Radiation Studies in Caves

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Radiation Studies in Caves

Postby erin85 » Mar 2, 2010 11:47 am

Hi everyone-

I'm a grad student in nuclear engineering, who has recently gotten into caving a lot. I am interested in possibly doing a project on radiation in caves, but I'm looking for some advice or resources. I have read vague references in the literature to a radiation/radon monitoring program in the TAG region, but can't find anything specific. If anyone has advice on researchers working in this area that I might be able to contact (on any cave radiation projects, not just the TAG radon thing), or point me towards any relevant journals, I would very much appreciate it. Thanks!
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Re: Radiation Studies in Caves

Postby trogman » Mar 2, 2010 1:07 pm

I remember reading that radiation (probably radon) had been detected in Tumbling Rock in AL. Probably not uncommon, hopefully it's not too harmful, considering I've been through that cave about 20 or more times! :yikes: Maybe I can quit having to carry back up lights soon. :tonguecheek:

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Re: Radiation Studies in Caves

Postby Evan G » Mar 2, 2010 1:39 pm

As the project leader of the Horsethief-Bighorn Project in Wyoming; we do alpha, beta, and gamma testing in the cave system and surrounding caves and mines. Well, Titan Mine (old uranium mine a mile away from HTC-BH System) we no longer do testing because the Radon count came back at 125,000,000 pCi/L. All the caves on Little Mountain, WY have a tendency to be on the warm side.

When doing research on the hows and hows not of doing radioactive testing, I found very little to help me out. Most of the reply's where of the nature of ,"Sounds interesting, good luck!" What I have found that it is a new area in Speleology.

Here is a thread that was posted before:
Radioactivity and Radon Studies in Caves
viewtopic.php?f=13&t=1330&start=0&hilit=Radon
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Re: Radiation Studies in Caves

Postby Phil Winkler » Mar 2, 2010 2:20 pm

The NSS Office in Huntsville sits atop a large cave and the main section was built in 1983 or so. It was surveyed for radon and found to have a large amount back in the 80s. I think the state of Alabama used it as a test site for remediation methods.

You could contact Bill Torode, the NSS Librarian, for further info. I'm sure there are articles written about it. Whether the radon came from the cave (I think so) or the materials used in the office foundation I am not sure.
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Re: Radiation Studies in Caves

Postby John Lovaas » Mar 2, 2010 3:53 pm

Here's a link to some possible references at speleogenesis.info-

http://speleogenesis.info/journals/sear ... &keyword2=

and at the Karst Information Portal-

http://www.lib.usf.edu/karst-test/index ... 0&ST=Quick

and a Google Scholar search of <"Journal of Cave and Karst Studies"+radon"> turned up several papers on radiation in caves.
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Re: Radiation Studies in Caves

Postby Evan G » Mar 2, 2010 5:01 pm

One thing that we did find out in the Radon testing is the activated charcoal tester and film canister tester are pretty much useless in a cave environment. These testers where made under the EPA standards that a max of 4 pCi/L should be found in a basement and even at that point mitigation should be implemented. So both testers should be considered to be max out at 10 pCi/l , the problem we were finding is in cave environment you have between 80 to 100% humidity and the activated charcoal would become saturated with water and throw off the count. With the film the pCi/l count would "cook" the tester thus we had higher than 10 pCi/l. New tech in the last 10 years has moved us forward with excited teflon disks called e-perms by Rad Elec, Inc: http://www.radelec.com/. These e-perms gave us a foundation for the alpha testing which on the lower end was 52 pCi/l to several places being 10,000 pCi/l. Now with some of the new hand helds Alpha, Beta, Gamma tester you can do real time graphing into PDA. Such as: http://firstrespondernetwork.com/items/ ... detail.htm
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Re: Radiation Studies in Caves

Postby shibumi » Mar 2, 2010 8:55 pm

A caver in Bloomington of my acquaintance was part of the radon survey in the Mammoth Cave region in the late 80s, PM me and I'll put you in touch.

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Re: Radiation Studies in Caves

Postby Vince » Mar 3, 2010 5:31 pm

There was a paper presented at NCKMS 2005 on radiation in show caves

http://www.nckms.org/2005/pdf/Papers/aley-radon.pdf



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Re: Radiation Studies in Caves

Postby hewhocaves » Mar 21, 2010 11:04 am

Al Uminski et al. published a study on Radon in a Jersey cave in the 1990s. If you can't find a copy of the paper, I can probably scrounge one up or put you in contact with the author(s).
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