Ultra-Low-Background Gamma-Rays Spectrometry System

Studies on man-made radioactivity in the environment:

During the years following Chernobyl accident several topics of environmental studies were undertaken at the IFJ. The equipment serving the purpose consists of ultra-low-background gamma-rays spectrometry system with a veto detector sensitive for muons, and four other low-background gamma-rays spectrometers, all with germanium detectors, a low-background liquid scintillation alpha/beta spectrometer, four semiconductor alpha spectrometers, automatic in situ scintillator spectrometer, and a dose rate meter called Permanent Monitoring System (PMS), two high efficiency aerosol collector systems ASS-500 and aerosols fraction collectors PM-2.5 and PM-10 HVS-30.

The main subject of the interdisciplinary studies mentioned above is radioactive contamination of Polish forests, and parts of the ecosystem studied are the following: forest litter and soil, mushrooms, plant and berries, wild animal bones and insects. Other research concerns activity of the atmosphere, sediments, waters and geological materials. Radioactivity of lichens, mosses and algae from Arctic and Antarctic regions were also subject of investigations. The studies are performed in co-operation with the specialists on forest ecology rom Kraków's Academy of Agriculture, biologists and geographers from Jagiellonian University at Krakow or Maria Curie-Sk?odowska University in Lublin, and others.

The radionuclides of our special concern are: 137Cs, 134Cs, 40K, 90Sr, 238Pu, 239,240Pu, 241Pu, 241Am, 243,244Cm, 154Eu. The main achievement of our Laboratory has been the study of geographical pattern of Chernobyl debris deposition in Poland. The obtained results revealed two types of isotopic composition of Chernobyl fallout in Poland. In the majority of the country it is the same as observed in Western Europe (typical for sites remote from Chernobyl), but in the North-Eastern Poland the debris turned out enriched in non-volatile elements, which is similar as in locations close to Chernobyl.

Laboratory in which the equipment is in use:

Environmental Radioactivity Laboratory