Standard Guide for High-Resolution Gamma-Ray Spectrometry of Soil Samples
1.1 This guide covers the identification and quantitative determination of gamma-ray emitting radionuclides in soil samples by means of gamma-ray spectrometry. It is applicable to nuclides emitting gamma rays with energies greater than 20 keV. For typical gamma-ray spectrometry systems and sample types, activity levels of about 5 Bq are measured easily for most nuclides, and activity levels as low as 0.1 Bq can be measured for many nuclides. It is not applicable to radionuclides that emit no gamma rays such as the pure beta-emitting radionuclides hydrogen-3, carbon-14, strontium-90, and becquerel quantities of most transuranics. This guide does not address the in situ measurement techniques, where soil is analyzed in place without sampling. Guidance for in situ techniques can be found in Ref (1) and (2). This guide also does not discuss methods for determining lower limits of detection. Such discussions can be found in Refs (3), (4), (5), and (6).
1.2 This guide can be used for either quantitative or relative determinations. For quantitative assay, the results are expressed in terms of absolute activities or activity concentrations of the radionuclides found to be present. This guide may also be used for qualitative identification of the gamma-ray emitting radionuclides in soil without attempting to quantify their activities. It can also be used to only determine their level of activities relative to each other but not in an absolute sense. General information on radioactivity and its measurement may be found in Refs (7), (8), (9), (10), and (11) and General Methods E-181. Information on specific applications of gamma-ray spectrometry is also available in Refs (12) or (13). Practice D 3649 is a valuable source of information.
1.3 This standard may involve hazardous material, operations, and equipment. This standard does not purport to address all of the safety concerns, if any, associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of this standard to establish appropriate safety and health practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use.
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