ISO 18589-4:2009 describes a method for measuring plutonium 238 and 239 + 240 isotopes in soil by alpha spectrometry samples using chemical separation techniques. The method can be used for any type of environmental study or monitoring. These techniques can also be used for measurements of very low levels of activity, one or two orders of magnitude less than the level of natural alpha-emitting radionuclides.
The mass of the test portion required depends on the assumed activity of the sample and the desired detection limit. In practice, it can range from 0,1 g to 100 g of the test sample.