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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1942/25991

Title: Measurement of radioactivity in building materials – Problems encountered caused by possible disequilibrium in natural decay series
Authors: Michalik, Boguslaw
de With, Govert
Schroeyers, Wouter
Issue Date: 2018
Citation: CONSTRUCTION AND BUILDING MATERIALS, 168(SI), p. 995-1002
Abstract: The determination of the activity concentration of naturally occurring radionuclides in construction materials is based on the principles of gamma-spectrometry. Gamma spectrometry is a comparative method and therefore includes many parameters that are specific to the test sample and measurement circumstances. Consequently, several of the testing conditions must be verified prior to testing and/or require correction to obtain accurate results. Besides problems encountered during the measurement, the interpretation of the results and calculation of the activity indices, needed for material classification, may lead to significant mistakes. Current regulation in the European Union requires to calculate an activity concentration index (index I) using the activity concentration of 226Ra, 232Th and 40K. Not all of these radionuclides are directly measurable by gamma spectrometry and, to determine the index, additional assumptions have to be made about secular equilibrium in uranium and thorium decay series. These assumptions are often not valid in case of NORM (Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials) where long term lack of secular equilibrium in the uranium and/or thorium decay series is often observed. As a consequence, this may result in an underestimation or overestimation of the index. The article discusses specific disequilibrium situations in building materials. Sources for potential inaccurate determinations and misinterpretation are identified and practical mitigation options are proposed.
Notes: Michalik, B (reprint author), GIG, Plac Gwarkow 1, PL-40166 Katowice, Poland.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1942/25991
DOI: 10.1016/j.conbuildmat.2018.02.044
ISI #: 000430756900088
ISSN: 0950-0618
Category: A1
Type: Journal Contribution
Appears in Collections: Research publications

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