A Continuous Automated Vault Inventory System (CAVIS) for accountability monitoring of stored nuclear materials
Description: Nearly all facilities that store hazardous (radioactive or non-radioactive) materials must comply with prevailing federal, state, and local laws. These laws usually have components that require periodic physical inspections to insure that all materials remain safely and securely stored. The inspections are generally labor intensive, slow, put personnel at risk, and only find anomalies after they have occurred. The system described in this paper was developed for monitoring stored nuclear materials resulting from weapons dismantlement, but its applications extend to any storage facility that meets the above criteria. The traditional special nuclear material (SNM) accountability programs, that are currently used within most of the Department of Energy (DOE) complex, require the physical entry of highly trained personnel into SNM storage vaults. This imposes the need for additional security measures, which typically mandate that extra security personnel be present while SNM inventories are performed. These requirements increase labor costs and put additional personnel at risk to radiation exposure. In some cases, individuals have received radiation exposure equivalent to the annual maximum during just one inventory verification. With increasing overhead costs, the current system is rapidly becoming too expensive to operate, the need for an automated method of inventory verification is evident. The Continuous Automated Vault Inventory System (CAVIS) described in this paper was designed and prototyped as a low cost, highly reliable, and user friendly system that is capable of providing, real-time weight, gamma. and neutron energy confirmation from each item stored in a SNM vault. This paper describes the sensor technologies, the CAVIS prototype system (built at Y- 12 for highly enriched uranium storage), the technical requirements that must be achieved to assure successful implementation, and descriptions of sensor technologies needed for a plutonium facility.
Date: December 8, 1994
Creator: Pickett, C. A.; Barham, M. A.; Gafford, T. A.; Hutchinson, D. P.; Jordan, J. K.; Maxey, L. C. et al.
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