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    ASTM E481 - 15

    Standard Test Method for Measuring Neutron Fluence Rates by Radioactivation of Cobalt and Silver

    Active Standard ASTM E481 | Developed by Subcommittee: E10.05

    Book of Standards Volume: 12.02


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    Significance and Use

    3.1 This test method uses one monitor (cobalt) with a nearly 1/v absorption cross-section curve and a second monitor (silver) with a large resonance peak so that its resonance integral is large compared to the thermal cross section. The pertinent data for these two reactions are given in Table 1. The equations are based on the Westcott formalism ((2, 3) and Practice E261) and determine a Westcott 2200 m/s neutron fluence rate nv0 and the Westcott epithermal index parameter Equation E0481-15_2 . References 4, 5, and 6 contain a general discussion of the two-reaction test method. In this test method, the absolute activities of both cobalt and silver monitors are determined. This differs from the test method in the references wherein only one absolute activity is determined.

    (A) The numbers in parenthesis following given values are the uncertainty in the last digit(s) of the value; 0.729 (8) means 0.729 ± 0.008, 70.8(1) means 70.8 ± 0.1.
    (B) A 2200 m/s cross section (E = 0.0253 eV, T = 20°C) was taken from the sources indicated in Ref (9).
    (C) Cross section uncertainty data is taken from Ref (7) , the cross section comes from the other reference.
    (D) Calculated using Eq 10.
    (E) Cross section uncertainty comes from convariance data provided in the cross section source. The other reference indicates the source of the cross section.
    (F) In Fig. 1, Θ = 4ErkT/AΓ 2 = 0.2 corresponds to the value for 109Ag for T = 293 K, r = N0σr, max. σr, max=29999 barn at 5.19 eV (13) .

    3.2 The advantages of this test method are the elimination of three difficulties associated with the use of cadmium: (1) the perturbation of the field by the cadmium; (2) the inexact cadmium cut-off energy; (3) the low melting temperature of cadmium. In addition, the reactivity changes accompanying the rapid insertion and removal of cadmium may prohibit the use of the cadmium-ratio method. However, the self-shielding corrections remain important unless the concentrations of cobalt and silver are small. Studies indicate that the accuracy of the two-reaction method for determination of thermal neutron fluence is comparable to the cadmium-ratio method (14).

    3.3 The long half-lives of the two monitors permit the determination of fluence for long-term monitoring.

    1. Scope

    1.1 This test method covers a suitable means of obtaining the thermal neutron fluence rate, or fluence, in well moderated nuclear reactor environments where the use of cadmium, as a thermal neutron shield as described in Test Method E262, is undesirable because of potential spectrum perturbations or of temperatures above the melting point of cadmium.

    1.2 This test method describes a means of measuring a Westcott neutron fluence rate (Note 1) by activation of cobalt- and silver-foil monitors (See Terminology E170). The reaction 59Co(n,γ )60Co results in a well-defined gamma emitter having a half-life of 1925.28 days (1)2. The reaction 109Ag(n,γ)110mAg results in a nuclide with a complex decay scheme which is well known and having a half-life of 249.76 days (1). Both cobalt and silver are available either in very pure form or alloyed with other metals such as aluminum. A reference source of cobalt in aluminum alloy to serve as a neutron fluence rate monitor wire standard is available from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) as Standard Reference Material 953.3 The competing activities from neutron activation of other isotopes are eliminated, for the most part, by waiting for the short-lived products to die out before counting. With suitable techniques, thermal neutron fluence rate in the range from 109 cm−2 · s−1 to 3 × 1015 cm−2 · s−1 can be measured. For this method to be applicable, the reactor must be well moderated and be well represented by a Maxwellian low-energy distribution and an (1/E) epithermal distribution. These conditions are usually met in positions surrounded by hydrogenous moderator without nearby strongly absorbing materials. Otherwise the true spectrum must be calculated to obtain effective activation cross sections over all energies.

    Note 1: Westcott fluence rate Equation E0481-15_1

    1.3 The values stated in SI units are to be regarded as the 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

    E170 Terminology Relating to Radiation Measurements and Dosimetry

    E177 Practice for Use of the Terms Precision and Bias in ASTM Test Methods

    E181 Test Methods for Detector Calibration and Analysis of Radionuclides

    E262 Test Method for Determining Thermal Neutron Reaction Rates and Thermal Neutron Fluence Rates by Radioactivation Techniques


    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)


    Referencing This Standard

    DOI: 10.1520/E0481-15

    ASTM International is a member of CrossRef.

    Citation Format

    ASTM E481-15, Standard Test Method for Measuring Neutron Fluence Rates by Radioactivation of Cobalt and Silver, ASTM International, West Conshohocken, PA, 2015, www.astm.org

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