On-Line Monitoring of Radiocarbon Emissions in a Nuclear Facility with Cavity Ring-Down Spectroscopy

Johannes Lehmuskoski (Corresponding Author), Hannu Vasama, Jussi Hämäläinen, Jouni Hokkinen, Teemu Kärkelä, Katja Heiskanen, Matti Reinikainen, Satu Rautio, Miska Hirvelä, Guillaume Genoud (Corresponding Author)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


There are currently no suitable methods for sensitive automated in situ monitoring of gaseous radiocarbon, one of the main sources of radioactive gas emissions from nuclear power plants. Here, we present a transportable instrument for in situ airborne radiocarbon detection based on mid-infrared cavity ring-down spectroscopy and report its performance in a 1-week field measurement at the Loviisa nuclear power plant. Radiocarbon is detected by measuring an absorption line of the 14CO2 molecule. The time resolution of the measurements is 45 min, significantly less than the few days' resolution of the currently used technique, while maintaining a comparable sensitivity. The method can also assess the prevalence of radiocarbon in different molecular species in the airborne emissions. The optical in situ monitoring presented is a completely new method for monitoring emissions from nuclear facilities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16096–16104
Number of pages9
JournalAnalytical Chemistry
Issue number48
Publication statusPublished - 7 Dec 2021
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


This research work was supported by the Academy of Finland (292756) and is part of the Academy of Finland Flagship Programme, Photonics Research and Innovation (PREIN), decision 320168. This work has received funding from the Euratom research and training programme 2014-2018 under grant agreement no. 755371 (CHANCE project). In addition, this work was funded through the European Metrology Research Programme (EMRP) project “16ENV54–MetroDecom” and the European Metrology Programme for Innovation and Research (EMPIR) project “16ENV09–MetroDecom 2”. EMRP and EMPIR are co-financed by the Participating States and from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 (H2020) research and innovation program.


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