Nuclear Safeguards instruments employ gamma ray, neutron and calorimetry measurement technologies to verify and quantify the presence of Special Nuclear Materials (SNM). Safeguards instruments either verify the radioactive fingerprint or signature of SNM and fission products (for example in spent nuclear fuel), or quantify SNM in bulk form (for example in unused nuclear fuel for verification purposes).
Safeguards instruments are sometimes used for nuclear materials assay for inventory and materials quantification purposes as well as for safeguards, for example in a nuclear fuel production plant.
8. Special measurement applications
Measurement instruments that do not fall into the categories of Safeguards, Waste Measurement, Environmental Monitoring or Remote Handled Waste Measurement are considered to be Special Measurement Applications.
ANTECH develops radiometric measuring instruments and analysis software for special requirements and bespoke applications. ANTECH uses a variety of radiation detectors and imbedded microprocessor technology. Solutions to Special Measurement Applications include multi-detector microprocessor based counting systems and the QuickSort system for LLW-TRU sorting.
7. Radioactive Waste Measurement
Radioactive Waste Measurement instruments use different technologies to quantify the radionuclide content or the mass of a radionuclide (or radionuclides) in waste. ANTECH waste assay instruments cover a range of waste density and waste container sizes, including small samples and small cans, drums of different sizes and large boxes and containers.
7.1 Exempt and VLLW
Sensitive detection instruments are required to measure waste at the lowest subcategories of Exempt and Very Low Level Waste (VLLW).
UK: These categories generally correspond to maximum specific activities of:
- Exempt: 0.4 Bq/g (10.8 pCi/g)
- VLLW: 4 Bq/g (108 pCi/g)
7.2 LLW and greater than class C waste
LLW waste is measured using a range of techniques depending on the volume and homogeneity of the waste. ANTECH provides a range of options for LLW measurement, which range from far field to segmented. Shielding is sometimes included in measurement instruments to reduce background radiation. Low Level Waste (LLW) upper thresholds vary.
UK: LLW upper thresholds correspond to:
- 12,000 Bq/g (324 nCi/g) for waste with beta-gamma activity
- 4,000 Bq/g (108 nCi/g) for waste with alpha activity
US: The upper threshold for LLW waste with alpha activity is:
- 100 nCi/g (3,700 Bq/g)
NOTE: In the USA, Class C LLW represents waste with higher beta-gamma activity and is generally equivalent to UK ILW with higher beta-gamma activity.
7.3 ILW and high activity waste measurement
UK: Waste is generally categorised as ILW because it has high activity above the beta-gamma activity threshold or it has higher alpha activity (or both), as detailed below:
- Beta-gamma activity: > 12,000 Bq/g (324 nCi/g), or
- Alpha activity: > 4,000 Bq/g (108 nCi/g)
ILW and higher activity waste is measured using a range of technologies and techniques depending on the density, homogeneity and the amount of alpha activity present.
7.4 Transuranic waste and ILW measurement
USA: Transuranic waste (TRU) is waste with a specific alpha activity greater than 100 nCi/g (3,700 Bq/g). ANTECH offers a range of assay instruments and technologies for segregating and characterising this type of waste.
7.5 Plutonium and uranium waste assay
ANTECH provides a range of instruments for uranium and plutonium waste assay. These are based on a range of technologies, including gamma ray measurement, neutron measurement and calorimetry. In addition, ANTECH provides gamma ray instruments for determining the ratio of plutonium isotopes, which are used with neutron and calorimetry assay methods.
7.6 Remote handled (RH) waste assay
Remote Handled (RH) waste is defined in the USA as waste that has an external dose rate of grater than 200 milli-rem/hr (2 mSv/hr). The term is often used for all radioactive waste with a high surface dose rate. Depending on dose rate, the category may include low level waste, intermediate level waste, transuranic waste and high level waste (including spent fuel). There are special safety and handling considerations that must be taken into account when dealing with RH waste. ANTECH provides general purpose far-field gamma ray measuring instruments and special neutron measuring instruments for the measurement and characterisation of RH waste.
1. Homeland security
ANTECH Homeland Security systems are sensitive dual technology measurement instruments (neutron and gamma ray measurement technologies). They are designed to detect:
- Illegal and contraband radioactive sources
- Improvised radioactive weapons (dirty bombs)
6. Radiation detection
Radiation Detection and Environmental Monitoring instruments determine radioactivity in the environment by gamma ray measurement.
ANTECH Radiation Detection and Environmental Monitoring systems include:
- Contamination vehicle and pedestrian portal monitors
- The RadSearch gamma camera
- Mobile environmental laboratories
- Technology for in-field soil measurements
5. Measurement automation
ANTECH measurement automation solutions are used to position detectors, samples, cans, drums, boxes and containers for measurement. Measurement Automation solutions include:
- Drum loading beams
- Roller conveyors
- Rail systems
- Gantry robot cranes for automating the movement of sample cans, drums and boxes
4. Materials inventory
ANTECH provides a range of instruments for determining the inventory of radioactive and nuclear materials. The function of ANTECH Material Inventory Measurements range from determining the quantity of radionuclides to establishing that radioactive materials containers are empty and contain very little radioactivity.
3. Integrated measurement
ANTECH integrated measurement solutions provide a complete measurement solution for Safeguards and Waste Assay applications. These systems include various combinations of gamma ray, neutron and calorimetry measurement technologies to provide integrated measurement results.