Airborne radioactive contamination monitoring

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Current technologies for the detection of airborne radioactive contamination do not provide real-time capability. Most of these techniques are based on the capture of particulate matter in air onto filters which are then processed in the laboratory; thus, the turnaround time for detection of contamination can be many days. To address this shortcoming, an effort is underway to adapt LRAD (Long-Range-Alpha-Detection) technology for real-time monitoring of airborne releases of alpa-emitting radionuclides. Alpha decays in air create ionization that can be subsequently collected on electrodes, producing a current that is proportional to the amount of radioactive material present. Using external fans ... continued below

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6 p.

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Whitley, C. R.; Adams, J. R.; Bounds, J. A. & MacArthur, D. W. March 1996.

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Description

Current technologies for the detection of airborne radioactive contamination do not provide real-time capability. Most of these techniques are based on the capture of particulate matter in air onto filters which are then processed in the laboratory; thus, the turnaround time for detection of contamination can be many days. To address this shortcoming, an effort is underway to adapt LRAD (Long-Range-Alpha-Detection) technology for real-time monitoring of airborne releases of alpa-emitting radionuclides. Alpha decays in air create ionization that can be subsequently collected on electrodes, producing a current that is proportional to the amount of radioactive material present. Using external fans on a pipe containing LRAD detectors, controlled samples of ambient air can be continuously tested for the presence of radioactive contamination. Current prototypes include a two-chamber model. Sampled air is drawn through a particulate filter and then through the first chamber, which uses an electrostatic filter at its entrance to remove ambient ionization. At its exit, ionization that occurred due to the presence of radon is collected and recorded. The air then passes through a length of pipe to allow some decay of short-lived radon species. A second chamber identical to the first monitors the remaining activity. Further development is necessary on air samples without the use of particulate filtering, both to distinguish ionization that can pass through the initial electrostatic filter on otherwise inert particulate matter from that produced through the decay of radioactive material and to separate both of these from the radon contribution. The end product could provide a sensitive, cost-effective, real-time method of determining the presence of airborne radioactive contamination.

Physical Description

6 p.

Notes

INIS; OSTI as DE96006966

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  • 1996 New Mexico conference on the environment, Albuquerque, NM (United States), 12-14 Mar 1996

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  • Other: DE96006966
  • Report No.: LA-UR--96-578
  • Report No.: CONF-9603129--2
  • Grant Number: W-7405-ENG-36
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 207035
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc670767

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  • March 1996

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  • June 29, 2015, 9:42 p.m.

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  • Feb. 29, 2016, 8:22 p.m.

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Whitley, C. R.; Adams, J. R.; Bounds, J. A. & MacArthur, D. W. Airborne radioactive contamination monitoring, article, March 1996; New Mexico. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc670767/: accessed August 18, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.