[ RadSafe ] Radon Progeny affinity for Iron Oxide (rust)

Conway, Ken C kcconway at babcock.com
Thu Sep 12 14:40:12 CDT 2013

Long Lived alpha  activity from natural  sources on metals et al is credible. Outdoor metals are exposed to rainfall.    Radon Daughter Pb 210  (~ 22year t 1/2)  strikes and remains on metal. Alpha is detected from its alpha emitting and much shorter lived daughter Po .  Long lived alpha  on  exposed metals  from natural sources  is entirely credible. A classic example is a rail car or roof ducting.

-----Original Message-----
From: radsafe-bounces at health.phys.iit.edu [mailto:radsafe-bounces at health.phys.iit.edu] On Behalf Of dcoble tds.net
Sent: Thursday, September 12, 2013 11:59 AM
To: The International Radiation Protection (Health Physics) Mailing List
Subject: EXTERNAL:[ RadSafe ] Radon Progeny affinity for Iron Oxide (rust)

Dear RadSafers,
I am inquiring if there has been a study or report that supports the theory that Radon Progeny has an affinity for certain types of metal e.g., (rusty steel, galvanized steel, etc.)?  If so, can someone point me in the right direction or provide me a copy of the study or report?

Most field Technicians in the environmental remediation arena are familiar with or have experienced at some point increased low level alpha counts with hand held instrumentation when trying to release metal objects for unrestricted use.  I personally have experienced it when surveying steel.
Painted portions would be at or below background while rusty sections of the same piece of steel would produce alpha counts from 2 to 10 times background.  Considering free air background ranged from 0 to 2 cpm.

Historical assessment of the area the steel came from revealed no known reason for the metal to be contaminated.  Surveys of the metal were required due to decommissioning plans or site specific procedures and were established to be conservative.  Additionally, resurveys or the same area 2 or 3 days later would not indicate the presence of alpha emitters.  This leads me to believe that the culprit is Radon Progeny.

Thanks in advance for any help that you may provide.
Douglas Coble,
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