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Interlaboratory comparisons of (super 14) C measurements in milk and vegetation.

G M Milton, S J Kramer, J D Milton


The need for increased quality assurance for radiocarbon measurements performed by the monitoring laboratories at nuclear stations has spurred the introduction of a number of interlaboratory comparisons. We organized two such intercomparisons: the first set, circulated in 1994, consisted of two milk samples, one containing current global levels of (super 14) C, the other containing an added spike of (super 14) C-methylated casein. The second set, circulated in 1995, consisted of two samples of natural vegetation growing on the Chalk River Laboratories (CRL), containing two different levels of (super 14) C, both well above global background. The response to our invitation to participate in these studies was very encouraging; six laboratories took part in the first intercomparison, eleven in the second. The list included both monitoring laboratories and those whose main function is (super 14) C dating. Understandably, some of the latter preferred not to analyze the higher-activity samples. The results in 3 of the 4 data sets were consistent with a statistical distribution based on the reported errors. This report provides details of two intercomparisons, including the preparation of the samples, which may now be considered potential secondary reference materials, the range of analytical techniques in use at the participating laboratories, and a statistical analysis of the results returned to us.


milk;history;nuclear facilities;quality control;monitoring;statistical analysis;standard materials;interlaboratory comparison;vegetation;organic compounds;sample preparation;C 14;carbon;isotopes;radioactive isotopes

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