This paper introduces a method to determine the volume activity concentration of alpha and/or beta artificial radionuclides in the environment and radon/thoron progeny background-compensation based on a Si surface-barrier detector. By measuring the alpha peak counts of 218Po and 214Po in two time intervals, the activity concentration of 218Po, 214Pb and 214Bi aerosol particles were determined; meanwhile, the total beta count of 214Pb and 214Bi aerosols was also calculated from their decay scheme. With the average equilibrium factor of thoron progeny in general environment, the alpha and beta counts of thoron progeny were approximately evaluated by 212Po alpha peak counts. The alpha count of transuranic aerosols was determined by subtracting the trail counts of radon/thoron progeny alpha peaks. The total count of beta artificial radionuclides was determined by subtracting the beta counts of radon/thoron progeny aerosol particles. In our preliminary experiments, if the radon progeny concentration is less than 15 Bq m-3, the lower limit of detection of transuranics concentration is less than 0.1 Bq m-3. Even if the radon progeny concentration is as high as 75 Bq m-3, the lower limit of detection of total beta activity concentration of artificial nuclides aerosols is less than I Bq m-3.
(C)1997Health Physics Society