Efficiency study of a LEGe detector system for the assessment of 241AM in skull at Ciemat Whole Body Counter
241Am incorporation due to an incident or chronic exposure causes an internal dose, which can be evaluated from the total activity of this isotope in the skeleton several months after the intake. For this purpose, it is necessary to perform in vivo measurements of this bone-seeker radionuclide in appropriate counting bone geometries with very low attenuation of surrounded tissue and to extrapolate to total activity in the skeleton (ICRP 89, Basic anatomical and physiological data for use in radiological protection: reference values. 2001. 265). The work here presented refers to direct measurements of americium in the Cohen skull phantom at the CIEMAT Whole Body Counter (WBC) using low-energy germanium (LEGe) detectors inside a shielding room. The main goal was to determinate the most adequate head counting geometry for the in vivo detection of americium in the bone. The calibration of the in vivo LEGe system was performed with four detectors with 2 cm of distance to Cohen phantom. Two geometries were measured, on junction of frontal to parietal bones and frontal bone. The efficiencies are very similar in both geometries, the preferred counting geometry is the most comfortable for the person, with the LEGe detectors in the highest part of the frontal bone, near the junction with the parietal bone, CIEMAT WBC participated in a skull intercomparison exercise organised by WG7 of EURADOS (European Radiation Dosimetry Group e.V.). Efficiencies using three different skull phantoms were obtained. Measurements were performed for different head counting positions, four of them in the plane of symmetry and others over the temporal bone. The detector was placed in parallel with the calibration phantom at a distance of 1 cm. The main gamma emission of 241Am, 59.5 keV (36 %), was used for comparing efficiency values. The lower efficiency was obtained over the frontal and occipital bones. Measurement with one LEGe detector over the parietal bone is the most efficient. The activity of each skull phantom was calculated using CIEMAT head calibration. Results of the EURADOS intercomparison are presented here for discussion.
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