Our customer – Nuclear engineers especially those working in decommissioning and contaminated environments.
The customer’s problem – Making detailed remote contamination and waste assessments in 3D to enable accurate project planning when access is severely limited and environments are contaminated.
Our view of the problem
We realised that this was fundamentally a 3D imaging problem – the ideal solution would be a technology that could produce a quantified 3D map of the radiation sources in a cell. We therefore looked to medical imaging for inspiration, where technologies such as PET and SPECT imaging fulfil precisely that role.
Our solution – High radiation imaging was believed to be impossible without using large masses of high density metal that made them big and very heavy – too unwieldy to deploy into most nuclear cells. We unwound the assumptions behind that belief and found that one of them, crucially, was untrue. We then worked forward, asking ourselves: ‘If the imager has got to be small and light, what does that imply about the assumption?’ As we often find, the constraint turned out to be the source of the innovation.
The N-Visage™ scanner was designed by nuclear engineers for nuclear engineers and it is the first system aimed specifically at challenging deloyments through small apertures. It is also designed for high radiation dose areas (currently up to 1 Sv/hour but Createc is developing a version for even higher dose areas).
N-Visage™ uses a unique imaging sysem based on CZT detector technology and it is also equipped with a spherical camera and laser rangefinder. With this combination of technology, each scan produces detailed radiometric, geometric and optical data and models, making the device a single package solution to most nuclear chacterisation challenges.
Our team – Most, if not all, members of the Createc team have worked on some aspect of N-Visage™ over the years. Alan Shippen and Matt Mellor are leading the development of a version for highly contaminated environments, based on our experience of working with those involved in the complex clean up operations and the post-event characterisation at Fukushima in Japan.
What happened next?
This is the product that really launched Createc as a company, bringing together the range of expertise required to develop N-Visage™ into what is today the world’s most capable and versatile radiation scanning system for the nuclear industry.
N-Visage™ has been recognised as a vital tool and is being used in the UK, USA and at Fukushima where Createc staff are also identifying potential for developments and new ideas to take N-Visage™ into the future.
“It has been great to see N-Visage™ get the publicity and industry recognition that it deserves in recent years. We know that the approach is capable of doing even more and it is a constant Createc project to make those development and improvements happen.” Matt Mellor
- Full 360° by 360° gamma image
- Energy resolution of 3% FWHM at 662 eV and an energy range of 30keV to 2MeV
- Completes gamma images in under 3 hours with a spherical image resolution of 12 Megapixels
- Speed and resolution are user controllable and the umbilical length can be up to 125 metres