You are on page 1of 28

Radiation Safety Training Survey Meter Use

Washington State University Radiation Safety Office

What is a Survey Meter?
 A survey meter is a portable handheld, electronic

instrument used to detect radiation, often called a “Geiger counter”.

the type of detector (or probe) must be chosen according to the kind of radioactive material that is being used. .Choosing a Survey Meter  Portable survey instruments can be very useful in aiding workers in locating radioactive contamination. However.

.)  Generally.Choosing a Survey Meter (cont. thin window Geiger-Mueller (GM) probes are best suited to detect beta radiation with energies above 70 keV  while sodium iodide (NaI) scintillators are best for gamma radiation.

your Authorized User or the Radiation Safety Office.4 days 83 days 60 days 8 days Beta Beta Beta Gamma Gamma 1709 249 167 35 364 Geiger-Mueller (GM) Geiger-Mueller (GM) Geiger-Mueller (GM) sodium iodide (NaI) scintillators (NaI) or (GM) Ensure that the probe you are using is capable of detecting the isotope you are using. If you are unsure.) Radioisotope H-3 C-14 Half-life 12 years 5730 years Principal Emission Beta Beta Average Energy Hand-held (KeV) instrument.Choosing a Survey Meter (cont. . consult with the manufacturer.6 157 None Geiger-Mueller (GM) P-32 P-33 S-35 I-125 I-131 14 days 24. 18.

.Know Your Meter!  Unless you know exactly what you are measuring and understand the limitations of detection instruments. it is possible to draw misleading conclusions from your readings.

.  The radiation from some isotopes can cause a Geiger- Mueller (GM) tube to overexcite and indicate a higher level of radiation than is actually present. Americium 241 is an example of this phenomenon.Know Your Meter! Here is one example.

Know Your Meter! Read the meter's operating manual to gain familiarity with the controls and operating characteristics of your meter. .

 The detector or probe is the device which produces electrical signals when exposed to radiation. It usually has a window through which radiation can penetrate its cavity. .Meter Parts.

. It often has two scales. The selector switch is a switch to turn the meter on-off. and/or select a scale multiplier. (Cont.)  The dial or readout is the gauge which indicates the amount of radiation exposure present.Meter Parts. mR/hr and/or CPM. check the meter batteries.

.)  The reset button allows the meter reading to be zeroed. This causes the readout needle to reset to zero so the user can accurately determine the count rate. (Cont. switch the scale multiplier to a higher range and push the reset button.Meter Parts. When the level of radiation or the number of counts exceeds the highest reading at a particular scale multiplier.

. For routine work set the response button to the slow mode “S”.Meter Parts. When this switch is on “F” the meter will have a faster response but.)  The response button adjusts the response time of the meter. the meter readings will be less stable. (Cont.

.Meter Parts. The speaker is in-line with the detector so each count produces an audible click on the speaker. (Cont.)  The speaker is an audible device connected to the radiation monitor. It may be located outside or inside the meter and may have its own battery.

While scanning areas. When you note any increases. . The audible response is much faster than the meter indication. stop and scan that area more thoroughly. listen to the "clicks" of the instrument rather than relying on meter deflection.Listen!  Always use the instrument's audible response while conducting surveys. Any sustained increase above background levels should be investigated. What you are listening for is any increase in the rate of "clicks" above normal background levels.

Check the cord for damage or wear. .Survey meter use.  1) Check the meter for any physical damage. Make sure the probe window has not been punctured.

Most meters are calibrated once a year. check the calibration sticker.Survey meter use.  2) Before using your meter. do not use it and contact the Radiation Safety Office. Be sure your meter is in calibration. If it is not. .

the batteries are weak and must be replaced. This is performed differently on different meters.  3) Perform a battery check. If not. The needle must be within BATT OK range.Survey meter use. Turn the selector switch to BATT position. . So please become familiar with your meter.

. Remember there is always background radiation.Survey meter use. Record the background reading in the Survey Meter Quality Assurance Notebook. 4) Check the background radiation levels.

Survey meter use.  5) Check your meters response to a known radiation source. This meter has an attached check source. . use the source in the meter notebook. If yours does not.

Arthur Dent 555-4242 Ford Prefect 555-5883 . Ludlum 3 44-9 111111111 22222222 Fill in Meter storage location. Every survey meter should have a “Survey Meter Quality Assurance Notebook”.Survey meter use. Fill in probe model number and serial number. Fill in meter manufacturer and serial number. Be sure the cover page of your note book is filled in properly. Fill in Authorized User or Equipment Coordinator’s name and Fulmer 123 contact phone number and the same for an alternate contact.

.Survey meter use. Record this reading on the next page of the notebook. Place the meter probe over the check source to get the check source reading. This is the Response Check Source page in the notebook.

should have been 1/1/11 Dr. filled in by the Radiation 450 Safety Office. Probe and serial number.Survey meter use. Meter The Expected response to been source. Verify the calibration status of the meter. . The meter is now ready to be used for the radiation safety survey. Ludlum 3 44-9 1111111111 222222222 450 Be sure the information has check filled in on this page. Record the background reading and the name. Who 50 and serial number. Record the date and your response check reading.

Use of Survey Meter review.  .     Check for Calibration Sticker Check battery Check background radiation Check meter response to a known radiation source.Survey meter use. Record the check source results and background readings in the meter notebook.

Start the Survey. . if present. Remove plastic coverings. Use extreme care to avoid actually touching surfaces and spreading radioactive contamination to the detector. from the detector window as this will effectively shield out lower energy radiations and preclude their detection.  The detector's "window" (probe) should be held as close as possible (within about 1 cm (1/2 ")) to the surface being measured.

)  Scan surfaces slowly enough to detect the presence of low levels of radioactive contamination. the rate of detector movement should not exceed about 1" to 2" per second. .The Survey (Cont. Typically.

Select higher range scales as necessary to obtain maximum readings if contamination or other measurable radiation is detected. Whenever scanning surfaces for radioactive contamination. always use the lowest scale (i. x0.)  Ensure that you select the proper scale on the instrument for conducting the survey.The Survey (Cont.1 or x1 scale) available.e. ..

and equipment used in the experiment. door knobs. Such as Telephones. That have to potential for radioactive contamination and other areas that you might not think are contaminated.) Be sure to survey all areas of the lab. and lab coat sleeves. Everyone uses survey meters. floors.The Survey (Cont. . Always survey the bench tops.

click on it and take the test.  Click on the training tab.wsu. in the “OR” section. .edu  Use your WSU user name and password to sign in.  Then click on the available training tab  Find the radiation safety training Survey Meters course. https://myresearch.Test Time!  Follow this link to the test.