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Alpha Spectrometry Training Course

The field of alpha spectrometry has seen some significant developments in recent years, both in the area of sample preparation as well as new system designs, which provide for more efficient counting and analysis. This 5-day course will begin with a review of the basics of alpha spectrometry and then present a detailed overview of some of the most useful innovations for the analyst. Real-world examples will be emphasized throughout and a "hands-on" approach will be emphasized with about 60-70% laboratory sessions. Recent groups included not only students from the U.S., but also international participants. Topics will include:

  • Sources and distribution of radioactive contamination of the environment
  • Basics of sample preparation for alpha spectrometry
  • New approaches to sample preparation
  • Redox chemistry of the actinides (separating actinides by solution chemistry)
  • Use of new types of ion exchange and extraction chromatographic resins
  • Source preparation techniques by electro deposition and micro precipitation techniques
  • Some specific method descriptions including screening procedures
  • Basics of alpha radiation, detectors, sample counting
  • Recommended QA/QC practices
  • Energy and efficiency calibration
  • Prevention of recoil contamination
  • Background and reagent blank corrections
  • Nuclide activity calculations (calculations for U, Th, Pu, Am analysis)
  • Propagation of counting errors, MDA’s
The course has been designed so that students new to alpha spectrometry will benefit from the fundamentals being presented while the more experienced analysts will gain from exposure to a review as well as the presentation of new and developing techniques. Students will receive classroom instruction and will work in small groups in the laboratory under close supervision with instructor:

Dr. Bill Burnett
Environmental Radioactivity Measurement Facility
Department of Oceanography
Florida State University
Tallahassee, FL 32306

List of Tentative Laboratory Experiments:

Standard Experiments
  1. Review of counting procedures-1 (energy calibration, pulser checks, etc.)
  2. Review of counting procedures-2 (recoil prevention, efficiency, geometry considerations)
  3. Calculation of theoretical counting geometries
  4. Methods of coprecipitation for actinide analyses
  5. U, Th, and Pu in soil via ion exchange procedures
  6. Screening analysis for actinides in water via extraction chromatography
  7. Preparation of counting sources by fluoride microprecipitation/filtration
  8. Electrodeposition of sources and determination of electrodeposition rates
  9. Calculation of sample activities, propagation of counting errors
Additional Experiments (By Request)
  1. Separation of U, Am, Pu from air filters via extraction chromatography
  2. Radium Isotopes in water samples via alpha spectrometry

Partners in Training

GEL Laboratories LLC, Charleston, South Carolina
National Physical Laboratory, Teddington, United Kingdom
Eichrom Technologies, Lisle, Illinois
TrisKem International, Bruz, France
University of Hawaii, Earth Sciences Department
  • Course Schedule +

    Course Alpha Spectrometry (TNG-ALPHA-SPEC)
    Date January 23-27, 2023 (Register)
    Location University of Hawaii, Earth Sciences Dept.
    Tuition $4243
    Course Alpha Spectrometry (TNG-ALPHA-SPEC)
    Date Not Scheduled
    Location GEL Laboratories, Charleston, South Carolina
    Tuition $4243
    Course Alpha Spectrometry (TNG-ALPHA-SPEC)
    Date Not Scheduled
    Location The National Physical Laboratory (NPL), Teddington, UK
    Tuition £3146 plus VAT
      Interested in attending a future Alpha Spectrometry class?

  • General Information +

    Registration Confirmation
    Attendance is confirmed pursuant to receipt of a credit card or purchase order required to secure your registration. After submitting the course registration form you will be contacted via return email with instructions for providing this information. If a credit card is supplied to secure your registration, the card will not be charged until the course in completed. Course capacity is filled in order of the date of receipt of credit card or purchase order information.


    • Included in the tuition fee are all course materials, including texts and certificate.
    • Not included are transportation costs, lodging accommodations, and other personal expenses.
    • Prices subject to change without notice.

    Cancellation Policy
    • Cancellations received at least 20 business days prior to class will receive a full refund of class tuition.
    • Cancellations received 10-19 business days before the class date will be refunded 75% of class tuition.
    • Cancellations received 1-9 business days before the class date will be refunded 50% of class tuition.
    • Refunds will not be given for "no shows."

    Cancellation Liability
    • ORTEC reserves the right to cancel classes for any reason.
    • ORTEC's liability is limited to the return of the tuition fee only.
    • ORTEC will not reimburse registrants for any travel or hotel cancellation fees or penalties.

    Participant Identification
    Please bring a form of photo identification with you to accommodate us with your visitor/badging check-in procedures.

    Hotel Accommodations

    Preferred Hotel at GEL in Charleston, SC
    • Embassy Suites / 337 Meeting Street, Charleston, SC 29403 / Tel. +1 (843) 723-6900
    • Transportation is provided from the Embassy Suites to GEL

    Preferred Hotel at University of Hawaii