The aim of the project is to develop a robust sensor capable of precisely identifying the energy of, and imaging the gamma radiation field associated with radioactive material, that will operate in hostile working environments. The requirement here is for the detection and imaging of gamma radiation that may arise on a nuclear submarine. This includes both gamma radiation from the reactor derived from fission products and actinides and gammas arising from neutron scattering and activation. The system will be a modular solution for radiation detection that can be used in a wide variety of applications (for example nuclear assay for site clearance as well as the work to be carried out here). The requirement is to cover the 60 keV to 10 MeV gamma-ray energy range and to have an imaging capability to identify the source of the radiation in the complex submarine environment. This is likely to require an image resolution in the 5 to 10 mm range. The instrument will able to identify specific radioactive isotopes making it possible to collect useful plant state information in real-time.
The proposed instrument will provide real data on the boat to allow BAE to develop a family of Resilient Gamma Spectrometers/Imagers that could be used for further trials on UK/US submarines and can be commercially exploited by John Caunt Scientific. The instrument will be designed for optimum efficiency to image gamma-ray emissions which are of interest in a submarine environment (60 keV / 10 MeV), but in principle the instrument could be used in other applications, in particular gamma-ray detection in crime and security situations following neutron interrogation. This knowledge exchange project provides BAE with access to the wealth of experience in high resolution gamma-ray systems available at the University of Liverpool, while allowing Liverpool to become familiar with robust packaging and testing procedures allowing them to exploit academically developed instrumentation in a "realistic working environment". JCS bring key marketing experience to the project, allowing the technologies to be developed to suit future customer needs based on the outcomes of this project.