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NEWS | March 23, 2023

Newly developed radiation-detection technology aids shipyard's radiological response, monitoring training

By Ryan Marson, PSNS & IMF Technology Insertion Office

Puget Sound Naval Shipyard & Intermediate Maintenance facility and the other three public shipyards are benefitting from added realism that newly developed radiation detection indication and computation instruments, and dosimetry technology now offer.

The devices and techniques used in training here use device manipulation and verbal cues from a trainer to simulate the detection of radiation, which can take trainees’ focus away from evaluating the data they’re “receiving” from their training aids.

According to Vincent Chau, health physicist with Code 105.7, Radiological Controls Special Projects Division, PSNS & IMF, Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard and Norfolk Naval Shipyard received a RADIAC and dosimetry prototype set in late 2022 that contains software and realistic probes that simulate real-world radiation monitoring tools.

“The new equipment not only has the field simulation and detection capabilities already used by private industry, but resembles the specific equipment used by the Naval fleet and repair facilities for a more realistic training environment,” Chau said.

The project was developed in two distinct phases; one centered on dosimetry and the other focused on radiation survey meters. The dosimetry phase included modifications to an existing commercial radiation training system to create training dosimetry for the public shipyards. The second phase included integrating the phase one simulation technology with radiation survey meters.

PSNS & IMF was able to work with the National Center of Manufacturing Sciences and civilian vendor Radiation Safety Corporation Services, to develop the new prototypes that are similar to proven solutions already used by other agencies.

Chau said the tools and training solutions developed for the public shipyards are very similar to the devices and training conducted by other production and engineering organizations, commercial and government nuclear power plants, hospitals, as well as local, state and federal emergency responders. He credited collaboration among several stakeholders for the project successes to date.

“Even though the project was to develop a new capability for Code 105, the Radiological Control Office, the project could not have been accomplished without the resources and expertise of Code 1000I, Technology Insertion, NCMS, RSCS, and stakeholders across the enterprise.”