Testing of high-volume sampler inlets for the sampling of atmospheric radionuclides

Health Phys. 2006 Sep;91(3):188-99. doi: 10.1097/01.HP.0000203312.18758.dd.


Sampling of air for radioactive particles is one of the most important techniques used to determine the nuclear debris from a nuclear weapon test in the Earth's atmosphere or those particles vented from underground or underwater tests. Massive-flow air samplers are used to sample air for any indication of radionuclides that are a signature of nuclear tests. The International Monitoring System of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization includes seismic, hydroacoustic, infrasound, and gaseous xenon isotopes sampling technologies, in addition to radionuclide sampling, to monitor for any violation of the treaty. Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute has developed a large wind tunnel to test the outdoor radionuclide samplers for the International Monitoring System. The inlets for these samplers are tested for their collection efficiencies for different particle sizes at various wind speeds. This paper describes the results from the testing of two radionuclide sampling units used in the International Monitoring System. The possible areas of depositional wall losses are identified and the losses in these areas are determined. Sampling inlet type 1 was tested at 2.2 m s wind speed for 5, 10, and 20-microm aerodynamic diameter particles. The global collection efficiency was about 87.6% for 10-microm particles for sampling inlet type 1. Sampling inlet type 2 was tested for three wind speeds at 0.56, 2.2, and 6.6 m s for 5, 10, and 20-microm aerodynamic diameter particles in two different configurations (sampling head lowered and raised). The global collection efficiencies for these configurations for 10-microm particles at 2.2 m s wind speed were 77.4% and 82.5%, respectively. The sampling flow rate was 600 m h for both sampling inlets.

MeSH terms

  • Aerosols
  • Air Pollutants, Radioactive / analysis*
  • Particle Size
  • Radiation Monitoring / instrumentation*
  • Radioisotopes / analysis*
  • Wind


  • Aerosols
  • Air Pollutants, Radioactive
  • Radioisotopes