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J. Erchinger, C. Marianno, and A. Herring, "Development of a Customized Radiation Monitor for Livestock Screening," Health Physics 108:5 (2015).


The monitoring and decontamination of livestock has been an emerging topic in emergency response planning in recent years. Under the National Response Framework, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is tasked with providing support to the states during a radiological incident for the "assessment, control, and decontamination of contaminated animals, including companion animals, livestock, poultry, and wildlife." While there are currently no protocols in place on a national level for coordinated animal response, working groups have been developing a command structure and task force procedures, and some states have issued their own guidelines. A customized Bovine Screening Portal was manufactured and tested at Texas A&M University to investigate the operational capabilities in detecting, identifying, and localizing external contamination on livestock. An array of six sodium iodide detectors attached to power-over-Ethernet Multi-Channel Analyzers was used to collect time-stamped count rates, and spectral data were collected as a heifer was led past the detector panel. A 1.85 × 105 Bq  137Cs source was placed in four locations on a heifer, which was led through a cattle chute adjacent to the detector panel. The trials were repeated walking the heifer through a walkway with detectors hung on cattle pens lining a walkway. The Bovine Screening Portal observed increased count rates (>10σ) from the 1.85 × 105 Bq  137Cs source in live time. The identification capabilities with the intuitive software interface of the BSP are consistent with the requirements of a detection system for radiological emergency management of livestock.

Associated Project(s):

  • Effective Contamination Detection for Livestock Following a Radiological Event

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