A process for preconcentrating and separating radium from a contaminated solution containing at least water and radium includes the steps of adding a quantity of a water-soluble macrocyclic polyether to the contaminated solution to form a combined solution. An acid is added to the combined solution to form an acidic combined solution having an [H.sup.+ ] concentration of about 0.5M. The acidic combined solution is contacted with a sulfonic acid-based strong acid cation exchange medium or a organophilic sulfonic acid medium having a plurality of binding sites thereon to bind the radium thereto and to form a radium-depleted solution. The radium-depleted solution is separated from the strong acid cation exchange medium or organophilic sulfonic acid medium. The radium remaining bound to the exchange medium or organophilic reagent is then stripped from the exchange medium or organophilic medium and the activity of the radium is measured.
This invention was made with governmental support pursuant to Contract No. W-31-ENG-109 between the U.S. Department of Energy and The Argonne National Laboratory. The government has certain rights in this invention.