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Title: Liquid Scintillation Counting of Environmental Radioisotopes: A Review of the Impact of Background Reduction

Liquid scintillation counting (LSC) is a versatile and commonplace method for radiometric measurement of charged particle emitting radionuclides. The LSC method provides utility in a range of environmental science applications including hydrological studies of water transport, anthropogenic releases of radionuclides into the environment, and vertical mixing rates within oceans. Instrumental measurement background is one limiting factor of radiometric measurement sensitivity. As part of the development of a custom low background LSC system located in a shallow underground laboratory at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, a number of measurement applications of LSC have been considered and are summarized here. The focus is on determining which aspects of such measurements would gain the greatest benefit from the reduction of LSC backgrounds by a factor of 10-100 relative to values reported in the literature. Examples of benefits include lowering the minimum detectable activity, reducing the sample size required, and shortening the elapsed timeline of the processing and analysis sequence. In particular tritium, strontium, and actinium isotopes are examined as these isotopes cover a range of requirements related to the LSC measurement method (e.g., 3H: low energy; Sr: spectral deconvolution; Ac: alpha/beta discrimination).
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Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 0236-5731
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Journal of Radioanalytical and Nuclear Chemistry; Journal Volume: 307; Journal Issue: 3
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Richland, WA (US)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States
low background; tritium; strontium; actinium