Environmental radioactivity commercial services
Staff of the environmental radioactivity group have accrued over 30 years combined experience in the field of low level radioactivity, particularly in the areas of radiochemistry, high-resolution alpha and gamma spectrometry, radon and radon progeny measurements, and radiometric field surveys. This expertise can be accessed on a commercial basis.
- The following services are offered commercially by the Environmental Radioactivity group:
- high resolution alpha-particle spectrometry,
- gamma-ray spectrometry; (NaI and high resolution HPGe), and
- radiometric field surveys
For information on these services please contact:
Environmental Radioactivity Program
Environmental Research Institute of the Supervising Scientist (eriss)
phone: +61 (08) 8920 1142
fax: +61 (08) 8920 1185
post: eriss, GPO Box 461 Darwin NT 0801 Australia
The high sensitivity and wide range of suitable sample types make alpha-particle spectrometry a powerful technique for the determination and investigation of low-level activities in environmental samples.
Activity concentration determination of numerous radionuclides is possible. Chemical isolation of specific radionuclides is achieved by employing selective precipitation reactions, liquid-liquid extraction techniques and ion exchange resins. High-resolution, low background alpha spectrometry using silicon detectors connected to multichannel analysers allows measurement of specific isotopes in prepared samples, to very low detection limits. Commonly measured radionuclides include:
- 238U and 234U,
- 232Th 230Th and 228Th,
- 228Ra and 226Ra
However, this list is not exhaustive.
The laboratory is equipped with a number of high resolution, low background, high purity germanium (HPGe) detectors. Routine analyses include 40K and uranium and thorium series radionuclides. The high resolution of these instruments negates the need for lengthy chemical separation procedures.
Sample analysis using sodium iodide (NaI) detectors is also available. The relatively high counting efficiencies and low running cost of these detectors can be advantageous in some circumstances, for example for the screening of large numbers of samples.
Using portable equipment (e.g., GM-tubes, NaI detectors, contamination meters) and/or by taking small selected samples for laboratory analysis, we can perform radiometric field surveys. Such surveys are invaluable for the ground truthing of aerial radiometric surveys, mapping of radioactivity over small areas and determinations of in situ radon exhalation rates. Field measurements of atmospheric radon and radon progeny concentrations can also be performed and other types of field surveys may be possible.