M.S. Thesis Defense by Jesson D. Hutchinson
Thursday, November 10, 2005

(Dr. Nolan Hertel , Chair)

"Handheld Gamma-Ray Spectrometry for Assaying Radioactive Materials in Lungs"


After a Radiological Dispersion Device (RDD) event, there will not be time to transport people to a whole-body-counter (WBC), since it is a specialized instrument. This work will assess the feasibility of using handheld spectrometers for measuring the radioactivity that may have been inhaled by a victim as a consequence of an RDD event. Measurements were made with a handheld isotope identifier using a slab phantom and several radioactive point sources. A Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) Realistic Torso Phantom and a set of phantoms based on Medical Internal Radiation Dose (MIRD) reports were also used in this work. These phantoms include the human skeleton and have tissue-equivalent organs. Computational models were developed of all of the phantoms using the Monte Carlo Transport code MCNP. After validation of the computer model, MCNP runs were conducted using other sources that are likely to be used in a RDD. Calculations were then done to find the Minimum Detectable Activity (MDA) of all sources used. The Minimum Detectable Dose (MDD) was then calculated for the LLNL phantom at various times after inhalation.