In 2014, Ultra embarked on a project to build a modern manufacturing and test facility for supplying neutron flux detectors. These sensors are installed around the periphery of a nuclear core to provide critical condition information.
A key requirement of the new facility was a source of neutrons to prove performance of the devices. After reviewing potential worldwide suppliers, Ultra engaged a US company, to adapt one of their experimental devices. After an intense 14 months of development the neutron generator successfully completed its factory acceptance tests and was installed at their facility in the UK. Now installed and commissioned it provides controllable neutron flux levels comparable to those around the reactor core.
A further requirement of the test facility was an ability to expose our radiation sensors to significant gamma fluxes. This has been achieved using a range of four traditional gamma sources to provide a wide range together with a 3D computer controlled mechanical handling system for the sample under test. The sources are housed in a shielded container inside a radiation test cell which allows controlled access prior to test to ensure the equipment under test is set-up correctly.
With the manufacturing facility self-sufficient, the testing capabilities are now available to other nuclear customers.