Complex Operation to Withdraw Abandoned Neutron Source Conducted at Geochemistry Institute

The Radon emergency team withdrawn an abandoned source of fast neutrons from the Semenenko Institute of Geochemistry, Mineralogy and Ore Formation of NAS of Ukraine. DNSh-108 source was located in the basement of the institution. A number of activities was required to withdraw the source. It took 3 years.

RS was detected back on 19 February 2018 during premise preparation for repair, when employees of the Geochemistry Institute recorded an exposure dose increase using special detection equipment. In the 1960s – 1970s, a laboratory for studying rock samples using neutron activation analysis methods was located in this basement.

Then the Institute administration took priority radiation safety and access control measures, informed executive authorities and organized a prompt survey of the territory and premises involving experts from the Institute for Nuclear Research of NAS of Ukraine, Main Office of SESU in Kyiv and Civil Protection Department of the Sviatoshyno District Administration.

During the next period, complex and radiation-hazardous activities were conducted by joint efforts of SNRIU, State Agency of Ukraine on Exclusion Zone Management, Radon Corporation and Centralized Radwaste Management Enterprise to prepare the radiation source for withdrawal, which required relevant training of personnel, manufacturing and testing of special equipment, transport packaging, solving engineering and technical issues on access and transport routes, determining the place and method of safe and secure storage.

Removal of the installation, its placement in the internal neutron container, transfer and placement in a protective external container and preparation for transport was implemented with the participation of SNRIU Chairman Grygoriy Plachkov, SAUEZM Head Sergiy Kostiuk, representatives of Radon and  CRME.

The neutron source was transported for storage to the Vector Central Storage Facility for Spent Radiation Sources in the Exclusion Zone.

According to SNRIU.