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San Giovanni Valdarno, Italy

Caciolli A.,National Institute of Nuclear Physics, Italy | Caciolli A.,Center for GeoTechnologies | Baldoncini M.,University of Ferrara | Broggini C.,National Institute of Nuclear Physics, Italy | And 16 more authors.
Science of the Total Environment

An increasing demand of environmental radioactivity monitoring comes both from the scientific community and from the society. This requires accurate, reliable and fast response preferably from portable radiation detectors. Thanks to recent improvements in the technology, γ spectroscopy with sodium iodide scintillators has been proved to be an excellent tool for in-situ measurements for the identification and quantitative determination of γ ray emitting radioisotopes, reducing time and costs. Both for geological and civil purposes not only 40K, 238U, and 232Th have to be measured, but there is also a growing interest to determine the abundances of anthropic elements, like 137Cs and 131I, which are used to monitor the effect of nuclear accidents or other human activities.The Full Spectrum Analysis (FSA) approach has been chosen to analyze the γ spectra. The Non Negative Least Square (NNLS) and the energy calibration adjustment have been implemented in this method for the first time in order to correct the intrinsic problem related with the χ2 minimization which could lead to artifacts and non physical results in the analysis.A new calibration procedure has been developed for the FSA method by using in situ γ spectra instead of calibration pad spectra. Finally, the new method has been validated by acquiring γ spectra with a 10.16cm×10.16cm sodium iodide detector in 80 different sites in the Ombrone basin, in Tuscany. The results from the FSA method have been compared with the laboratory measurements by using HPGe detectors on soil samples collected particular, the 137Cs isotopes has been implemented in the analysis since it has been found not negligible during the in-situ measurements. © 2011 Elsevier B.V. Source

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