped for the analyses of fuels and other nuclear materials. It currently contains six interconnected hot cells for the remote handling of highly active irradiated materials and numerous glove boxes and radiological fume hoods. Separations allowing for precise instrumental analyses are effected by traditional column chromatography, both within and outside the hot cells, as well as by more efficient and customizable methods employed for gas pressurized extraction chromatographic systems. Elemental and isotopic quantification is carried out by a suite of instrumentation, including multiple detectors for alpha, beta and gamma spectrometry; two inductively-coupled plasma (ICP) optical emission spectrometers; a gas mass spectrometer (MS); a multi-collector ICP-MS; a thermal ionization mass spectrometer (TIMS); a quadrupole ICP-MS; and as the newest addition, a high resolution single-collector ICP-MS. This talk will give an overview of the distinctive capabilities of the INL and MFC, and it will detail ways in which the instrumentation and methods at the AL are providing solutions to challenging problems in nuclear analytical chemistry.


About the speaker
Russell Watson is the department manager for the Analytical Laboratory of the Materials and Fuels Complex at the Idaho National Laboratory (INL). His role involves the coordination of analyses for multiple programs focusing on the development and characterization of nuclear fuels and materials. He holds a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Clemson University and a doctorate from the University of South Carolina. Prior to joining the INL, he was a National Research Council Postdoctoral Fellow and a research chemist in neutron activation analysis at the National Institute of Standards and Technology. He has also worked in industry on the chemistry of explosives detection, as well as the reduction of polymeric fouling in olefins plants.


Hosted by Professor Vaibhav Sinha.