Livestock and companion animals are valuable economically and emotionally in the economy of many states and to their citizens. In a radiological emergency situation, the loss of a large amount of livestock could be devastating to a state or national economy. If such an event occurred, there are currently no screening and decontamination protocols for the handling of livestock. This research investigated current policies and procedures for monitoring and decontamination of livestock and companion animals, as well as testing pedestrian portal monitors and a newly designed livestock portal capable of radionuclide identification. It was discovered that only ten states addressed companion animals or livestock anywhere in their emergency planning. Of the ten, only North Carolina, Washington, and a Massachusetts K9 unit had detailed decontamination procedures to report for companion animals. None of the states included detailed procedures for livestock.
To address livestock screening, three pedestrian portal monitoring systems were tested in the field and lab trials – the Johnson AM801, TSA TPM903A, and Ludlum 52-1-1. The systems were tested for position and count rate sensitivity with 1 and 5 μCi 137Cs sources placed on four locations on a steer. Factors such as operability and ease of use were also considered. All three systems would alarm when a 5 μCi 137Cs source was used and the occupancy sensor was triggered. The Johnson AM801 system was determined to be the most appropriate for use in livestock screening due to sensitive alarm algorithms, greater position discrimination with four detectors, and ease of adjustment for agricultural purposes. The last phase of this project included designing and constructing a portal system that included radionuclide identification capabilities. An array of six sodium iodide detectors was mounted on a panel and field-tested beside a cattle chute and in a walkway. The custom portal, the Bovine Screening Portal (BSP), observed increased count rates (>10σ) from a 5 μCi 137Cs source in live time. The BSP demonstrated better detection and localization of the source and spectral identification capabilities compared to the commercially available pedestrian systems.
Model of cow entering squeeze chute with detectors
- J. Erchinger, C. Marianno, A. Herring, "Development of a Customized Radiation Monitor for Livestock Screening", Health Physics, 108, 5 (2015).
- Craig Marianno et al., "Bovine Screening Portal: Flying into the Field with Canberra", Published 15 March 2014 at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lEZak8uo-Lg.
- J. Erchinger, C. Marianno, and A. Herring, "Development of a Specialized Radiation Portal Monitor for Livestock Screening", 2014 STC-HPS Student Presentations and Annual Business Screening Meeting, College Station, Texas, 29 March 2014.
- J. Erchinger, C. Marianno, and A. Herring, "Development of a Custom Portal Monitor for Detection of Radioactive Contamination on Livestock", 58th Annual Health Physics Society Meeting, Madison, Wisconsin, 10 July 2013.
- J. Erchinger, "Investigating the operational Capabilities of Custom and Pedestrian Portal Monitoring Systems for Screening Livestock for Radioactive Contamination", M.S. Thesis, Health Physics, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX (2013).
- C.M. Marianno, J.L. Erchinger, and A.D. Herring, "Using a Specialized Radiation Portal System to Monitor Livestock Following a Radiological Incident", 23rd Annual National Radiological Emergency Preparedness Conference, Austin, Texas, 8-11 April 2013.
- L. Dromgoole and C.M. Marianno, "A Case for Changing I-131 Transfer Factors Based on Changes in Dairy Industry Practices", 23rd Annual National Radiological Emergency Preparedness Conference, Austin, Texas, 8-11 April 2013.
- L. Dromgoole, "A Case for Changing I-131 Transfer Factors Based on Changes in Dairy Industry Practices", Honors and Undergraduate Research. Available electronically from http://hdl.handle.net/1969.1/154883.
- C.M. Marianno, J. Erchinger, A. Herring, "The Use of Pedestrian Portal Monitors to Detect Contamination on Livestock Following a Large Scale Radiological Incident", The 57th Annual Meeting of the Health Physics Society, Sacramento, CA, 22-26 July 2012.
- J. Erchinger, C.M. Marianno, "Regulations and Recommendation Regarding Livestock Decontamination", The 57th Annual Meeting of the Health Physics Society, Sacramento, CA, 22-26 July 2012.
- J. Justina, "Radiation Transport Simulation Studies using MCNP for a Cow Phantom to Determine an Optimal Detector Configuration for new Livestock Portal", M.S. Thesis, Nuclear Engineering, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX (2012).
- J. Justina, C. Marianno, and S. Chirayath, "Radiation Transport Simulation Studies using MCNP for a Cow Phantom to Determine an Optimal Detector Configuration for New Livestock Portal", 56th Annual Meeting of the Health Physics Society, West Palm Beach, Florida, June 26-30, 2011.
- C.M. Marianno, J. Justina, and A. Herring, "Livestock Monitoring Following a Radiological Event", Chemical, Biological, Radiological & Nuclear Defense Information Analysis Center Forum: Food Protection from Rad Threats, Aberdeen, Maryland, February 15, 2011.