Friday, January 7, 2011

Radioactive Contamination Cleanups May Go Faster With New Device

By Duane Craig

Two problems associated with cleaning up radioactive contamination may be solved by a device invented at Oregon State University by David Hamby, an OSU professor of health physics, and Abi Farsoni, an assistant professor in the College of Engineering.

It’s a radiation spectrometer that measures and quantifies gamma and beta radiation simultaneously. Knowing both of these quantities is necessary to determine the level of contamination. The device also cuts down the time it takes to get sampling results from half a day to 15 minutes.

The Environmental Protection Agency says the number of sites contaminated by radionuclides is in the thousands and it oversees five different programs that are addressing the contamination and cleanup activities including the Superfund Program. There are 23 states with radiologically contaminated sites on the National Priorities List, including Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Tennessee, Florida, Texas, Colorado, Utah, and California.

Learn about spectroscopic sensors and new nano-technologies that are in the wings for them here.
Read more about the device and the inventors here.

Find the radiologically-contaminated sites near you.

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