This document describes the principles for the measurement of the activity of 90Sr in equilibrium with 90Y and 89Sr, pure beta emitting radionuclides, in soil samples. Different chemical separation methods are presented to produce strontium and yttrium sources, the activity of which is determined using proportional counters (PC) or liquid scintillation counters (LSC). 90Sr can be obtained from the test samples when the equilibrium between 90Sr and 90Y is reached or through direct 90Y measurement. The selection of the measuring method depends on the origin of the contamination, the characteristics of the soil to be analysed, the required accuracy of measurement and the resources of the available laboratories.
These methods are used for soil monitoring following discharges, whether past or present, accidental or routine, liquid or gaseous. It also covers the monitoring of contamination caused by global nuclear fallout.
In case of recent fallout immediately following a nuclear accident, the contribution of 89Sr to the total amount of strontium activity will not be negligible. This standard provides the measurement method to determine the activity of 90Sr in presence of 89Sr.
The test methods described in this document can also be used to measure the radionuclides in sludge, sediment, construction material and products by following proper sampling procedure.
Using samples sizes of 20 g and counting times of 1 000 min, detection limits of (0,1 to 0,5) Bq·kg-1 can be achievable for 90Sr using conventional and commercially available proportional counter or liquid scintillation counter when the presence of 89Sr can be neglected. If 89Sr is present in the test sample, detection limits of (1 to 2) Bq·kg-1 can be obtained for both 90Sr and 89Sr using the same sample size, counting time and proportional counter or liquid scintillation counter as in the previous situation.