Mapping radioactive contamination using aerial survey measurements is an area under active investigation today. The radiometric aerial survey technique has been extensively applied following reactor accidents and also would provide a key tool for response to a malicious radiological or nuclear incident. Methods exist to calibrate the aerial survey system for quantification of the concentration of natural radionuclides, which can provide guidance. However, these methods have anticipated a spatial distribution of the source which is large in comparison to the survey altitude. In rapid emergency-response aerial surveys of areas of safety concern, deposits of relatively small spatial extent may be expected. The activity of such spatially restricted hot spots is underestimated using the traditional methods. We present here a spatial deconvolution method which can recover some of the variation smoothed out by the averaging due to survey at altitude. We show that the method can recover the true spatial distribution of concentration of a synthetic source. We then apply the method to real aerial survey data collected following detonation of a radiological dispersal device. The findings and implications of the deconvolution are then discussed by reference to a groundbased truckborne survey over the same contamination.

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Journal of Environmental Radioactivity
Department of Physics

Sinclair, L.E, & Fortin, R. (Richard). (2019). Spatial deconvolution of aerial radiometric survey and its application to the fallout from a radiological dispersal device. Journal of Environmental Radioactivity, 197, 39–47. doi:10.1016/j.jenvrad.2018.10.014