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Remote Characterization

Results of Teleoperated Deployment

When compared to baseline assessment methods, the most significant benefit of the RGL&IID deployment was the quality of the results relative to the safety of the workers. Although the RGL&IID deployment did not eliminate the need for workers to enter the contaminated area, it did reduce the need for human exposure. The RGL&IID was able to collect dose information, video coverage, and isotopes present in a single unmanned entry.

Radiation exposure to workers supporting the RGL&IID deployment was cut by more than a factor of 10 over baseline activities. During baseline characterization, workers received 82mRem of radiation exposure. During the deployment of the RGL&IID, workers received 7mRem of radiation exposure. In addition, the RGL&IID provided radiation survey results instantly and the complete facility survey was accomplished in 3 days. It took workers using baseline characterization methods 3 months to accomplish the same results. The baseline activities began in August of 2000 and were not complete until November of 2000. Some of the results from the laboratory analyses were not available until January 2001. The laboratory radiological analysis confirmed the presence of Cs-137, Co-60 and Am-241. These same data was available within minutes after the RG&IILD performed the scan.

The deployment of the RGL&IID did require more workers than the baseline characterization. However, during the baseline sampling activities, six entries with as many as six individuals per entry were made, totaling 60 work hours spent in the contaminated area. During the RGL&IID demonstration, only two technicians and one RCT were required to enter the contaminated facility for a total of 10 work-hours spent in a contaminated area. As a result of workers spending less time in the radiation areas, individuals involved in the RGL&IID deployment received 10 times less radiation dose than workers involved in baseline activities.

In addition, the two technicians and one RCT who did enter the facility during the demonstration did so only to assist the movement of the RGL&IID up and down a flight of stairs and to check air quality prior to entering the facility. These individuals maintained as much distance between themselves and the highest contaminated areas as possible. In contrast, the baseline samplers were required to come in direct contact with the contaminated material in order to collect representative samples.

The financial cost of collecting the radiation measurements using the RGL&IID was about half the cost of the baseline technology and it also generated significantly more data. For example, the baseline survey included 10 point samples, but the RGL&IID collected about 20 scans. Each scan covers as little as one square foot or as much as several square feet and may have as many as 64 point measurements. Altogether the RGL&IID deployment resulted in over 200 point measurements that covered over 100 square feet of wall and floor area.

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