An attemp to use a pulsed CO2 laser for decontamination of radioactive metal surfaces
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There is a growing interest in laser radioactive decontamination of metal surfaces. It offers advantages over conventional methods: improved safety, reduction of secondary waste, reduced waste volume, acceptable cost. The main mechanism of cleaning by lasers is ablation, A pulsed TEA CO2 laser was used in this work for surface cleaning in order to show that ablation of metal surfaces is possible even at relatively low pulse energies, and to suggest that it could be competitive with other lasers because of much higher energy efficiencies. A brief theoretical analysis was made before the experiments. The laser beam was focused using a KBr-lens unto a surface contaminated with Cs-137 (beta(-), t(1/2) = 30.17 y). Three different metals were used: stainless steel, copper and aluminium. The ablated material was pumped out in an air atmosphere and transferred to a filter. The presence of activity on the filter was shown by a germanium detector-multichannel analyzer. The activity levels were m...easured by a GM counter. The calculated decontamination factors and collection factors showed that ablation occurs with a relatively high efficiency of decontamination. This investigation suggests that decontamination using a CO2 laser should be seriously considered.
Keywords:radioactivity / decontamination of metals / CO2 laser / absorption of light / ablation / surface cleaning / radioactive wastes
Source:Journal of the Serbian Chemical Society, 2000, 65, 5-6, 445-450
- 12th Yugoslav Conference on General and Applied Spectroscopy, Oct, 1999, Belgrade, Yugoslavia