A simple method for determining the lower limit of detection (LLD) for personnel dosimetry systems is described. The method relies on the definition of a critical level and a detection level. The critical level is the signal level above which a result has a small probability of being due to a fluctuation of the background. All results below the critical level should not be reported as an indication of a positive result. The detection level is the net signal level (i.e., dose received) above which there is a high confidence that a true reading will be detected and reported as a qualitatively positive result. The detection level may be identified as the LLD. A simple formula is derived to allow the calculation of the LLD under various conditions. This type of formula is being used by the Department of Energy Laboratory Accreditation Program (DOELAP) for personnel dosimetry. Participants in either the National Voluntary Laboratory Accreditation Program (NVLAP) for personnel dosimetry or DOELAP can use performance test results along with a measurement of background levels to estimate the LLDs for their dosimetry system. As long as they maintain their dosimetry system such that the LLDs are less than half the lower limit of the NVLAP ar DOELAP test exposure ranges, dosimetry laboratories can avoid testing failures due to poor performance at very low exposures.
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