Outdoor measurements of thoron progeny in a 232Th-rich area with deposition-based alpha track detectors and corrections for wind bias
Radon and thoron progeny are important contributors to dose from naturally occurring radionuclides, especially in high background areas and with naturally occurring radioactive material (NORM) legacy sites. Due to the short half-life of thoron, measurements of thoron progeny with a longer half-life should be used for risk and dose assessment. Deposition-based alpha track detectors for such progeny are, however, biased by air movement, especially outdoors where winds may be strong but variable. We used deposition detectors for thoron progeny and radon progeny, as well as alpha track gas detectors for 220Rn and 222Rn, outdoors within the Fen complex in Norway, an area with both elevated levels of naturally occurring radionuclides and NORM legacy sites. Different detector types were used and showed different results. We measured airflow along deposition detectors during deployment to assess wind bias and used statistical models to attain location-specific sheltering factors. These models assess how explanatory terms like point measurements with anemometer, predicted airflow along detectors, and levels of 220Rn and 222Rn explained variation in deposition detector measurements of TnP and RnP. For all the detector types, unrealistically, high equilibrium values (F) were found between progenitor noble gas and progeny before correcting for wind bias. Results suggest a magnitude of wind bias on TnP deposition detectors being a fraction of 0.74–0.96 (mean: 0.87) of the total measurement.
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