The Radiochemistry Unit at the Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygieneplans on working with the FDA and other FERN laboratories to extend currentrapid-screening methods to more food matrices, to develop new rapid-screeningmethods, and to extend and develop methods to identify specific radionuclides.Some work intensive steps-like wet-ashing and chromatography-requireconsiderable attention by an analyst. It is proposed that these steps beautomated to increase the sample preparation rate and to allow analysts tospend more time on other tasks. The Radiochemistry Unit will remain in a state ofpreparedness, for both emergency and routine surveillance samples, by keepinga sufficient stock of supplies, by periodic preventative maintenance ofinstrumentation, and by keeping an inventory of spare parts for theinstrumentation. It is proposed that three computer programs be developed. One programalready performs several tasks, one is partially developed, and one has not yetbeen started. The first program has been developed to calculate a sample'sgross alpha activity from its known alpha emitters. The calculated gross alphaactivity can be compared to the experimental gross alpha activity to determinewhether all of a sample's alpha activity has been accounted for. The program canalso be used interactively to perform activity calculations and to help identifyunknown radionuclides. One objective is to further develop this program tocalculate a sample's gross beta activity from its known beta emitters. The secondprogram has been partially developed to fit the peaks of alpha spectra in caseswhere there is considerable peak overlap. In some cases, peak overlap inspectra cannot be avoided; in other cases, peak overlap is the result ofcontamination or excessive broadening of the peaks, due to a high precipitatemass. In such cases, the peak fit program can be used to obtain more accurateinformation than could be obtained using a region of interest approach. It isproposed that this program be completed. It is proposed that a third program bewritten to optimize the use of labor and resources during and emergencysituation. Any or these programs will be available to other FERN laboratories.
This grant will be used to increase the Nation's capacity to analyze food in the event of a radiological emergency. This grant will also be used to make improvements in the planning and execution of an emergency strategy.