Instrument Selection

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Guidance on Selection and Use of Survey Instruments

Information is available from a number of sources to help in the selection and use of radiation survey instruments and measurement systems that are used in D&D operations. 

The Multi-Agency Radiation Survey & Site Investigation Manual contains information on planning final status survey measurements and the selection instruments (chapter 4), field measurement methods and instrumentation (chapter 6) and sampling and preparation for laboratory measurements (chapter 7).

EPA's Environmental Technology Verification Program - or ETV - was instituted to verify the performance of innovative technical solutions to problems that threaten human health or the environment. ETV was created to substantially accelerate the entrance of new environmental technologies into the domestic and international marketplace.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has issued draft reports on measurement methods and the performance of survey instruments for field measurements:

Measurement Methods for Radiological Surveys in Support of New Decommissioning Criteria NUREG-1506.

Minimum Detectable Concentrations with Typical Radiation Survey Instruments for Various Contaminants and Field Conditions NUREG-1507.

For information on radiation survey protocols, the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education has produced a Procedures Manual that is used in performing field measurements under their Environmental Survey and Site Assessment Program.


Additional Survey Instrument and Detection Sensitivity References

Abelquist, E.W. and Brown, W.S. "Estimating minimum detectable concentrations achievable while scanning building surfaces and land areas." Health Phys. 76(1):3-10; 1999.

Altshuler, B., and B. Pasternak. "Statistical Measures of the Lower Limit of Detection of a Radioactivity Counter." Health Phys. 9(3):293-298; 1963.

ANSI N13.30. "Performance Criteria for Radiobioassay." New York: American National Standards Institute, Inc. 1996. PDF [NOTE: HPS Members Only Access]

American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM). Selection and Use of Portable Radiological Survey Instruments for Performing In Situ Radiological Assessments in Support of Decommissioning. E 1893-97; March 1998.

Brodsky, A. "Exact Calculation of Probabilities of False Positives and False Negatives for Low Background Counting." Health Phys. 63(2):198-204; 1992. link to

Brodsky, A. "Standardizing Minimum Detectable Amount Formulations," Health Phys. 64(4):434-435; 1993.

Chambless, D.A., et al. "Detection Limit Concepts: Foundations, Myths, and Utilization." Health Phys. 63(3):338-340; 1992. link to

Currie, L.A. "Limits for Qualitative Detection and Quantitative Determination," Analytical Chemistry 40(3):586-593. 1968. [Read commentary on this oft-cited reference.] PDF

International Commission on Radiation Units and Measurements (ICRU). "Gamma-ray spectrometry in the environment." ICRU Report 53. Bethesda, MD: 1994.

Marianno, Craig M., et al. "An Innovative Technique in Scanning Land Areas with a Multi-FIDLER System." Operational Radiation Safety, supplement to Health Phys. vol. 80, suppl 2: S77-S79; May 2001.

NCRP 112. "Calibration of Survey Instruments Used in Radiation Protection for the Assessment of Ionizing Radiation Fields and Radioactive Surface Contamination." Bethesda, Md.: National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements. December 31, 1991.

NUREG/CR-4007. "Lower Limit of Detection: Definition and Elaboration of a Proposed Position for Radiological Effluent and Environmental Measurements." Washington, D.C.: Nuclear Regulatory Commission. 1984.

NUREG/CR-6364. "Human Performance in Radiological Survey Scanning." Washington, D.C.: Nuclear Regulatory Commission. December 1997.

Strom, D.J., and P.S. Stansbury. "Minimum Detectable Activity When Background Is Counted Longer Than the Sample." Health Phys. 63(3):360-1; 1992.

Sommers, J.F. "Sensitivity of G-M and Ion Chamber Beta-gamma Survey Instruments." Health Phys. 28(6):755-761; 1975.

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Instrument Selection

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