EVALUATION OF SPRAYABLE FIXATIVES ON A SANDY SOIL FOR POTENTIAL USE IN A DIRTY BOMB RESPONSE

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Abstract

Abstract—

After the events of 11 September 2001, the possibility of a dirty bomb being detonated within the United States seems more realistic. Development of tools for use in response to a dirty bomb detonation has become a topic of both discussion and research. While it has been reported that the health risk to the public from such an event would likely be small, it is thought that the psychological impact could be considerable. One response option that has been considered is adapting sprayable solutions for the purpose of fixing contamination in place, thereby limiting the spread of contamination by wind and rain and facilitating subsequent cleanup. This work evaluated two commercially available particle fixatives (IsoFIX-HT and IsoFIX-RC) for their effectiveness in preventing dispersal of simulated contamination. Nonradioactive cesium chloride and cobalt oxide particles were selected as the simulated contamination and applied to the surface of three outdoor test plots. Two test plots were treated with fixatives; the third plot provided a control. Samples were collected over 95 days to observe changes in tracer concentration on the surface of the test plots. One fixative (IsoFIX-RC) effectively held the tracer in place with no net loss of tracer, while the other fixative (IsoFIX-HT) had no impact on the loss of tracer relative to the control. Under the conditions tested, IsoFIX-RC appears capable of fixing surface contamination in place for at least several months.

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