Miniaturised Low-Cost Gamma Scanning Platform for Contamination Identification, Localisation and Characterisation: A New Instrument in the Decommissioning Toolkit
Formerly clandestine, abandoned and legacy nuclear facilities, whether associated with civil or military applications, represent a significant decommissioning challenge owing to the lack of knowledge surrounding the existence, location and types of radioactive material(s) that may be present. Consequently, mobile and highly deployable systems that are able to identify, spatially locate and compositionally assay contamination ahead of remedial actions are of vital importance. Deployment imposes
... Deployment imposes constraints to dimensions resulting from small diameter access ports or pipes. Herein, we describe a prototype low-cost, miniaturised and rapidly deployable 'cell characterisation' gamma-ray scanning system to allow for the examination of enclosed (internal) or outdoor (external) spaces for radioactive 'hot-spots'. The readout from the miniaturised and lead-collimated gamma-ray spectrometer, that is progressively rastered through a stepped snake motion, is combined with distance measurements derived from a single-point laser range-finder to obtain an array of measurements in order to yield a 3-dimensional point-cloud, based on a polar coordinate system—scaled for radiation intensity. Existing as a smaller and more cost-effective platform than presently available, we are able to produce a millimetre-accurate 3D volumetric rendering of a space—whether internal or external, onto which fully spectroscopic radiation intensity data can be overlain to pinpoint the exact positions at which (even low abundance) gamma-emitting materials exist.