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Archerfield, Australia

Kleinschmidt R.,Radiation and Nuclear science | Watson D.,Radiation and Nuclear science
Journal of Environmental Radioactivity | Year: 2015

Baseline terrestrial gamma radiation maps are indispensable for providing basic reference information that may be used in assessing the impact of a radiation related incident, performing epidemiological studies, remediating land contaminated with radioactive materials, assessment of land use applications and resource prospectivity. For a large land mass, such as Queensland, Australia (over 1.7 million km2), it is prohibitively expensive and practically difficult to undertake detailed in-situ radiometric surveys of this scale. It is proposed that an existing, ultra-low density sampling program already undertaken for the purpose of a nationwide soil survey project be utilised to develop a baseline terrestrial gamma radiation map. Geoelement data derived from the National Geochemistry Survey of Australia (NGSA) was used to construct a baseline terrestrial gamma air kerma rate map, delineated by major drainage catchments, for Queensland. Three drainage catchments (sampled at the catchment outlet) spanning low, medium and high radioelement concentrations were selected for validation of the methodology using radiometric techniques including in-situ measurements and soil sampling for high resolution gamma spectrometry, and comparative non-radiometric analysis. A Queensland mean terrestrial air kerma rate, as calculated from the NGSA outlet sediment uranium, thorium and potassium concentrations, of 49±69nGyh-1 (n=311, 3σ 99% confidence level) is proposed as being suitable for use as a generic terrestrial air kerma rate background range. Validation results indicate that catchment outlet measurements are representative of the range of results obtained across the catchment and that the NGSA geoelement data is suitable for calculation and mapping of terrestrial air kerma rate. © 2015.

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