A non-destructive method and apparatus which is based on in-situ gamma spectroscopy is used to determine the depth of radiological contamination in media such as concrete. An algorithm, Gamma Penetration Depth Unfolding Algorithm (GPDUA), uses point kernel techniques to predict the depth of contamination based on the results of uncollided peak information from the in-situ gamma spectroscopy. The invention is better, faster, safer, and/cheaper than the current practice in decontamination and decommissioning of facilities that are slow, rough and unsafe. The invention uses a priori knowledge of the contaminant source distribution. The applicable radiological contaminants of interest are any isotopes that emit two or more gamma rays per disintegration or isotopes that emit a single gamma ray but have gamma-emitting progeny in secular equilibrium with its parent (e.g., .sup.60 Co, .sup.235 U, and .sup.137 Cs to name a few). The predicted depths from the GPDUA algorithm using Monte Carlo N-Particle Transport Code (MCNP) simulations and laboratory experiments using .sup.60 Co have consistently produced predicted depths within 20% of the actual or known depth.
STATEMENT OF GOVERNMENT INTEREST
Research to develop a prototype of the invention was supported partially by a National Science Foundation grant NSF/ILI #DUE-9750725 and a Department of Energy Grant DE-FG07-98ER62706.