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 May 2007
Tech News

New Radiochemical Analysis Standard to Aid in Radioactivity Emergencies

While nearly all of the instrumentation used in the field to measure radioactive materials used to be in the hands of state radiological control agencies or federal government national response organizations, this is no longer the case. Now, law enforcement personnel, first responders and other professionals have radiation detection instruments, though they may not have had training to deal with radioactive materials.

In order to help these professionals make better decisions when their instruments indicate that they are dealing with radioactive materials, particularly in the early stages of an emergency situation, ASTM International Committee D19 on Water has developed a new standard, D 7316, Guide for Interpretation of Existing Field Instrumentation to Influence Emergency Response Decisions. The new standard is under the jurisdiction of Subcommittee D19.04 on Methods of Radiochemical Analysis.

“When the task group on rapid methods for radiochemical analysis was formed, our goal was to provide guides and standards for assistance immediately after an incident or emergency involving radioactive materials,” says Doug Van Cleef, D19 member and a distribution and technical support manager, Advanced Measurement Technology. “As we studied the conditions necessary at the laboratory level for useful analytical results, we quickly came to the conclusion that early, accurate on-scene information gathering was critical to this process. This guide was prepared to provide this kind of information.”

Local, state and national law enforcement personnel, such as members of police and fire departments, customs agencies and border patrol, are among the intended users of D 7316. “We hope the standard will be useful in the preparation of training programs for professionals who are not in the radiation measurement business,” says Van Cleef.

Subcommittee D19.04 welcomes involvement in its standards developing activities. “It would be great to have additional contributions from personnel who are charged with responsibility for making decisions based on real-time feedback from the scene of an incident, or who are using the data returned from the laboratories, so that we could focus our group’s energies on the most pertinent standards,” says Van Cleef.

D 7316 was developed by Task Group D19.04.04, which Van Cleef chairs. Formed in 2004, the purpose of the task group is to develop, test and disseminate analytic methods for use when time is of the essence, such as following a radiological emergency. Work done within Task Group D19.04.04 is coordinated with ASTM International Committee E54 on Homeland Security Applications, as well as within Committee D19.


Technical Information: Douglas Van Cleef, Advanced Measurement Technology, Oak Ridge, Tenn.
Phone: 865/865-4832

ASTM Staff: Len Morrissey
Phone: 610/832-9719

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