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Nuclear Radiation Sensors

Ultra-low Radiation Background Counting (155)

Graph Gamma-ray spectra recorded with a 2-kg low-background Ge system in the Homestake Mine (South Dakota) showing clean radiation peak spectra at orders of magnitude below background levels using standard instruments at the earth's surface.

Problem: Background γ-rays from standard materials and in most environments prevent sensitive radiological analyses

Project Activity Scope (from Technical Overview Chart): Mechanisms through Instruments

PNNL Solution:

  • Decades-long effort identified radioactive impurities in common materials used in equipment
  • Located materials processed prior to cold war nuclear testing with minimal radioactive impurities
  • Assembled high-resolution gamma-ray spectrometer deep underground

Capabilities Employed to Meet Client Needs: Radiation sensor development; materials sciences; statistics and applied mathematics; analog and digital electronics; computer system integration; software development; mechanical hardware design; system integration; system test and evaluation; system delivery, installation, and demonstration at underground laboratories in Lead SD, Sudan MN, Canfranc Spain, Baksan Russia, and Sierra Grande Argentina; system documentation development.

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Contact: Harry Miley

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Nuclear Radiation Sensors

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