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Significance and Use
Certified reference materials (CRMs) prepared from nuclear materials are generally of high purity, possessing chemical stability or reproducible stoichiometry. Usually they are certified using the most unbiased and precise measurement methods available, often with more than one laboratory being involved in making certification measurements. CRMs are generally used on a national or international level, and they are at the top of the metrological hierarchy of reference materials. A graphical representation of a national nuclear measurement system is shown in Fig. 3.
Working reference materials (WRMs) need to have quality characteristics that are similar to CRMs, although the rigor used to achieve those characteristics is not usually as stringent as for CRMs. Where possible, CRMs are often used to calibrate the methods used for establishing the concentration values (reference values) assigned to WRMs, thus providing traceability to CRMs as required by ISO 17025. A WRM is normally prepared for a specific application.
Because of the importance of having highly reliable measurement data from nuclear materials, particularly for control and accountability purposes, CRMs are sometimes used for calibration when available. However, CRMs prepared from nuclear materials are not always available for specific applications. Thus, there may be a need for a laboratory to prepare WRMs from nuclear materials. Also, CRMs are often too expensive, or their supply is too limited for use in the quantities needed for long-term, routine use. When properly prepared, WRMs will serve equally well as CRMs for most applications, and using WRMs will preserve supplies of CRMs.
Difficulties may be encountered in the preparation of RMs from nuclear materials because of the chemical and physical properties of the materials. Chemical instabilities, problems in ensuring stoichiometry, and radioactivity are factors involved, with all three factors being involved with some materials. Those preparing WRMs from nuclear materials must be aware of how these factors affect preparation, as well as being aware of the other criteria governing the preparation of reliable WRMs.
1.1 This guide covers the preparation and characterization of working reference materials (WRM) that are produced by a laboratory for its own use in the analysis of nuclear materials. Guidance is provided for establishing traceability of WRMs to certified reference materials by a defined characterization process. The guidance provided is generic; it is not specific for a given material.
1.2 The information provided by this guide is found in the following sections:
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1.3 The values stated in SI units are to be regarded as standard. No other units of measurement are included in this standard.
1.4 This standard does not purport to address all of the safety concerns, if any, associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of this standard to establish appropriate safety and health practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use.
2. Referenced Documents (purchase separately) The documents listed below are referenced within the subject standard but are not provided as part of the standard.
C859 Terminology Relating to Nuclear Materials
C1009 Guide for Establishing a Quality Assurance Program for Analytical Chemistry Laboratories Within the Nuclear Industry
C1068 Guide for Qualification of Measurement Methods by a Laboratory Within the Nuclear Industry
C1215 Guide for Preparing and Interpreting Precision and Bias Statements in Test Method Standards Used in the Nuclear Industry
ICS Number Code 27.120.30 (Fissile materials and nuclear fuel technology)
UNSPSC Code 15131500(Nuclear fuel)