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Health Phys. 1988 May;54(5):503-15.

Continuous monitoring for airborne alpha emitters in a dusty environment.

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Inhalation Toxicology Research Institute, Lovelace Biomedical and Environmental Research Institute, Albuquerque, NM.


Disposal of radioactive wastes in underground facilities requires continuous monitoring for airborne radioactive materials, both on the surface and underground. In addition to a natural background of nonradioactive and radioactive aerosols, there may be a sizeable dust contribution from ongoing work such as mining and vehicular traffic. In the monitoring of alpha-emitting radionuclides, these aerosols may lead to self-absorption in the source and a deterioration of the energy spectrum of the detected alpha particles. In this paper, the influence of a realistic background aerosol on the performance of an alpha monitoring system is evaluated theoretically. It is shown that depositing alpha emitters and background aerosol on a surface for counting leads rapidly to a considerable loss of counts, a deterioration of the alpha spectra, an eventual saturation of the count rates, and interference from the natural background of Rn daughters.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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