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A low-background 100 cm3 high-purity germanium detection system has been operated at sea-level. Within the energy interval 70 - 3000 keV, an integrated count rate of about 0.5/s is achieved; more than 98 % of the events are from cosmic origin. Contents of about 10 micro-g/g Th, U and radioactivity in the order of l Bq/kg, typically for 137Cs, can be measured. Low-level radioactivity originating from natural and anthropogenic radionuclides was measured in sandy soils, river sediments and a few biological samples collected close to, and far from, an old industrial facility. Chernobyl fall-out was observed in the various surface samples as well as a few natural radionuclides such as 7Be and 40K. Concentrations of 232Th in a narrow range around 8 Bq/kg were found for the various samples. However, variations up to a factor 100 were observed for the 226Ra concentrations in soils. At the present time, low-level gamma-ray spectrometry can be a very useful tool in the identification, remediation and restoration of various radioactive contaminated sites.

Additional information

Authors: MOUCHEL D, JRC Geel (BE);WORDEL R, JRC Geel (BE)
Bibliographic Reference: Paper presented: Third International Summer School on Low-Level Measurements of Radioactivity in the Environment : Techniques and Applications, Huelva (ES), September 20 - October 2, 1993
Availability: Available from (1) as Paper EN 37895 ORA
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