Carbon-14 Radiocarbon alert for Moths

Important Notice Moth Class yachts with carbon wing tubes.

The Australian National Centre for Ionising Radiation has expressed concern at the levels of Ionising Radiation detected in recently manufactured carbon tubing.

Due to the worldwide carbon fibre shortage some manufacturers have modified their production process in order to increase output. Part of the original manufacturing process involved stripping Carbon-14 or Radiocarbon from the raw carbon fibre.

Without going into too much detail, Carbon-14 is a naturally occurring Radio Isotope and in small amounts poses no real risk. The stripping process was time consuming and as radiation levels in raw carbon fibre were low, it was thought safe to skip this process.

However when the ‘unstripped’ carbon fibre is used to make spiral-wound type tubing, it has been discovered that levels of ionising radiation increase dramatically. Levels of up to 60 REM have been detected in some manufacturer’s 60-100mm diameter tubes.

Due to the fact that the level of ionizing radiation is quartered as the distance from the source is doubled, The Australian National Centre for Ionising Radiation’s (ANCIR) main concern for Moth sailors is the close proximity and amount of time spent sitting on side wing bars.

IMCA Australia are in the process of arranging for ANCIR to conduct a group radiation survey of members boats. As a precautionary measure, ANCIR have suggested wrapping side wing bars in Aluminum Foil to provide shielding from the radiation emitted from these carbon tubes.

We will pass on more details as they come to light.