NWT PWR/Q-Chem Program

NWT developed the PWR/Q-CHEM program in late 1984 in order to provide PWR nuclear sites with a technique to validate their analytical procedures and to assess their laboratory capabilities relative to those of other sites by analysis of blind samples. NWT developed BWR/Q-CHEM in mid-1987 to provide a similar service for BWRs. Both programs are supportive of the objectives outlined in ASTM International E691-14, “Standard Practice for Conducting an Interlaboratory Study to Determine the Precision of a Test Method”, ASTM International E1323-09, “Standard Guide for Evaluating Laboratory Measurement Practices and the Statistical analysis of the Resulting Data”, ASTM International E1763-06, “Standard Guide for Interpretation, Use of Results from Interlaboratory Testing of Chemical Analysis Methods” and “Guidelines for the Conduct of Chemistry at Nuclear Power Stations,” INPO 13-005, Rev. 0, October 2013.

Specifically, NWT provides chemical species standards in relevant PWR matrices on a quarterly basis to program participants. Blind standards are prepared from the key primary, secondary system and metal parameters shown below. Three 250 ml bottles of each sample are sent each quarter. Additional samples are available. Boron and lithium are included each quarter in the primary matrix portion of the primary coolant samples. After sample analysis, each site summarizes its results and analysis techniques on a provided form and returns it to NWT.

Results can be submitted to NWT using the report form. When the results have been received, a quarterly report is issued summarizing and discussing site results and the techniques employed for each analysis. Q-CHEM participants are identified by a letter in the report and the letter designation for each laboratory is disclosed in the report transmittal letters.

NWT also has developed custom programs for several sites. If the standard Q-Chem program does not fulfill all of your needs, we will work with you to establish a more responsive program. Please see the Custom Q-Chem Samples page.

Questions regarding the Q-Chem program should be directed to Mike Miller or Mary Hyde at (408) 281-1100 or lab@nwtcorp.com. Please call or e-mail for pricing details.

Report Form

PWR/Q-Chem Set 148 Report Form
Alternatively, you can fax or mail or e-mail your results.


Scope Adjustments to the PWR/Q-Chem Program

In 2019 NWT completed a review of the scope of the PWR/Q-Chem Program. Several changes were implemented effective with the 1st Quarter 2020 Set 142 Shipment.

The species under annual examination have been focused to be supportive of analysis of the key parameters for quality control of personnel proficiency for PWR’s listed in “CY NISP-201 Chemistry Quality Assurance Program”, Revision 0, February 2019. Sites must complete full enrollments in order to receive blind samples for use in testing all applicable key species listed in that document. Sites which do not participate fully by receiving shipments in all four quarters annually should be aware that they will not receive blind samples which cover every key parameter. Please see the tables below for information on the configuration of the PWR/Q-Chem program going forward.

PWR/Q-Chem Quarterly Sample Description

First Quarter Second Quarter Third Quarter Fourth Quarter
Sample P.1 Sample P.1 Sample P.1 Sample P.1
Sample P.2 Sample M.1 Sample P.2 Sample M.1
Sample S.1 Sample S.1 Sample S.1 Sample S.1
Sample M.1 Sample S.2 Sample M.1 Sample S.2

PWR/Q-Chem Sample Composition

Sample P.1 Sample P.2 Sample S.1 Sample S.2 Sample M.1
Boron Boron Table 2 Table 2 Table 3
Lithium Lithium
Table 1 Table 1

Table 1: Primary Matrix Samples

Species Concentration Range
Borona 5 to 1745 ppm
Lithiuma 0.1 to 3.5 ppm
Fluoride 1 to 300 ppb
Chloride 1 to 300 ppb
Sulfate 1 to 300 ppb
Silica 10 to 1500 ppb
Nickel (NOP) 1 to 50 ppb
Nickel (Shutdown) 0.5 to 5.0 ppm
Zinc 1 to 50 ppb


Table 2: Secondary Matrix Samples

Species Concentration Range
Chloride 1 to 200 ppb
Sulfate 5 to 100 ppb
Silica 5 to 500 ppb
Sodium 1 to 100 ppb


Table 3: Metal Samples

Species Concentration Range Matrix
Copper (Soluble)
Iron (Soluble)
2 to 100 ppb
5 to 100 ppb
<0.1% Nitric Acid
Iron (Soluble) 0.010 to 1 mg/filter Ion Exchange Membraneb
Iron (Particulate)
Copper (Particulate)
0.020 to 2 mg/filter
0.040 to 2 mg/filter
  1. Provided each quarter.
  2. Sample also available as a solution in lieu of membrane if required.