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What type of probe should I use to measure radiation contamination on a surface?

To determine the initial levels of contamination on a surface requiring decontamination using a Standard GM Pancake Probe (Thermo/Eberline HP-360 or Ludlum 44-9) or an equivalent Beta Scintillation Probe that reads out in units of cpm/dpm, follow the steps below.

Note: DO NOT use a radiation survey meter that reads out in mR/hr to conduct a survey as these instruments are not sensitive enough to provide accurate contamination readings.

Materials Needed:

  1. Standard GM Pancake Probe or equivalent Beta Scintillation Probe.

  2. A radiation survey meter that reads out in cpm/dpm.

  3. A recording device (notebook or electronic device).


  1. Ensure that you are wearing appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) such as gloves and a lab coat or protective clothing.

  2. Turn on the GM Pancake Probe or equivalent Beta Scintillation Probe and set it to the appropriate mode for measuring counts per minute (cpm) or disintegrations per minute (dpm).

  3. Calibrate the probe if necessary, following the manufacturer's instructions.

  4. Position the probe approximately 1-2 inches above the surface you want to survey for contamination.

  5. Move the probe at a consistent rate of 1-2 inches per second across the surface. Ensure that you cover the entire area that needs to be surveyed.

  6. While scanning, observe the display on the probe, which should provide a real-time reading in cpm or dpm.

  7. Record the cpm/dpm value displayed by the probe in your recording device. Note the location and time of the measurement for future reference.

  8. If you encounter areas with higher contamination levels, you may want to slow down and take multiple readings to obtain a more accurate assessment of the contamination level in that specific spot.

  9. Continue the survey until you have covered the entire contaminated area, ensuring that you have collected readings from all relevant locations.

  10. Once the survey is complete, review your recorded data to assess the extent and distribution of contamination across the surface.

  11. Use this data to determine the appropriate decontamination procedures required to reduce the contamination levels to acceptable limits. Follow established protocols for decontamination, which should include using Quick Decon Solutions.

  12. After decontamination is complete, you may repeat the survey using the same procedure to confirm that the contamination has been successfully reduced to acceptable levels.

RT Technologies is proud to offer several options for radiation decontamination. Our QDS products were developed by a combination of nuclear pharmacists, nuclear chemists, radiation experts, and NASA consultants with many years of experience in the nuclear and medical device industry. They have succeeded in the goal of developing a formula that would safely and significantly remove radioactive material from human skin and on other surfaces in the event of a nuclear event.

Remember to follow all safety guidelines and regulations for handling radioactive materials and conducting radiation surveys and consult with a radiation safety officer or expert if you have any concerns about the procedures or results.

Questions? Let us help! Click the button below, send us an email @, or give us a call at 770.332.0092.

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