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Quantification of measurement uncertainty in the sequential determination of 210Pb and 210Po by liquid scintillation counting and alpha-particle spectrometry

Research paper by Chang-Kyu Kim, Paul Martin, Aleš Fajgelj

Indexed on: 15 Aug '08Published on: 15 Aug '08Published in: Accreditation and Quality Assurance



Abstract

Methodologies for the quantification of measurement uncertainties associated with the determination of 210Pb- and 210Po-specific activities by liquid scintillation counting (LSC) and alpha-particle spectrometry are presented, and are demonstrated using the soil reference material IAEA-326. Major contributors to the combined uncertainty associated with the measurement result of 210Pb were the uncertainties of net count rates in the 210Pb energy region of the sample spectrum and in the 210Bi energy region of the blank spectrum. The predominant sources of uncertainty in the measurement of 210Po were the uncertainties of net count rates in the regions of interest of 209Po and 210Po. The relative standard uncertainty of 210Po exponentially increases with the time interval between the sampling date and the separation date of Po, and this effect is strongly dependent on the 210Po/210Pb activity ratio. When the specific activity of 210Pb is much higher than that of 210Po in the sample, the relative standard uncertainty of the 210Po determination increases significantly within a short time interval between the sampling date (or reference date) and the separation date of Po in samples.