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MARSAME: Multi-Agency Radiation Survey and Assessment of Materials and Equipment

[+] Author Affiliations
Kathryn Snead

U. S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC

Nidal Azzam

U. S. Environmental Protection Agency, New York, NY

Colleen Petullo

U. S. Public Health Service, Las Vegas, NV

Ramachandra Bhat

U. S. Air Force, Bolling AFB, DC

Craig Bias

U. S. Air Force, Kirtland AFB, NM

David Alberth, Gerald Falo

U. S. Army, Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD

Steven Doremus

U. S. Navy, Yorktown, VA

W. Alexander Williams, Amanda Anderson

U. S. Department of Energy, Washington, DC

Robert Meck, George Powers

U. S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Rockville, MD

Paper No. ICEM2009-16181, pp. 407-413; 7 pages
  • ASME 2009 12th International Conference on Environmental Remediation and Radioactive Waste Management
  • ASME 2009 12th International Conference on Environmental Remediation and Radioactive Waste Management, Volume 2
  • Liverpool, UK, October 11–15, 2009
  • Conference Sponsors: Nuclear Engineering Division and Environmental Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4408-3 | eISBN: 978-0-7918-3865-X


The MARSAME manual is a technical resource that describes processes and methods for the measurement of radionuclides in or on materials and equipment. These methods and processes are used to make the decision that a radionuclide is present and, if so, how to quantify the amount and its uncertainty. They are also used to make the decision that no radionuclide more than background is present. The MARSAME manual is technically defensible, and endorsed by the U.S. Department of Defense, the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The MARSAME manual was published in January 2009, and is available for download from the following website: http://www.epa.gov/rpdweb00/marssim/marsame.html. The MARSAME manual is a supplement to the MARSSIM manual, and closely follows the concepts and processes developed therein. The MARSSIM manual describes processes and methods for the measurement of radionuclides on the surfaces of buildings and soils. The MARSAME manual follows the Data Quality Objectives process to describe the phases of: plan, implement, assess, and decide. A strong emphasis on the planning phases ensures that survey data are the right quantity and quality to meet the Data Quality Objectives and Measurement Quality Objectives for the survey. Non-parametric statistics are used as the tool to make decisions, based on hypothesis testing. Measurement uncertainty, measurement detectability, and measurement quantifiability are important Measurement Quality Objectives. Calculation of measurement uncertainty follows International Standardisation of Measurement Guide 98, and thus, uncertainty estimates include method uncertainties as well as counting uncertainties. The MARSAME manual emphasizes that detection is determined by the “critical level” and not the “minimum detectable concentration.” Adjustments to Poisson statistics are given for counting in a low background. The “minimum quantifiable concentration” specifies the relative measurement standard deviation, generally chosen to be 10%. Data Quality Assessment on the survey results ensures that they are of the right type and quality to support the final decision.



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