Using the ED2000 energy-dispersive X-ray fluorescence (EDXRF) spectrometer to monitor the metals present in the coolant stream improves analytical accuracy and lowers costs. Installation and monitoring at the Dresden plant suggests that the ED2000 spectrometer reduces estimated analysis costs from $25 per filter sample to $3.1 per sample compared with widely-used techniques like atomic absorption spectroscopy (including the cost of man-hours spent on the analysis).

Traditionally, analysis of the coolant stream has been carried out by atomic absorption spectroscopy or inductively coupled plasma-atomic emission spectroscopy. Residue in the coolant stream is collected on filter papers at a number of different locations and these techniques are applied. The techniques are time-consuming, expensive (there are additional analysis costs for both techniques), need acid digestion (which raises additional safety concerns) and increase the chance of errors in sample preparation. In addition, since these are destructive techniques, there is no room for errors in either sample preparation or analysis – measurements cannot be repeated.

In contrast, the Oxford Instrument ED2000 EDXRF spectrometer offers a well-established non-destructive technique for simple rapid multi-element analysis of samples in an “as received” condition. Exhaustive tests and extended use at the Dresden plant have demonstrated that the instrument is capable of fast, extremely accurate measurements (at the level of parts per billion) of elements in the BWR coolant stream.

The ED2000 can be used for other plant applications as diverse as assessing resin bed demineralisation, performing wear metal analysis of pump oils and environmental monitoring of fish tissues and soil samples in nearby rivers.