The University of Arizona

Development of an Automatic Sampling Unit for Measuring Radiocarbon Content of Groundwater

R Janovics, M Molnar, I Futo, L Rinyu, E Svingor, M Veres, I Somogyi, I Barnabas


An automatic water sampling unit was developed to monitor the radioactive emission (radiocarbon and other corrosion and fission products) from nuclear facilities into the groundwater. Automatic sampling is based on the principal of ion exchange using built-in resin columns in the submerging samplers. In this way, even the short-term emissions can be detected. According to our experiments, the 14C activity concentrations and the δ13C values of the samples made by the ion exchange method are systematically underestimated compared to the real values. The carbonate adsorption feature of the sampling unit was studied under laboratory and field conditions. For this purpose, a test method was developed. The observed sampling efficiencies and additionally some carbon contamination for the sampling method itself have to be taken into consideration when we estimate the amount of 14C contamination introduced into the groundwater from a nuclear facility. Therefore, a correction factor should be made for the 14C anion exchange sampling. With the help of this correction, the results converge to the expected value.

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