Nickel-63

Physical Characteristics

  • Half-life: 100.1 years
  • Emissions: Beta particles with a maximum energy of 66 keV and an average energy of 17 keV
  • Maximum Range: 5 cm in air; < 0.01 cm in tissue

Dose Rate and Shielding

  • Dose rate to the skin at 10 cm: negligible (for an unshielded point source)
  • Dose rate to epidermal basal cells from skin contamination of 1 µCi/cm2: negligible
  • Shielding: None needed.
  • Annual Limit on Intake (ALI): 9000 microcuries via ingestion and 2000 microcuries via inhalation. The ingestion of one ALI will produce a dose of 5 rem. 

Detection

A wipe survey using liquid scintillation counting is the preferred method for detecting Ni-63. G-M detectors will not detect Ni-63 contamination

Precautions

Ni-63 contamination cannot be detected with a G-M meter, and special precautions are needed to keep the work environment clean. The regular use of wipe testing, using a liquid scintillation counter, is the only way to insure that your work space does not contain low-level removable contamination.

Radiation Monitoring Requirements: Radiation monitoring badges are not required for Ni-63 users, since the monitoring badges will not detect Ni-63.

Waste Disposal

  • Solid Wastes/Liquid Scintillation Wastes: through the Off-Site Radioactive Waste Disposal Program
  • Liquid Wastes: through the Sewer Disposal Program. The laboratory disposal limit for Ni-63 is 3 mCi per month.