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The Effect of Gamma and Beta Radiation on a UVTRON Flame Sensor: Assessment of the Impact on Implementation in a Mixed Radiation Field

1
Engineering Department, Lancaster University, Lancaster LA1 4YW, UK
2
School of Engineering, University of Glasgow, Glasgow G12 8QQ, UK
3
The National Nuclear Laboratory, Warrington WA3 6AE, UK
4
Characterisation, Inspection & Decontamination Group, Sellafield Ltd., Cumbria CA20 1PG, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sensors 2018, 18(12), 4394; https://doi.org/10.3390/s18124394
Received: 31 October 2018 / Revised: 28 November 2018 / Accepted: 1 December 2018 / Published: 12 December 2018
(This article belongs to the Section Chemical Sensors)
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PDF [3004 KB, uploaded 12 December 2018]
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Abstract

Due to the short path length of alpha particles in air, a detector that can be used at a distance from any potential radiological contamination reduces the time and hazard that traditional alpha detection methods incur. This would reduce costs and protect personnel in nuclear power generation and decommissioning activities, where alpha detection is crucial to full characterisation and contamination detection. Stand-off alpha detection could potentially be achieved by the detection of alpha-induced radioluminescence, especially in the ultraviolet C (UVC) wavelength range (180–280 nm) where natural and artificial background lighting is less likely to interfere with detection. However, such a detector would also have to be effective in the field, potentially in the presence of other radiation sources that could mask the UVC signal. This work exposed a UVC sensor, the UVTRON (Hamamatsu, Japan) and associated electronics (driver circuit, microprocessor) to sources of beta and gamma radiation in order to assess its response to both of these types of radiation, as may be found in the field where a mixed radiation environment is likely. It has been found that the UVTRON is affected by both gamma and beta radiation of a magnitude that would mask any UVC signal being detected. 152Eu generated 0.01 pulses per second per Bq through beta and gamma interactions, compared to 210Po, which generates 4.72 × 10−8 cps per Bq from UVC radioluminescence, at 20 mm separation. This work showed that UVTRON itself is more susceptible to this radiation than the associated electronics. The results of this work have implications for the use of the UVTRON as a sensor in a stand-off detection system, highlighting the necessity for shielding from both potential gamma and beta radiation in any detector design. View Full-Text
Keywords: UVTRON flame detector; alpha detection; alpha-induced radioluminescence; gamma radiation; beta radiation; nuclear decommissioning UVTRON flame detector; alpha detection; alpha-induced radioluminescence; gamma radiation; beta radiation; nuclear decommissioning
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Crompton, A.J.; Gamage, K.A.A.; Trivedi, D.; Jenkins, A. The Effect of Gamma and Beta Radiation on a UVTRON Flame Sensor: Assessment of the Impact on Implementation in a Mixed Radiation Field. Sensors 2018, 18, 4394.

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