Jacobs (NYSE: J) will deploy Raman spectroscopy technology to provide safer identification of radioactive contamination and hazardous substances in waste stores and nuclear facilities undergoing decommissioning, the company announced Tuesday.
Raman spectroscopy will fire lasers at a target to gauge the resulting molecular vibrations. The measurement will identify specific chemical compounds. Jacobs and IS Instruments designed a new type of Raman system that can detect a weak laser signal when several meters from the target.
Jacobs has also integrated a mount for the Raman probe so it can be operated remotely by vehicle or robot arm. The mount will enable the probe to get within two meters of the target and send a signal down an optical cable to the main Raman instrument.
In addition, Jacobs and Innovate UK have provided funding to take the system from proof-of-concept to commercial application. The system has been integrated to detect uranium, kerosene and tri-butyl phosphate, which can indicate the presence of plutonium or uranium contamination.
Legacy nuclear facilities sometimes contain significant amounts of poorly unidentified or unknown waste materials, so improved characterization capability can reduce decommissioning costs and timescales.
"This new type of Raman system is an important breakthrough for the nuclear industry because it provides greater certainty about the presence of hazardous materials in high radiation waste facilities, making the materials easier, cheaper and safer to detect," said Clive White, senior vice president of Jacobs Critical Mission Solutions International
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