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Thursday, 24 April 2014

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Radiation device proving successful

A NEW radiation detection device has been hailed as the “Holy Grail” in Sellafield’s decommissioning programme.

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INVENTION: The RadBall is about the size of a grapefruit and contains layers of radiation sensitive films that change colour when exposed to radiation

The nuclear site is trialling the RadBall in the ongoing radioactive clean-up operation.

Sellafield say the device, developed by the UK’s National Nuclear Laboratory, has proved successful thus far, as it helped distinguish between different types of radioactive material in a nuclear waste store.

Phil Reeve, head of decommissioning technical, said: “We’re always on the look out for the Holy Grail in terms of the technology we apply at Sellafield.

“We have three strict criteria when assessing what our suppliers can offer us: it has to improve safety; to save the taxpayers’ money; and accelerate decommissioning timescales. The RadBall looks like it could be right on the ball and trial results at Sellafield have already demonstrated that it could be valuable help in our mission to clean up the site.

“It could be used to identify radiation hazards in enclosed cells, nuclear stores, glove boxes and hard to access facilities undergoing decommissioning.”

Sellafield say the RadBall is about the size of a grapefruit and contains layers of radiation sensitive films that change colour when exposed to radiation.

Decontamination technical specialist, Alex Jenkins, said: “NNL’s RadBall has shown itself to be able to accurately detect the location of items or small differences in the levels of radioactivity.

“Very importantly, the use of RadBall results in a significant reduction in radiation dose to the workers involved, since the device can simply be placed in position and left to measure the radiation.

“The information it provides can also help save money by identifying the appropriate disposal route for nuclear waste.”

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