Despite almost being retired , Roger is still involved in radiation protection , with an emphasis on seeking a more practical and proportionate approach to decision-making at low dose . In 2016 , Roger was awarded an OBE for services to nuclear safety and radiological protection .
Looking to the future , Roger thinks the radiation protection community faces two main challenges :
• Motivating young people to join the profession . Roger thinks SRP has a role to play in this , but is also keen to emphasise the key role of employers .
• Common sense . “ We ’ ve had a lot of clever people involved in radiation protection , but we ’ ve lost common sense .” The system of radiation protection can be protracted , with international recommendations from ICRP being interpreted into standards by the IAEA and European radiation protection community , which in turn feed in to UK legislation . This can lead to aspects which are complicated , and in some instances even unhelpful . “ We could make it simpler and more understandable ; that ’ s occupying a bit of my time now .”
We wish Roger all the best with this attempt at retirement , though we are also sure there are many more publications and appearances yet to come .
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The LSC is capable of low limits of detection . Calorimetry techniques measure the decay heat emitted by tritium and are only suitable for samples containing very high concentrations of tritium , such as nuclear wastes .
Surface contamination monitoring Tritium contamination monitoring is difficult because its weak beta emissions are not detectable using a conventional beta probe . The beta particles cannot penetrate the detector ’ s protective glass tube or plastic scintillant . Several counters for the direct monitoring of tritium contamination have been developed in the past . One was the Whitlock tritium monitor , which contained a thin plastic sheet of scintillant ( approximately 10 cm x 10 cm ), surrounded by a rubber seal . The seal was placed on a flat surface and the instrument handle pumped to create a vacuum . It worked but had the disadvantage of only being suitable for very smooth flat surfaces and one had to wait while the effect of light on the scintillant decayed .
Radiation Protection Today Winter 2022
The most common method for the detection of surface tritium contamination is to take wipes using cellulose or glass fibre filter papers . It is possible to analyse the tritium activity on these directly in an ion chamber or gas proportional counter , but these methods have the drawback that a static charge builds up on the papers as beta particles are emitted , causing the count rate to drop off . In an attempt to overcome this , the nuclear industry unsuccessfully trialled the use of thin aluminium foils in place of filter papers .
It is more usual for cellulose or glass fiber filter papers to be placed in a scintillant liquid and analysed by LSC . Results may require correction for the effects of quenching within the filter paper , but the technique is capable of achieving very low detection limits for
−2 tritium , in the order of several Bq cm on solid surfaces . Most laboratories that use tritiated materials therefore use a liquid scintillation counter for research samples . They also use internal standards provided with the machine to calibrate the instrument .