Alpha radiation emitting radon (Rn) gas seepage into homes in the USA leads to over 21,000 annual lung cancer deaths (according to the US-Environmental Protection Agency, EPA) leading to mandatory monitoring for Rn throughout the USA. In the nuclear industry alpha emitting radionuclides in air (e.g., in spent fuel reprocessing) also constitute a major safety and security-safeguards related issues. Purdue University, along with Sagamore Adams Laboratories LLC, is developing the tensioned metastable fluid detector (TMFD) technology for general-purpose alpha-neutron-fission spectroscopy. This paper focuses on rapid, high-efficiency detection of Rn and progeny in air using the novel TMFD technology; Rn and progeny isotopes in air are sparged through the TMFD detection fluid (to entrap the radioactive gas), which is then placed under a metastable state. Through tailoring the metastable fluid state, an audible and visible cavitation detection event is created and readily detected from transient bubble formation. Changing the tensioned state allows for the spectroscopic differentiability of Rn and its daughters which can be used to actively measure the equilibrium between the parent and daughter products. Such a technique can also be used to monitor the atmosphere in critical nuclear facilities for contamination from other alpha emitting isotopes (e.g., Pu, Cm, U...). TMFDs offer the unique ability for high intrinsic efficiency (>95%) alpha-neutron-fission fragment detection, while remaining blind to background beta and gamma radiation (qualified to >3.8×108 Bq m−3 using a dissolved 32P beta source, and also via gammas from a 53 R/hr 137Cs gamma source). Immunity to beta and gamma is beneficial for the discrimination of buildup of beta-emitting Thoron and Rn progeny in the detection fluid allowing for reusability. This paper will discuss the research results pertaining to detection of Radon and progeny in air, for concentrations between 74 Bq m−3 (2 pCi/L) and 740 Bq m−3 (20 pCi/L). The system measures a radon concentration between these levels to within ±15% intrinsic relative error (IRE) within 24 hours meeting the standards outlined by the American Association of Radon Scientists and Technicians-National Radon Proficiency Program (AARST-NRPP) Device Evaluation Program. Precision evaluation was also performed and the relative standard deviation defined by the AARST-NRPP was <5% exceeded the requirement of 25%. Ambient temperature effects were assessed at 10 °C and at 27 °C, which revealed a large increase in collection efficiency with decreasing sampling temperature and slight increase with increasing sampling temperature. Temperature effects on sensitivity thresholds and volumetric expansion were measured and used to compensate for variability in temperature over time. Blind testing with the help of Bowser-Morner Radon Reference Laboratory was performed and succeeded in accurately determining the Rn in air concentration to within 20% within only 6h of sampling. Finally, a 48-hour based collection time has also been developed for use in dwellings where Rn in air concentrations may vary in a day. Overall, the reproducibility and precision of TMFD technology is found to allow for an efficient, cost-effective, reliable, and environmentally friendly means of Rn and progeny detection, and by extension for use for general actinide in air monitoring for the nuclear industry.

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