Project Details Radioanalytical Chemistry - Revision of the Orange Book CHAPTER 8

Project No.:
Start Date:
01 August 2010
End Date:


To prepare a revised vocabulary of concepts and terms in radioanalytical chemistry that is compatible with the glossary format used in the Gold Book.(online version is accessible at )

In the new and 4th edition of the Orange Book, this chapter will be CHAPTER 8.

> Orange Book (4th edition) draft content: project 2012-005-1-500


The last edition of the Orange Book was published in 1998. Analytical chemistry has moved into new fields of science , and the importance of some areas has changed. The revision of the Orange Book is a major endeavor of the Analytical Division and is expected to take until 2015.

The available terms in the field of radioanalytical chemistry were compiled ten years ago. With the development of modern science and technology, many of the terms are outdated. In the meantime, more and more new terms in the field of radioananlytical methods have appeared or are emerging. Particularly, sophisticated nuclear facilities and detectors, like advanced neutron nuclear reactors, dedicated particle accelerators and various new types of radiation detectors with excellent performances are changing the outlook of radioanalytical methods. For example, synchronous radiation device and spallation neutron source are equipped in many advanced nuclear analytical laboratories in the world. The relating new nuclear analysis methods have been established or are being developed. Various new radioanalytical methods, like neuron scattering, accelerator mass spectrometry, x-ray absorption and fluorescence methods based on synchronous radiation facility, have become more and more popular analytical tools in scientific analysis. Furthermore, some terms in the old version of radioananlytical methods are not correct on the basis of strict scientific significance, even completely wrong. Several typical examples are listed below.

(1) Nuclide: “A species of atom, characterized by its mass number, atomic number and nuclear energy state. Usually restricted to situations in which the mean life is long enough to be observable.”(old version) The second sentence of this term should be deleted, because it is not completely correct, since nuclide includes both stable and radioactive ones, nothing to do with the observable mean life.
(2) Half Life, Biological: This term belongs to the field of life sciences, not specific for nuclear science. Thus, it should be deleted.
(3) Tracer, Isotopic: “A tracer which only differs in isotopic composition from the substance to be traced.”(old version) This is not strict. It is better that the isotopic composition is replaced by “mass number”. The old version made a confusion between two different concepts: isotopic composition and mass number.

More similar confusions and wrong definitions can be found in the old chapter of radioanalytical chemistry. In the meantime, many new terms, like neutron scattering analysis, muon analysis, Rutherford back-scattering analysis, etc., should be completed. Thus, the revision of this chapter is mandatory.


November 2010 – project announcement published in Chem. Int. Nov-Dec, p. 20

August 2013 – chapter manuscript submitted to the Orange Book editorial.

November 2019 update – The provisional recommendations titled “VOCABULARY OF RADIOANALYTICAL METHODS” is available for public review till 31 March 2020.

Last update – 20 Nov 2019