Tracking radioactive waste from reactor decommissioning

14 May 2009

Sample tracking software from LabLogic Systems is assisting in the decommissioning of the UK'’s only civilian research nuclear reactor.

The 100 kW reactor at Imperial College London’s Silwood Park campus in Ascot, Berkshire has been producing irradiated samples for nuclear science research and training since 1965, but operational work is likely to be discontinued within the next few years.

LabLogic'’s Stacy tracking and stock control system - which was originally developed for radioisotopes used in drug metabolism studies - will maintain records of the large amount of radioactive waste generated by the clean-up, de-fuelling and decommissioning of the reactor.

"One of the advantages of Stacy is that it can link directly to our Gammavision software, which records the many different types of isotopes present in the waste" says environmental protection manager Vincent Malachanne.

"The ability to enter data easily, track by location and also see who entered or edited data through the security/audit trail are also important considerations for the job that the system has to do."

LabLogic's systems director Huw Loaring said: "We are pleased to have Imperial College as our latest customer for Stacy. It shows the system is flexible enough to be used by universities, pharmaceutical industry drug metabolism laboratories and contract laboratories - anywhere when there is a need to track the use and disposal of radioactivity."

In order to demonstrate regulatory compliance at Silwood Park, Stacy must account for radioactive material and waste arising from three different sources - sample analysis, decommissioning and previous works and operations. It must also keep track of every radioactive waste item from the time it is generated until its disposal off-site.

In addition, records must also be kept on a monthly and annual basis of disposal through each waste route, and of the authorised sites to which the waste was transferred.

Waste officers with full control over radioactive waste management have full access to Stacy in order to populate the database, assess the compliance of the site and prepare reports, while waste producers have a lower level of read-only access.