This document provides a method that allows an estimation of gross radioactivity of alpha- and beta-emitters present in soil samples. It applies, essentially, to systematic inspections based on comparative measurements or to preliminary site studies to guide the testing staff both in the choice of soil samples for measurement as a priority and in the specific analysis methods for implementation.
The gross α or β radioactivity is generally different from the sum of the effective radioactivities of the radionuclides present since, by convention, the same alpha counting efficiency is assigned for all the alpha emissions and the same beta counting efficiency is assigned for all the beta emissions.
Soil includes rock from bedrock and ore as well as construction materials and products, potery, etc. using naturally occurring radioactive materials (NORM) or those from technological processes involving Technologically Enhanced Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials (TENORM), e.g. the mining and processing of mineral sands or phosphate fertilizer production and use.
The test methods described in this document can also be used to assess gross radioactivity of alpha- and beta-emitters in sludge, sediment, construction material and products following proper sampling procedure.
For simplification, the term “soil” used in this document covers the set of elements mentioned above.