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Nuclear Safeguards Education Portal


Photo related to the term with caption below

Sampling probes, which are like giant syringes, take samples from waste tanks at the Hanford site in Washington.

(Source: DOE photo)

 A part or quantity selected from a larger group of items or quantity of material for inspection or analysis. The term has two meanings:

  • In statistical sampling, a sample is a subset of items selected by some deliberate process from a defined group (population) of items and evaluated to gain information about the whole group (population).
  • In material sampling for analysis, a sample is a small quantity of material taken from one item or container for measurement. A composite sample is obtained by taking several quantities from one or more containers, mixing them together and then selecting one or more aliquots for measurement.