Radioactivity measurement services

In-situ measurements

In-situ gamma spectroscopy with portable instruments allows for a quick quantitative analysis of the mass concentrations (µg/g) and specific activity (Bq/kg) of the radionuclides present in different environments.

In particular, we perform surveys of areas at risk of contamination, fields and farmlands, mines, and stone quarries. We are able to identify, map and classify (in accordance with national and international regulations) natural and artificial radionuclides on the base of measurements performed by using inorganic scintillators, plastic scintillators, semiconductor detectors, gaseous ionization detectors and Geiger-Müller tubes.

Our services include:

  • inspection and survey planning;
  • identification and measurement through γ and β spectroscopy of artificial radionuclides (137Cs 134Cs, 131I, 60Co, 90Sr) in landfills by using portable plastic and inorganic scintillators (NaI, LaBr3, CeBr3) and gaseous ionization detectors;
  • installation of wireless NaI radiation detection systems in grapples for the identification of artificial radionuclides (137Cs 134Cs, 131I, 60Co) in metal scraps through γ spectroscopy measurements;
  • vehicular monitoring (e.g. trucks and wagons) for the identification of artificial radionuclides (137Cs 134Cs, 131I, 60Co) through γ spectroscopy measurements by using high efficiency detectors (NaI, LaBr3, CeBr3);
  • radionuclides identification (e.g. 123I, 125I, 131I, 99mTc, 111In, 67Ga, 201Tl) in solid waste produced by nuclear medicine activities by using portable plastic and inorganic scintillators (NaI, LaBr3, CeBr3) and CZT detectors (through γ and β spectroscopy);
  • static and energetically self-sufficient control systems in continuous and real-time operation equipped with NaI, LaBr3, CeBr3 and/or plastic detectors together with remote connection and warning system to be installed in areas at risk of contamination for monitoring artificial radionuclides (e.g. 137Cs 134Cs, 131I, 60Co, 90Sr);
  • identification and quantification of natural (238U and 232Th chains, and 40K) and artificial (137Cs 134Cs, 131I, 60Co, 90Sr) radionuclides through γ and β spectroscopy by using NaI, LaBr3, CeBr3 and plastic detectors in fields and farmlands for the monitoring of the agri-food production chain;
  • measurements of the concentration of natural radionuclides (238U and 232Th chains, and 40K) through γ spectroscopy by using NaI, LaBr3 and CeBr3 detectors for the identification of mineral deposits;
  • measurements of the concentration of natural radionuclides (238U and 232Th chains, and 40K) in building materials through γ spectroscopy by using NaI, LaBr3, CeBr3 and CZT detectors with collimation systems aimed at reducing the ambient background;
  • measurements of 40K concentration and of the daughter products of the 238U chain respectively in the potassium and phosphate fraction of fertilizers through γ spectroscopy using NaI, LaBr3 and CeBr3 detectors;
  • measurements of the concentration of natural radionuclides (238U and 232Th chains, and 40K) in rock outcrops through γ spectroscopy by using NaI, LaBr3 and CeBr3 detectors for geophysical surveys;
  • production thematic maps of the distribution of the natural radionuclides (238U and 232Th chains, and 40K) with different spatial resolutions and uncertainties estimation by means of γ spectroscopy measurements;
  • measurements of the effective dose rate in different sensibility ranges by using NaI portable detectors (0-100 μSv/hr, equivalently 0-10 mrem/hr) and Geiger-Müller tubes (0-10 mSv/hr, equivalently 0-1 rem/hr);

field scale (~104 m2) soil water content measurements through γ spectroscopy by using NaI, LaBr3 and CeBr3 detectors aimed at providing a decision support tool in precision agriculture by complementing punctual (~ m2) information from electromagnetic sensors and to be employed for the calibration of large scale (~105 m2) satellite data.

 

High resolution laboratory measurements

Laboratory gamma spectroscopy with hyper-pure germanium (HPGe) detectors allows for an accurate quantitative analysis of the mass concentrations (µg/g) and of the specific activity (in Bq/kg) of radionuclides present in samples having solid or liquid matrices. High-resolution measurements are crucial for discriminating natural and artificial radionuclides, in compliance with the UNI 10797 and the Council Directive 2013/59/Euratom. We are specialized in the radiometric characterization of Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials (NORMs), which are byproduct materials of human activities containing natural radionuclides in higher than normal concentrations.

Our services include:

  • inspection, survey planning and in-situ sampling (regular grid, simple random, stratified, systematic, cluster, multi stage);
  • solid samples preparation (drying, grinding, sieving, mixing);
  • artificial radionuclides (137Cs, 134Cs, 131I, 60Co) concentration measurements in food for human consumption (e.g. meat, fish, mollusks, fruit, vegetables, jams, mushrooms, cereals, milk, dairy products);
  • artificial radionuclides (137Cs, 134Cs, 131I, 60Co) concentration measurements in forage and feeds;
  • artificial (137Cs, 134Cs, 131I, 60Co) and natural (238U and 232Th chains, and 40K) radionuclides concentration measurements in environmental samples (soil, sediments, sand, flora and fauna, sea and fresh water, wastewater) and depth profiles on corings;
  • radionuclide identification (123I, 125I, 131I, 99mTc, 111In, 67Ga, 201Tl) in solid wastes produced by nuclear medicine activities;
  • 226Ra, 228Ra, 40K (NORMs) concentration measurements and search for secular disequilibrium in the 238U and 232Th decay chains in oil wastes (sludge and fouling from oil and natural gas extraction);
  • measurements of 40K concentration of the daughter radionuclides of the 238U chain respectively in the potassium and phosphate fraction of fertilizers;
  • 226Ra, 228Ra, 40K (NORMs) concentration measurements in the by-products of the fertilizer industry;
  • 226Ra, 228Ra, 40K (NORMs) concentration measurements in the by-products of the processing of minerals, sand, rare earths, metals and titanium dioxide pigments;
  • 226Ra, 228Ra, 40K (NORMs) concentration measurements in bauxite residues or in the by-products of the alumina refining industry (red muds);
  • 226Ra, 228Ra, 40K (NORMs) concentration measurements in waste water, sludge, cuttings produced by geothermal exploration activities;
  • artificial radionuclides (137Cs, 134Cs, 131I, 60Co) and 226Ra, 228Ra, 40K (NORMs) concentration measurements in fly and bottom ash (from the combustion of pellet, wood, coal, etc.);
  • natural (238U and 232Th chains, and 40K) radionuclides measurements and particularly of the 232Th/238U, 226Ra/40K and 228Ra/40K ratios in rock and soil samples for geophysics studies and for mine prospecting activities;
  • 226Ra, 228Ra, 40K (NORMs) concentration measurements in building materials: Portland cement with fly ashes, cement with bottom ash, phosphogypsum (used in divider panels), natural stone materials (e.g. tuff, porphyries, basalts, trachytes);
  • determination of the Activity Concentration Index (ACI) of building materials, providing a weighted cumulative value of the 40K, 226Ra and 232Th activities which is adopted by the European Commission (ANNEX VIII of Council Directive 2013/59/Euratom), and determination of radiometric indexes used for the international regulatory situation in different Countries (e.g. Russia, China, USA).

 

Petrographic measurements and autoradiographic mapping

Autoradiographic mapping is a technique that allows for the identification of the radioactive crystals on rock thin sections. This method requires the use of a petrographic microscope and of passive Solid State Nuclear Track Detectors (SSNTDs) responsive to alpha particles emitted from natural radionuclides. The main applications are in the mineralogical, petrographic, geothermic and geochemical areas.

Our main services include:

  • identification in thin sections of natural radionuclides (238U and 232Th) on a mineral scale;
  • autoradiographic and petrographic analysis of thin sections using crossed Nicols;
  • lithoid materials measurements using X-Ray Fluorescence spectroscopy (XRF) and Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry (ICP-MS) together with autoradiographic measurements;
  • correlation studies between minerals and radionuclides densities on a millimetric scale.

 

More info: radio@geoexplorer.cgtgroup.org

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