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Real Time in Situ Gamma Radiation Measurements of the Plume Evolution from the Full-Scale Radiological Dispersal Device Field Trials

Korpach, Ed; Berg, Rodney; Erhardt, Lorne; Lebel, Luke; Liu, Chuanlei

doi: 10.1097/HP.0000000000000497

During the Full-Scale Radiological Dispersal Device Field Trials carried out in Suffield in 2012, several suites of detection and sampling equipment were used to measure and characterize the explosive dispersal of the short half-life radioactive tracer Lanthanum-140 (140La). The equipment deployed included networks of in situ real-time radiation monitoring detectors providing measurements of different sensitivities and characteristics. A dense array of lower sensitivity detectors was established near field, ranging from 10 to 450 m from the detonation location. A sparser array of more sensitive detectors was established in the far field (150 m to 3.5 km from the detonation location). Each was used to collect and report the dose rate data from the radioactive plume passage with a sample time resolution of 1 s. The two systems went through independent calibrations and were compared and shown to be consistent with each other. The in situ gamma radiation measurements have allowed the movement and evolution of the plume to be described and to identify deposition rates and non-uniformities in the temporal shape of the plume. This knowledge could be applied for emergency planning guidance for the case of release of radioactive material by a radiological dispersive device.

*Health Canada, Radiation Protection Bureau, Ottawa, ON, Canada; †Defence Research and Development Canada, Ottawa Research Centre, Ottawa ON, Canada; ‡Canadian Nuclear Laboratories, Chalk River, ON, Canada; §Callan Technologies Limited, Ottawa, ON, Canada.

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

For correspondence contact: Ed Korpach, Health Canada Radiation Protection Bureau, 775 Brookfield Road, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1A 1C1, or email at

(Manuscript accepted 4 January 2016)

© 2016 by the Health Physics Society