Traditional techniques for the assessment of pollutants in contaminated land, notably brown-field sites, may not yield the speed and accuracy now required for estimates of risk and remediation cost. Detailed site investigation is often limited by the time and cost of laboratory-based analysis techniques and time-consuming data collation phases. Thus, relatively straightforward technical issues, such as the mapping of priority areas of a site, can be unnecessarily delayed and expensive. The GROUNDHOG system was developed to address these problems and to provide a platform for the development of a range of techniques for the radiological survey of potentially contaminated land. The system brings together the best of well-established and recent technologies. Visualisation of the survey results is improved by the use of Geographical Information Systems and Database systems allow an audit trail to be maintained as part of a Quality Assurance programme. Development of the Groundhog system has continued, increasing the sensitivity of the system for some applications, using gamma radiation spectrometry systems to provide qualitative measurements and constructing ruggedised systems for surveys of areas where the risks associated with manual surveys are deemed unacceptable. In recent years, ‘conventional’ Groundhog surveys have been performed on many nuclear and non-nuclear sites, for a wide range of reasons: de-licensing nuclear facilities; pre- and post-remediation surveys of contaminated land; during the remediation of contaminated land, to reduce waste volume. Specialised versions of the system have been developed and used for the location of discrete nuclear fuel ‘particles’ on beaches, sub-surface measurements have been made for estimating waste volume and a submarine survey has been conducted. This paper describes some of the projects completed and the technologies used to perform the work.

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