Development of a reference material for analysing naturally occurring radioactive material from the steel industry

Emma Braysher, B. Russell, S M Collins, E.M. van Es, R. Shearman, F. Dal Molin, M. Anagnostakis, R. Arndt, A. Bednár, T. Bituh, J.P. Olivar, J. Cobb, Leen Verheyen

    Research outputpeer-review


    Accurate measurement of naturally occurring radionuclides in blast furnace slag, a by-product of the steel industry, is required for compliance with building regulations where it is often used as an ingredient in cement. A matrix reference blast furnace slag material has been developed to support traceability in these measurements. Raw material provided by a commercial producer underwent stability and homogeneity testing, as well as characterisation of matrix constituents, to provide a final candidate reference material. The radionuclide content was then determined during a comparison exercise that included 23 laboratories from 14 countries. Participants determined the activity per unit mass for 226Ra, 232Th and 40K using a range of techniques. The consensus values obtained from the power-moderated mean of the reported participant results were used as indicative activity per unit mass values for the three radionuclides: A0(226Ra) ¼ 106.3 (34) Bq$kg1, A0(232Th) ¼ 130.0 (48) Bq$kg1 and A0(40K) ¼ 161 (11) Bq$kg1 (where the number in parentheses is the numerical value of the combined standard uncertainty referred to the corresponding last digits of the quoted result). This exercise helps to address the current shortage of NORM industry reference materials, putting in place infrastructure for production of further reference materials.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)221-229
    Number of pages9
    JournalAnalytica Chimica Acta
    StatePublished - 1 Jan 2021

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