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Water sampling around Las Vegas

Danesha, Estafany, and Dr. Krishnakumar drove around the Las Vegas and collected water samples around Las Vegas. The sampling site include Lake Las Vegas, Las Vegas Wash, Lake Mead, etc. These water samples will be sent to UCI reactor and neutron irradation.

Honors: Haven Searcy

Haven Searcy (Health Physics and Diagnostic Sciences) won the Junior Investigator Award and gave a presentation at the 31st Annual Meeting of the Council on Ionizing Radiation Measurements & Standards (CIRMS 2024). His submitted essay is titled “No nuclear fallout radioactivity was found on public zones around the Nevada National Security Site: A recent study“. The CIRMS recognizes the importance of supporting the careers of young investigators working in the fields of ionizing radiation measurements. Haven is a graduate student in the Environmental Health Physics program, the only ABET-accredited Health Physics Program in the Silver State.

Published: Krishnakumar Nangeelil, Zaijing Sun

Krishnakumar Nangeelil and Zaijing Sun (both Health Physics and Diagnostic Sciences), along with Colby Fleming from the Nuclear Reactor Program at North Carolina State University, published an article titled, “Using neutron activation to assess heavy metal pollution in water and sediment along Savannah River,” in Environmental Analayis Health and Toxicology.

The paper gives a comprehensive study to assess heavy elemental pollution in the Savannah River through the instrumental neutron activation analysis. The outcome of this investigation has identified a spatial trend along the Savannah River, revealing major elements responsible for pollution that could disrupt the ecological environment and potentially impact human health. This work was conducted by the group of Health, Environment, and Radiation Detection.  

Published: Zaijing Sun, Krishinakumar Nangeelil, Haven Searcy

 Zaijing SunKrishnakumar NangeelilHaven Searcy (all Health Physics and Diagnostic Sciences) published an article titled, “Developing a Remote Gamma-ray Spectra Collection System by Coupling a High Purity Germanium (HPGe) Detector with a CosmicGuard Background Reduction Device,” in HARDWAREX.

The paper introduces the design and implementation of a cost-effective, customized remote gamma-ray spectra collection system centered around the HPGe detector coupled to a cosmic-ray veto background reduction device. Haven Searcy is a graduate student in Environmental Health Physics. 

INAA research on water resources is started

The kickoff meeting for INAA research on water resources took place at the USDA Experimental Station in Reno. Dr. Zaijing Sun, the Principal Investigator (PI) from the Department of Health Physics and Diagnostic Sciences at UNLV, Dr. Frank Yang, the Co-PI from the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering at UNR, and Ms. Christine Kelly, the Co-PI from the Nevada Radon Education Program at the USDA Experiment Station in Reno convened to officially kick off the project titled “Applying Instrumental Neutron Activation Analysis (INAA) to Study the Increasing Toxicity of Heavy Metals in Water Resources in Clark County.” The meeting involved discussions on the environmental challenges confronting Southern Nevada due to the ongoing megadrought and population growth. Agreements were reached regarding the implementation of sample collection and neutron irradiation processes. Following the meeting, Dr. Sun had the opportunity to explore the laboratories at the Water Research Institute at UNR, gaining insights into the facilities’ capabilities.

The kickoff meeting at the USDA Experimental Station in Reno (left: Dr. Yang, middle: Ms. Kelly; right: Dr. Sun)

The primary execution of the research will be led by the HERD group at the UNLV campus. The funding for this project is provided by the USDA Extension through the UNR-UNLV partnership program, contributing to further enhancing UNLV’s status as a land-grant institution.

Presentation: Krishnakumar Nangeelil, Zaijing Sun

Krishnakumar Nangeelil and Zaijing Sun  (both Health Physics and Diagnostic Sciences) recently gave oral presentations at the 68th Annual Meeting of the Health Physics Society(HPS AM 2023) in National Harbor, Maryland. Nangeelil’s talk is titled “Comparison of GEANT 4 Simulation and Experimental Measurements of CosmicGuard Background Reduction System,” and Sun’s talk is titled “Developing a Remote Gamma Spectra Collection System for Nuclear Sciences.” Sun also served as the session chair in the instrument session of the conference. 

Presentation: Zaijing Sun

Dr. Zaijing Sun (Health Physics and Diagnostic Sciences) recently gave a seminar titled “Developing a Remote Gamma Spectra Collection System (RGSCS) for Online Teaching in Radiation Sciences” at East Carolina State University. The project he discussed serves as a platform, especially for minority students, for studying software design, data acquisition, instrumental control, and prototype testing in real-time scenarios of radiation detection. It improves educational and research endeavors online, diminishes the needs of laboratory personnel, and significantly reduces the cost of education.

Christina Passed Her Thesis Defense

Christina Jiang successfully defended her thesis entitled “Applying Instrumental Neutron Activation Analysis (INAA) to Acess Air Pollution with Spanish Moss (Tillandsia Usneoides) as a Bioindicator in the Low Country of The Savannah River Basin” on March 16th, 2023.

In this study, samples of Spanish moss were collected from the Savannah River Basin area. After the samples were irradiated with reactors, radioisotopes were measured by High Purity Germanium detectors, and gamma spectra were collected using Canberra’s Genie 2000 software. The experimental results indicate that: (1) Instrumental Neutron Activation Analysis can accurately determine the heavy elements in Spanish moss; (2) The concentrations of heavy metals in the samples of Spanish moss have clear correlations with local sources of air pollution in the region of the Savannah River Basin which proves that Spanish moss can serve as an effective bioindicator of air pollution.

The committee includes Dr. Zaijing Sun (chair), Dr. Steen Madsen, Dr. Carson Riland, and Dr. Alexander Barzilov.

Christina will start her new job as a research scientist at the Remote Sensing Laboratory of the Nevada National Security Site next week. Congratulations to Christina!