Results of Self-Absorption Study on the Versapor 3000 Filters for Radioactive Particulate Air Sampling
Description: Since the mid-1980s the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) has used a value of 0.85 as a correction factor for the self absorption of activity of particulate radioactive air samples. More recently, an effort was made to evaluate the current particulate radioactive air sample filters (Versapor® 3000) used at PNNL for self absorption effects. There were two methods used in the study, 1) to compare the radioactivity concentration by direct gas-flow proportional counting of the filter to the results obtained after acid digestion of the filter and counting again by gas-flow proportional detection and 2) to evaluate sample filters by high resolution visual/infrared microscopy to determine the depth of material loading on or in the filter fiber material. Sixty samples were selected from the archive for acid digestion in the first method and about 30 samples were selected for high resolution visual/infrared microscopy. Mass loading effects were also considered. From the sample filter analysis, large error is associated with the average self absorption factor, however, when the data is compared directly one-to-one, statistically, there appears to be good correlation between the two analytical methods. The mass loading of filters evaluated was <0.2 mg cm-2 and was also compared against other published results. The microscopy analysis shows the sample material remains on the top of the filter paper and does not imbed into the filter media. Results of the microscopy evaluation lead to the conclusion that there is not a mechanism for significant self absorption. The overall conclusion is that self-absorption is not a significant factor in the analysis of filters used at PNNL for radioactive air stack sampling of radionuclide particulates and that an applied correction factor is conservative in determining overall sample activity. A new self absorption factor of 1.0 is recommended.
Date: August 22, 2008
Creator: Barnett, J. M.
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