Strontec - new method for the detection of Strontium-90 contamination

The detection of Strontium-90 is difficult since the decay chain of Sr-90 and the daughter nucleus Y-90, emit only beta particles and no gamma rays. Furthermore, Strontium is hazardous because of its accumulation in bone tissues; the long half-life of 29 years and the high beta decay endpoint energy of 2.3 MeV in the daughter decay can cause considerable damage to the surrounding tissue and increase the risk for cancer. As a matter of fact the detection of Sr is vital particularly in free release measurements of waste from decommissioning sites.

The present work proved the detection of Sr in low level proportional counters (LB 761)  without chemical treatment of the samples (pat. pending). The observed sensitivity is sufficient for clearance measurements. The developed method is an unsurpassed quick alternative to radiochemical nuclide analyses hitherto employed in the nuclear field. Especially in the decommissioning process it will be essential to monitor Sr-90 activity in order to release waste.

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