ASTM E263 - 13

    Standard Test Method for Measuring Fast-Neutron Reaction Rates by Radioactivation of Iron

    Active Standard ASTM E263 | Developed by Subcommittee: E10.05

    Book of Standards Volume: 12.02


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    Significance and Use

    5.1 Refer to Guide E844 for guidance on the selection, irradiation, and quality control of neutron dosimeters.

    5.2 Refer to Practice E261 for a general discussion of the determination of fast-neutron fluence rate with threshold detectors.

    5.3 Pure iron in the form of foil or wire is readily available and easily handled.

    5.4 Fig. 1 shows a plot of cross section as a function of neutron energy for the fast-neutron reaction 54Fe(n,p)54Mn (1).3 This figure is for illustrative purposes only to indicate the range of response of the 54Fe(n,p)54Mn reaction. Refer to Guide E1018 for descriptions of recommended tabulated dosimetry cross sections.

    5.5 54Mn has a half-life of 312.13 (3) days4 (2) and emits a gamma ray with an energy of 834.838 (5) keV (2).

    5.6 Interfering activities generated by neutron activation arising from thermal or fast neutron interactions are 2.5789 (1)-h 56Mn, 44.495 (9) day 59Fe, and 1925.28 (1) day 60Co (2,3). (Consult the latest version of Ref (2) for more precise values currently accepted for the half-lives.) Interference from 56Mn can be eliminated by waiting 48 h before counting. Although chemical separation of 54Mn from the irradiated iron is the most effective method for eliminating 59Fe and 60Co, direct counting of iron for 54Mn is possible using high-resolution detector systems or unfolding or stripping techniques, especially if the dosimeter was covered with cadmium or boron during irradiation. Altering the isotopic composition of the iron dosimeter is another useful technique for eliminating interference from extraneous activities when direct sample counting is to be employed.

    5.7 The vapor pressures of manganese and iron are such that manganese diffusion losses from iron can become significant at temperatures above about 700°C. Therefore, precautions must be taken to avoid the diffusion loss of 54Mn from iron dosimeters at high temperature. Encapsulating the iron dosimeter in quartz or vanadium will contain the manganese at temperatures up to about 900°C.

    5.8 Sections 6, 7 and 8 that follow were specifically written to describe the method of chemical separation and subsequent counting of the 54Mn activity. When one elects to count the iron dosimeters directly, those portions of Sections 6, 7 and 8 that pertain to radiochemical separation should be disregarded.

    Note 1The following portions of this test method apply also to direct sample-counting methods: 6.1-6.3, 7.4, 7.9, 7.10, 8.1-8.5, 8.18, 8.19, and 9-12.

    1. Scope

    1.1 This test method describes procedures for measuring reaction rates by the activation reaction 54Fe(n,p)54Mn.

    1.2 This activation reaction is useful for measuring neutrons with energies above approximately 2.2 MeV and for irradiation times up to about 3 years (for longer irradiations, see Practice E261).

    1.3 With suitable techniques, fission-neutron fluence rates above 108 cm−2·s−1 can be determined. However, in the presence of a high thermal-neutron fluence rate (for example, >2 × 1014 cm−2·s −1) 54Mn depletion should be investigated.

    1.4 Detailed procedures describing the use of other fast-neutron detectors are referenced in Practice E261.

    1.5 The values stated in SI units are to be regarded as standard. No other units of measurement are included in this standard.

    1.6 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

    D1193 Specification for Reagent Water

    E170 Terminology Relating to Radiation Measurements and Dosimetry

    E181 Test Methods for Detector Calibration and Analysis of Radionuclides

    E261 Practice for Determining Neutron Fluence, Fluence Rate, and Spectra by Radioactivation Techniques

    E844 Guide for Sensor Set Design and Irradiation for Reactor Surveillance, E 706 (IIC)

    E944 Guide for Application of Neutron Spectrum Adjustment Methods in Reactor Surveillance, E 706 (IIA)

    E1005 Test Method for Application and Analysis of Radiometric Monitors for Reactor Vessel Surveillance, E 706 (IIIA)

    E1018 Guide for Application of ASTM Evaluated Cross Section Data File, Matrix E706 (IIB)


    ICS Code

    ICS Number Code 17.240 (Radiation measurements); 27.120.30 (Fissile materials and nuclear fuel technology)

    UNSPSC Code

    UNSPSC Code 26142004(Neutron irradiators)


    DOI: 10.1520/E0263

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