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New CRP: Maintenance, Repair, and Calibration of Radiation Detection Equipment (J02014)

New Coordinated Research Project

Participants taking different measurements of nuclear materials to identify the spectrums for use in calibration the instruments and future measurement checks. (Photo: C. Friedly/IAEA)

The IAEA has launched a new Coordinated Research Project (CRP) to improve the effectiveness of radiation detection equipment and reduce costs by using new approaches to maintenance, repair and calibration. 

Albania, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Greece, India, Kenya and Thailand have already joined the CRP, which was launched in January 2019 and will conclude in 2022.

More than 10 000 fixed radiation portal monitors and many tens of thousands more handheld detection devices are used around the world to detect illicit transport of nuclear and other radioactive material. They all have to be maintained, repaired and calibrated to function according to specifications and expectations. 

Complicated and costly equipment failures can occur when equipment is not designed for easy maintenance, repair and calibration and effective operation under the conditions experienced in the field.

Easier maintenance, repair, and calibration will assist Member States in managing their equipment, reducing its life cycle costs and improving long-term sustainability. This will strengthen Member States’ ability to detect the presence of nuclear or other radioactive material out of regulatory control, determine an adequate level of response, and meet their commitments under binding and non-binding legal instruments.

Research Projects under this CRP will address a wide range of maintenance, repair, and calibration issues. Several of the planned projects will examine common detection equipment failures and explore scientific and engineering advancements to improve designs and specifications to optimize performance under field operational conditions. Other CRP participants will investigate modular designs that support easy repair and replacement of parts, and will identify which parts should be replaceable and upgradable, along with best practices for their repair or replacement and upgrade to increase sustainability.

The CRP will also include projects investigating and developing tools and techniques for self-diagnostic and health monitoring of radiation detection equipment. This information will be used to estimate degradation levels, functionality, calibration status, and eventually remaining useful life of each component of the equipment. Higher accuracy of state-of-health information would allow for better management of equipment life cycle cost.

New training techniques and online sharing platforms may also be developed and tested under this CRP to facilitate knowledge transfer and build capacity for operationalizing the CRP’s findings and solutions for sustainable maintenance, repair, and calibration of radiation detection equipment. An online knowledge-sharing platform will be established to build a community of maintenance experts and provide solutions to Member States’ detection equipment inquiries.

CRP Overall Objective:

The primary goal of the CRP is to develop or improve the technical documents, hardware and software tools, designs, specifications, and training materials for maintenance, repair, and calibration of radiation detection equipment.  The outputs of the CRP can be used by Member States to effectively sustain nuclear security detection systems used for detecting nuclear and other radioactive material out of regulatory control.  Through the process of Member States identifying issues and developing solutions, the CRP builds capacity within the States and helps ensure solution implementation and enhanced nuclear security.

Areas of specific interest covered by the CRP include, but are not limited to, the following:

  1. Study of malfunctions and failures of radiation detection equipment and development of technical documents containing repair solutions and preventive measures recommendations.
  2. Analyses of life-cycle cost estimation for maintenance, repair, and calibration.
  3. Development of field calibration and verification techniques, including alternative calibration schemes.
  4. Improved technical designs and specifications of radiation detection equipment for reliability, field repairability, modularity, and self-diagnostics.
  5. Development of tools for equipment diagnostic and state-of-health monitoring for predictive and preventive maintenance.
  6. Improved training approaches and knowledge sharing platforms for maintenance, repair, and calibration.
  7. Development of technical guidance documents for implementation of efficient and effective equipment management programs and assessment of its implementation.

How to join the CRP?

Please submit your Proposal for Research Contract or Research Agreement to the IAEA’s Research Contracts Administration Section, using the templates on the CRA website.

For further information, please send an email.

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