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Activity name RADSHIELD 2:  Activity estimation of shielded or hidden radionuclides in emergency conditions 
NKS-B Research Area Emergency preparedness
Project summary

In field applications, the activity determination of a radioactive source is a challenge because of an unknown measurement geometry and unknown attenuating materials between the source and the detector. The source could be heavily masked. To draw correct conclusions from the spectrometric measurements, new analysis methods have to be developed. This approach was successfully demonstrated in the NKS project RadShield, 2017.


The spectrum contains information about the thickness of the shield around the source. RadShield identified two promising methods: (1) traditional peak analysis resolving individual peaks and then determining their peak area ratios for the attenuation calculation and (2) step analysis underneath each peak. It was shown that these two methods require careful calibration measurements with different radionuclides and attenuating materials, such as lead, iron, water and concrete, to provide information that can be used to reveal the thickness of an unknown shield between the detector and the source. It was succesfully demonstrated that the thickness of an unknown shield around a gamma emitter can be determined with spectrometric measurements in field conditions without knowing the location of the source. This is a major step towards realistic radiological risk estimation.


The present research consortium aims to further develop these analytical methods towards operational use in emergency and threat situations. The project will thus provide initiatives for better characterization of unknown gamma emitters which are either sealed or behind complex obstacles.

Lead Organization FOI, Sweden
Contact Person Henrik Ramebäck
phone number: +46 70 263 9407


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