NSUF offers access to gamma irradiation facilities to users whose proposals are awarded access. Each of these reactors offer unique capabilities for researchers to explore basic and applied nuclear research. For a list of the technical point of contact for each facility, please click here.
Idaho National Laboratory
Located in INL's Advanced Test Reactor (ATR) canal, the INL ATR Gamma Facility is an aluminum dry tube projecting from the spent fuel rack to the top of the ATR canal. The tube contains a removable shielded plug at the top to block shine and is sealed at the bottom and weighted with lead. Spent fuel can be placed in the fuel grid around the gamma facility to generate high gamma fields. The gamma facility has historically been used to determine material degradation in a high gamma field. For example it has been used to determine effects on electronics, wire insulation, and even oil. Test samples must fit inside an aluminum dry tube sealed at the bottom and weighted with lead to prevent floating. The 21-foot tube has a useable inner diameter of 12.7 cm (5 inches) [or 8.9-cm (3.5-in)] and a useable length of 6 m (19 feet - 8 inches) from the top to the lead. Radiological control surveillance is required whenever the shield plug is removed for sample handling.
INL's Gamma Irradiator Test Loop, located in the Fuels and Applied Science Building (FASB), expands gamma irradiator capability by introducing the option of "in-motion" type irradiation experiments. The Gamma Irradiator Test Loop assists researchers in studying the effects of radiation on the structural integrity of solid and liquid materials. The instrument delivers a radiation dose from Co-60 source (~4 kGy/hr as of Aug. 2017). Two experimental options currently are available: (1) static, where sealed vials containing non-rad or rad materials are irradiated, and (2) dynamic, where analyte liquids are irradiated while being continuously circulated through a test loop located inside the irradiator.
INL's Gammacell 220, also located at the FASB, is a Cobalt 60 irradiation facility manufactured by Atomic Energy of Canada Limited for use in an unshielded room. The unit consists of an annular source permanently enclosed within a lead shield, a cylindrical drawer, and a drive mechanism to move the drawer up or down along the source centre-line. The drawer has a chamber to carry samples to be irradiated from outside the shield to the source. Samples up to approximately six inches in diameter and eight inches in height can be accommodated in the chamber. Liquid, gaseous, electrical or mechanical connections can be introduced into the sample chamber through an access tube in the upper portion of the drawer. An electrically powered digital timer automatically raises the drawer at the termination of a sample irradiation. Times may be preset to a maximum of 999.9 hours.
Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Oak Ridge National Laboratory's Gamma Iradiation Facility (HFIR-GIF) provides researchers with the capabilities to understand material behaviors in a radiation environment and qualify materials and components for the nuclear industry. Samples can be subjected to gamma fluxes up to 1E+8Rad/h. Samples are placed in a 3.75-in diameter x 25-inch long canister in the flux trap of a spent fuel element. Sweep gases provide cooling and an inert environment, and electrical connections allow data acquisition and power to the samples. User Guide
Sandia National Laboratories
Sandia National Laboratories' Gamma Irradiation Facility (GIF) produces a wide range of gamma radiation environments using Co-60 sources. The GIF is capable of irradiating objects as small as bacteria and as large as an Abrams M1 tank (although SNL typically irradiate electronic components, equipment and samples of various materials). The GIF provides in-cell dry irradiations in test cells and in-pool submerged irradiations in the pool. The GIF has three concrete dry test cells: two cells are 3 m × 3 m, one cell is 5.5 m × 9.1 m, and an 18-foot deep pool. The facility offers gamma dose rates from 10-3 rad/s to over 1000 rad/s. User Guide