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Our Measurements and Expertise team delivers exceptional technical expertise and experienced staff to help customers solve their nuclear measurement challenges while saving cost and time.
Our Measurements and Expertise (M&E) team provides services to measure and analyze nuclear material more efficiently. This team benefits from high level experts around the world with a combined 500 years of field experience. Having Mirion Measurement and Expertise on your side ensures the quality of results, the safety of your site and innovative solutions customized for your needs.
Above and beyond its unique expertise, the M&E team leverages Mirion's unique nuclear instrumentation.
The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) in Carlsbad, NM serves as the nations final repository for radioactive waste produced during the Manhattan Project during the 1940s. Due to the hazard of the material involved for disposal at WIPP a detailed certification program was designed for material destined to the facility. Mirion has provided Non-Destructive Assay support for the program since 1997. In 2020 Mirion received a sole-source contract to measure radioactive waste at all the government sites across the country that ship material to WIPP supporting the Central Characterization Project (CCP).
Mirion (Canberra) and the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant have had a strong partnership for over 20 years, and this partnership continues today. Mirion has provided Non-Destructive Assay (NDA) services since 1997 to the WIPP project. This contract is relevant to the NDA Characterization Support Services for the following key reasons:
To efficiently and cost-effectively assay containers, we designed, developed and currently operate NDA systems at Los Alamos, Livermore, Savannah River, Idaho and Oak Ridge. In addition, we developed and maintain our specialized NDA measurement NDA 2000™ software, on all of the WIPP certified systems. The software allows full storage of all data, setup parameters, calibration parameters, and analysis results in a file structure that facilitates data review or reanalysis of results. It allows data to be reanalyzed at any time up to the 30 years required for data storage. The flexible file structure allows data reports to be tailored to meet waste acceptance criteria for disposal at WIPP. Equipment we have designed, developed and currently operate includes:
Mirion (Canberra) provided Savannah River Site (SRS) with significant cost savings through our design, construction, and operation of the Savannah Box Counter, the largest gamma and neutron NDA system used in the National TRU Program to safely and efficiently characterize radioactive waste stored in Standard Large Box 2 (SLB-2) at the SRS. Deployment of the Savannah Box Counter alleviated the problem of opening each SLB-2 and repackaging the waste into smaller Standard Waste Boxes (SWB), thereby significantly reducing exposure to workers of very high level of radioactivity in the waste and eliminating the need for some of the waste to be size-reduced to meet the requirements for shipment to WIPP, resulting in significant cost savings and improved safety.
The system is comprised of a Box Segmented Gamma Scanner (BSGS) providing high resolution gamma spectroscopy, and a Box Neutron Assay System (BNAS) providing passive neutron counting capability. The NDA 2000 software, developed by Mirion (Canberra), uses a multi-modality approach that combines the assay results from the gamma and neutron systems to complement each other in satisfying WIPP criteria. To meet the challenges presented by characterizing such large containers, we:
As a result of our innovations in large container characterization at SRS, several thousand containers of waste were safely transported to WIPP for disposal, thus providing significant cost savings and improved operational efficiencies, as well as reduction of radiation exposure for the workers.
We were also an integral part of a team that received a DOE Sustainability Award in 2014. Savannah River Solid Waste Engineering, in a partnership with Mirion (Canberra) and the CCP, developed an innovative approach for reducing the quantity of transuranic waste requiring processing. The NDA technique compensates for a variety of difficult waste compositions and configurations and minimizes processing, repackaging, transport, and facilitates disposal of transuranic materials. This state-of-the-art process also reduces exposure through repacking of containers and other inherent risks to DOE personnel. Process development and qualification took less than two years to complete and was approved by the SRS TRU Team, DOE, WIPP, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Application of this new technique for waste at SRS reduced the quantity of TRU waste requiring processing by 70 cubic meters (28 containers), leading to a cost savings of more than $10.5 million. This process is WIPP-approved and is available to the DOE complex to support TRU waste certification for shipment and disposal to the WIPP.
Mirion (Canberra) designed and developed the well-known ISOCS™ technology, and we have extended its capabilities by developing a complete use of the ISOCS methodology to facilitate certification of waste containers for WIPP disposition that cannot otherwise be certified, thereby providing significant cost savings and operational efficiencies. The challenge faced by several sites is the presence of waste containers that have material types or high activities that result in difficult measurement scenarios, or waste container shapes that do not have readily available matrices for calibration verification. The certification process involves an extensive calibration and verification process including the development and fabrication of calibration standards. This is an area where the ISOCS approach is of significant value to the Nuclear Waste Partnership (NWP) CCP program and unique to our expertise and capability. Mirion (Canberra) used previous experience of object-based efficiency validation and other tools to create a Figure-of-Merit (FOM) that can be used to demonstrate to the EPA and DOE that the ISOCS efficiency used for the containers in question is valid. The new tool is fielded through a specialized software user interface that works as part of our Genie™ 2000 software and integrates with our NDA 2000 waste assay software.
The link below shows Mirion’s ability to bring advanced technology to assist DOE with significant issues in the complex.
Mirion (Canberra) provides significant support to the RH Dose-to-Curie (DTC) operations performed at INL to ensure that INL RH waste is certified in accordance with DOE/WIPP-02-3124, Remote Handled TRU Waste Characterization Program Implementation Plan (RH PIP). Our Lead Operators provide oversight and review of ITR measurements work performed by INL site personnel. The DTC process establishes radionuclide activity, total activity, and activity per container, when used in conjunction with scaling factors that represent the radionuclide distribution in the waste.
We perform gamma spectroscopy operations using our Osprey® Universal Digital MCA Tube Base for Scintillation Spectrometry, which, in addition to the standard PHA mode of operation, includes MCS, SCA, multispectral scaling, list, and time-stamped list modes and is designed for either remote or local operation. Our EAs review gamma spectroscopy data. The benefit this provides is to safely and cost-effectively determine relative radionuclide contributions to the gamma dose rate (isotopic distribution), to estimate scaling factors, or as a specific measurement technique to quantify radionuclides in the waste. Mirion (Canberra) also develops and provides training to qualify INL personnel, as well as assists in the development and revision of procedures associated with the RH TRU tasks we perform at INL.