Environmental Radioactivity Research Centre

The principal facility is the Environmental Radiometric Laboratory (ERL), situated in the Chadwick Laboratories, developed jointly by the ERRC and the Department of Physics.  This laboratory has specialised in the use of low-background hyper-pure germanium gamma spectrometers for measuring low-level environmental radioactivity. The equipment currently includes 4 OrtecHPGe GWL series well-type detector and one GMX series coaxial detector, each housed in a 100mm thick lead castle lined with 3mm thick sheets of copper. Three systems are also equipped with NaI(Tl) anti-coincidence shields. Spectra are analysed for up to 30 environmental radioisotopes, including 210Pb, 226Ra, 137Cs, 134Cs, 241Am, 7Be and 40K.

Alpha counting facilities have been developed within the Geography Department (Dr Plater).  These facilities include four 450mm PIPs alpha detectors housed in a Canberra 7404 spectrometer and routed to System 100 spectrometric software on an Opus V PC via a Canberra 1520 integrated ADC-Mixer/Router.  The sample preparation laboratory in the Geography Department has the facilities for the ion exchange separation and electroplating of uranium-series radionuclides.


Hyper-pure germanium well-type gamma detectors in the Environmental Radiometric Laboratory