Original Press Release
ASTM Water Committee Developing Standard for Carbon-14 Sampling
Press release date: June 21, 2012
W. CONSHOHOCKEN, Pa.-The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission requires that operators of nuclear power plants measure the amount of the radionuclide carbon-14 in their gaseous effluents. A proposed new ASTM standard will aid plants (and other facilities at which fission reactions or spent fuel processing takes place) in making these measurements.
The proposed standard, ASTM WK36397, Practice for Sampling of C-14 in Gaseous Effluents, is being developed by Subcommittee D19.04 on Methods of Radiochemical Analysis, part of ASTM International Committee D19 on Water.
According to Robert Litman, Ph.D., an independent consultant and D19 member, the chemical form of carbon-14 in effluents may be organic (as short chain aliphatic hydrocarbons), inorganic (as carbon dioxide) or as particulate matter. It is essential to know which form of C-14 is being released.
"Originally, it was assumed that all C-14 was released as inorganic carbon, which can have significant uptake locally to where it is released," says Litman. "Through measurements at several different nuclear facilities using this proposed standard practice, and other practices similar to it, it was discovered that the chemical form of C-14 may be as high as 95 percent organic carbon, which has a lower dose consequence compared to inorganic carbon."
Interested participants are invited to contribute to the ongoing development of ASTM WK36397.
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