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Researchers at INL have developed methods and systems for providing real-time monitoring and characterization of radionuclides in air, water, and soil. By allowing for in-filed, real-time monitoring, the need to collect samples and send them to a lab for processing is eliminated, significantly reducing time and expense.
The Large-Area Beta-Gamma Detector System (LABS) is a large area specialized multi-layer detector and analysis system that can be used to scan large areas for a range of low-energy beta and gamma-ray emitting radionuclides or can be used to measure process streams or samples containing these radionuclides. The system provides a highly sensitive nondestructive detector system for the analysis of beta emitters in air, water and soil.
Monitoring radioactive materials is a significant problem in many fields. The Detector Array determines location of radiation emitters in an area by the temporal evolution of the count rate signal from a radiation sensor read-out by supporting electronics systems during each full revolution of a specifically shaped motorized rotating shielding member. It is mounted to the ceiling or wall to monitor the activity of radioactive materials throughout the room. The device continually measures the spatial radiation field fingerprint and either compares it to the stored trusted template or sends it encrypted to a central decision making location. Upon statistically significant deviation from the template spatial fingerprint, either an alarm gets tripped (or the device stops sending cryptographically signed “still OK” messages), depending on security system architecture.
- Monitors materials through direct detection of gamma and neutron emission
- Creates a 3D radiation map or “fingerprint” of the room/area
- Adapts radiation “fingerprint” to movements made by a trusted authority
- Signals alarm when movement occurs without trusted authority present
- U.S. Patent Nos. 9,881,708 and 9,978,469
Technology Readiness Level:
- TRL 4: Basic technological components are integrated to establish that the pieces will work together.
The Multi-Channel Analyzer Application (MCAA) is a Windows-based software program that allows a user to operate a multi-channel analyzer set to collect gamma spectra. These measurements are critical for quantifying residual radioactive material or completing radiation surveys of a working space. The software creates a connection between a tablet/personal computer and a multi-channel analyzer, allows configuration of measurement settings, automates critical quality control checks, and saves the acquired spectrum in a variety of file formats for later analysis.
- Full-energy spectrum display in real time with programmable regions of interest
- Compatible with multiple detectors from low to high resolution
- Saves output in Snapshot, HMS4, and HMS3 formats for analysis
- Full touchscreen functionality with Windows 7 and 10 compatibility
- Detector HV and gain settings controllable through user interface
- User interface designed around HMS4 for familiarity
- The Y-12 National Security Complex has copyright protection for this technology.
Technology Readiness Level:
- TRL 8: The system has been built and tested, and it can be demonstrated.
Researchers at INL have developed methods and systems for fabricating a test cell that allows for high ratios of fast-to-thermal neutrons at high fluxes while removing heat via conduction to the reactors primary coolant that will allow for testing of advanced materials and fuels for next generation reactors.
The ability to conduct fast neutron irradiation tests is needed to meet anticipated future nuclear fuel and materials testing applications. A new metal matrix material formed by Al-Hf inter-metallic particles dispersed in an aluminum matrix has been developed to serve as a thermal neutron absorber that allows for high ratios (>30) of fast-to-thermal neutrons at high fluxes.This material will allow for the design and execution of fast neutron experiments in existing test reactors.
Accurate measurement of high temperatures (1100-1700 C) is important to the safe, efficeint and economical operation in many industries. Commercial thremocouples designed for this temperature range are prone to instability due to drift and typically become brittile with age leading to mechanical failure from system expansion and thermal expansion.
Researchers at INL have developed methods for forming TCs by swaging the ends of each lead together, avoiding the welding and thermal cycling embrittlement issues that conventional TCs suffer from. The INL TCs are also made of different materials (Mo-Nb), which are more stable at high temperatures than conventional TC materials. Of particular note, these materials are significantly more neutron transparent than conventional TC materials, making them good candidates for nuclear applications. Moly
INL researchers have developed a process to produce Triuranium discilicide pellets by powder metallurgy for use as fuel in light water reactors.
The process developed by this research identifies the correct particle size distribution, additivies and sintering parameters to effictively make triuranium disilicide pellets for use as fuel in light water reactors.
Zirconium cladding used in nuclear fuels are susceptible to hydrogen embrittlement that can lead to failure. Researchers at INL have proposed an alloy of Zirconium that contains several added alloying elements to overcome this issue.
Current zirconium alloys in use suffer from the tendency to form hydrides which embrittle the cladding and can lead to failure. This occurs because hydrogen cannot pass through current zirconium alloys easily at lower temperatures leading to the hydrogen becoming trapped and allowing it the time needed to form hydrides.
Researchers at INL have discovered a method for separation of protactinium, gallium and there isotopes from mixtrues containing the elements. The process can be focused on removal to obtain the elments in there pure or enriched form or to ensure that a mixture is free from these elements.
The carbon-based separation materials are useful for separating certain elements and their isotopes (e.g., protactinium including 233Pa and 231Pa and gallium including 68Ga) from mixtures that contain the element. The separation is the result of the element being selectively associated (e.g., sequestered) with the separation material (e.g., carbon-based separation material). The association of the element with the separation material provides a method to separate the element from the remaining