Monitoring Radioactive Material in Water
ASTM International has approved a new standard that will help laboratories monitor for the presence of technetium-99 (Tc-99) in water. Tc-99 is a radioactive material often found around facilities that handle nuclear material. The new standard (D8026, Practice for Determination of Tc-99 in Water by Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry (ICP-MS)) will provide the environmental monitoring community and others with a rapid and accurate way to measure its presence using mass spectrometry.
ASTM member Donna Beals, DM Beals LLC, notes that Tc-99 is not often found at levels hazardous to life, but it should nevertheless be monitored. She also says that the new standard involves equipment that already exists in many environmental testing labs, which can use the standard to analyze samples to ensure compliance with regulations for not releasing hazardous contaminants into the environment.
Beals says that the committee hopes that the initial users of the standard will test the standard on various water matrices and provide feedback in efforts to turn this practice into a full-fledged test method.
"We need labs to test the method for robustness and work out the final details of the method," says Beals. "We will then work to develop a collaborative study to develop precision and bias data for the standard as a test method, rather than its current designation as a practice."
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