Autoscribe Informatics

Matrix Gemini LIMS meets radiological testing challenges case study

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Courtesy of Autoscribe Informatics

The inherent configurability of the Matrix Gemini Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS) has allowed the management of complex radiochemistry data at a radiological, environmental and analytical laboratory in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. The Matrix system has streamlined the analysis process and has added a very versatile reporting system.

Background
The laboratory carries out radioanalytical analysis of environmental samples to provide support for characterization and independent verification surveys. The laboratory is specifically designed to analyse soil, water, air filters, wipes, vegetation and biota; however, it is also capable of analysing other types of matrices based on customer requirements. Primary analyses are for alpha, beta and gamma emitting radionuclides in most environmental media and other matrices. The laboratory is a U.S. Department of Energy Consolidated Audit Program (DOECAP) approved facility which also provides the capability for analysis of various matrices for total metals. TCLP metals and isotopic uranium by Inductively Coupled Mass Spectrometry. It conducts radioanalytical projects for a number of federal and state agencies.

Challenges
The laboratory handles around 4000-5000 samples/year. Environmental matrices are processed using industry accepted gamma counting, alpha Isotopic analysis, liquid scintillation counting and gas proportional counting methodologies to ensure the highest quality results. Chain-of-custody is established for each sample when it arrives in the laboratory and as it proceeds through analysis to final reporting. Sample tracking was originally handled using a relational database developed in-house. However as this could not be upgraded beyond Microsoft Windows XP. it was essential that a new system was introduced. With only 4 members of staff in the laboratory and with no previous formal LIMS experience, this proved to be a major challenge, both in terms of time and establishing an accurate user requirement specification. The new LIMS was required to comply with the laboratory's established OA/QC program, which is designed to meet the requirements of federal agency directives. ASME (Level IV data packages), NOA-1, and the OA manual for the NRC's Office of Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards.

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