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Uranium spike

A Drop in the Ocean

WHOI research assistant Steve Pike adds a uranium-233 "spike" to a sample of seawater from the Pacific Ocean that he will measure for the presence of uranium-236. By adding a known quantity of one uranium isotope, he can determine the efficiency of the process that extracts a portion of all of them in a sample of seawater. From this, he can then determine the amount of uranium-236 in the original sample. Pike works in a lab run by WHOI chemist Ken Buesseler, who is studying the spread of radionuclides from the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear reactors. (Photo by Ken Kostel, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

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