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A Purely Poisson-based Approach to Estimating Audible Scan Survey Sensitivities

Justus, Alan L.1

doi: 10.1097/HP.0000000000000943

Several attempts have been made over the years to estimate the sensitivity of audible scan surveys. Some estimates involved certain factors of the background count rate, while others involved calculations utilizing parameters pulled from the normal (Gaussian) distribution, regardless of background count rate. This paper discusses the results of a purely Poisson-based calculational method for the determination of appropriate decision levels and affiliated detection limits associated with health physics audible scan surveys. Comparisons are made to the other approaches and to empirical tests, where available. Although agreement with previous estimates can be had over limited ranges of background count rate, order-of-magnitude differences are possible outside of those ranges. The previous estimates are generally conservative at the higher count rates but quite nonconservative at the lowest count rates. Several real-life operational examples are provided that illustrate the approach.

1MS J573, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, NM 87545.

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

For correspondence contact the author at the above address, or email at

(Manuscript accepted 30 June 2018)

© 2019 by the Health Physics Society