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Mobile Gamma Spectrometry Survey of the Scottish Enterprise Technology Park, East Kilbride, 17th-19th August 2009

By A.J. Cresswell, D.C.W. Sanderson, A. Weir and C. Mitchell

Abstract

<p>Environmental radioactivity arises from natural geological sources, the redistribution of natural activity through industrial processes, the nuclear industry including routine and accidental discharges into the environment, and various medical or industrial uses of radioisotopes. Mobile gamma spectrometry provides a powerful means of measuring the distribution of radioactivity in the environment. Data collected by such methods provide measures of environmental quality, references for public health assurance, means to assess environmental change, and other uses. Airborne Gamma Spectrometry (AGS) has been developed at SUERC for environmental purposes since 1988, and provides a capability for very rapid and cost effective surveys of large areas, and provides for visualisation and classification of enhanced features of radioactivity within the context of natural variations. Ground based approaches, with equipment mounted on vehicles or backpacks, provide more detailed spatial resolution for smaller areas at significantly reduced area coverage rates.</p>\ud \ud <p>A portable gamma spectrometry system has been developed at SUERC, consisting of a 3x3” NaI(Tl) detector with a digital spectrometer and GPS receiver using a netbook computer for\ud data acquisition. This system can be carried as a backpack and used to conduct surveys of environmental radioactivity in urban areas, where people spend their time.</p>\ud \ud <p>Detector backgrounds and stripping matrices have been measured. A survey of approximately 50,000 m2 of the Scottish Enterprise Technology Park (SETP) has been conducted with two detector systems. The SETP is on the site of the National Engineering Laboratory (NEL) established in East Kilbride in 1948, and acquired by Scottish Enterprise in 1994. In recent years there has been an ongoing programme of renovation on the site, including demolition of old buildings and new construction along with landscaping operations.</p>\ud \ud This report presents the results of initial detector characterisation and the survey of part of the SETP site. Detector stripping matrices were determined from measurements made on the 18th August 2009, with background measurements on Loch Lomond collected on the 28th. The site\ud survey was conducted between 17th and 19th August 2009, with over 4600 spectra with 10s integration time collected. Maps of the distribution of 137Cs, 40K, 214Bi, 208Tl and gamma dose rate were produced. The 137Cs activity clearly shows areas undisturbed since 1986, with fallout from the Chernobyl accident still present on the grass. The footprint of the demolished research reactor at SUERC is evident as a negative feature in the 137Cs map. The natural\ud series activities and gamma dose rate show the range of materials used for building and road construction, including one small area of Technologically Enhanced Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material (TENORM), and the local geology and soils. This demonstrates the capability of the SUERC portable gamma spectrometry system to collect high quality data of an area with a complex history, land use and range of buildings. Further application of the\ud technique to other urban areas, and the rest of the SETP site, would allow similar assessments of the radiation environments of a range of different locations

Topics: GE
Publisher: Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre
Year: 2010
OAI identifier: oai:eprints.gla.ac.uk:45779
Provided by: Enlighten

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Citations

  1. (2010). A Study of Environmental Radioactivity.
  2. (1994). An Aerial Gamma Ray Survey
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  4. (1994). Environmental Influences on Gamma Ray Spectrometry.

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