As part of the INSIDER work package 4 – Reference materials and radiochemistry, a comprehensive review of radiochemical measurement techniques in relation to nuclear decommissioning was undertaken. The work was led by KIT (Karlsruhe Institute of Technology), who prepared a survey of 18 questions that were sent out to labs around Europe to gain feedback on radiochemical methods including materials measured, activity levels, radionuclides analysed, and what the labs consider to be the main challenges both now and for the future.
Results were collected from laboratories in 16 countries, with the highest feedback from those focusing on research and development. The results provided useful information on other aspects of the INSIDER project, such as the relevance of miniaturised radiochemical techniques, which is being developed as part of task 4.2, and the radionuclides, activity levels, sample masses analysed and measurement techniques used, which is relevant to the development of reference materials in task 4.3, and for the interlaboratory comparison exercise in work package 6 – Performance assessment, uncertainty evaluation.
Results and key findings
Undertaking a questionnaire-based review revealed information on the complexity facing decommissioning laboratories around Europe. The results showed the range of matrices measured, and the range of activities (from <0.5 Bq/g to >100 Bq/g) measured across all sample matrices surveyed, and the range of timescales required to complete the analyses. The main challenges identified for included the accuracy of results, retaining expert knowledge, development of new radioanalytical techniques, and the availability of suitable reference materials.
A report has been generated outlining the approach to developing the survey and its outcomes, and the key findings were presented at the recent INSIDER project meeting at the JRC Ispra site, in Italy.
Post written by Ben Russell from NPL and INSIDER partner.
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