One-dimensional Spatial Distributions of Gamma-ray Emitting Contaminants in Field Lysimeters Using a Collimated Gamma-ray Spectroscopy System

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Abstract

One-dimensional scans of gamma-ray emitting contaminants were conducted on lysimeters from the RadFLEX facility at the Savannah River Nationals Laboratory (SRNL). The lysimeters each contained a contamination source that was buried in SRNL soil. A source consisted of 137Cs, 60Co, 133Ba, and 152Eu incorporated either into a solid waste form (Portland cement and reducing grout) or applied to a filter paper for direct soil exposure. The lysimeters were exposed to natural environmental conditions for 3 to 4 y. The initial contaminant activities range from 4.0 to 9.0 MBq for the solid wasteforms and 0.25 to 0.47 MBq for the soil-incorporated source. The measurements were performed using a collimated high-purity germanium gamma-ray spectrometer with a spatial resolution of 2.5 mm. These scans showed downward mobility of 60Co and 133Ba when the radionuclides were incorporated directly into the SRNL soil. When radionuclides were incorporated into the solid waste forms positioned in the SRNL soil, 137Cs exhibited both upward and downward dispersion while the other radionuclides showed no movement. This dispersion was more significant for the Portland cement than the reducing grout wasteform. Europium-152 was the only radionuclide of those studied that showed no movement within the spatial resolution of the scanner from the original placement within the lysimeter. Understanding radionuclide movement in the environment is important for developing strategies for waste management and disposal.

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