Radon-222 is a good natural tracer of groundwater discharge and other physical processes in the coastal ocean. Unfortunately, its usefulness is limited by the time consuming nature of collecting individual samples and traditional analysis schemes. We demonstrate here an automated multi-detector system that can be used in a continuous survey basis to assess radon activities in coastal ocean waters. The system analyses 222Rn from a constant stream of water delivered by a submersible pump to an air-water exchanger where radon in the water phase equilibrates with radon in a closed air loop. The air stream is fed to 3 commercial radon-in-air monitors connected in parallel to determine the activity of 222Rn. By running the detectors out of phase, we are able to obtain as many as 6 readings per hour with a precision of approximately ±5-15% for typical coastal seawater concentrations.
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Dulaiova, H., Peterson, R., Burnett, W. et al. A multi-detector continuous monitor for assessment of 222Rn in the coastal ocean. J Radioanal Nucl Chem 263, 361–363 (2005). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10967-005-0595-y