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The University of Southampton
Ocean and Earth Science, National Oceanography Centre Southampton

Research project: Measurement of Neptunium-237 and its application to environmental studies

Currently Active: 

Neptunium-237 is frequently described as he 'neglected actinide' due to the lack of research compared with other transuranics. Characterisation of the radionuclide in both nuclear wastes and the environment requires streamlined analytical separation strategies supported by robust validation. Improved analytical techniques can then be applied to investigating the dispersion of 237Np in the environment.

Ravenglass Marsh, Cumbria; a key study area in radionuclide dispersion research
Figure 1. Courtesy of J. Caborn

This study aims to investigate approaches for the effective separation of Np from a diverse range of matrices and to underpin method development through novel approaches to method validation. Validated methodologies will then be applied to quantification of 237Np in marine sediment collected near nuclear facilities. These data will be combined with comprehensive geochemical characterisation in order to better understand the mechanisms controlling the dispersion and long term impact of Np.



Spatial distribution of actinides in the Ravenglass marsh
Figure 2. Courtesy of J. Caborn


To develop a robust analytical method for the determination of neptunium in a wide range of matrices, including environmental materials and decommissioning wastes.

To explore novel statistical approaches to method development and validation by identifying and quantifying critical factors impacting on the separation efficiency.

To apply the developed procedures to the study of Np behaviour in the marine environment and to develop a more comprehensive understanding of the mechanisms controlling Np dispersion.

Key Contacts

Ms J Caborn (PhD student)
Prof P E Warwick (supervisor)
Prof I W Croudace (supervisor)

Project Funding

Part time industry-funded supported by the National Nuclear Laboratory

PhDs and Other Opportunities


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