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Albuquerque, NM, United States

Farr C.P.,Environmental Restoration Group Inc. | Alecksen T.J.,Environmental Restoration Group Inc. | Heronimus R.S.,Environmental Restoration Group Inc. | Simonds M.H.,Environmental Restoration Group Inc. | And 3 more authors.
Health Physics | Year: 2010

A "proof of concept" was conducted to determine the effectiveness of a survey method for cost-effective recovery of depleted uranium (DU) fragments from contaminated soil piles at Sandia National Laboratories. First, DU fragments ranging from less than a gram up to 48 g were covered by various thicknesses of soil and used for detector efficiency measurements. The efficiencies were measured for three different sodium iodide detectors: a 5.1-cm by 5.1-cm (2-inch by 2-inch) detector, a 7.6-cm by 7.6-cm (3-inch by 3-inch) detector, and a Field Instrument for the Detection of Low Energy Radiation (FIDLER) detector. The FIDLER detector was found to be superior to the other detectors in each measurement. Next, multiple 7.6-cm (3-inch) layers of soil, taken from the contaminated piles, were applied to a clean pad of soil. Each layer was scanned by an array of eight FIDLER detectors pulled by a tractor. The array, moving 10.2 to 12.7 cm s-1 (4 to 5 inches per second), automatically recorded radiation count data along with associated detector coordinates at 3-s intervals. The DU fragments were located and identified with a handheld system consisting of a FIDLER detector and a positioning system and then removed. After DU removal, the affected areas were re-scanned and a new lift of contaminated soil was applied. The detection capability of the system as a function of DU fragment mass and burial depth was modeled and determined to be sufficient to ensure that the dose-based site concentration goals would be met. Finally, confirmation soil samples were taken from random locations and from decontaminated soil areas. All samples had concentrations of 238U that met the goal of 400-500 pCi g-1. Source

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