Authors:A. Schilk, K. Abel, D. Brown, R. Thompson, M. Knopf, and C. Hubbard
A novel scintillating-fiber sensor for detecting high-energy beta particles has been designed and built at the Pacific Northwest Laboratory to characterize238U and90Sr in surface soils. High-energy betas generate unique signals as they pass through multiple layers of scintillating fibers that make up the active region of the detector. Lower-energy beta particles, gamma rays, and cosmic-ray-generated particles comprise the majority of the background interferences. The resulting signals produced by these latter phenomena are effectively discriminated against due to the combination of the sensor's multi-layer configuration and its interlayer coincidence/anti-coincidence circuitry.
Authors:K. Abel, A. Schilk, D. Brown, M. Knopf, R. Thompson, and R. Perkins
A large area beta scintillation detector has been developed which is currently capable of determining Sr-90/Y-90 contamination in surficial soils. The detector system employs scintillating fiber optic arrays, with active dimensions approximately 15 cm wide by 100 cm long, both ends of which are coupled to multiple photomultiplier tubes (PMTs). Electronic processing includes coincidence requirements to optimize sensitivity and selectivity for the 2.28 MeV (maximum) beta particle from Y-90. Low energy beta particles and gamma rays are discriminated against using double ended and multi-layer coincidence requirements. The detector system is personal-computer-software controlled and data restored in a format compatible with standard database software for ease of final data reduction. Experimental calibration studies have shown a linear response for Sr-90/Y-90 soil concentrations from 12 to over 500 pCi/g and a discrimination factor of 50 to 1 versus Cs-137.
Authors:D. Robertson, A. Schilk, K. Abel, E. Lepel, C. Thomas, S. Pratt, E. Cooper, P. Hartwig, and R. Killey
In order to more accurately predict the rates and mechanisms of radionuclide migration from lowlevel waste disposal facilities via groundwater transport, ongoing studies are being conducted at field sites at Chalk River Laboratories to identify and characterize the chemical speciation of mobile, long-lived radionuclides migrating in groundwaters. Large-volume water sampling techniques are being utilized to separate and concentrate radionuclides into particulate, cationic, anionic, and nonionic chemical forms. Most radionuclides are migrating as soluble, anionic species which appear to be predominately organoradionuclide complexes. Laboratory studies utilizing anion exchange chromatography have separated several anionically complexed radionuclides, e.g.,60Co and106Ru, into a number of specific compounds or groups of compounds. Large-volume ultra-filtration experiments have shown that significant fractions of the radionuclides are being transported in these groundwaters in the form of macromolecules having molecular weights ranging from less than 3,000 to 100,000.