The Basics Of Radiation Survey Meters: Explained

19.05.2020

The Basics Of Radiation Survey Meters: Explained

It is possible to detect radiation using a variety of instruments. Radiation survey meters constitute one category of such instruments. These are used to detect and monitor radiation levels.

What Is A Survey Meter In Radiation?

A radiation survey meter measures the radiation hazard one is exposed to. Portable and hand-held, these are devices that detect and measure alpha, beta, and gamma radiation. These are battery-powered and of low weight for ease of use.

Radiation survey meters are used in and around laboratories. Also in other areas where radioactive materials or other sources of radiation such as nuclear materials are likely to be present. These are used at airports and seaports for checking illegal transportation of radioactive materials.

Law enforcement agencies, civil defense, customs, border services – they all use radiation survey meters. These are also necessary for construction, metallurgy, scrap storage sites, and woodworking.

The Difference With An Ordinary Home Meter

Meters used at home measure the amount of electricity and/or gas consumed in a household. These are fixed devices usually set up at the point where the electricity and/or gas supply enters the house.

The purpose of a radiation survey meter is completely different. They detect and measure radiation levels, and are portable. Dosimeters are the most commonly used of all radiation measurement instruments.

It is critical to test the efficiency of survey meters for radiation in real-life situations with radiation sources. ECOTEST products get tested in Chornobyl, one of the most nuclear-contaminated areas in the world.

How Does A Radiation Survey Meter Work?

The presence of any radioactive materials causes electronic pulses, which make the needle of a radiation survey meter to move. That, in turn, results in an audio alarm. The meters are readable in counts per minute (CPM). It is possible to calibrate them to report in milliroentgen per hour (mR/hr).

There are marginal differences between different varieties of radiation survey meters in terms of what they can measure. The scintillation counter variety, for example, measures alpha, beta, and neutron particles.

The Geiger counter variety measures alpha, beta, and gamma levels. The ion chamber variety measures beta, gamma, and x-ray.

ECOTEST’s MKS-UM is a multipurpose dosimeter-radiometer, for example, that uses a lithium-ion-memory-effect-free-battery specially designed for field situations. It can measure alpha, beta, gamma, and x-ray radiations.

This device uses two types of detectors:

  • Gas-discharge Geiger-Muller counters without return run of counting response
  • Silicon beta radiation detector

Using a dual system of GPS/GLONASS, this dosimeter has high efficiency in localizing radiation sources. The high-performance protection case allows the use of this device in severe atmospheric conditions.

Its ability to measure alpha radiations is a special feature. It also allows archiving measurement results with reference to location coordinates. It has a built-in solar charger. It is also chargeable from automobile batteries or from industrial networks.

The new PRD Cadmiumdosimeter from ECOTEST is a high-performance device that can detect and localize radioactive and nuclear materials. It uses the external gamma and neutron radiation of these materials.

The device is powered by Csl scintillation detectors for gamma. Belonging to the new generation of scintillation detectors, they come with high-sensitivity. For neutron, it uses the Lil of neutron radiation with a solid-state silicon photomultiplier.

The new SPRD SPECTRA is more sophisticated than the Cadmium. It can also use the amplitude gamma spectra and has the capacity to categorize radionuclides. A cutting-edge algorithm enables this device to detect the slightest change in the gamma and neutron background level.

Border and customs agencies use this highly sensitive and compact radiation survey meter to prevent the illegal transfer of radionuclide materials. It is also a preferred device for organizations that work with sources of gamma and neutron radiation.

The combination of high sensitivity, compact design, and large color display enables the SPRD SPECTRA to generate unparalleled user experience.

How Do You Use A Radiation Survey Meter?

Effective radiation detectors are designed for ease of use in a variety of situations, including field conditions. It is possible to use them even when one is in protective gear. They are easily portable and often compact enough to be hand-held.

Radiation survey meters provide easy display and readability, often with an audible indication of the radiation counts or dose. These devices read either in roentgens per hour or in milliroentgens per hour.

The usage spheres of radiation detectors are varied and span both personal and public uses. Radiological laboratories are areas for the use of radiation survey meters. So are battlefields.

ECOTEST’s MKS-UM, for example, got regularly deployed during peacekeeping in the Middle East. This type of device that can function in severe weather conditions is also used by nuclear power plants and at storage sites of radioactive wastes.

Local emergency response cells use these devices in case of any disaster involving the release of radioactive or nuclear materials.

Public health departments use both devices of the MKS-UM variety and the more compact hand-held ones to analyze samples collected from areas near a nuclear power plant or a storage site of radioactive waste to check if there is any release of radioactive materials.

The hand-held devices such as the SPRD SPECTRA and PRD Cadmium are used widely by law enforcement agencies such as border security forces. The use of these devices allows the detection of any radioactive or nuclear materials being smuggled.

The Basics Of Radiation Survey Meters: Explained

  • How does radiation cause biological damage?

    Radiation causes biological harm by damaging the DNA of cells. This is a direct effect. Over-exposure may alter the DNA of cells sufficiently for cells to be unable to reproduce themselves. The life-sustaining system gets compromised, therefore. The indirect effect of radiation leads to the generation of toxic substances that can destroy cell walls.

  • How many roentgens will kill you?

    Exposure to 10Gy or a higher dose of radiation can kill within hours. Exposure to 4.5-6 Gy can cause death within 60 days. Exposure to 1.5-2 Gy is not lethal, but it can cause cancer.

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