ASTM D4962 - 02(2009)

    Standard Practice for NaI(Tl) Gamma-Ray Spectrometry of Water

    Active Standard ASTM D4962 | Developed by Subcommittee: D19.04

    Book of Standards Volume: 11.02


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    Significance and Use

    Gamma-ray spectrometry is used to identify radionuclides and to make quantitative measurements. Use of a computer and a library of standard spectra will be required for quantitative analysis of complex mixtures of nuclides.

    Variation of the physical geometry of the sample and its relationship with the detector will produce both qualitative and quantitative variations in the gamma-ray spectrum. To adequately account for these geometry effects, calibrations are designed to duplicate all conditions including source-to-detector distance, sample shape and size, and sample matrix encountered when samples are measured. This means that a complete set of library standards may be required for each geometry and sample to detector distance combination that will be used.

    Since some spectrometry systems are calibrated at many discrete distances from the detector, a wide range of activity levels can be measured on the same detector. For high-level samples, extremely low efficiency geometries may be used. Quantitative measurements can be made accurately and precisely when high activity level samples are placed at distances of 1 m or more from the detector.

    Electronic problems, such as erroneous deadtime correction, loss of resolution, and random summing, may be avoided by keeping the gross count rate below 2 000 counts per second and also keeping the deadtime of the analyzer below 5 %. Total counting time is governed by the activity of the sample, the detector source distance, and the acceptable Poisson counting uncertainty.

    1. Scope

    1.1 This practice covers the measurement of radionuclides in water by means of gamma-ray spectrometry. It is applicable to nuclides emitting gamma-rays with energies greater than 50 keV. For typical counting systems and sample types, activity levels of about 40 Bq (1080 pCi) are easily measured and sensitivities of about 0.4 Bq (11 pCi) are found for many nuclides (1-10). Count rates in excess of 2000 counts per second should be avoided because of electronic limitations. High count rate samples can be accommodated by dilution or by increasing the sample to detector distance.

    1.2 This practice can be used for either quantitative or relative determinations. In tracer work, the results may be expressed by comparison with an initial concentration of a given nuclide which is taken as 100 %. For radioassay, the results may be expressed in terms of known nuclidic standards for the radionuclides known to be present. In addition to the quantitative measurement of gamma-ray activity, gamma-ray spectrometry can be used for the identification of specific gamma-ray emitters in a mixture of radionuclides. General information on radioactivity and the measurement of radiation has been published (11 and 12). Information on specific application of gamma-ray spectrometry is also available in the literature (13-16).

    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.

    ASTM Standards

    D3648 Practices for the Measurement of Radioactivity

    D4962 Practice for NaI(Tl) Gamma-Ray Spectrometry of Water

    E181 Test Methods for Detector Calibration and Analysis of Radionuclides


    ICS Code

    ICS Number Code 13.060.30 (Sewage water)

    UNSPSC Code

    UNSPSC Code


    DOI: 10.1520/D4962-02R09

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