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Nuclear Chemistry

The Wadsworth Center’s Nuclear Chemistry Laboratory (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 NYS agencies as well as with US FDA for radiological food protection. 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 and liquid scintillation counting. 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.

Associated Researchers

  • Liang T. Chu

    Liang T. Chu, Ph.D.

    • Nuclear Chemistry Laboratory

    We investigate heterogeneous reactions occurring on ice, environmental particle and nanoparticle surfaces to better understand the atmospheric pollution processes and their impact on human health using spectroscopic techniques.

  • Patrick J. Parsons

    Patrick J. Parsons, Ph.D.

    • Director of the Division of Environmental Health Sciences

    We study human exposure to toxic metals/metalloids (biomonitoring) and long-lived nuclides (radiobioassay); and develop novel speciation methods by coupling LC and GC to ICP-MS, while using portable XRF for field-based studies.

  • Thomas M. Semkow

    Thomas M. Semkow, Ph.D.

    • Director of the Nuclear Chemistry Laboratory

    We focus on ionizing radiation detection, low-background measurement, environmental and food radioactivity, radiological emergency response, nuclear forensics, mathematical and compartment modeling, statistical and decision theory and fractal geometry.