A method to determine the optimal sampling and counting regimes for water monitoring is presented. It is assumed that samples are collected at a constant rate. The collection time is followed by a sample preparation time that is proportional to the sample quantity collected, and then by the counting time. In the optimal regime these times are chosen in such a way that the minimum detectable concentration is the lowest. Two cases are presented: the case when the background originates from the spectrometer background, which is constant in time and independent of the sample properties, and the case when the background originates from the radioactivity present in the sample. © 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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