This project will mainly impact on the nuclear industry, but also on industries that produce radioactive waste due to naturally occurring radioactivity in materials that are processed (for example, the oil and gas industries).

Impact on industrial and other user communities

The wider long-term impact of this project is on the members of the public and the environment, through ensuring that radioactive waste is disposed of safely. More specifically, the portable instrumentation for in situ measurement of gamma and alpha emitting radionuclides has opportunities to be licensed to instrumentation companies, for use by decommissioning personnel on nuclear sites to identify the extent of contamination and plan decommissioning activities. An early adopter of the micro-fluidic technology for radiochemical separation would be the Sellafield nuclear site, as the technology has the potential for significant cost and time saving for difficult to measure radionuclides. The pre-production airborne-radioactivity measurement systems have routes to market through the instrumentation companies in the consortium, with early adopters likely to be the low-level waste repositories in the UK and France.

The project incorporates two major facilities: the waste-package sentencing system and the waste-repository measurement system. The immediate impact from these facilities will be accurate, traceable, regulatory-compliant assessments of radioactive waste for the nuclear sites where the facilities are located, but the use of these facilities for training is intended to disseminate best practice and traceability to all nuclear sites operating waste package measurement systems.

Impact on metrology and scientific communities

This project aims to contribute to developing a new, harmonised, international measurement infrastructure to support nuclear decommissioning. There is an established infrastructure for measuring routine discharges from the nuclear industry and radioactivity in the food chain and the environment; a new infrastructure is needed to address the measurement challenges in decommissioning (different radionuclides, different materials & different activity levels).

Impact on relevant standards

This project will have an impact on standards being developed by the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO); these standards are referred to by laboratories and measurement scientists throughout the nuclear industry and are also adopted in national standards. The technical findings will be fed back for incorporation in standards under development and new work items covering topics such as the use of sensor networks will be proposed to ISO/TC85/SC2/WG17. The work will contribute to national good practice guides, such as the proposed UK Nuclear Industry Code of Practice for site characterisation.