The Anthropogammametry laboratory of SCK•CEN measures internal contaminations of persons. We have a large infrastructure in Mol to do these monitoring measurements. This infrastructure is used on a daily basis for routine follow-up of workers in the nuclear field. The laboratory is also equipped with mobile instruments that can be used outside the SCK•CEN domain for example in case of incidents.
When working with radioactive products and in case of incidents, the risk exists that these radioactive particles enter the body. This can happen by inhalation of contaminated particles in air or by swallowing small particles from contaminated products, for example when contaminated gloves get in contact with the mouth. That way, these substances get into the lungs or into the digestive system where they will be (partially) absorbed in the blood. By blood transport they can spread over the full body.
When these substances are radionuclides emitting gamma-radiation, it is possible to detect their presence from outside the body, as gamma radiations can penetrate trough tissues and skin. By analyzing the energy and the amount of radiations coming from the body (gamma-spectrometry), we can evaluate which radionuclide is present in the body and also how much of it is present. In the laboratory for Anthropogammametry we can for example detect internal contaminations of cesium-137, cobalt-60 or iodine-131.
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