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Soil Science Society of America Journal Abstract -

Radiation Hazard from Americium-Beryllium Neutron Moisture Probes1


This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 40 No. 4, p. 492-494
    Received: Oct 14, 1975
    Accepted: Mar 3, 1976

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  1. G. W. Gee,
  2. J. F. Stiver and
  3. H. R. Borchert2



Neutron fluxes from shielded neutron moisture probes need to be measured to evaluate total radiation exposure from these instruments. Theoretical considerations suggest that for 100 mCi Am-Be neutron moisture probes the fast neutron flux can be relatively high and contribute significantly to the radiation exposure of probe operators.

Measured radiation dose levels at the surface of 100 mCl Am-Be neutron probes manufactured by Troxler Laboratories were found to be as high as 37m Rem hours-1 which exceeds reported levels by as much as 38 times. This is likely due to nonreporting of fast neutron fluxes. Conventional field use of these probes may present a radiation hazard to operators if the probe is hand carried for periods which exceed 3 hours/week. The probe should be transported to and from sites inside a wooden storage crate and be kept at least 1 m from personnel. To improve the radiation safety factor for on site use we recommend a hand cart to transport the probe.

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