AEL AMS Webinar Series

The AEL AMS Laboratory Webinar Series


As a means to reach a broader research community and disseminate information about our laboratory, its technical capabilities, and the wide range of applications in AMS, the A. E. Lalonde AMS Laboratory will be hosting a series of webinars starting in February 2021.

The series will feature our specialized analytical facilities, expert staff, and guest speakers from a variety of fields. The webinars will offer users the opportunity to learn about new AMS techniques, explore applications in their field of interest, and connect with other users in the Canadian research community. We hope that these webinars will inspire new research initiatives that can take advantage of our world class facility.

Our next webinar will take place on Tuesday April 20th, 2021, 12:00 - 13:30 EDT and feature Dr. Kurt Ungar and Dr. Liam Kieser discussing environmental monitoring of radioisotopes, check out their abstracts below.

Radioactivity in the Environment

April 20, 2021, 12:00-13:30 EDT

Environmental Radiation Surveillance at Health Canada’s Radiation Protection Bureau

Guest speaker: Dr. Kurt Ungar, Head, Verification and Incident, Health Canada

Environmental radiation monitoring at Health Canada’s Radiation Protection Bureau (RPB) has evolved considerably since 1995, first through a program of rationalization including improvements to reliability of the national network field sampling; then to incorporation of a powerful global network providing daily air sample measurements of radioactive aerosols and radioxenon in support of Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Verification; and finally through establishment of a network of real-time spectroscopic dosimeters, configured nationally and regionally to improve incident response capability after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the USA.

Integration of high-performance atmospheric transport and dispersion modelling from Environment and Climate Change Canada allows a multi-scaled use of environmental data from all these networks for effective operational assessments of major incidents releasing radioactivity and assessment of the general radiological situation nationally and abroad. The approach includes a standard characterization of the radiological situation at the network station site but extends RPB’s capability to characterization of emission sources and their influence where measurement data is unavailable.

Lalonde AMS Capabilities for Monitoring of Radioactive Materials in the Environment

Guest speaker: Dr. Liam Kieser, Director, André E. Lalonde AMS Laboratory

The analytical requirements of organizations such as Health Canada’s Radiation Protection Bureau (HC-RPB) can make use of the services of a number of the operational units at the Lalonde Laboratory: Noble Gas, Actinides and Fission Products and Radiohalides – as well as the accelerator system. This presentation will review the capabilities and details of these units, indicating how the design of the 3 MV accelerator system makes high measurement sensitivity possible. To finish, an example of atmospheric monitoring of radioactivity on air filters provided by HC-RPB will be described, as well as the use of those data in air-mass back-trajectory calculations.

Webinar Archive

The interpretation in a climate context of synoptic tracer 129I sections across the Arctic Ocean

Guest speaker: Dr. John Smith, Bedford Institute of Oceanography

During the 1990s, discharges of 129I from European nuclear fuel reprocessing plants increased by an order of magnitude resulting in a large, well resolved, tracer spike whose passage through the Arctic and North Atlantic Oceans via the “Arctic Loop Current” has been followed by time series measurements over the past 25 years. This robust and rapidly changing tracer signal has been used in conjunction with other gas (e.g. CFC-11, SF6) and radionuclide tracers (e.g. 137Cs, 236U) to calculate transit time distributions (TTDs), provide time scales for biogeochmical processes and constrain water circulation and mixing time scales for a wide range of high latitude water masses.

Radioactive Waste Regulation, Safety Case, and the Role of Iodine-129

Guest speaker: Dr. Matthew Herod, Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission

The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) is Canada’s nuclear regulator, responsible for licensing and compliance of all nuclear facilities in Canada. This includes radioactive waste storage and disposal facilities. In the future, the CNSC will evaluate the safety of a potential deep geological repository (DGR) for Canada’s used nuclear fuel when a licence application is submitted. Natural analogues for DGR’s enable investigation of the key safety features of DGR’s in the natural world and assess their performance over geologic time. This experience is then applicable to assessing the ability of similar natural and engineered barriers in a proposed DGR. One of these projects is investigating the production and transport of iodine-129 in the world famous Cigar Lake natural analogue as 129I is the key isotope of concern in DGR safety assessments as it is a mobile fission product found in used nuclear fuel.