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Technical Brief

Design of a Tritium-In-Air Monitor Using Field-Programmable Gate Arrays

[+] Author and Article Information
Phillip McNelles

Mem. ASME
University of Ontario Institute of Technology,
2000 Simcoe Street North, Oshawa, ON L1H 7K4, Canada
e-mail: phillip.mcnelles@uoit.ca

Lixuan Lu

University of Ontario Institute of Technology,
2000 Simcoe Street North, Oshawa, ON L1H 7K4, Canada
email: lixuan.lu@uoit.ca

1Corresponding author.

Manuscript received September 30, 2015; final manuscript received March 16, 2016; published online October 12, 2016. Assoc. Editor: John F. P. de Grosbois.

ASME J of Nuclear Rad Sci 2(4), 044506 (Oct 12, 2016) (3 pages) Paper No: NERS-15-1197; doi: 10.1115/1.4033088 History: Received September 30, 2015; Accepted March 16, 2016

Field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) have recently garnered significant interest for certain applications within the nuclear field including instrumentation and control (I&C) systems, pulse measurement systems, particle detectors, and health physics. In CANada Deuterium Uranium (CANDU) nuclear power plants, the use of heavy water (D2O) as the moderator leads to increased production of tritium, which poses a health risk and must be monitored by tritium-in-air monitors (TAMs). Traditional TAMs are mostly designed using microprocessors. More recent studies show that FPGAs could be a potential alternative to implement the electronic logic used in radiation detectors, such as the TAM, more effectively. In this paper, an FPGA-based TAM is designed and constructed in a laboratory setting using an FPGA-based cRIO system. New functionalities, such as the detection of carbon-14 and the addition of noble-gas compensation, are incorporated into a new FPGA-based TAM along with the standard functions included in the original microprocessor-based TAM. The effectiveness of the new design is demonstrated through simulations as well as laboratory testing on the prototype system. Potential issues caused by radiation interactions with the FPGA are beyond the scope of this work.

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Figures

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 1

H-3 and C-14 activity readings

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 2

H-3 Activity with gamma and noble-gas cancellation

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