ASTM D5411 - 10(2015)

    Standard Practice for Calculation of Average Energy Per Disintegration (¯E) for a Mixture of Radionuclides in Reactor Coolant

    Active Standard ASTM D5411 | Developed by Subcommittee: D19.04

    Book of Standards Volume: 11.02


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    Significance and Use

    5.1 This practice is useful for the determination of the average energy per disintegration of the isotopic mixture found in the reactor-coolant system of a nuclear reactor (1).4 The E value is used to calculate a site-specific activity limit for the reactor coolant system, generally identified as

    Equation D5411-10R15_1

    where

    K   =   a power reactor site specific constant (usually in the range of 50 to 200).
    The activity of the reactor coolant system is routinely measured, then compared to the value of Alimiting. If the reactor coolant activity value is less than Alimiting then the 2-h radiation dose, measured at the plant boundary, will not exceed an appropriately small fraction of the Code of Federal Regulations, Title 10, part 100 dose guidelines. It is important to note that the measurement of the reactor coolant system radioactivity is determined at a set frequency by use of gamma spectrometry only. Thus the radionuclides that go into the calculation of E and subsequently Alimiting are only those that are calculated using gamma spectrometry.

    5.2 In calculating E, the energy dissipated by beta particles (negatrons and positrons) and photons from nuclear decay of beta-gamma emitters. This accounting includes the energy released in the form of energy released from extra-nuclear transitions in the form of X-rays, Auger electrons, and conversion electrons. However, not all radionuclides present in a sample are included in the calculation of E.

    5.3 Individual, nuclear reactor, technical specifications vary and each nuclear operator must be aware of limitations affecting their plant operation. Typically, radioiodines, radionuclides with half lives of less than 10 min (except those in equilibrium with the parent), and those radionuclides, identified using gamma spectrometry, with less than a 95 % confidence level, are not typically included in the calculation. However, the technical requirements are that the reported activity must account for at least 95 % of the activity after excluding radioiodines and short-lived radionuclides. There are individual bases for each exclusion.

    5.3.1 Radioiodines are typically excluded from the calculation of E because United States commercial nuclear reactors are required to operate under a more conservative restriction of 1 μC (37 kBq) per gram dose equivalent 131I (DEI) in the reactor coolant.

    5.3.2 Beta only emitting radio isotopes (for example, 90Sr or 63Ni) and alpha emitting radioisotopes (for example, 241Am or 239Pu) which comprise a small fraction of the activity, should not be included in the E-bar calculation. These isotopes are not routinely analyzed for in the reactor coolant, and thus their inclusion in the E-bar calculation is not representative of what is used to assess the 10 CFR 100 dose limits. Tritium, also a beta only emitter, should not be included in the calculation. Tritium has the largest activity concentration in the reactor coolant system, but the lowest beta particle energy. Thus its dose contribution is always negligible. However its inclusion in the E-bar calculation would raise the value of Alimiting, yielding a non-conservative value for dose assessment.

    5.3.3 Excluding radionuclides with half-lives less than 10 min, except those in equilibrium with the parent, has several bases.

    5.3.3.1 The first basis considers the nuclear characteristics of a typical reactor coolant. The radionuclides in a typical reactor coolant have half-lives of less than 4 min or have half-lives greater than 14 min. This natural separation provides a distinct window for choosing a 10-min half-life cutoff.

    5.3.3.2 The second consideration is the predictable time delay, approximately 30 min, which occurs between the release of the radioactivity from the reactor coolant to its release to the environment and transport to the site boundary. In this time, the short-lived radionuclides have undergone the decay associated with several half-lives and are no longer considered a significant contributor to E.

    5.3.3.3 A final practical basis is the difficulty associated with identifying short-lived radionuclides in a sample that requires some significant time, relative to 10 min, to collect, transport, and analyze.

    5.3.4 The value of E-bar is usually calculated once every 6 months. However, anytime a significant increase in the activity of the reactor coolant occurs, the value of E-bar should be reassessed to ensure compliance with 10 CFR 100. Such reassessment should be done any time there is a significant fuel defect that would alter the E value and affect Alimiting. The two possible causes to reassess the value of E would be:
      (1) A significant fuel defect has occurred where the noble gas activity has increased.
       (2) A significant corrosion product increase has occurred.
    For the case of a fuel defect, the plant staff may need to include new radionuclides not normally used in the calculation of Equation D5411-10R15_2 such as 239U and 239Np.

    1. Scope

    1.1 This practice applies to the calculation of the average energy per disintegration (E) for a mixture of radionuclides in reactor coolant water.

    1.2 The microcurie (µCi) is the standard unit of measurement for this standard. The values given in parentheses are mathematical conversions to SI units, which are provided for information only and are not considered standard.

    1.3 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

    D1066 Practice for Sampling Steam

    D1129 Terminology Relating to Water

    D3370 Practices for Sampling Water from Closed Conduits

    D3648 Practices for the Measurement of Radioactivity

    D7282 Practice for Set-up, Calibration, and Quality Control of Instruments Used for Radioactivity Measurements

    Code of Federal Regulations

    10 CFR 100 Reactor Site Criteria Available from Standardization Documents Order Desk, Bldg. 4 Section D, 700 Robbins Ave., Philadelphia, PA 19111-5094, Attn: NPODS.


    UNSPSC Code

    UNSPSC Code


    Referencing This Standard
    Link Here
    Link to Active (This link will always route to the current Active version of the standard.)

    DOI: 10.1520/D5411-10R15

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    Citation Format

    ASTM D5411-10(2015), Standard Practice for Calculation of Average Energy Per Disintegration (¯E) for a Mixture of Radionuclides in Reactor Coolant, ASTM International, West Conshohocken, PA, 2015, www.astm.org

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