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Sill Claude W.
Health Physics: July 1995
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During retrieval and disposition of wastes containing transuranium elements, continuous monitoring of the air, water, and soil for alpha emitters was required to ensure that safety limits were not exceeded and that the waste itself was not disturbed unknowingly. Direct measurements by alpha spectrometry were particularly promising because of their potential speed, sensitivity, and their ability to identify transuranium radionuclides under field conditions. Soil samples or settled dusts were finely ground, suspended in 80% ethanol, sprayed onto circular stainless steel pans, and dried on a hotplate. Water samples were mounted directly by spraying. Air dusts were collected with a high-volume air sampler on 20by 25-cm membrane filters. The samples were then analyzed directly in a large pressurized gridded ionization chamber without further sample preparation. The lower limits of detection for 10-min counting times were 1.5 Bq g−1 (40 pCi g−1) for 100-mg soil samples, and 4 × 10−2 Bq m−3 (10−12 uCi mL−1) for a 10-min air sample taken at 0.4 m−3 min−1 (14 cubic feet per minute) and counted without waiting for decay of radon progeny.

©1995Health Physics Society