Why Test For Radioactivity?

Radioactivity constitutes potential harm to humans and the environment because of its ability to interact with and change matter. Its radiation is “ionizing” which means that it has enough energy to remove electrons from atoms or molecules when it passes through or collides with some material. The regulation of radioactivity falls under the authority of the US Environmental Protection Agency and the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Where Does Radioactivity Come From?

Radioactivity is everywhere and originates from three primary sources. NATURALLY OCCURRING RADIOACTIVE MATERIAL has been present since the creation of the planet and is found in air, water and throughout the earth’s crust. ANTHROPOGENIC, or man-made radioactivity, originates from nuclear reactors, fallout from nuclear weapons testing, nuclear accelerators and the manufacture of isotopes used for medical purposes. COSMOGENIC radioactivity is caused when cosmic rays strike the earth, inducing radioactivity in the atmosphere.

How Do We Test for Radioactivity?

Radioactivity is measured by detecting the atomic disintegrations that occur in a sample and counting the number of these events that occur during a specific time period. Scientific instruments employ one of five basic technologies – High Purity Germanium Crystal detection, Liquid Scintillation Counting, Alpha Scintillation Counting, Alpha Spectroscopy and Gas Flow Proportional Counting. Prior to detection, specific isotopes are often isolated from the sample matrix by means of chemical separations.

What services does the Pace Analytical Radchem Laboratory perform?

  • Site Characterization/Decommissioning
  • Waste Characterization
  • Power Plants, CRUD, Charpy Analysis
  • In-Vessel & Ex-Vessel Dosimetry
  • Human Bioassay – Personnel Protection
  • Environmental Monitoring
  • Mixed Waste Characterization
  • Remedial Investigations/Feasibility (RI/FS)
  • Remediation
  • Wastewater Testing – 40CFR Part 136; NPDES
  • Drinking Water Testing – 40CFR Part 141

What are Pace Analytical’s Qualifications and Credentials?

  • NRC Materials Handling License
  • DOECAP, DOD ELAP, ISO 17025, and NELAP Accredited
  • 45+ State Certifications
  • Utah DOH Certified #ANTE2
  • Westinghouse, Qualified Supplier – 10 CFR Part 50 App. B;
    NQA – 1
  • USDA License for quarantined soil
  • Participant – DOE, Environmental Measurements Lab, QA Program, Proficiency testing, Lab Code WE
  • Participant – Department of Energy, Mixed Analyte Performance Evaluation Program, Lab Code WEST04

What are Pace Analytical’s Capabilities?

Pace Analytical can provide testing for virtually all environmentally feasible radioisotopes.

  • Gas Flow Proportional Counting
    • Gross alpha/beta, Sr-90, Ra-228
  • Liquid Scintillation Counting
    • H-3, C-14, Fe-55, Ni-63, Tc-99, Pu-241


  • Alpha Spectroscopy
    • Pu-238-239/240-242, Am-241, Th-228-230-232, U-234-235-238, Cm-242-243/244
  • Gamma Spectroscopy
    NORM, Rapid Ra-226 (waste characterization), photon emitters, I-129