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Research Papers

Design and Implementation of an Automated Gamma Probe for Jet Boring Uranium Mining

[+] Author and Article Information
Kasmet T. Niyongabo

Mechatronic and Robotic Systems Laboratory, University of Ontario Institute of Technologies,
Oshawa, ON L1H 7K4, Canada
e-mail: kasmet.niyongabo@uoit.ca

Scott B. Nokleby

Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, Mechatronic and Robotic Systems Laboratory, University of Ontario Institute of Technologies,
Oshawa, ON L1H 7K4, Canada
e-mail: scott.nokleby@uoit.ca

Manuscript received April 13, 2015; final manuscript received January 11, 2016; published online June 17, 2016. Assoc. Editor: Rosa Maria Montereali.

ASME J of Nuclear Rad Sci 2(3), 031020 (Jun 17, 2016) (12 pages) Paper No: NERS-15-1055; doi: 10.1115/1.4032634 History: Received April 13, 2015; Accepted January 21, 2016

A proof-of-concept detector prototype capable of collecting and storing radiometric data in the jet boring system (JBS) during pilot hole drilling at the Cigar Lake uranium mine is presented. Cigar Lake is the world’s second highest known grade uranium mine and is located in northern Saskatchewan, Canada. Variant design is used to design, develop, test, and implement the detector’s firmware, software, and hardware. The battery-powered detector is attached inside a JBS drill rod to collect radiometric data through the drilling cycle. A readout box is used to initiate the detector, recharge the battery, and download radiometric data after the pilot hole drilling cycle is complete. Functional testing results are presented, and comparative test results between the JBS gamma probe and the AlphaNUCLEAR Hi-Flux probe are evaluated. Field data collected from a pilot hole are plotted against the pilot hole’s driving layout and jetting recipe to show the accuracy of the readings collected.

Copyright © 2016 by ASME
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References

Figures

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Fig. 1

Cigar Lake jet boring mining general arrangement [1]

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Fig. 2

JBS assembly 3D drawing [2]

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Fig. 3

Pilot hole drilling [3]

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Fig. 4

Cavity scanning after jetting [3]

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Fig. 5

JBS pilot hole gamma probe functional decomposition diagram

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Fig. 6

JBS gamma probe and bracket general arrangement in modified zero rod

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Fig. 7

JBS gamma probe circuit board layout

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Fig. 8

Populated JBS gamma probe circuit board (circuit board bottom on the left and circuit board top on the right)

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Fig. 9

Anticoincidence circuitry logic gate layout

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Fig. 10

JBS gamma probe firmware flowchart. (The two processes following initialization are basic function groups for powering the board and power saving. The initialization function group is at the top right and the gamma counting function groups are shown in the two groups at the bottom.)

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Fig. 11

JBS gamma probe utility interface

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Fig. 12

JBS gamma detector box configuration

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Fig. 13

JBS gamma detector readout box configuration

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Fig. 14

JBS gamma probe laboratory testing (source: Cameco)

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Fig. 15

Hi-Flux probe laboratory testing (source: Cameco)

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Fig. 16

JBS gamma probe and Hi-Flux probe comparative test experiment I: 81 kBq source, probes without enclosures. JBS gamma probe average count (cps) = 126.89; std. dev.: 3.84. Hi-Flux probe avg. count (cps) = 128.10; std. dev.: 4.69. P-value = 0.1274 and counts difference (cps) = 1%.

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Fig. 17

JBS gamma probe laboratory testing (source: Cameco)

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Fig. 18

Hi-Flux probe laboratory testing (source: Cameco)

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Fig. 19

JBS gamma probe and Hi-Flux probe comparative test experiment VI: 15 MBq source across drill rod, probes with enclosures. JBS gamma probe avg. count (cps) = 11.08; std. dev.: 0.99. Hi-Flux probe avg. count (cps) = 10.61; std. dev.: 0.94. P-value = 0.0667 and counts difference (cps) = 4.2%.

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Fig. 20

Gamma probe on the JBS before pilot hole drilling

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Fig. 21

765_030_E_CV gamma counts. Drill location data are collected in the plain background. Rods were pulled out in the first noise textured zone to allow ground relaxation. The second noise textured zone is during the cleaning cycle.

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Fig. 22

765_030_E_CV jetting recipe gamma profile overlay

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Fig. 23

765_030_E_CV section view looking east with diamond drill holes U3O8 grades (source: Cameco)

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