Thermo Scientific Dionex ion chromatography systems set the standard for the determination of trace concentrations of ionic impurities in nuclear power plant waters–from both pressurized water reactor (PWR) primary cooling circuits and boiling water reactor (BWR) secondary circuits. Our IC workflow enables rapid and reliable low-level analysis of a broad range of anions and cations, while eliminating interferences from matrices such as borated water.

Our workflow includes the IC instruments, accessories, columns and consumables to help simplify PWR and BWR water analysis. Water samples can be directly injected into the IC system for separation and subsequent conductivity detection. It uses reagent-free IC (RFIC) and the Thermo Scientific Dionex CR-CTC III Continuously Regenerated Trap Column to overcome borate and lithium interferences with automated inline matrix elimination of borate and neutralization of LiOH. Combining direct injection with electrolytically generated hydroxide eluent and high-efficiency Thermo Scientific Dionex IonPac AS28-Fast-4µm IC columns enables rapid determination of target anions. Results are generated using automated data processing and reporting through the Thermo Scientific Chromeleon Chromatography Data System (CDS).

Workflow diagram showing direct injection of water sample into a loop to remove lithium from the sample, matrix elimination during ion chromatography separation and finally generation of results with automated data processing and reporting.

Our ultrapure water-ion chromatography workflow offers versatile analysis for both routine and more complex applications. The featured Dionex ion chromatography systems offer reagent-free ion chromatography (RFIC), requiring just a source of clean deionized water to automatically and precisely generate eluent, preventing baseline shift and increasing sensitivity and resolution. Our Dionex CR-CTC III trap column, installed in the eluent line prior to the injection valve, removes 99% of lithium from borated water, minimizing interfering cations. Dionex IonPac IC columns provide superior resolution of early-eluting anions, including fluoride, glycolate and acetate, with our small-particle-size columns offering even more efficient, high resolution separations. Finally, Chromeleon CDS offers compliance tools, networking capabilities, multi-vendor instrument control, automation, and data processing in one scalable, easy-to-use software platform.

Whether you are monitoring borated water or high-purity waters for organic acids and anions that can cause dangerous corrosion in your nuclear power plant components or determining borate levels in high-purity water to ensure that your water purification systems are working as they should, the Thermo Scientific workflow for analyzing ultrapure water will help ensure your plant is operating safely.

Automated reagent-free ion chromatography (RFIC) can be used for the determination of trace anions in borated waters. After lithium is removed from the sample using a Thermo Scientific Dionex CR-CTC III Continuously Regenerated Cation Trap Column, it is concentrated before separating the anions using a Dionex IonPac AS28-Fast-4µm column and an electrolytically generated potassium hydroxide gradient. The Dionex IonPac AS28-Fast-4µm column provides a faster and better separation of the target inorganic anions and low molecular weight organic acids, such as glycolate, acetate, and formate, when compared to the Dionex IonPac AS15 IC column. The use of an electrolytically generated potassium hydroxide eluent eliminates the problems associated with the manual preparation of hydroxide eluents and, therefore, further increases ease-of-use and method automation. This method demonstrated good linearity, sub-µg/L detection limits, and good precision and accuracy for the target anions.

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Learn about an ion-exclusion ion chromatography method for the determination of trace-level borate in high-purity water. Coupled with suppressed conductivity detection, this method offers an integrated solution for the determination of trace-level boron as borate. It combines large sample volume/preconcentration with ion exclusion chromatography to achieve sensitive detection at low to sub-µg/L levels.

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Chromatograms of 1000 ng/L borate with 2.5, 5, 10, 15, and 20 min concentration times

Chromatograms of 1000 ng/L borate with 2.5, 5, 10, 15, and 20 min concentration times.

This application uses the Dionex ICS-6000 HPIC system with an eluent generator module equipped with a potassium hydroxide (KOH) eluent generator cartridge and a Thermo Scientific Dionex IonPac AS14 column for trace-level anion analysis. The method combines direct injection with an electrolytically generated tetraborate eluent to analyze lithium-containing borated waters for fluoride, chloride, nitrate, phosphate, and sulfate. The large-volume, direct injection technique provides sensitive detection at low to sub-µg/L levels without using a concentrator column, sample loading pump or additional valve. The borate peak elutes early and is well resolved from the target anions, making matrix elimination unnecessary.

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Chromatograms of simulated borated water along with spiked borated water at 0.3 and 1 µg/L levels

Chromatograms of simulated borated water along with spiked borated water at 0.3 and 1 µg/L levels.

Learn how a Dionex ICS-6000 HPIC system with an eluent generator module equipped with a potassium hydroxide (KOH) eluent generator cartridge and a Dionex IonPac AS28-Fast-4µm IC column for trace-level anion analysis can be used to detect trace levels of ionic impurities throughout the power generation process. Measuring ionic impurities is important for the identification and prevention of corrosive conditions in many power plant components, necessitating continuous monitoring. This method uses a large-volume injection approach to determine anions at sub-µg/L levels without using a concentrator column, sample loading pump or additional valve. Additionally, the eluent generator module generates high-purity, carbonate-free hydroxide eluents to improve method performance. The small-particle-size column offers high-resolution, high-capacity anion exchange separations of inorganic anions and monovalent organic acids.

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Trace ion determination using a Dionex IonPac AS28-Fast-4µm column

Trace ion determination using a Dionex IonPac AS28-Fast-4µm column.

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