Radioactivity in minerals and loose masses
Measurement of radioactivity in minerals, loose materials and other solid matter is most often carried out in connection with the classification of waste fractions or building materials. If desired, the analyses are delivered with a recommended classification of the material according to Norwegian or international regulations.
Radioactivity in water and liquids
Measurement of radioactivity in water is often carried out in connection with official reporting of regular emissions or for use in environmental investigations. Zpire offers analyses with detection limits down to 1 milli Bq/litre using combined alpha-beta and gamma analysis.
Radioactivity in biota
Measurement of radioactivity in biota is most often carried out in connection with environmental monitoring, environmental investigations or research. Zpire offers gamma analyses with detection limits down to 1 Bq/kg or special analyses with lower detection limits using low-level alpha or beta analyses.
Biogenic carbon in solid and liquid fuels and materials
Determining the content of biogenic carbon is important in connection with the calculation of emission quotas and the labeling of sustainable, climate-neutral products. This content is best determined by direct measurement of the content of C-14 (radioactive carbon) in the materials. Results are given in the unit pMC (percent Modern Carbon) where 100 pMC corresponds to the C-14 content in the atmosphere and 0 pMC the C-14 content in fossil fuels. The analyses are carried out in accordance with DIN EN ISO 21644 and ASTM D6866.
Tritium in groundwater and surface water
Analysis of tritium in water samples can be useful in the investigation and modeling of anthropogenic influence on groundwater systems.
Verification of radiological purity for foodstuffs, raw materials, scrap metal and products
Norway and international institutions (FAO, IAEA) have issued rules and recommendations regarding the content of radioactivity in foodstuffs. In many contexts, for example when exporting, it is important to be able to document that scrap metal, raw materials and products do not contain radioactive contamination beyond given limits. Through our collaboration with IAF Radioökologie GmbH, we can deliver verification of radiological purity in the form of declarations/certificates according to analysed samples. See example of declaration (pdf).
Zpire can supply radioactivity analyses of other materials on request.
What is natural radioactivity and NORM?
For practical purposes, radioactive substances can be referred to as either natural or artificial. As the term suggests, natural radioactive substances are naturally occurring and are found in nature. Similarly, artificial radioactive substances are artificially produced, for example in nuclear reactors.
Although the origin is different, there is no difference between the radiation from natural and artificial radioactive substances; they are measured in the same measurement units using the same instruments.
Some naturally radioactive substances, for example 3H and 14C, are formed in the upper atmosphere when gases there are exposed to cosmic radiation.
Materials that contain naturally radioactive substances are often referred to as NORM (from the English Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials). The term is used in Norway and internationally and is recommended by the IAEA as a designation for naturally occurring radioactive substances. In Norway, the abbreviation LRA is also used, then specifically for low-radioactive (industrial) waste containing natural radioactivity.
What sample types can we receive for measuring radioactivity?
We can measure radioactivity in practically all materials. Common sample types are:
What is the delivery time for Zpire's analyses?
We have short delivery times for our analyses. Normal delivery time is 3 weeks for samples of solid and biological material, and 6 weeks for water samples. The increased delivery time for water samples is mainly due to the fact that these require extensive concentration and the use of alpha and beta analyses, in addition to gamma analysis, in order to achieve a sufficiently low detection level.
Can Zpire deliver analyses of parameters other than radioactivity?
Yes, Zpire can supply almost all chemical parameters on request. We offer this primarily as a supplement where there is a need for additional analyses for the same samples.
Can Zpire help with classification and interpretation of analysis results?
Zpire's experts are fully up-to-date on current rules and regulations. On request, we can deliver a classification and/or a short assessment on all analysis results at no extra cost.
Why does Zpire provide ISO 17025 accredited analyses?
The internationally recognized accreditation standard for laboratory analyses is ISO 17025. Accreditation according to this standard verifies that the laboratory carries out the analyses using verified methods, full traceability and documented ability to measure correctly. Documentable quality is important when the analysis results are to be used in connection with the classification of waste, authority reporting or research. All analyses provided by Zpire are accredited for the specifically ordered analysis, regardless of whether they are radioactivity measurements or additional analyses.
What is the reason why measuring carbon-14 (14C) can say something about how climate-neutral a material is?
Carbon-14 (14C) is formed in the upper atmosphere when nitrogen gas is exposed to cosmic radiation. Carbon-14 in the atmosphere exists as CO2 together with "regular" carbon (12C and a little 13C) and is taken up by living plants. Unlike 12C and 13C, which are stable isotopes, 14C is radioactive with a half-life of approx. 5,700 years. When plants die, no more CO2 is absorbed, and the content of 14C will decrease and disappear over time. It is therefore the case that the content of 14C in a given carbon-based substance can say something about the age of the substance. Since fossil substances (eg oil and coal) and products made from fossil substances (eg oil-based plastics) do not contain 14C, the proportion of biogenic (new) material in a given substance or material can be calculated directly by measuring the content of 14C .
The amount of carbon that circulates between the atmosphere (CO2) and the biosphere (organic and biological compounds) is considered to represent a zero state. Supply of CO2 from burning materials from the biosphere is therefore considered to be climate neutral. Supply of CO2 from the combustion of fossil substances or products made from fossil substances is considered to be non-climate neutral.
How can analysis of tritium in water samples be used to study pollutants?
Tritium (3H) is a naturally occurring radioactive hydrogen isotope. Like 14C, tritium is formed in the upper atmosphere when nitrogen gas is exposed to cosmic radiation. Hydrogen in the atmosphere is mostly found chemically bound in the form of water. Tritium therefore participates in the earth's natural water cycle, where water circulates between the atmosphere, surface water and groundwater. Tritium has a half-life of approx. 12 years and is therefore well suited to study how groundwater is influenced by rainfall and thus also waterborne pollutants from the biosphere, industry and agriculture.
Which nuclides can you measure?
Below is a list of the most common analyzes performed in our German laboratory. The analyses that Zpire delivers the most are highlighted. Get in touch if you need analyses of nuclides other than those included in the overview
Radioactive material in the waste stream
From time to time it is discovered that radioactive sources or radioactively contaminated material have been mixed into household or industrial waste. For correct waste treatment, it is important to isolate radioactive waste from non-radioactive waste and to ensure correct treatment and final disposal of the radioactive waste. Zpire has all the necessary expertise to carry out the identification, isolation and final treatment of radioactive waste.
Disposal of radioactive sources
When installed control sources are permanently taken out of use, they must be disposed of to an approved reception. It is important that dismantling, transport and final disposal is carried out without danger to people and the environment. Zpire has all the necessary expertise to carry out this process and has carried out several such assignments in recent years.
Mapping of NORM and radioactive sources in decommissioned installations and radioactively contaminated land
In the closing phase of industrial activities, a survey of the occurrence of radioactive material and other hazardous materials is most often carried out. The mapping concludes with the detection of places that are contaminated and/or verification of the absence of radioactive and dangerous substances. Zpire has all the necessary equipment and expertise to carry out such mapping and has, among other things, carried out surveys of more than 30 installations on the Norwegian continental shelf.