[ RadSafe ] The use of K-40

Muckerheide, Jim (CDA) Jim.Muckerheide at state.ma.us
Wed Mar 28 10:44:58 CDT 2007

1. In the U.S. K-39 was separated from K-40/K-41 in the Oak Ridge calutrons (WWII centrifuges) before they were shut down.

2. Yes. Oak Ridge recovered K-39 used in experiments because it was costly.  I was informed that, around 1982-84, Argonne ordered a small quantity (one day's production) of K-39 for about $75,000.

3. It was more for the use of K with K-40 removed (K-39). This would be much easier than trying to get "pure" K-40 (which would include K-41) with the carry-over of a lot of K-39.

Regards, Jim Muckerheide

>-----Original Message-----
>From: radsafe-bounces at radlab.nl 
>[mailto:radsafe-bounces at radlab.nl] On Behalf Of Olsson Mattias :MSO
>Sent: Wednesday, March 28, 2007 3:21 AM
>To: radsafe at radlab.nl
>Subject: [ RadSafe ] The use of K-40
>There was some talk about potassium on the list recently and I 
>know that K-40 is sometimes used to verify the stability of 
>on-line gamma monitors for for example stack emissions from 
>power plants. It is usually argued that it gives a single, 
>nice peak at such an energy (1,46 MeV) that it is not 
>disturbed by background; neither does it cause much background 
>since the source can be kept very small. (This concerns a 
>shielded detector, of course.)
>I don't feel any need to question the past experiences of this 
>nuclide as a verification sample but what I do wonder is:
>1) How is K-40 manufactured (if it is...). Separation from 
>K-39? Sounds expensive.
>2) If K-40 is manufactured as a reasonably enriched product, 
>who sells it?
>3) Is this sort of use of K-40 a common practice?
>Have a good day, folks!
>PhD Mattias Olsson, FTKS
>Forsmarks Kraftgrupp AB
>SE-742 03 Östhammar
>t. +46(0)173-81952
>m. +46(0)705-801952
>e. mso at forsmark.vattenfall.se 
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