Nuclear Fuel Cycle Standard Supports Analysis of Uranium

A new test method developed by ASTM International’s nuclear fuel cycle committee (C26) will help better characterize uranium materials within the nuclear fuel cycle.

Specifically, the standard (C1871) outlines the “double spike” test method for isotopic analysis of uranium samples by thermal ionization mass spectrometry.

“Due to improved precision, the double spike method has been used in many scientific applications – particularly geochemistry and cosmochemistry – to investigate the age and source of natural uranium samples, to study geochemical and physical processes, and to determine important half-life values of long-lived isotopes,” says ASTM International member Stephan Richter of the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre in Geel, Belgium.

Richter notes that the double spike method has also been used as a powerful tool for investigating conversion and sampling processes in nuclear facilities and laboratories. “This is possible due to the high precision of this method, in particular if samples are measured on the same sample magazine, using the same method parameters and detector calibration,” he says.

The new standard will be used by laboratories involved in and licensed for analysis of nuclear material.

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