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Characterization of radiation response for first responder instrumentation




Fabian, Ryan, author
Brandl, Alexander, advisor
Johnson, Tom, committee member
Gudmestad, Robert, committee member

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Radiation exposures of first responders can present health concerns. Some situations where such radiation exposures of first responders may exist include emergencies at nuclear power plants or facilities that house nuclear materials, coming into contact with lost or stolen nuclear material or nuclear weapons, and a dirty bomb or nuclear weapon detonation. As a result, it is important for first responders to be outfitted with equipment appropriate for each of these emergency situations. One such piece of equipment is an electronic personal dosimeter (EPD). EPDs are capable of providing real-time dose and dose rate data, and can also produce audible alarms triggered when preset dose rate levels are exceeded; however, electronic personal dosimeters do not discriminate natural background radiation contributing to their signal. This can result in the first responders becoming distracted/confused by dose or dose rate readouts from natural background radiation, or in missed real radiation exposure threats from unknown sources. An algorithm which would allow for the discrimination of natural background radiation from an EPD's signal was developed in the course of this project. If applied and implemented in a commercial EPD, this algorithm will allow first responders to distinguish directly between a readout due to naturally occurring radon progeny in the environment and contributions from other sources of ionizing radiation.


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