Zdravkova, M., Crokart, N., Trompier, F., Asselineau, B., Gallez, B., Gaillard-Lecanu, E. and Debuyst, R. Retrospective Dosimetry after Criticality Accidents Using Low-Frequency EPR: A Study of Whole Human Teeth Irradiated in a Mixed Neutron and Gamma-Radiation Field. Radiat. Res. 160, 168–173 (2003).
In the context of accidental or intentional radiation exposures (nuclear terrorism), it is essential to separate rapidly those individuals with substantial exposures from those with exposures that do not constitute an immediate threat to health. Low-frequency electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) spectroscopy provides the potential advantage of making accurate and sensitive measurements of absorbed radiation dose in teeth without removing the teeth from the potential victims. Up to now, most studies focused on the dose–response curves obtained for γ radiation. In radiation accidents, however, the contribution of neutrons to the total radiation dose should not be neglected. To determine how neutrons contribute to the apparent dose estimated by EPR dosimetry, extracted whole human teeth were irradiated at the SILENE reactor in a mixed neutron and γ-radiation field simulating criticality accidents. The teeth were irradiated in free air as well as in a paraffin head phantom. Lead screens were also used to eliminate to a large extent the contribution of the γ radiation to the dose received by the teeth. The EPR signals, obtained with a low-frequency (1.2 GHz) spectrometer, were compared to dosimetry measurements at the same location. The contribution of neutrons to the EPR dosimetric signal was negligible in the range of 0 to 10 Gy and was rather small (neutron/γ-ray sensitivity in the range 0–0.2) at higher doses. This indicates that the method essentially provides information on the dose received from the γ-ray component of the radiation.