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International Society for Industrial Process Tomography

8th World Congress on Industrial Process Tomography

Development of an Irradiation System for Radioisotope Production Applied to Industrial Process Tomography

Nelson X. Cardozo*, Nelson M. Omi, Jose J. Ambiel, Anselmo Feher, Celia M. Napolitano, Samir L. Somessari, Wilson A. Parejo Calvo

Nuclear and Energy Research Institute (IPEN-CNEN/SP) National Nuclear Energy Commission Radiation Technology Centre

Av. Prof. Lineu Prestes, 2242 - 05508-000 - São Paulo, SP, Brazil



Among the various applications of radioisotopes, the use of radiotracers is considered the most important in diagnosing operation and troubleshooting of industrial process plants in chemical and petrochemical companies. The radiotracers are used in analytical procedures to obtain qualitative and quantitative data systems, in physical and physicochemical studies transfers. In the production of gaseous radioisotopes used as tracers in industrial process measurements, argon-41 (41Ar) and krypton-79 (79Kr) have low reactivity with other chemical elements. 41Ar is a transmitter range with high-energy (1.29MeV) and a high percentage of this energy transformation (99.1%), resulting in relatively small quantities required in relation to the other, for an efficient detection, even in large thicknesses components. Nowadays, the production of gaseous radioisotopes in nuclear research reactors is performed in small quantities (batches), through quartz ampoules containing natural gas 40Ar or 78Kr. In this sense, the aim of this study is to develop an irradiation system for gaseous radioisotope production in continuous scale, applied in industrial applications of emission tomography and flow measurement. The irradiation system may produce 41Ar with activity of 7.4x1011Bq (20Ci) per irradiation cycle, through the Reactor IEA-R1 with 4.5MW and average thermal neutron flux of 4.71x1013 ncm-2s-1 to meet an existing demand in NDT and inspections companies, and even needed by the Radiation Technology Centre, at IPEN/CNEN-SP. The irradiation system consists of an aluminium irradiation capsule, transfer lines, needle valves, stripy connections, quick connectors, manometer, vacuum system, dewar, lead shielding, storage and transport cylinders, among other components. The irradiation system was approved in the leakage and stability tests (bubble test, pressurization, evacuation and with leak detector equipment SPECTRON 600 T). In the experimental production, alanine dosimeters were distributed into various components of the irradiation system, obtaining 1.07x1011Bq (2.9Ci) of 41Ar. In addition, exposure rates were determined in the lead shielding wall, in which the liquefied radioactive gas was concentrated, and in the storage and transport cylinders after 41Ar was transferred, by the portable radiation meter Teletector ® Probe 6150 AD-t/H.

Keywords : Industrial process measurement, emission tomography, radioisotope production, argon-41, irradiation system.

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