Nuclear Operations

The Nuclear Operations capability consists of 4 capabilities providing technical support (commercial work, R&D, nuclear foresight & advice) to a wide range of customers including the UK government.

Measurement and Analysis – Instrumentation and In-situ Analysis (M&A-I)

The chemical and physical measurements are classified as;

  • On-Line Chemical Analysis.
  • On-line automatic chemical analysis is essential for near real-time process control and effluent monitoring. M&A-I has developed more than 30 process analysers for the Sellafield reprocessing plants using techniques ranging from spectro-photometry and electrochemistry to X-ray and laser-induced fluorescence. Novel liquid handling techniques have been developed to deliver unparalleled reliability with minimal maintenance requirements: features that are paramount when dealing with radioactive or otherwise hazardous materials.
  • In-situ Physical and Radiometric Measurements.
  • M&A-I has developed instrumentation for physical metrology ranging from conventional techniques such as displacement, temperature, pressure, humidity and liquid level to the use of eddy currents for reading engraved barcodes inside sealed metal canisters. We also have practical experience with on-line radiometric techniques such as gamma spectroscopy.
Image Processing

M&A-I has used sophisticated visual image processing for a variety of unusual measurements including crystallisation temperature, meniscus tracking, leak detection and physical dimensions. We have been particularly successful with smart cameras for reading barcodes at distance and through shield windows where conventional laser readers are ineffective. We also have experience with networked surveillance cameras and digital video recording.

Hardware Controllers

We have a design and build capability for bench-top or rack-mounted hardware and/or software controllers aimed primarily at small to medium-scale laboratory experiments.

Bespoke Software

The M&A-I bespoke software capability supports our instrumentation products as these typically require both control and data logging features. Our instruments are often used in safety related applications and our procedures have been assessed for compliance with BS EN 61508. We also create specialist scientific calculation and data logging software for laboratory trials. Expertise covers several languages including Pascal, C, C++, Microsoft C# and Visual Basic for the .NET framework.

Customers: Sellafield Ltd.

Equipment: SMART Cameras, Gamma Detector, Gas Mass spectrometer, Development PC’s and Eddy Current Test Rig.

Software: Software development Applications (Visual Studio, HelpSmith and Beyond compare).