Nuclear Technology / Volume 201 / Number 2 / February 2018 / Pages 113-121
Technical Paper / dx.doi.org/10.1080/00295450.2017.1411718
Proximate to nuclear power plant severe accidents, sustained high levels of gamma radiative flux are perilous not only to human health but also to the functionality of conventional radiation-monitoring devices. Effective accident mitigation presents a significant challenge because the gamma radiation adversely affects the means by which it is measured. Deployments of large numbers of radiation-hardened monitoring devices, required to meet the demands of adequate system reliability and the large spatiotemporal scales associated with such accidents, are expected to be prohibitively expensive. As an affordable alternative, this paper proposes usage of a wireless sensor network (WSN) built with unshielded low-cost integrated circuits (ICs) acting as consumable proportional sensors of gamma radiation dose. Adverse responses of ICs to damaging gamma radiation dose can be characterized statistically, in controlled laboratory experiments. In subsequent field application, responses of individual ICs, transmitted over a WSN to a remote computer, can be translated into local dose measurements using correlations obtained via the laboratory characterization. Experiments to characterize adverse response to radiation dose were performed on multiple complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor–based electrically erasable programmable read-only memory devices in a Gammacell 220 Cobalt-60 Irradiation Unit (60Co source) at the Canadian Nuclear Laboratories. Details of the experiments, data analyses, and a small-scale prototype WSN are discussed in this paper. Outcomes of the experiments a nd analysis support the concept of using low-cost consumable ICs in a WSN to measure high levels of gamma radiation dose associated with nuclear power plant severe accidents.