Standardization News

Coatings Help Prevent Radioactive Contamination in Decommissioning

ASTM International’s committee on nuclear technology and applications (E10) has created new specifications for coatings that help prevent the release of radioactive particles when nuclear facilities are being decommissioned.

The specifications aim to immobilize radioactive contamination, minimize worker exposure, and protect uncontaminated areas against the spread of radioactive contamination.

The first specification is for a coating intended to be removed during subsequent decontamination operations: Specification for Strippable and Removable Coatings to Mitigate Spread of Radioactive Contamination (E3104).

The second specification is for a coating intended to be a permanent, non-removable, long-term material for fixing contamination in place during decommissioning: Specification for Permanent Coatings Used to Mitigate Spread of Radioactive Contamination (E3105).

The coatings are applied to surfaces commonly found in nuclear facilities and aim to reduce:

  • Migration of the contamination into or along buildings, equipment, and other surfaces;
  • Resuspension of contamination in the air; and,
  • The spread of contamination as a result of external forces such as pedestrian traffic and fire.

“These standards, and the subsequent testing protocols being developed by our committee, can potentially assist in updating directives and guidance documents, such as U.S. Department of Energy handbooks on airborne release fractions and respirable fractions for nonreactor nuclear facilities,” says Joseph Sinicrope of Florida International University’s Applied Research Center. Sinicrope also serves as chairman of ASTM International’s subcommittee on radiological protection for decontamination and decommissioning of nuclear facilities and components (E10.03).

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