Swedish authorities have collaborated with their Canadian counterparts to develop an instrument for use during inspections to check the quantity of nuclear fuel located at the inspected facilities. The aim is to prevent nuclear material from ending up in the wrong hands. This instrument has mainly been developed for the IAEA and will for instance be used for checking nuclear fuel from the nuclear power plant at Fukushima Dai-ichi, Japan.
Sweden and Canada’s respective radiation safety authorities have developed an instrument that improves the capability to check inventories of nuclear fuel. The instrument is used to enable the IAEA’s inspectors to determine whether the quantity of irradiated nuclear fuel matches the quantity reported by the facilities. This work is carried out to prevent nuclear material from ending up in the wrong hands and ultimately being used to produce nuclear weapons.
“This instrument will shortly be used for checking nuclear fuel at the site of the nuclear power plant accident at Fukushima Dai-ichi,” says Joakim Dahlberg, an inspector at the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority. “A Swedish and a Canadian instructor will soon be travelling to Japan to train staff from both the IAEA and the Japanese authority.”
For more information, please contact: Joakim Dahlberg, inspector at the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority, via the press officer on call on +46 8 799 40 20.
Press photo of the instrument
The name of the photographer must be stated if the photo is used for publication. Photo: Andy Gerwing, Channel Systems, CA.
The instrument, DCVD, or Digital Cherenkov Viewing Device, can detect Cherenkov light.
When a fuel element has recently been removed from a reactor, it is possible to see a blue glow with the naked eye, called ‘Cherenkov light’. The quantity of Cherenkov light produced diminishes the longer the nuclear fuel has been removed from the reactor.
This instrument can detect Cherenkov light many years after the fuel has been removed from a reactor; the light is then so weak that a tool is needed to see it. The DCVD instrument generates a digital image that can be used to conduct a sophisticated analysis and draw conclusions about the fuel’s history.