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  • Author or Editor: S. Chinnaesakki x
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Abstract  

The paper presents the results of high resolution gamma-spectrometric measurements of 137Cs, 40K, 232Th and 238U in Indian soils collected from 24 different places from normal natural radiation background areas. The depth profile of 137Cs was studied at sampling sites. The paper also presents 137Cs levels in top soil at Mumbai during 1986 to 2000. The results in Mumbai soil indicate clearly the accumulation from fallout only on the top soil and seasonal peaking during the beginning of the monsoon season.

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Abstract  

Feasibility of using fixed bed column of conventional ion exchangers/sorbent and chemical precipitation based processes have been examined for the effective removal of the very low levels of 106Ru activity from NH4NO3 effluent generated during wet processing of rejected sintered depleted uranium fuel pellets. Based on the results, a simple process involving precipitation of cobalt sulphide along with ferric hydroxide was selected and further optimization of process variables was carried out. The optimized process has been found to be highly efficient in reducing 106Ru activity down to extremely low levels.

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Comprehensive quality assurance/quality control procedure is very much necessary to obtain accurate and precise analytical measurement result. This paper discusses the quality control aspects of the High-Purity Germanium (HPGe) based gamma spectrometry system, which has been used for the measurement of low-level radioactivity in environmental samples. The gamma spectrometry system consisting of coaxial n-type HPGe detector having 50% relative efficiency with respect to 7.62 cm x 7.62 cm NaI (Tl), Nuclear Instrumentation Module (NIM) based pulse processing electronic accessories and 8 k MCA. To reduce the background contribution, 7.5 cm thick lead has been placed surrounding the detector. The minimum detectable activities (MDA) with 95% confidence level (for 300 g soil sample and 100,000 s counting time) for important radionuclides such as 238U, 226Ra, 232Th, 40K, and 137Cs are 10.4, 4.3, 4.1, 16.9 and 0.1 Bq kg−1, respectively. The Quality control (X bar R) charts were plotted using 137Cs and 40K background counts observed periodically, which showed that the fluctuation is well within the confidence limit and confirms the stability of the system. The laboratory has been participating in the proficiency tests (PTs) of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). In recently concluded PTs, the samples include soil, spiked standard solution, spinach, phosphogypsum and spiked air filter were analysed for the natural, fission and activation products radionuclides. The performance evaluation of the IAEA PTs showed that the laboratory results were in good agreement with the target value, which confirms the reliability and traceability of the gamma spectrometric measurement result of the laboratory.

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Abstract  

This paper discusses the measurement of naturally occurring radioactivity materials (NORM) in beach sand minerals using high resolution gamma spectrometry. In India, the beach sand minerals of economic interest from coastal Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Orissa are enriched with NORM due to the occurrence of monazite deposits and heavy minerals such as zircon, ilmenite, magnetite, garnet, rutile etc. Since many of these ores are rich in 232Th and other radio elements, certification of radioactivity levels has become mandatory in recent years. The average activity concentrations of 226Ra in zircon, rutile and garnet were 3,531, 1,134 and 17 Bq kg−1, respectively. The average activity concentration of 232Th observed in zircon, rutile and garnet were 618, 454 and 64 Bq kg−1, respectively. Concentration of 226Ra, 232Th, and 40K in ilmenite ore ranged from 17.6–444 Bq kg−1, 80.4–1971 Bq kg−1 and ≤5.5–25.0 Bq kg−1, respectively.

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Abstract  

This paper presents the results of measurement of natural and fallout radioactivity in soil samples of Chamba and Dharamshala areas in Himachal Pradesh, India. Spatial distribution of 238U, 226Ra, 232Th, 40K, 137Cs was determined using High resolution gamma-ray spectrometry. The mean activity concentration in Chamba region due to 238U, 232Th, 40K and 137Cs was 32.3, 58.4, 588.3, and 10.9 Bq kg−1, respectively, whereas in Dharamshala it was 35.7, 61.3, 594.9, 10.0 Bq kg−1, respectively. Absorbed gamma dose rate (D) in air was calculated using appropriate dose conversion factors, which was varying from 45 to 103 nGy h−1. To control the radiation exposure due to natural radioactivity in soil, if it is used as building materials, radium equivalent activity (Raeq) and activity index were also evaluated. Radium equivalent activity calculated for the soil ranged from 95.5 to 234.2 Bq kg−1 with average of 171.0 Bq kg−1.The calculated Activity concentration index was ranged from 0.34 to 0.85 with an average value of 0.64. The natural and fallout radioactivity in soil of this region is comparable with Indian average and other parts of the world. The percentage contribution of 238U, 232Th and 40K and 137Cs to the average external gamma dose rate was 22, 46, 32, 2%, respectively. This shows that the dose contribution due to fallout radioactivity is negligible as compared to the natural radioactivity.

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Abstract  

This study presents the high purity germanium (HPGe) gamma spectrometric measurement of natural radioactivity mainly due to 226Ra, 232Th and 40K in soil samples collected in Ferozepur and Faridkot district of Punjab, India. 226Ra activity varied from 28.6 to 51.1 Bq kg−1 with the mean of 39.7 Bq kg−1. The range and mean activity of 232Th were 42.9–73.2 and 58.2 Bq kg−1, respectively. 40K activity was in the range of 470.9–754.9 Bq kg−1 with the mean of 595.2 Bq kg−1. The air kerma rate (AKR) at 1 m height from the ground was also measured using gamma survey meter in all the sampling locations, which was ranging from 92.1 to 122.8 nGy h−1 with the mean of 110.6 nGy h−1. The radiological parameters such as Raeq and activity index of the soil samples were also evaluated, which are the tools to assess the external radiation hazard due to building materials. The mean and range of the Raeq values were 168.7 and 132.9–210.4 Bq kg−1, respectively, whereas the activity index varied from 0.5 to 0.8 with the mean value of 0.62. These indices show that the indoor external dose due to natural radioactivity in the soil used for the construction will not exceed the dose criteria. The AKR was also evaluated from soil activity concentration and altitude correction of cosmic radiation contribution. The statistical tests such as Pearson correlation, spearman rank correlation, box and whisker plot, the Wilcoxon/Mann–Whitney test and chi-square test, were used to compare the measured AKR with evaluated AKR, which indicates good correlation.

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