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A look inside the HIFAR reactor
Detection & Imaging

Radiation imaging inside the HIFAR reactor vessel

At the HIFAR decommissioning project, CORIS360® advanced radiation imaging technology delivered a world first - gamma imaging inside a reactor vessel with an extreme 10 Sv/h (1000 rem/h) dose environment. The technology enhanced radiological characterisation to improve operational decision making and worker safety.

The safe, efficient and cost-effective decommissioning and dismantling of radioactive facilities requires accurate characterisation of the radiation environment. CORIS360® technology accurately locates and identifies sources of gamma radiation across the full energy range and over a wide field of view, to reduce uncertainty, enhance operational decisions, protect workers and improve project outcomes.

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The High Flux Australian Reactor (HIFAR) was a 10 MW DIDO class reactor used primarily for neutron scattering experiments and radioisotope production.

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Key facts

Class: 10MW DIDO class Materials Test Reactor

First critical: 1958

Shut down: 2017

Reactor Vessel : Fuel no longer present, but residual dose in the reactor tank is ~10-100 Sv/h

The challenge of decommissioning

  • Safe, efficient and cost-effective dismantling and decommissioning of the HIFAR reactor requires the accurate characterisation and mapping of the radionuclide activities and dose rate environment.
  • Comprehensive sampling is expensive and time-consuming especially when performed in high radiation environments. 
  • To deliver project outcomes, the ability to quickly and cost-effectively locate, identify, and quantify gamma emitting radionuclides using gamma imaging in high dose environments was essential to reduce uncertainty and provide a safe and efficient decommissioning plan.

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CORIS360 advanced radiation imaging

Advanced radiation imaging technology

Two products using a novel radiation imaging platform technology, known as CORIS360®, were deployed.

The first was designed for imaging inside the HIFAR reactor vessel in a ~10 Sv/h environment, while the second was designed to image low to medium dose rate environments in the remaining facility infrastructure.

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Image: CORIS360® - Advanced radiation imaging solution. Standard or bespoke systems available


Reactor imaging results

The first device successfully identified and located 60Co as the dominant radionuclide present inside the HIFAR reactor vessel. Overall, a series of quantitative (dose rate and activity) images were obtained from four different deployment locations.

The second portable device was deployed in various locations around the HIFAR facility, including the D2O plant room where the dose rate at the detector was measured to be 7.5 μSv/h.

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Customer feedback

"What would have taken around six months to accurately characterise and map, was completed in six weeks, and at about a fifth of the cost of traditional surveying techniques."

Alec Kimber

Project Lead, HIFAR Decommisioning