ASTM E704 - 19

    Standard Test Method for Measuring Reaction Rates by Radioactivation of Uranium-238

    Active Standard ASTM E704 | Developed by Subcommittee: E10.05

    Book of Standards Volume: 12.02


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    Significance and Use

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

    5.2 238U is available as metal foil, wire, or oxide powder (see Guide E844). It is usually encapsulated in a suitable container to prevent loss of, and contamination by, the 238U and its fission products.

    5.3 One or more fission products can be assayed. Pertinent data for relevant fission products are given in Table 1 and Table 2.

    (A) The lightface numbers in parentheses are the magnitude of plus or minus uncertainties in the last digit(s) listed.
    (B) With 137mBa (2.552 min) in equilibrium.
    (C) The recommended half-life and gamma emission probabilities have been taken from the Reference (3) data that was recommended at the time that the recommended fission yields were set.
    (D) Probability of daughter 140La decay.
    (E) This is the activity ratio of 140La/140Ba after reached transient equilibrium (t 19 days).
    (A) The JEFF-3.1/3.1.1 radioactive decay data and fission yields sub-libraries, JEFF Report 20, OECD 2009, Nuclear Energy Agency (5).
    (B) All yield data given as a %; RC represents a cumulative yield; RI represents an independent yield.

    5.3.1 137Cs-137mBa is chosen frequently for long irradiations. Radioactive products 134Cs and 136Cs may be present, which can interfere with the counting of the 0.662 MeV  137Cs-137mBa gamma rays (see Test Method E320).

    5.3.2 140Ba-140La is chosen frequently for short irradiations (see Test Method E393).

    5.3.3 95Zr can be counted directly, following chemical separation, or with its daughter 95Nb using a high-resolution gamma detector system.

    5.3.4 144Ce is a high-yield fission product applicable to 2- to 3-year irradiations.

    5.4 It is necessary to surround the 238U monitor with a thermal neutron absorber to minimize fission product production from a quantity of 235U in the 238U target and from  239Pu from (n,γ) reactions in the 238U material. Assay of the 239Pu concentration when a significant contribution is expected.

    5.4.1 Fission product production in a light-water reactor by neutron activation product 239Pu has been calculated to be insignificant (<2 %), compared to that from 238U(n,f), for an irradiation period of 12 years at a fast-neutron (E > 1 MeV) fluence rate of 1 × 1011 cm−2 · s−1 provided the 238U is shielded from thermal neutrons (see Fig. 2 of Guide E844).

    5.4.2 Fission product production from photonuclear reactions, that is, (γ,f) reactions, while negligible near-power and research-reactor cores, can be large for deep-water penetrations (6).4

    5.5 Good agreement between neutron fluence measured by 238U fission and the 54Fe(n,p)54Mn reaction has been demonstrated (7). The reaction  238U(n,f) F.P. is useful since it is responsive to a broader range of neutron energies than most threshold detectors.

    5.6 The 238U fission neutron spectrum-averaged cross section in several benchmark neutron fields is given in Table 3 of Practice E261. Sources for the latest recommended cross sections are given in Guide E1018. In the case of the 238U(n,f)F.P. reaction, the recommended cross section source is the ENDF/B-VI release 8 cross section (MAT = 9237) (8). Fig. 1 shows a plot of the recommended cross section versus neutron energy for the fast-neutron reaction 238U(n,f)F.P.

    FIG. 1 ENDF/B-VI Cross Section Versus Energy for the 238U(n,f)F.P. Reaction

     ENDF/B-VI Cross Section Versus Energy for the U(n,f)F.P. Reaction ENDF/B-VI Cross Section Versus Energy for the U(n,f)F.P. Reaction

    Note 1: The data is taken from the Evaluated Nuclear Data File, ENDF/B-VI, rather than the later ENDF/B-VII. This is in accordance with Guide E1018, Section 6.1, since the later ENDF/B-VII data files do not include covariance information. Some covariance information exists for 238U in the standard sublibrary, but this is only for energies greater than 1 MeV. For more details, see Section H of Ref 9.

    1. Scope

    1.1 This test method covers procedures for measuring reaction rates by assaying a fission product (F.P.) from the fission reaction 238U(n,f)F.P.

    1.2 The reaction is useful for measuring neutrons with energies from approximately 1.5 to 7 MeV and for irradiation times up to 30 to 40 years, provided that the analysis methods described in Practice E261 are followed.

    1.3 Equivalent fission neutron fluence rates as defined in Practice E261 can be determined.

    1.4 Detailed procedures for 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, health, and environmental practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use.

    1.7 This international standard was developed in accordance with internationally recognized principles on standardization established in the Decision on Principles for the Development of International Standards, Guides and Recommendations issued by the World Trade Organization Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Committee.


    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

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

    E320 Test Method for Cesium-137 in Nuclear Fuel Solutions by Radiochemical Analysis

    E393 Test Method for Measuring Reaction Rates by Analysis of Barium-140 From Fission Dosimeters

    E705 Test Method for Measuring Reaction Rates by Radioactivation of Neptunium-237

    E844 Guide for Sensor Set Design and Irradiation for Reactor Surveillance

    E944 Guide for Application of Neutron Spectrum Adjustment Methods in Reactor Surveillance

    E1005 Test Method for Application and Analysis of Radiometric Monitors for Reactor Vessel Surveillance

    E1018 Guide for Application of ASTM Evaluated Cross Section Data File


    ICS Code

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

    UNSPSC Code

    UNSPSC Code 15131500(Nuclear fuel)


    Referencing This Standard
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    DOI: 10.1520/E0704-19

    Citation Format

    ASTM E704-19, Standard Test Method for Measuring Reaction Rates by Radioactivation of Uranium-238, ASTM International, West Conshohocken, PA, 2019, www.astm.org

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