A Plutonium Air Monitor With a Background Compensation System

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Abstract

A plutonium air monitor with a solid state detector (SSD) and a special background compensation circuit utilizing an arbitrary random pulse divider was developed for attaining high sensitivity and stable operation. The background count rate in the plutonium channel (5.2 MeV) caused by degradation of a particle energies from the natural radioactivity in air is automatically compensated. This is possible because of the good correlation between the background count rate in the plutonium channel and the total count rate from the natural radioactivity having a energies greater than 5.5 MeV. The detection limit of this air monitor for airborne soluble plutonium is about 2 (MPC)a hr, with a radon and thoron daughter concentration of 1 × 10−11 microCi/cm3 and is not affected very much by the variation of this background concentration.

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