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3.9.2 Analysis of radioactivity

The two principal non-intrusive analytical techniques used to detect radioactivity in samples are gamma spectrometry and gross alpha/beta analysis. The application of these techniques is discussed below as also the analysis of tritium in soils and waters.

Possible strategies (suggestions) for gross radioactivity and radiochemical analysis of samples are given in figures.

However, when measuring samples there should be always an awareness that there may be non-radiological contaminants present. Samples gathered for radiological purposes may also be suitable for assay of non-radioactive hazardous materials, in which case there may be special requirements for sample handling and storage. Conversely, samples gathered for non-radiological purposes may be suitable for radiometric investigations; even if the sample is required to be maintained intact, a non-destructive gamma spectrometry measurement may be possible.

Hazardous materials may also impact on how samples gathered for radiometric purposes are handled. There may be health and safety implications, if the material is hazardous, and care may be necessary to ensure that radiochemical assays are not affected.

However, the methods employed in a laboratory should be derived from a reliable source, such as those listed in Table 3.50.
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* Methods of Air Sampling and Analysis [Lodge];
* Annual Book of ASTM Standards, Water and Environmental technology. Volume 11.04, Environmental Assessment; Hazardous Substances and Oil Spill Responses Waste Management; Environmental Risk Assessment [ASTM-1997];
* Standard Methods for the Examination of Water and Wastewater [APHA-1995];
* EML Procedures Manual [DOE-1990];
* Radiochemical Analytical Procedures for Analysis of Environmental Samples [EPA-1979];
* Radiochemistry Procedures Manual [EPA-1984];
* Indoor Radon and Radon Decay Product Measurement Protocols [EPA-1992b];
* USAEHA Environmental Sampling Guide [DPA-1993].

Table 3.50 Examples of references for routine analytical methods
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