ASTM E523 - 11

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

    Active Standard ASTM E523 | Developed by Subcommittee: E10.05

    Book of Standards Volume: 12.02


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    Significance and Use

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

    Refer to Practice E261 for a general discussion of the measurement of fast neutron fluence rate with threshold detectors. The general shape of the 63Cu(n,α)60Co cross section is also shown in Fig. 1 (3, 4) along with a comparison to the current experimental databse (5). This figure is for illustrative purposes only to indicate the range of response of the 63Cu(n,α) reaction. Refer to Guide E1018 for descriptions of recommended tabulated dosimetry cross sections.

    Note 1—The cross section appropriate for use under this standard is ENDF/B-VI release 8 library since it contains a covariance matrix. The ENDF/B-VII library has been released, but it does not contain a covariance matrix for this reaction. For dosimetry applications, an uncertainty metric expressed as a covariance matrix is required. See Guide E1018.

    The chief advantages of copper for measuring fast-neutron fluence rate are that it has good strength, is easily fabricated, has excellent corrosion resistance, has a melting temperature of 1083°C, and can be obtained pure. The half-life of 60Co is long and its decay scheme is simple and well known.

    The disadvantages of copper for measuring fast neutron fluence rate are the high reaction apparent threshold of 5 MeV, the possible interference from cobalt impurity (>1 μg/g), the reported possible thermal component of the (n,α) reaction, and the possibly significant cross sections for thermal neutrons for 63Cu and 60Co (that is 4.50 and 2.0 barns, respectively),(6) which will require burnout corrections at high fluences.

    1. Scope

    1.1 This test method covers procedures for measuring reaction rates by the activation reaction 63Cu(n,α)60Co. The cross section for 60Co produced in this reaction increases rapidly with neutrons having energies greater than about 5 MeV. 60Co decays with a half-life of 1925.27 days (±0.29 days)(1) and emits two gamma rays having energies of 1.1732278 and 1.332492 MeV (1). The isotopic content of natural copper is 69.17 % 63Cu and 30.83 % 65Cu (2). The neutron reaction,
    63Cu(n,γ)64Cu, produces a radioactive product that emits gamma rays which might interfere with the counting of the
    60Co gamma rays.

    1.2 With suitable techniques, fission-neutron fluence rates above 109 cm2·s1 can be determined. The 63Cu(n,α)60Co reaction can be used to determine fast-neutron fluences for irradiation times up to about 15 years (for longer irradiations, see Practice E261).

    1.3 Detailed procedures for other fast-neutron detectors are referenced in Practice E261.

    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

    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 26141702(Dosimeters)


    Referencing This Standard

    DOI: 10.1520/E0523-11

    ASTM International is a member of CrossRef.

    Citation Format

    ASTM E523-11, Standard Test Method for Measuring Fast-Neutron Reaction Rates by Radioactivation of Copper, ASTM International, West Conshohocken, PA, 2011, www.astm.org

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