Development and application of a radioactivity characterization system for low-level radioactive waste
Low-level technological radioactive wastes, in Spain, are commonly produced in research and medical centers. These wastes must be characterized before conditioning in order to determine their radioactive content for inventory purposes. A prototype has been designed for beta-gamma radiological characterization of standardized 25 l bags containing heterogeneous low-density technological radioactive wastes within the density range 0.05-0.6 g/cm 3. The system consists of an iron shielding box with three NaI(Tl) and a silicon implanted detectors for gamma and gross beta activity determinations, respectively. The study of the measurement method, carried out with rotating scanning, included the optimization of the detection solid angle to minimize the uncertainties and the influence of the relative position of the radioactive material. Several materials and densities, in the range aforementioned, were considered to obtain the experimental attenuation factors, used for fitting a correction algorithm in function of density and γ-emission energy. The sensitivity of this method, calculated for the most frequent average density of this kind of waste (0.1 g/cm 3), is lower than 50 Bq/kg for the main β- γ emitters ( 137Cs and 60Co) and lower than 480 Bq/kg for gross beta activity.