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Abstract  

The Savannah River Site (SRS) Burial Ground had a container labeled as Box 33 for which they had no reliable solid waste stream designation. The container consisted of an outer box of dimensions 48″ × 46″×66″ and an inner box that contained high density and high radiation dose material. From the outer box Radiation Control measured an extremity dose rate of 22 mrem/h. With the lid removed from the outer box, the maximum dose rate measured from the inner box was 100 mrem/h extremity and 80 mrem/h whole body. From the outer box the material was sufficiently high in density that the Solid Waste Management operators were unable to obtain a Co-60 radiograph of the contents. Solid Waste Management requested that the Analytical Development Section of Savannah River National Laboratory perform a γ-ray assay of the item to evaluate the radioactive content and possibly to designate a solid waste stream. This paper contains the results of three models used to analyze the measured γ-ray data acquired in an unusual configuration.

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Abstract  

Utilizing a portable spectroscopy system, a quantitative method for analysis of samples containing a mixture of fission and activation products in nonstandard geometries was developed. This method was not developed to replace other methods such as Monte Carlo or Discrete Ordinates but rather to offer an alternative rapid solution. The method can be used with various sample and shielding configurations where analysis on a laboratory based gamma-spectroscopy system is impractical. The portalle gamma-spectroscopy method involves calibration of the detector and modeling of the sample and shielding to identify and quantify the radionuclides present in the sample. The method utilizes the intrinsic efficiency of the detector and the unattenuated gamma fluence rate at the detector surface per unit activity from the sample to calculate the nuclide activity and Minimum Detectable Activity (MDA). For a complex geometry, a computer code written for shielding applications (MICROSHIELD) is utilized to determine the unattenuated gamma fluence rate per unit activity at the detector surface. Lastly, the method is only applicable to nuclides which emit gamma-rays and cannot be used for pure beta or alpha emitters. In addition, if sample self absorption and shielding is significant, the attenuation will result in high MDA's for nuclides which solely emit low energy gamma-rays. The following presents the analysis technique and presents verification results using actual experimental data, rather than comparisons to other approximations such as Monte Carlo techniques, to demonstrate the accuracy of the method given a known geometry and source term.

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