A key aspect involving both operational activities as well as radioprotection in NPP (Nuclear Power Plant) is the management of nuclear waste. Providing efficient and reliable real-time radionuclide concentrations contributes invaluable information while processing nuclear waste as it can in turn reduce costs with packaging, transportation, and disposition for NPPs.
Typical NPPs procedures can involve characterizing nuclear waste by using an HPGe detector to determine the radionuclide concentrations and the individual isotope abundances. In most instances, this requires NPPs to be equipped with a facility on site (e.g., laboratory) which can perform these measurements. These analyses require a radiological expert to analyse the results. Additionally, this process often taken an immense amount of time and effort to obtain the results for well-defined gamma-emitting radionuclides which are easily detectable.
Due to the integration of software and hardware technologies in the smart era, we are able to provide a faster and more user-friendly waste package characterization system than what current methods are offering; this saves time, improve flexibility, movable, and is a more cost effective solution.
Current characterization practices involve obtaining waste stream specific distributions which are then applied to all waste packages of the same waste stream type (e.g., DAW (Dry Active Waste) waste).
It is important to remember that this type of analysis is typically performed by HPGe detector. The main drawbacks for a system such as this are that it typically involves long measurement times, is a very expensive solution, and requires post process analysis to be performed to determine the radionuclide information. Equipping a laboratory with this type of instrument requires also a supporting structure for the shielding weight of the HPGe, a liquid nitrogen filling for the operations, and a budget on the order of 100 kEuro for buying it.
The REACh system represents a step change in the way low-level radioactive waste is characterized and classified. The system is intended for all waste packages for open geometry measurements by providing a low-cost detection technology with an easily transportable device.
The Reach system directly measures gamma dose rates and gamma emitting activity by radionuclide for packaged radioactive material to perform characterization and classification. To obtain an effective and complete characterization and management of the waste packages (WP) the REACh system is equipped with the RadHand detection system used for the gamma characterization, a software database for data storage and handling and it has the capability to use the RFID technology. The system can track in every moment the uniquely identify WP using the attached RFID tag and restore in every moment the WP characterization history using the developed database.
The RadHand system was specifically re-designed to perform static measurement using a tripod and to work in an open geometry in front of the waste package. The system allows users to work with LLW (Low Level Waste) activities up to which can read up to 1 mSv/h at contact. Additionally, the system is equipped with external shielding to reduce the intensity at the detector surface should it be required.
This presentation will focus on the laboratory test made with the RadHand system to evaluate its performances in the two fixed configurations. The feasibility to substitute the old typical procedure based on HPGe characterization with this new system will be analysed.