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 May 2006 Tech News

Committee on Nuclear Fuel Cycle Approves Three New Standards

ASTM International Committee C26 on Nuclear Fuel Cycle has approved two new standards, both under the jurisdiction of Subcommittee C26.05 on Methods of Test.

C 1637, Test Method for the Determination of Impurities in Plutonium Metal: Acid Digestion and Inductively Coupled Plasma-Mass Spectroscopy (ICP-MS) Analysis
The approval of C 1637 is part of Subcommittee C26.05’s project involving the approach to keeping the analytical methodology used for determining specifications for nuclear materials up to date. This project began in 1990 when the subcommittee decided to develop separate standards from methods that were part of larger multi-method materials specification standards. Once the new test methods are approved, the methods from which they were developed are removed from the larger standard and replaced by a reference to the new document.

This replacement strategy allows materials specification standards to contain a single reference to the needed analytical methods, but allows easier updates to the stand-alone standards. In the case of C 1637, this new standard replaces some of the spectrometric and spectrochemical methods formerly found in ASTM standards C 697, Test Methods for Chemical, Mass Spectrometric, and Spectrochemical Analysis of Nuclear-Grade Plutonium Dioxide Powders and Pellets; C 758, Test Methods for Chemical, Mass Spectrometric, Spectrochemical, Nuclear, and Radiochemical Analysis of Nuclear-Grade Plutonium Metal; and C 759, Test Methods for Chemical, Mass Spectrometric, Spectrochemical, Nuclear, and Radiochemical Analysis of Nuclear-Grade Plutonium Nitrate Solutions.

C 1637 will be primarily used by producers of plutonium oxide, metals and nitrate solutions to determine impurities that are specified in Test Methods C 697, C 758 and C 759.

Technical Information: Alex Martinez, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Santa Fe, N.M.
Phone: 505/667-7759

C 1638, Guide for the Determination of Iodine-129 in Uranium Oxide
Guide C 1638 covers the determination of iodine-129 in uranium oxide by gamma-ray spectrometry. Users may include U.S. Department of Energy sites that are dispositioning excess uranium to waste sites. Although there is no specification for the levels of I-129 in fuel, waste disposal sites may set limits due to the potential mobility of iodine in the environment. This guide may be used to ensure the I-129 content meets the waste site requirements. According to Donna Beals, Savannah River National Laboratory, Cogema in France is currently testing C 1638 for use at its facility.

Beals notes that users of the new standard can forward any comments on it to her for possible incorporation into future editions of the standard. Beals also says that, if any user needs to turn the guide into a test method, the subcommittee would be happy to help. In order to do this, a standard to be used to test bias would need to be identified and sufficient samples would be needed to perform a precision study.

All interested parties are invited to participate in the standards developing activities of Committee C26. //

Technical Information: Donna Beals, Savannah River National Laboratory, Aiken, S.C.
Phone: 803/725-0847

ASTM staff: Jeff Adkins
Phone: 610/832-9738

Upcoming Meeting: June 18-21, San Antonio, Texas

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