After a release of radionuclides, accidental or otherwise, there will be an urgent need to identify members of the general public who have received a significant intake of radioactive material, sufficient to require medical treatment or further investigation. A large number of people could be contaminated in such an incident. For gamma-ray emitting radionuclides this screening could be carried out using gamma camera medical imaging systems, such as those that are present in many large UK hospital sites. By making a number of simple reversible changes such as removal of collimators, these cameras could be employed as useful additional screening instruments as well as an aid in contamination control. A study was carried out to investigate which systems were present in sufficient number to offer wide scale coverage of UK population centres. Nine gamma cameras (eight dual head and one single head) were assessed using point source and bottle mannequin (BOMAB) phantom measurements so that a mathematical model could be developed for use with the MCNPX Monte Carlo radiation transport code. The gamma camera models were assessed for practical seated and supine geometries to give calibration factors for a list of target radionuclides that could be released in a radiological incident. The minimum detectable activities (MDAs) that were achieved for a five minute measurement demonstrated that these systems are sufficiently sensitive to be used for screening of the general public and are comparable to other body monitoring facilities. While gamma cameras have on-board software that are designed for imaging and provide for a gamma-ray energy range suitable for radionuclides for diagnostic imaging (such as 99mTc), they are not as versatile as custom-built body monitoring systems.
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© 2016 IOP Publishing Ltd.
- Body monitoring
- Gamma camera
- Radiological protection