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The International Collaborative Study involved a wide range of sample materials and ages and, on completion, assessed each stage independently (Scott et al 1989; Aitchison et al 1990). We combine here the three stages of the study and provide an overview of the uncertainties in the dating procedure as a whole and in its component processes. Three key optimal performance indices, related to internal and external precision and to bias, have been defined to allow quantitative assessment of Internal Consistency and External Consistency (Aitchison et al 1990). We believe that these measures provide quantitative descriptions of a laboratory's reproducibility, accuracy and precision.
For the internal consistency, we have defined the Internal Error Multiplier of the quoted error and, for the external consistency of any laboratory relative to an appropriate baseline, we have defined two indices, the Systematic Bias and External Error Multiplier of the quoted error. We have evaluated the three indices over the three stages and have assessed the relative performances of gas counting, accelerator and liquid scintillation laboratories. The quoted errors describe adequately the variability in duplicate results, but there is evidence of systematic biases and underestimation of interlaboratory variability. We have considered the contribution of pretreatment, synthesis counting to the overall variability for each laboratory type. We found that, for liquid scintillation (LS) and gas counting (GC) laboratories, ca 66% of the total variation is due to counting and sample synthesis whereas, for accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) laboratories, the major sources of variability are the sampling and pretreatment processes.
Sample materials issued to participants in the interlaboratory calibration exercise are defined and in context of their intended interpretational significance. Preparation of the benzene and calcium carbonate standards as issued for stage 1 is described in detail; likewise, the source and pretreatment/extraction of the environmental samples dispatched for stages 2 and 3.
We report in this paper on a preliminary analysis of Stages 1 and 2 of the International Collaborative program. We have chosen to concentrate on the internal and external consistencies of the participating laboratories. The two stages so far completed have dealt only with the processes of sample synthesis and counting, and results indicate that the major component of variability lies in the counting process. Outlying laboratories are observed at each stage. A third stage is in progress which will allow an assessment of any further variability due to sample pretreatment. With the inclusion of duplicate samples in each stage, we are able to report that laboratories are remarkably consistent internally, ie, the differences between duplicates generally agree with the laboratory's claimed precision.
A proposal for an international collaborative study to investigate and assess the existence of inter-laboratory variability is discussed. The proposed study would be conducted over two years and would investigate each stage of the dating process in turn.
Many interlaboratory studies have been made in the 14C community at irregular intervals over the past ten years. At times, the results from these studies have been contentious, mostly because of the lack of consistency in their findings. The importance of regular exercises has become particularly acute due to the large number of operating laboratories and the diversity of their methodologies. Hence, we briefly review the studies that have been made in the 1980s, focusing on those in which our laboratories participated. These include the 14C Interlaboratory Comparison in the UK (Otlet et al 1980), the International Comparison (ISG 1982, 1983) and the first two parts of the current International Collaborative Program (Scott et al 1989a, b). The development of each study, its findings and shortcomings, are highlighted in order to assess the concordance of the conclusions.
This report on the third and final stage of the International Collaborative Program concentrates on the analysis of internal and external variability of 14C dates obtained from samples involved in the full 14C dating process. Thirty-eight laboratories took part in this stage with most producing 8 14C dates from 3 sets of duplicate material (eg, wood, shell and peat) and 2 single samples of wood of known ages 190 yr BP apart. From the 3 sets of duplicates for each laboratory, the internal precision of most laboratories was adequate; 6 labs grossly underestimated their internal reproducibility. From the 14C determinations from the 5 distinct samples for each laboratory, we discovered significant systematic biases, often greater than 100 years, in 15 laboratories and even accounting for bias, 12 laboratories had significantly greater external variability than explained by their quoted errors. In total, 23 out of the 38 laboratories in this stage of the study, FAILED to meet these 3 basic criteria for an adequate performance in the production of 14C dates.
The success of any intercomparison exercise depends largely on participation and cooperation of a sufficient number of laboratories and the selection of a suitable suite of samples. Unless the latter is satisfactorily devised, the former cannot be guaranteed. The hierarchical nature of this study has necessarily resulted in a far more comprehensive set of sample types than has previously been employed. The exercise was structured to satisfy the following criteria: 1) to enable the participating laboratories to assess the experimental precision and accuracy of the component stages of the dating process; 2) samples should be typical of those routinely dated by the laboratories. This takes on a particular significance in Stage 1 where they should resemble as closely as possible the counting medium; 3) an objective statistical analysis of the results at each component stage of the study.
Following recommendations of the Glasgow International Workshop on Intercomparison of Radiocarbon Laboratories (Scott, Long & Kra 1990), a further international intercomparison is planned. This new intercomparison is complementary to the existing IAEA intercalibration, and will make use of natural samples whose ages will be unknown to the participants. The study has been funded by the UK Research Councils (SERC and NERC), and samples will be free to all participants. We anticipate that this intercomparison will be ongoing, with distribution of samples in 1992, and presentation of the results at a later meeting. We present here details of the samples available and the time scale of the study. Briefly, we envisage that the new study will be more focused than the ICS (Scott et al. 1986), and will include natural samples in both pretreated and unpretreated forms.
The major findings of the Intercomparison Study (ICS) have already been published (Scott, Long & Kra 1990), but a number of questions remain unresolved. We address here some issues of user and technical relevance, which include: 1) further investigation of the quoted errors and their relation to the perceived precision and accuracy, which is of interest to users of 14C dates; 2) the analysis of the known-age wood samples provided in Stages 2 and 3 of the ICS; 3) an investigation of the corresponding δ13C data base, of more technical relevance to laboratories.
Validation-study data were analysed to investigate retention interval (RI) and prompt effects on the accuracy of fourth-grade children’s reports of school-breakfast and school-lunch (in 24-h recalls), and the accuracy of school-breakfast reports by breakfast location (classroom; cafeteria). Randomly selected fourth-grade children at ten schools in four districts were observed eating school-provided breakfast and lunch, and were interviewed under one of eight conditions created by crossing two RIs (‘short’ – prior-24-hour recall obtained in the afternoon and ‘long’ – previous-day recall obtained in the morning) with four prompts (‘forward’ – distant to recent, ‘meal name’ – breakfast, etc., ‘open’ – no instructions, and ‘reverse’ – recent to distant). Each condition had sixty children (half were girls). Of 480 children, 355 and 409 reported meals satisfying criteria for reports of school-breakfast and school-lunch, respectively. For breakfast and lunch separately, a conventional measure – report rate – and reporting-error-sensitive measures – correspondence rate and inflation ratio – were calculated for energy per meal-reporting child. Correspondence rate and inflation ratio – but not report rate – showed better accuracy for school-breakfast and school-lunch reports with the short RI than with the long RI; this pattern was not found for some prompts for each sex. Correspondence rate and inflation ratio showed better school-breakfast report accuracy for the classroom than for cafeteria location for each prompt, but report rate showed the opposite. For each RI, correspondence rate and inflation ratio showed better accuracy for lunch than for breakfast, but report rate showed the opposite. When choosing RI and prompts for recalls, researchers and practitioners should select a short RI to maximise accuracy. Recommendations for prompt selections are less clear. As report rates distort validation-study accuracy conclusions, reporting-error-sensitive measures are recommended.
We used the winter of 2009–2010, which had minimal influenza circulation due to the earlier 2009 influenza A(H1N1) pandemic, to test the accuracy of ecological trend methods used to estimate influenza-related deaths and hospitalizations. We aggregated weekly counts of person-time, all-cause deaths, and hospitalizations for pneumonia/influenza and respiratory/circulatory conditions from seven healthcare systems. We predicted the incidence of the outcomes during the winter of 2009–2010 using three different methods: a cyclic (Serfling) regression model, a cyclic regression model with viral circulation data (virological regression), and an autoregressive, integrated moving average model with viral circulation data (ARIMAX). We compared predicted non-influenza incidence with actual winter incidence. All three models generally displayed high accuracy, with prediction errors for death ranging from −5% to −2%. For hospitalizations, errors ranged from −10% to −2% for pneumonia/influenza and from −3% to 0% for respiratory/circulatory. The Serfling and virological models consistently outperformed the ARIMAX model. The three methods tested could predict incidence of non-influenza deaths and hospitalizations during a winter with negligible influenza circulation. However, meaningful mis-estimation of the burden of influenza can still result with outcomes for which the contribution of influenza is low, such as all-cause mortality.
A range of potential concepts for the geological disposal of high level wastes and spent fuel are being studied and considered in the UK. These include concepts that use bentonite as a buffer material around the waste containers. The bentonite will be required to fulfil certain safety functions, the most important being (1) to protect the waste containers from detrimental thermal, hydraulic, mechanical and chemical processes; and (2) to retard the release of radionuclides from any waste container that fails. The bentonite should have a low permeability and a high sorption capacity.
These safety functions could be challenged by certain features, events and processes (FEPs) that may occur during the evolution of the disposal system. A consideration of how these FEPs may affect the safety functions can be used to identify and to prioritize the important areas for research on bentonite. We identify these important areas (which include hydration of compacted bentonite, illitization and erosion of bentonite), and describe how they are being investigated in current international research on bentonite.
The Äspö EBS Task Force is a collaborative international project designed to carry out research on bentonite. In 2011, the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority Radioactive Waste Management Directorate joined the EBS Task Force partly to benefit from its collective experience. The work of the EBS Task Force is split into two research subareas: (1) the THM subarea, which includes tasks to understand homogenization of bentonite as it resaturates, to investigate the hydraulic interaction between bentonite and fractured rock, and to model in situ experiments; and (2) the THC subarea, which includes tasks to investigate the issue of understanding transport through bentonite, and to model in situ experiments. In particular, the bentonite rock interaction experiment is a large-scale in situ experiment concerned with understanding groundwater exchange across bentonite rock interfaces, with the objective of establishing better understanding of bentonite wetting. In this paper, we describe our work to model the spatial and temporal resaturation of bentonite buffer in a fractured host rock.
A front on the Great Plateau separates tidally mixed water of the North Channel from quieter less saline surface layers of the Outer Firth. These water bodies exchange about 1·6 × 104m3 s−1, leading to a residence time of two months in the Outer Firth surface layers. The position of the front is determined by the balance of mixing and buoyancy supply. The wind modulates weak tidal currents in the Outer Firth by driving surface currents and setting up deeper compensation flows. Deep water in the Arran Deep and Kilbrannan Sound is irregularly renewed by inflow of dense water over the Eastern Plateau from autumn to spring of about 1 × 104m3 s−1 but stagnates in summer below a thermocline. A minor part of this renewal comes over the Davaar sill into Kilbrannan Sound.
Bottom water of the fjordic sea-lochs is isolated in summer and renewed during the winter. The renewals occur by density currents flowing in from the sills and these produce a characterising grading of the bottom sediments from coarse to fine away from the sills.
Data held within administration records of occupational pension schemes yield a rich source of information on mortality rates and the statistical predictors (covariates) of longevity. In this paper we provide, for the first time, a multivariable analysis of post-retirement mortality using the detailed information held within occupational pension scheme records.
Using the extensive dataset of over one million living pensioners and dependants and 530,000 historic deaths collected by Club Vita, we investigate the importance of factors including gender, affluence and lifestyle on the observed period life expectancy of individuals. We describe one approach to constructing a multivariable model for pensioner baseline mortality, showing how such factors explain a variation in observed period life expectancy in excess of ten years. The relative importance of each factor on mortality is analysed and we describe the interactions between these factors and age, answering questions such as whether the impact of a healthy lifestyle or affluence attenuates with age. Further, we highlight the importance of the choice of affluence measure in analysing mortality, and show that the salary at retirement is a better predictor of longevity than the pension amount for male pensioners.
The results of this paper are directly relevant to any pensions actuary advising on an appropriate baseline assumption (i.e. current mortality rates) for use with occupational pension schemes.
We present preliminary results aimed at investigating the effects of variation in temperature on the epitaxial growth of thin films of single elements and multilayers.
In this paper we present results of a cross-sectional electron microscopy study of films in which good epitaxy has been established and then the deposition temperature has been significantly reduced (for example to 30°C from 120°C). The main objective was to study the nature of the low temperature limit of layer by layer epitaxy and the degree of roughening as a function of the deposition conditions with an emphasis on the kinetics of the process.
We investigated the effect of social inequalities on the uptake of human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination, combining data from a feasibility study conducted in 2007–2008 in 2817 secondary schoolgirls in two UK primary-care trusts, with census and child health records. Uptake was significantly lower in more deprived areas (P<0·001) and in ethnic minority girls (P=0·013). The relatively small proportion of parents who actively refused vaccination by returning a negative consent form were more likely to come from more advantaged areas (P<0·001). Non-responding parents were from more deprived (P<0·001) and ethnic minority (P=0·001) backgrounds. Girls who did not receive HPV vaccination were less likely to have received all their childhood immunizations particularly measles, mumps and rubella (MMR). Different approaches may be needed to maximize HPV vaccine uptake in engaged and non-responding parents, including ethnic-specific approaches for non-responders.
Adequate dietary intake during the growth period is critical for bone mineral accretion. In 1997, an adequate intake (AI) of 1300 mg/d Ca was set for North American adolescents aged 9–18 years based on best available data. We determined bone Ca accrual values from age 9 to 18 years taking into account sex and maturity. Furthermore, we used the accrual data to estimate adolescents' Ca requirements. Total body bone mineral content (TBBMC) of eighty-five boys and sixty-seven girls participating in the Saskatchewan Paediatric Bone Mineral Accrual Study were used to determine annual TBBMC accumulation over the pubertal growth period. Using a similar factorial approach as the AI, we estimated Ca requirements of adolescent boys and girls for two age groups: 9–13 and 14–18 years. Between 9 and 18 years, boys accrued 198·8 (sd 74·5) g bone mineral content (BMC) per year, equivalent to 175·4 (sd 65·7) mg Ca per d with the maximum BMC accrual of 335·9 g from age 13 to 14 years. Girls had 138·1 (sd 64·2) g BMC per year, equalling121·8 (sd 56·6) mg Ca per d with the maximum annual BMC accrual of 266·0 g from age 12 to 13 years. Differences were observed between both sex and age groups with respect to Ca needs: boys and girls aged 9–13 years would require 1000–1100 mg/d Ca, and from age 14 to 18 years, the mean Ca requirements would be relatively stable at 1000 mg/d for girls but would rise to 1200 mg/d for boys.