The Genesis of a Product Line
In nuclear power plants, tools, helmets, and other personal items used inside a Radiologically Controlled Area (RCA) can potentially become contaminated with radioactive material. Typically, identifying these objects at the boundary of the RCA is achieved using devices known as small or large object monitors. Many plants have out-of-pocket policies requiring any and all items be screened prior to exiting the RCA.
These monitors use a combination of sensitive detectors surrounded by shielding, in an effort to balance the needs of accurate detection while eliminating any extraneous background radiation measurements.
In 2013, Electricité de France (EDF), the world's largest operator of nuclear power plants with 58 operating reactors in France alone, launched a public tender for a new generation of small object monitors which would progressively replace their current monitors, while gradually integrating newer monitoring technology.
The objectives of this new technology include:
- The ability to achieve lower alarm thresholds
- Reduction in measurement times
- Better adaptation to background conditions
- The ability to be used in a variety of industrial environments
In addition to these requirements, EDF also requested additional optional features, such as categorization of contamination type and functional improvements with enhanced ergonomics.