Although we can’t see or feel it, we are constantly exposed to ambient radiation. Usually coming from natural or low-emitting sources, levels of ambient radiation are typically of no major concern. However, in places such as powerplants, the by-products from the processes used can significantly increase ambient radiation.
This was a concern of The Radiation Protection Manager at Entergy, an electricity-generating company owning over 40 powerplants. Their goal was to lower the source term in order to lower the contributions to ambient radiation made by radioactive deposits in the CRUD (Chalk River Unidentified Deposits) layer in their pipes. They soon turned to Kromek for help.
In comes the RayMon10
Kromek’s RayMon10 is a handheld, CZT-based gamma radiation detection device. It operates at a high resolution (30keV – 3.0 MeV) to accurately distinguish and identify different isotopes, then calculate their concentration in minutes.
When placed against the pipe wall, the RayMon10 was able to acquire and analyse isotopic data in 120 seconds. This data was then transferred to a computer, where MultiSpec Analysis was used to calculate the specific dose contributions from each primary isotope identified.
Using the RayMon10, Entergy was able to outline a cost-effective plan to target the identified isotopes, relative to their dose contributions. This facilitated reductions in source content and decreases in ambient radiation exposed to the workforce. In the long-term, RayMon10 will be used repeatedly overtime to monitor the isotopic ratios, providing an insight into the success of remediation process. This will allow for further improvements and cost-reductions to be made.
The RayMon10 provides powerful solutions, helping keep people safe from invisible threats. It can also be used to enhance the security regimes of first responders, civil defence and homeland security, or, aid field-based research in areas such as waste disposal and environmental monitoring.
It may be small but it sure is mighty, and its wide range of applications is by no means exhaustive!