Hello from Bulgaria & thoriated tungsten rods spectra

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gwgw
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Joined: 13 May 2019, 08:09
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Hello from Bulgaria & thoriated tungsten rods spectra

Post by gwgw » 13 May 2019, 08:56

Hello all,

My name is Milen and I am from Bulgaria (SE Europe). I am a software developer and very much a newbie at gamma spectrometry.

I am interested in investigating naturally-occuring gamma sources - my country has a long lasting uranium mining history (since 1938 - first explored by the Nazis and then exploited by the USSR/Bulgarian company and stuff exported to them to build their first nuclear bombs). Despite all the mines were closed almost 30 years ago, many were sloppily recultivated and sometimes you can even see something like that in the wild. There are couple of closed uranium mines right in the outskirts of the capital city which I hope I'd have the chance to walk around and investigate. There are also horror stories about a village nearby that had their streets paved with materials from the nearby uranium mine in the early 90s and geiger counters still go crazy around them...so pretty much interesting stuff around here. Besides that, our country was among the affected by Chernobyl disaster and there are still probably some cs137 leftovers to be discovered in the mountains, so I will be looking for that too.

That said, natural background is pretty boring at home (even radon daughters barely visible on the spectrum). Right now, the "hottest" thing I've tested (and it makes a good poor man's calibration source) are those thoriated tungsten welding rods - I have five of them, 17.5cm, 1.6mm diameter. I measured them (sloppily) for about an hour or more in my poor "steel castle" which was made by steel Г-profiles about 1.5cm thick (and give about 2.1x overall reduction in CPS):

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The thorium series products are quite noticeable. Hopefully I will soon build a real lead castle and go find some interesting rocks to test. We have a granite mountain nearby which is a popular tourist destination, so even without lurking around the former uranium mines, there are still probably some nice rock samples to test...

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