The distribution and selective decontamination of carbon-14 from nuclear graphite

Robert N. Worth, Alex Theodosiou, William Bodel, José David Arregui-mena, Anthony J. Wickham, Abbie N. Jones, Paul M. Mummery

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This work investigates 14C release behaviour from UK Magnox reactor sourced irradiated graphite under relatively low temperature oxidation conditions: a 1% oxygen in argon atmosphere at temperatures ranging from 600°C to 700°C, and durations from 4 to 120 hours. A method is used for construction of a detailed 14C release profile with mass loss. The 14C release profile is predictable between samples, and an empirical release profile is derived to predict releases to higher mass losses than in this work. An accelerated 14C release rate at small mass losses is observed, indicative of a 14C-enriched surface region with a depleting concentration gradient into the material, and the source terms and complexities associated with predicting where the 14C arose from are discussed. Selective decontamination of a fraction of the 14C is possible, with the limitation of a reducing efficiency with mass loss and time. This work demonstrates a method for determining the distribution of 14C between near-surface regions and the bulk material in differing sources of irradiated graphite, and provides data in support of making an informed assessment for the adoption of low temperature thermal treatment and isotopic reduction of irradiated graphite wastes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)153167
JournalJournal of Nuclear Materials
Early online date6 Jul 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2021

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Dalton Nuclear Institute


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