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Nuclear Chemistry

The Wadsworth Center’s Nuclear Chemistry Laboratory (NCL) program operates within the Laboratory of Inorganic and Nuclear Chemistry, Division of Environmental Health Sciences. The NCL program has two objectives: mandated radiological surveillance in NYS and research in radiological sciences. The surveillance program assesses exposure of the population to ionizing radiation and involves monitoring of the environment around nuclear power plants for fission products as well as monitoring of drinking water supplies for natural radioactivity. Programs to characterize occurrence and exposure to natural radioactivity focus on radon, with the development of township-level maps indicating indoor radon-potential. Programs focusing on radiological emergency response to potential accidents or terrorism threats involving radioactivity are performed in cooperation with other NYS agencies as well as with US FDA for radiological food protection.

Accreditations: NELAP – E37911, NYS ELAP – 10762, EPA – NY00005.

Proficiency Testing: The Nuclear Chemistry Laboratory manufactures and validates proficiency testing samples on behalf of the Environmental Laboratory Approval Program (ELAP).

Academic Programs: The Nuclear Chemistry Laboratory contributes to the University at Albany, School of Public Health, Department of Environmental Health Sciences Program by providing:

  • EHS 690 Laboratory Rotations
  • EHS 540 Principles of Radiation Sciences 
  • EHS 541 Radioactivity Measurements Laboratory

Research and Development: The research in radiological sciences is primarily concerned with the development of new and more sensitive methods to detect ionizing radiation in environmental, food, and bioassay samples, such as alpha and gamma spectrometry, liquid scintillation counting, and radon detection. New methods are researched to separate specific radionuclides from complex matrices. An additional aspect of the research program is to develop statistical and modeling tools to quantify radioactivity in the environment and improve the decision methodology.

Information including frequently asked questions, testing, mitigation, laws and regulations and radon level maps and statistics can be found at the NYS Department of Health's Radon Page

Nuclear Chemistry

  • Kitto ME, Marrantino JC, Fielman EM, Haines DK, Semkow TM, Bari A. Long-term monitoring of radioactivity in fish from New York waters. J. Environ. Radioact. 2015;(146):44-50.
  • Pubmed Web Address

  • Khan AJ, Semkow TM, Beach SE, Haines DK, Bradt CJ, Bari A, Syed U-F, Torres M, Marrantino J, Kitto ME, Menia T, Fielman E. Application of low-background gamma-ray spectrometry to monitor radioactivity in the environment and food. Appl Radiat Isot. 2014;(90):251-257.
  • Pubmed Web Address

  • Semkow TM, Beach SE, Khan AJ, Bari A, Bradt CJ, Haines DK, Syed UF. Multi-window counting of radioactivity. Nuclear Instruments & Methods in Physics Research Section A-Accelerators Spectrometers Detectors & Associated Equipment. 2012;664(1):236-244.
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  • Kitto ME, Torres MA, Haines DK, Semkow TM. Radon measurement of natural gas using alpha scintillation cells. J Environ Radioact. 2014;(138):205-207.
  • Pubmed Web Address

  • Bari A, Khan AJ, Semkow TM, Syed UF, Roselan A, Haines DK, Roth G, West L, Arndt, M. Rapid screening of radioactivity in food for emergency response. Applied Radiation & Isotopes. 2011;69(6):834-43.
  • Pubmed Web Address