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

Environmental Geochemistry and Radioactivity


Understanding human impact on the environment frequently requires multi-faceted approaches. A broad range of multi-scale analytical techniques often need to be applied or developed to investigate complex systems and include a range of non-destructive and destructive chemical/radioanalytical methods. The Geochemistry Group and the GAU-Radioanalytical Laboratories are ideally placed to undertake such studies. GAU-Radioanalytical Laboratories, with its ISO17025 accreditation, is a major provider of radioanalytical and analytical expertise to the environmental and nuclear sector. It owns an exceptional and comprehensive suite of radioanalytical intrumentation (comprising 7 well-type HPGe detectors, 64 alpha spectrometers, 6 Quantulus ultra low level liquid scintillation counters) complemented by the excellent range of ICP-MS instruments. This strong capability attracts interest and support from AWE, GE-Healthcare, Magnox, NNL and NDA among others and leads to major radioanalytical developments that are of direct interest to industry.


Radioanalytical innovations
Novel instrumental developments
Environmental forensics (Greenham Common, Severn Estuary, Augusta Bay)
Nuclear forensics and isotope studies (Greenham Common, AWE Environmental Study)
Initiated the Itrax core scanner development leading to rapid nondestructive analysis of sediment cores. Forthcoming Springer Book: Developments in Environmental Research 'Micro-XRF Studies of Sediment Cores'


The broad range of advanced shared analytical facilities in high specification laboratories provides a powerful infrastructure to enable diverse studies in environmental radioactivity and geochemistry. Major equipment includes numerous mass spectrometers (ICP-MS, TIMS), high-resolution radioactivity detectors, X-ray fluorescence systems (micro- and bulk analysis).

PhD's and Other Opportunities

Over the last 10 years the GAU group has obtained strong industrial support for PhDs from AWE (4 grants), NDA (3 Bursaries), Cox Analytical (1), FSA (1), Korean Govt (2), Meridian (1). It has also used its own industrially-generated resources to fund PhDs.


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