IGCAR scientists develop Gamma Dose Logger

Scientists have developed `Gamma Dose` logger to monitor ionising radiation around nuclear reactors.

Mumbai: Indian scientists have developed for
the first time a Local Area Network (LAN) based online `Gamma
Dose` logger to continuously monitor ionising radiation in the
environment around nuclear reactors and associated fuel cycle

"Such continuous monitoring also provides for early
detection of excess release in case of an untoward incident
and also to estimate the source term, which is essential for
emergency response," Dr B Venkatraman, Associate Director,
Radiological Safety and Environmental Group (RSEG) of Indira
Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research (IGCAR) told a news agency here.

"Our system works on batteries with solar power charging
and is thus eco-friendly," he said.

Venkataraman said now real time data access through local
area network and real time graphical display of dose rate
values was possible.

"The system sensitivity is on par with similar
international systems and prompt detection of movement of any
radioactive materials - both planned and inadvertent, can be
detected reliably," he said.

The indigenously developed online `Gamma Dose` logger
will be at least Rs 1.5 lakh cheaper than the imported ones
and also have additional features, he said.

"The crux is the indigenous development of such system
which means enhanced availability, less dependence on imports
and more importantly easy serviceability and maintenance which
means less down times," Venkataraman added.

"The Radiological Safety division (RSD) had developed
indigenous gamma dose logger with capabilities of existing
state-of-the-art gamma tracer with advanced features such as
transmitting online data through LAN while being eco-friendly,
taking into account factors such as requirement of
communication towers, data security, cost effectiveness and
expandability," senior scientist G Surya Prakash said in the
latest IGCAR newsletter.

The system has been successfully installed at four
locations -- Safety Research Institute (SRI), Materials
science laboratory (MSL), Engineering Services Group (ESG) and
Reprocessing Development Laboratory (RDL) -- at Kalpakkam
atomic establishment.

It has been working smoothly and satisfactorily for the
last six months. Besides, one more monitoring location at
Waste Immobilisation Plant (WIP) has been added recently, said
Prakash, who developed this logger with the help of his
colleagues at ICGAR.

The system essentially consists of an energy compensated
Geiger-Muller tube (detector), a microcontroller with
dedicated software code embedded to organise the data, the
scientist said.

The measuring range of the instrument of the ionising
radiation is 20-100mGy/h (milli gray per hour), he said.

For simultaneous collection of online data from several
stations, the system installed at remote location is assigned
an IP address and connected to the local area network to
transfer the online data to a server.

Asked about the kind of commercial systems called as
Gamma Tracers (off-line) which were installed and operational
at Kalpakkam for more than a decade, Prakash said those are
stand-alone systems with local data archival feature and data
needs to be collected at the actual location.

Also, the tracer had to be brought to the laboratory for
downloading the archived data.

"We are using this, still to monitor in and around the
construction site of Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor and later
plan to replace it by the On-line Gamma Dose Logger," he