This part of ISO 18589 specifies the identification and the measurement of the activity in soils of a large number of gamma-emitting radionuclides using gamma spectrometry. This non-destructive method, applicable to large-volume samples (up to about 3 000 cm3), covers the determination in a single measurement of all the γ-emitters present for which the photon energy is between 5 keV and 3 MeV.
This part of ISO 18589 can be applied by test laboratories performing routine radioactivity measurements as a majority of gamma-emitting radionuclides is characterized by gamma-ray emission
between 40 keV and 2 MeV.
The method can be implemented using a germanium or other type of detector with a resolution better than 5 keV.
This part of ISO 18589 is addressed to people responsible for determining gamma-emitting radionuclides activity present in soils for the purpose of radiation protection. It is suitable for the surveillance of the environment and the inspection of a site and allows, in case of accidents, a quick evaluation of gamma activity of soil samples. This might concern soils from gardens, farmland, urban or industrial sites that can contain building materials rubble, as well as soil not affected by human activities.
When the radioactivity characterization of the unsieved material above 200 μm or 250 μm, made of petrographic nature or of anthropogenic origin such as building materials rubble, is required, this material can be crushed in order to obtain a homogeneous sample for testing as described in ISO 18589-2.