The Idaho Department of Environmental Quality INL Oversight Program (DEQ-INL) operates an environmental gamma radiation detection network consisting of a series of high-pressure ion chambers to provide real-time ambient radiation measurements and a series of passive environmental electret ion chambers to increase coverage area and measure cumulative dose over a calendar quarter. DEQ-INL has identified a consistent over-response of approximately 40% by the electret ion chambers with respect to co-located high-pressure ion chambers since 1998. DEQ-INL conducted a series of three investigations to quantify this over-response. The over-response is likely attributable to a number of factors, including inherent voltage loss by the electret material not due to ionization within the chamber. One aspect of the investigation verified the manufacturer's calibration factor used to convert decrease in voltage to exposure. Additional investigations were performed that identified an average electret voltage loss of 0.2 V d−1. When this voltage correction was applied to historical environmental data, electret ion chamber response was within 10% of the co-located high-pressure ion chamber response.
* Idaho Department of Environmental Quality, INL Oversight Program, 900 N. Skyline Drive, Suite C, Idaho Falls, ID 83402; † Bechtel Bettis, Inc., Naval Reactors Facility, PO Box 2068, Idaho Falls, ID 83403.
For correspondence contact: D. F. Jones, Idaho Department of Environmental Quality, INL Oversight Program, 900 N. Skyline Drive, Suite C, Idaho Falls, ID 83402, or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Manuscript accepted 5 November 2007)