The new analytical contract, worth in the region of £200,000, sees ESG characterising metallic-based research project waste samples to determine whether harmful levels of radioactivity are present.
The STFC is a Governmental body that carries out research into science and engineering, operating the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory at Harwell, Oxfordshire. As a by-product of the STFC’s energetic-beam research activities, a range of metallic waste is produced. In order for this to be disposed of or reused appropriately, it must undergo significant testing to determine levels of radiation.
ESG’s contract win follows a £100,000 investment in cutting edge sampling equipment, which has enabled the laboratory to significantly reduce turnaround times for clients who require highly accurate radioactive materials testing. The new kit allows ESG to mechanically prepare samples for analysis and determine the levels of radiation present in the sample.
The equipment includes a precision saw, which can accurately cut a sample to within 0.1mm and a jaw crusher, which rapidly reduces large samples to smaller sizes. In addition, ESG has invested in a ball mill to reduce and homogenize hard samples such as concretes, as well as a flail mill to break down softer materials like roofing felts.
Paul Duncan, business manager, Nuclear, ESG, commented: “Having worked closely with our customers in the nuclear sector, we understand that efficiency and turnaround is a key requirement for reducing project times. Our new cutting-edge equipment allows us to determine levels of radiation within any given sample in the most efficient way possible ensuring our customers receive accurate analytical data in the quickest time possible.
“Our work with the STFC will allow significant quantities of the metallic materials used in the research process to be smelted and reused following characterisation. This helps support our client’s aim of managing waste appropriately and increasing levels of resource efficiency.”
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