Increasing quantities of radioactive waste are being placed into storage facilities. Many of the waste products contain organic materials which may undergo degradation leading to the release of tritium and carbon-14 species into waste containers and potentially into the environment. Monitoring for radioactive gas releases are required for environmental regulatory compliance and for radiation protection of facility workers.

Research is currently being undertaken at the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) as part of a European Metrology Research Programme (EMRP) project MetroRWM to adapt and automate existing environmental sampling techniques for tritium and carbon-14 species. An innovative modular system is being developed which will lead to the introduction of an on-site small scale system capable of gas collection, liquid scintillation sample preparation and measurement.

This paper outlines the evaluation of a liquid scintillation system that has been performed to date using active solutions of spiked trapping medium of similar activity concentrations to those anticipated in a waste repository. This system will operate using pre-set conditions for quench and luminescence derived from these and subsequent trials, unlike most other counters for which corrections for these phenomena are applied post measurement.