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Performance Testing of Criticality Accident Detectors with the Godiva Burst Reactor

Vickers, Linda*

doi: 10.1097/HP.0000000000000864
Operational Topic

Criticality accident detectors are required for all operations involving fissile materials in which a criticality accident can occur and cause personnel to receive unacceptable exposure to radiation (ANSI/ANS 8.3‐R2012). Recently, the U.S. Department of Energy Y‐12 National Security Complex tested six criticality accident detectors and eight Portable Radiation Detection Instruments (PRDIs) to verify their performance under actual criticality conditions. The tests were performed by Los Alamos National Laboratory using the Godiva critical assembly located at the National Criticality Experiments Research Center at the U.S. Department of Energy Nevada National Security Site. All six criticality accident detectors and eight Portable Radiation Detection Instruments passed the performance tests. The test results provide reasonable assurance that the Y-12 criticality accident detectors and PRDIs will detect a criticality accident and warn workers to evacuate the area to minimize their exposure to this life-threatening hazard.

*U.S. Department of Energy, Y‐12 National Security Complex, PO Box 2050, Oak Ridge, TN 37831.

The author declares no conflicts of interest.

Linda D. Vickers, PhD, PE, CHP, CSP, is a Nuclear Safety Specialist and Criticality Safety Engineer for the U.S. Department of Energy National Nuclear Security Administration Production Office at the Y‐12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Linda performed federal oversight of the tests that irradiated the Y‐12 Criticality Accident Alarm System detectors under actual criticality accident conditions using the Godiva critical machine assembly located in the National Criticality Experiments Research Center operated by Los Alamos National Laboratory staff at the Nevada National Security Site for the U.S. Department of Energy. In her spare time, Linda enjoys riding horses, gymnastics, flying as a licensed instrument-rated private pilot, and daily exercise/fitness workouts. Her email is Linda.Vickers@npo.doe.gov.

(Manuscript accepted 24 January 2018)

© 2018 by the Health Physics Society