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**Sample Collection and Preservation**

Richard Sheibley Pennsylvania Dept of Env Protection

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**Sample Collection & Preservation**

Entry Point Representative Composite Total Activity

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**Sample Collection & Preservation**

Containers Sub-microgram Plastic or Glass Glass Only – tritium

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**Sample Collection & Preservation**

HNO3 HCl Done by laboratory Within 5 days Hold 16 hours None – tritium and iodine

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**Sample Collection & Preservation**

Holding time – Related to half life 8 Days (131I) 6 Months Tritium Alpha/Beta Radium Gamma 1 – 4 Days (222Rn, 224Ra)

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**Instrumentation & Methods: Gas Proportional Counters**

Richard Sheibley Pennsylvania Dept of Env Protection

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**Instrumentation – Detectors**

Gas proportional Zinc sulfide (ZnS) scintillation Liquid scintillation Surface barrier Lithium drifted germanium (GeLi) High purity, germanium (HPGe)

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**Instrumentation – Shielding**

Low level measurement Decrease background Protect from environment Lead Steel Copper

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**Radioactivity Decay Review**

Alpha Particles Beta Particles Photons

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Alpha Particle Heavy – helium nucleus Highly charged

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Beta Particle Light – electron Moderately charged

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Gamma Wave No mass No charge Photon – like light but higher energy

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**Gas Proportional Counter**

Alpha particles Beta particles Photons (gamma) Optional detector

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**Gas Proportional Counter**

Ion Pair formation Voltage Pulse Proportional response

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**Gas Proportional Counter**

Components Sample changer High voltage power supply Detector Preamplifier Amplifier Scaler Timer Data collection & output device

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**Gas Proportional Counter**

Two Detector System Sample Guard

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**Gas Proportional Counter**

Sample Detector Windowless Sample inside counting chamber Thin Window Particle must penetrate window

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**Gas Proportional Counter**

Guard Detector Anti-coincidence Cosmic radiation Background

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**Gas Proportional Counter**

Instrument Performance verification Plateau Instrument Background Alpha Efficiency Beta Efficiency

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**Gas Proportional Counter**

Plateau Operating voltage Consistent count rate Alpha Plateau Beta Plateau “Knee”

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**Gas Proportional Counter**

Instrument Background Cosmic radiation Electronic noise Natural radiation Alpha Beta Background Subtraction

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**Gas Proportional Counter**

Instrument Efficiency Counts / disintegrations Detector area Geometry Particle energy

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**Gas Proportional Counter**

Beta Half life Energy (MeV) Carbon 14 5730 yrs 0.156 Technetium 99 2.13X105 yrs 0.224 Strontium 90 29 yrs 0.546 Lead 210 22.26 yr 1.16

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**Gas Proportional Counter**

Alpha Half life Energy (MeV) Americium 241 432 yr 5.443, 5.486 Polonium 210 138 days 5.304 Thorium 230 75,400 yr 4.688, 4.621

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**Gas Proportional Counter**

Method QC Reagent Background Efficiency Method Self adsorption Alpha Beta

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**Gas Proportional Counter**

Sample count rate factors Distance to detector Window absorption Self absorption

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**Statistics Poisson Statistics Random Chi-square test**

Standard deviation

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Statistics

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**Statistics – Counting Error**

Drinking water – defined in 40 CFR (c) ± 100 % at 95% confidence interval 1.96σ Where σ = standard deviation of net counting rate of sample

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**Statistics – Counting Error**

Standard deviation σ = where: Rs = sample counting rate Rb = background counting rate ts = sample counting time tb = background counting time

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**Statistics – Counting Error Example**

Rs = 2.74 cpm Rb = 1.50 cpm ts = 50 min tb = 50 min C.E. = 1.96 [2.74/ /50]0.5

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**Statistics – Counting Error Example**

C.E. = 1.96 [2.74/ /50]0.5 C.E. = 1.96 [ ]0.5 C.E. = 1.96 [0.085]0.5 C.E. = 0.80 cpm Result = 2.74 ± 0.80 cpm

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**Statistics – Detection Limit**

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**Statistics – Detection Limit**

LLD ~ (kα + kβ) σ o kα = false negative kβ = false positive σ o = standard deviation of net counting rate of sample

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**Statistics – Detection Limit**

Generally use 95% Confidence kα = kβ = k = 1.645 At the LLD Sample count rate ~ background count rate

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**Statistics – Detection Limit**

σ o = [σ s2 + σ b2]0.5 When Rs ~ Rb and ts = tb σ s2 = σ b2 σ o = [2]0.5 σ b LLD = 2[2]0.5 k σ b LLD = σ b σ b = [Rb/tb] 0.5

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**Statistics – Detection Limit**

Time Volume Efficiency Self absorption Background

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**Gas Proportional Counter**

Counting interval Time versus performance Preset time Preset count Detection limit Counting error

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**Instrumentation & Methods: Gross alpha & beta**

Jeff Brenner Minnesota Department of Health

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EPA Method 900.0 Prescribed Procedures for Measurement of Radioactivity in Drinking Water EPA-600/ August 1980 Determination of Gross Alpha and Gross Beta Radioactivity in Drinking Water + + - -

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**EPA Method 900.0 What we’ll cover**

Scope of the method Summary of the method Calibration Determining operating voltage Determining system background Determining efficiency calibration Determining self-absorption factor Quality control Interferences Application Calculations Activity

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EPA Method Scope The method is a screening technique for monitoring drinking water supplies The solids are not separated from the sample Solids concentration is a limiting factor in the sensitivity of the method

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**EPA Method 900.0 Alpha and Beta Procedure Summary**

Sample is preserved in the field or at the lab with nitric acid Lab preservation Within 5 days of collection Hold for 16 hours after acidification Homogeneous aliquot of preserved sample Typically 250 mL or less

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**EPA Method 900.0 Alpha and Beta Procedure Summary**

Sample is evaporated to near dryness If sample is evaporated to dryness in the beaker, re-start sample analysis Add 10 ml 1N HNO3 to beaker to dissolve solids Additional nitric acid is added to convert chloride salts to nitrate salts Chloride salts attack the stainless steel planchet

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**EPA Method 900.0 Alpha and Beta Procedure**

Sample is quantitatively transferred to a tared planchet Sample is reduced to dryness on planchet Sample residue is dried to constant weight Analyzed for beta emissions

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**EPA Method 900.0 Alpha and Beta Procedure**

Planchet is flamed and stored for 3 days to allow for the ingrowth Flaming converts hygroscopic nitrate salts to oxides Ingrowth for progeny of Ra-226 Sample residue is reweighed to determine flamed residue weight Analyzed for alpha emissions

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**EPA Method 900.0 Alpha and Beta Procedure**

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**EPA Method 900.0 Calibrations (Determine Operating Voltage)**

Calibration Order Plateau Spillover Correction or Crosstalk Background Efficiency Sample Self Absorption or Mass Attenuation

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**EPA Method 900.0 Calibrations (Determine Operating Voltage)**

Determine appropriate (knee) operating voltage alpha beta plateau A plateau is generated by counting a source several times while increasing (stepping) the high voltage to the detector. Alpha plateau = alpha activity Beta plateau = alpha/beta activity Generate an alpha/beta plateau after every P10 gas exchange Quality of the gas affects the plateaus and instrument performance

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**EPA Method 900.0 Calibrations (Determine Operating Voltage)**

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**EPA Method 900.0 Calibrations (Determine Operating Voltage)**

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**EPA Method 900.0 Alpha and Beta Gas Proportional Counters**

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**EPA Method 900.0 Alpha and Beta Gas Proportional Counters**

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**EPA Method 900.0 Alpha and Beta Gas Proportional Counters**

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**EPA Method 900.0 Alpha and Beta Gas Proportional Counters**

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**EPA Method 900.0 Alpha and Beta Gas Proportional Counters**

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**EPA Method 900.0 Calibrations (Spillover Correction or Crosstalk)**

Alpha beta discriminators should be adjusted to minimize false readings Alphas counted as betas and betas counted as alphas

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**EPA Method 900.0 (Determine System Background)**

Contribution of the background must be measured Measure under the same conditions, counting mode, and geometry as the samples Count background longer than samples Establish good statistics Background determination is performed every time the P10 gas cylinders are changed

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**EPA Method 900.0 (Determine Efficiency Calibration)**

Calibrate to obtain relationship of count rate to disintegration rate. Natural uranium and thorium-230 are approved as gross alpha calibration standards for evaporation methods and co-precipitation methods Americium-241 is only approved for the co-precipitation methods. 40CFR part Analytical methods for radioactivity. Footnote 11 Strontium-90 and cesium-137 are approved as gross beta calibration standards. Cesium-137 is volatile NIST traceable standards

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**EPA Method 900.0 (Determine Efficiency Calibration)**

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**EPA Method 900.0 (Determine Efficiency Calibration)**

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**EPA Method 900.0 Alpha/Beta Self-Absorption Factors**

Determined by graphing residue weight (mg) vs. the efficiency factor (dpm/cpm) Multiple aliquots Constant alpha and beta activity using calibration standards Varying solids concentration 2-inch diameter counting planchet (20 cm2) 0 and 100 mg for alpha 0 and 200 mg for beta

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**EPA Method 900.0 Alpha Self-Absorption Factors**

Planchet # Solids (g) cpm Decay Corrected Counts Efficiency 1 0.0087 72.03 375.14 0.1920 2 0.0092 72.83 0.1941 3 0.0116 69.38 0.1849 4 0.0143 64.32 0.1715 5 0.0180 61.32 0.1635 6 0.0202 53.61 0.1429 7 0.0241 50.75 0.1353 8 0.0260 43.36 0.1156 9 0.0300 46.74 0.1246 10 0.0316 44.32 0.1181 11 0.0335 46.00 0.1226 12 0.0389 39.47 0.1052 13 0.0659 27.23 0.0726 14 0.0834 26.34 0.0702 15 0.0980 21.11 0.0563 16 0.1087 17.96 0.0479 17 0.1219 16.39 0.0437

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**EPA Method 900.0 Alpha Self-Absorption Factors**

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**EPA Method 900.0 Quality Control**

Instrument efficiency check Analyzed daily Control chart Establish action limits Low background check Analytical Prep Batch Laboratory Reagent Blank (LRB) Laboratory Fortified Blank (LFB) Sample Duplicates at a 10% frequency Sample Spikes at a 5% frequency

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**EPA Method 900.0 Interferences**

Moisture obstructs counting and self–absorption characteristics Non-uniformity of the sample residue in planchet accuracy precision Sample density on the planchet area should not be more than 5 mg/cm (< 100 mg) alpha for gross alpha Sample density on the planchet area should not be more than 10 mg/cm2 (< 200 mg) for gross beta

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**EPA Method 900.0 Application**

The National Primary Interim Drinking Water Regulations (NIPDWR) require the following detection limits Gross Alpha 3 pCi/L Gross Beta 4 pCi/L Maximum Contamination Level (MCL) Gross alpha 15 pCi/L >15 pCi/L run uranium determination

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**EPA Method 900.0 Calculations**

Alpha radioactivity Alpha (pCi/liter) = A * 1000 2.22 * C * V Where: A= net alpha count rate (gross alpha count rate minus the background count rate) at the alpha voltage plateau C= alpha efficiency factor, read from graph of efficiency versus mg (cpm/dpm) V= volume of sample aliquot, (ml) 2.22= conversion factor from dpm/pCi

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**EPA Method 900.0 Calculations**

Beta radioactivity If there are no significant alpha counts when the sample is counted at the alpha voltage. Beta (pCi/liter) = B * 1000 2.22 * D * V Where: B= net beta count rate (gross beta count rate minus the background count rate) at the beta voltage plateau D= Beta efficiency factor, read from graph of efficiency vs. mg (cpm/dpm) V- volume of sample aliquot, (ml) 2.22= conversion factor from dpm/pCi

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**EPA Method 900.0 Calculations**

Beta radioactivity Beta counting in the presence of alpha radioactivity. Beta (pCi/liter) = (B – AE)* 1000 2.22 * D * V Where: B= net beta count rate (gross beta count rate minus the background count rate) at the beta voltage plateau A= net alpha count rate (gross alpha count rate minus the background count rate) at the alpha voltage plateau E= alpha amplification factor, read from the graph of the ratio of alpha counted at the beta voltage/alpha counted at the alpha voltage vs. sample density thickness D= Beta efficiency factor, read from graph of efficiency vs. mg (cpm/dpm) V- volume of sample aliquot, (ml) 2.22= conversion factor from dpm/pCi

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**EPA Method 900.0 Calculations**

Alpha and beta radioactivity A (pCi/L) = (G-B)((SAF*g)+1)/(2.22*E*T*V) Where: A = gross alpha/beta activity in pCi/L B = background counts per minute E = efficiency of detector G = gross counts per minute SAF = alpha/beta self-absorption efficiency factor T = count time V = sample volume, (liters) g = net weight of solids, (grams) 2.22 conversion factor, dpm/pCi

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**EPA Method 900.0 Method SOP Main Sections**

Scope and Application Summary of Method Definitions Regulatory Deviations Interferences Safety Equipment and Supplies Reagents and Standards Calibration and Standardization Procedure Data Analysis and Calculations Method Performance Pollution Prevention Waste Management References Diagrams, Flowcharts, Validation Data

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