Cesium by the Ocean: Improving the analysis of environmental samples from the Fukushima Province


Ralf Sudowe

Professor of Radiochemistry & Health Physics

Colorado State University

FRI, 08/27/2021 - 3:00PM TO 4:00PM
Fall 2021 Colloquium Series

The goal of radioanalytical chemistry is to identify and quantify radioisotopes present in a variety of samples. It combines advanced radiochemical separations with state-of-the art radiation detection techniques and provides information on the origin, speciation, and mobility of the material. It plays an important role in evaluating its impact on humans and the environment. The analysis of air, water, soil, and bioassay samples builds the foundation of operational environmental monitoring. However, the need for improved sample analysis methods became also apparent in the aftermath of the reactor accident at the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant. The elevated salinity of sea and ocean water results in a complex matrix that hinders the isolation, characterization, and determination of the radioisotopes of interest. This presentation will discuss recent research aimed at developing analytical techniques for such challenging types of samples and give examples of their application.

About the Speaker:

Ralf Sudowe is Professor of Radiochemistry & Health Physics in the Department of Environmental & Radiological Health Sciences at Colorado State University. His research focuses on the development and optimization of advanced radiochemical separations for environmental monitoring, emergency response, nuclear forensics, nuclear safeguards, and isotope production. Dr. Sudowe received a M.S. in Chemistry and a Ph.D. in Nuclear Chemistry from the Philipps-University Marburg in Germany. He spent two years as Visiting Postdoctoral Fellow in the Nuclear Science Division at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and worked several years as a staff scientist in the Nuclear Science and Chemical Sciences Division at LBNL. From 2006 to 2016, Dr. Sudowe was a faculty member in the Department of Health Physics & Diagnostic Sciences at University of Nevada Las Vegas, where he held positions as Assistant & Associate Professor.

Raluca Scarlat awarded the ANS Mary Jane Oestmann Professional Women’s Achievement Award

Raluca Scarlat awarded the ANS Mary Jane Oestmann Professional Women’s Achievement Award

August 25th, 2021

Raluca Scarlat_website photo

Professor Raluca Scarlat has been awarded the 2021 American Nuclear Society's Mary Jane Oestmann Professional Women’s Achievement Award.

The American Nuclear Society's Mary Jane Oestmann Professional Women’s Achievement Award recognizes the outstanding personal dedication and technical achievement by a woman for work she has performed in the fields of nuclear science, engineering, research or education.

Find out more about the Mary Jane Oestmann Professional Women’s Achievement Award here https://www.ans.org/honors/award-oestmann/. 

Congratulations Professor Scarlat!


NE Graduate Austin Lo featured in the Titans of Nuclear Podcast

NE Graduate Austin Lo featured in the Titans of Nuclear Podcast

August 23, 2021

Untitled design
Austin Lo was featured in the latest episode of the Titans of Nuclear podcast. After completing his Ph.D. candidacy at UCBNE in 2020, Austin joined Oak Ridge National Laboratory as a postdoctoral Researcher. Now he joins hundreds of noteworthy experts and professionals in the field to grace the podcast with their expertise, including two of our Professors, Rachel Slaybaugh and Per Peterson (both featured back in 2018).
In episode 329, Austin discusses his dissertation, space nuclear power, the evolution of R&D, and expanding nuclear innovation. Listen, Watch, and/or View show notes here.


Titans of Nuclear is an audio encyclopedia of interviews with the greatest minds in Nuclear Energy. The show has been airing since 2018 and was started by Bret Kugelmass, a Stanford MS mechanical engineer, robotics entrepreneur, and climate change thought leader. Bret identified a severe disconnect between nuclear and tech adjacent communities as impediments to innovation, financing, and social acceptance. He has built the podcast in order to help educate around the nuances of the world's most vital clean energy source. He is joined by co-hosts Jadwiga Najder, a Polish nuclear engineer and advocate, and Olubunmi Olajida, a Nigerian energy policy analyst. Titans of Nuclear is enjoyed by over 50,000 subscribers across 147 counties (and counting). If you'd like to recommend a guest or to give us feedback, you can do so here. And if you want to help others find us as well, please take a moment to leave us a review on iTunes.

Secretary of Energy Visits Kairos Power

Secretary of Energy Visits Kairos Power

August 21st, 2021


On August 18, Kairos Power welcomed U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Jennifer M. Granholm and Senator Martin Heinrich at their KP-Southwest testing and manufacturing center in Albuquerque, New Mexico. They were given a tour of the facilities following the Senate passage of the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act – a historic piece of legislation that includes investments in clean energy.

On their LinkedIn page they wrote

"We are grateful to be among community members, local leaders, and organizations whose efforts are recognized as positively supporting New Mexico’s clean energy transition and the nation’s decarbonization goals... We would like to extend gratitude to our KP-Southwest team members who worked with flexibility and grace this week to enable a very successful and exciting tour of our facilities."

Kairos currently has over 200 full-time team members and expect to creat at least 65 more high-skilled and high-paying jobs in Albuquerque to support major hardware demonstrations.

Later that week, DOE Secretary Granholm also paid the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab (LBNL) a visit. Kairos' Co-Founder and Chief Nuclear Officer, Professor Per Peterson (UC Berkeley, LBNL) commented, "It’s excellent to have strong policy support for clean energy including nuclear."

Similarly, the department celebrates this step towards more clean energy!

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory: National Ignition Facility experiment puts researchers at threshold of fusion ignition

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory: National Ignition Facility experiment puts researchers at threshold of fusion ignition

August 18, 2021


On Aug. 8, 2021, an experiment at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s (LLNL’s) National Ignition Facility (NIF) made a significant step toward ignition, achieving a yield of more than 1.3 megajoules (MJ). This advancement puts researchers at the threshold of fusion ignition, an important goal of the NIF, and opens access to a new experimental regime.

The experiment was enabled by focusing laser light from NIF — the size of three football fields — onto a target the size of a BB that produces a hot-spot the diameter of a human hair, generating more than 10 quadrillion watts of fusion power for 100 trillionths of a second.

While a full scientific interpretation of these results will occur through the peer-reviewed journal/conference process, initial analysis shows an 8X improvement over experiments conducted in spring 2021 and a 25X increase over NIF’s 2018 record yield.

“These extraordinary results from NIF advance the science that NNSA depends on to modernize our nuclear weapons and production as well as open new avenues of research,” said Jill Hruby, DOE undersecretary for Nuclear Security and NNSA administrator.

Read more about this significant feat here.

Mark Herrmann, LLNL’s deputy program director for Fundamental Weapons Physics reminds us:

“This significant advance was only made possible by the sustained support, dedication and hard work of a very large team over many decades, including those who have supported the effort at LLNL, industry and academic partners and our collaborators at Los Alamos National Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratories, the University of Rochester’s Laboratory for Laser Energetics and General Atomics... This result builds on the work and successes of the entire team, including the people who pursued inertial confinement fusion from the earliest days of our Laboratory. They should also share in the excitement of this success.”

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