Common Challenges



Gamma radiation can be found in a variety of forms and applications, both man-made and natural. Correct use of gamma sources provides numerous benefits to individuals and industries. However significant health risks to life and hazardous conditions of the environment may result if gamma sources are not identified, quantified, secured, and safely employed each time they are used. Complacency may result from familiarity with the common uses of gamma sources. Accurate, reliable, and constantly-used detection and monitoring equipment helps combat the sense of assumed security when dealing with these materials.



Common Radiation Sources from Everyday Use

  • Most household smoke detectors

  • Radium dial watches

  • Medical devices and materials

  • Industrial testing material

  • Old instruments from aircraft flight panels

  • Foods such as Brazil nuts, bananas, and raw lima beans



Low Level, Shielded Source

Sources that are intentionally or unintentionally shielded may be unnoticed and mishandled. The ability to detect even very low levels of radiation ensures that sources of radioactivity will be discovered and managed. Primary concerns are those that emit gamma and/or neutron radiation.



Terrestrial and extraterrestrial radiation is a naturally occurring component of background radiation. Environmental radiation can mask other, more dangerous sources. Learn more about Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials  (NORM).



Radiation levels from a radiation source decline rapidly as the distance from the source of the radiation increases. System designs that place the radiation detectors as close as possible to a subject under test for low-level, shielded sources are critical.



Minimizing the time period required to detect the radiation source will maximize throughput. A high throughput keeps commerce flowing and uninterrupted.


Perceived Initial Cost of the System

There have been several documented cases when complacency, lack of radiation knowledge, and failing to provisioning for the cost of detection has resulted in contamination and death on a very large scale. The radiological accident in Goiânia, Brazil is one of the best documented examples of the real cost, clean-up labor, equipment, disposal, lost real estate, and loss of life.