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Feb 09, 2016, 08:41 *
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1  Reference, Questions and Help / Instrument Q&A / Re: Instrument Manuals on: Jul 08, 2010, 05:29

Got it. They don't have a problem with posting it so I'll send copies to both of you.

2  Reference, Questions and Help / Instrument Q&A / Re: Instrument Manuals on: Jul 08, 2010, 03:10

Turns out I didn't have a copy either.  I'll drop the guys at Thermo a line today and see if they can send me a copy. I'll see if they have a problem with us posting it on the Nukeworker.com site but I'm pretty sure they wouldn't.

3  Reference, Questions and Help / Instrument Q&A / Re: Instrument Manuals on: Jun 22, 2010, 04:53

I'm pretty sure I've got a PDF on my system at home.  If you don't get one before, I'll be home the end of next week and I'll send you a copy.  The guys at Thermo are really good about sending copies if you give them a call.

4  Reference, Questions and Help / Nuke Q&A / Re: Fermanite on: Jun 12, 2010, 06:09
Wow, that's a name I haven't heard in over twenty years. There were two companies that I remember that used to do that sort of work. Fermanite was one and it seems like Federal Industrial was the other.  I agree with you that I can't see how anybody that does that for a living could ever pass Fitness for Duty or any other thing that requires sane people.

If I'm not totally off, these are the guys you hire to stop live steam leaks and such without shutting the unit down. I watched them seal a leaking main steam valve at Palisades back in the early 80's.  The thing was roaring like a jet engine at full power and had steam cut one of the bonnet bolts completely and was working on cutting the two on either side. They went in and clamped a fixture around the bonnet and pumped it full of this stuff that was like a nuclear grade hardening Permatex.  All the time they were saying that the added stress of actually pumping this stuff in might break the other bolts and cause the bonnet to come off completely.

I couldn't tell if they were highly skilled and confident, crazy, stupid, or drunk but I got the impression that it was a combination of all of these. Nuttiest thing I ever saw anybody do.
5  Career Path / Radiation Safety / Re: Detection question on: Feb 22, 2010, 04:13

The Gamma Scout is an alpha-beta-gamma meter but it uses an LND 712 end window Geiger tube with a system of shields to distinguish between the different radiations.  It's an interesting consumer-market focused product and is too insensitive to do you much good.  It's not a serious instrument for use in health physics applications and the readings can be misleading to the point of dangerous.  I actually corresponded with the inventor in Germany a year or so back when I was writing reviews on radiation survey instruments for another internet board.  It's an interesting idea but not useful in your situation.

The problem with looking at large quantities of anything is that the dangers within are unknown and not easily detected on a macro basis.  I like sensitive gamma scintillators just to get a sense of the gamma radioactivity of unknown bulk material.  That said, this can also be misleading in that the presence of radioactivity can be of naturally occurring isotopes in the material (my office at home is about three times background due to the granite facing stones on my house).  The opposite is equally true in that the absence of a reading on a gamma scintillator doesn't mean that it's not contaminated with alpha or beta emitting isotopes.

All this said, best advice is to work with a professional health physicist on the appropriate method.  I sure want you to be working with the professional advice from somebody closer to your situation.  Good luck.

6  Reference, Questions and Help / JobSeeker Help / Re: Jobseeker Board Doesn't appear to be sending Activation Keys on: Nov 24, 2009, 05:32
It's probably our punishment for letting Dave Warren post in the PolySci forum.  Tongue

Okay, I'm just kidding, it's probably me posting in the PolySci forum. Undecided


P.S. Got to say I'm pretty happy with the responses from employers.  Activated my account after lunch, applied to two jobs, already got a call on one of the two, and I might be on the job Monday.  Probably the best experience I've ever had with any job board.  You can add this to the testimonials.
7  Reference, Questions and Help / JobSeeker Help / Re: Jobseeker Board Doesn't appear to be sending Activation Keys on: Nov 24, 2009, 11:09

You are apparently correct.  An account on gmail got an immediate reply.  I'm good to go.  Thanks.

8  Reference, Questions and Help / JobSeeker Help / Re: Jobseeker Board Doesn't appear to be sending Activation Keys on: Nov 24, 2009, 09:16

I'll give it a try and see where I end up.  I'll post how it turns out.

9  Reference, Questions and Help / JobSeeker Help / Jobseeker Board Doesn't appear to be sending Activation Keys on: Nov 24, 2009, 05:55

Signed up on the board this morning and never got a key.  Went back and requested a replacement and that didn't work either. Both times the web pages said that an email was sent.  Double checked everything and checked that spam filter didn't grab the emails.  Looks like a problem at the server end.  Thanks.

10  Career Path / Getting in / Re: Rentering Nuke field after 10 year hiatus on: Sep 10, 2009, 07:00

Well, this might not be helpful to you but I contemplated getting back into the business myself.  Contacted a bunch of old coworkers still in the business, dropped emails to friends at various plants and facilities, and ended up with about nothing.

A few factors seem to be in play. The biggest of them is really the major factor that caused me to get out of the business in the first place; the shrinking universe of the nuclear industry.  For example, when I looked into the compensation picture for HP Techs and Engineers, it looks like both are making less money now than when I left the business in the mid-1990s. The other thing I noticed was that the people I talked to were very protective of the situations that they were in. Both of these are indicators of there being fewer jobs around in general.  Combine this with shorter outages and you end up with a more competitive job market and a glut of underused talent.

I'm sure that there's folks on here that would disagree with my assessment but when I was in Oak Ridge a couple of months back, it looked like a shell of its former glory and its apparent that its gone and won't be coming back. I would have to say that if you think getting back into the nuclear business is better than where you are now, you're probably remembering a nuclear business that doesn't really exist anymore and the one that does exist is a shrinking set of opportunities tied heavily to what the government feels like spending on cleaning up their old messes.

Maybe somebody else sees this differently but judging from the flood of encouragement posted to this thread, I'm guessing not.

11  Facility & Company Information / Region IV (Western) / Re: Hunters Point Naval Shipyard Relocatioin on: Jun 23, 2009, 06:17

...or maybe he did and he's just too tough to care.

12  Career Path / Navy:Getting In / Re: Flagged as reckless, have to see shrink on: Jun 16, 2009, 01:53
Crater, you didn't really say but were you flagged as potentially reckless because of the arrests or do you think it was something else? 

As to advice, I'd go along with Khak-Hater.  BS is just going to come across as deceptive and that probably won't work out for you.  I think you want you show that you're the kind of guy somebody can trust with a multi-billion dollar Navy asset.  I'm sure you'll do fine.

13  News and Discussions / History & Trivia / Re: 100cm2 on: May 29, 2009, 03:29

Well, at the risk of showing how little I know, I'll go with it being roughly equal to the size of a dollar bill (and makes the math easier too) and in use since the 1940s.

14  Career Path / Security, FFD / Re: pending dui on: May 12, 2009, 04:16

I haven't got much to add other than you need a lawyer and I would really take to heart the advice on sorting out the personal judgement issue that got you into the spot in the first place. I think of all the hard drinking HP road techs I worked with back in the day and I'm getting to the point where it takes a couple of hands to count up the ones that aren't with us anymore between drinking and driving.  Pretty sad story and I miss all of them.

The biggest issue I saw in the post (not making light of the seriousness of the DUI) was SloGlo resorting to english.  I almost posted to see if it was the real deal or if some fiend had taken over SloGlo's login. I thought we were going to need to assemble a posse for a potential rescue.  Glad to see you turned up!

Good luck Ohio Power!  I don't mean to preach but you've worked hard to get where you are and I'd really like to see you make a good go of it.

15  Reference, Questions and Help / Instrument Q&A / Re: Hand Held Count Rate Meters on: Apr 15, 2009, 03:14

Interesting thought namlive.  I was thinking more about hand held rate meters when I asked the question but I was wondering about the portable scaler type devices as well.

I think the HandECount is just getting a little dated now.  The phoswich detector alpha/beta scintillator is a good idea but there's better options now for photo-amplification and the Palm interface has somewhat gone by the wayside.  On the other hand, making it so it uses a PDA for the user interface makes it more flexible and software updates and new features are a snap. Think of the same thing with a BlueTooth interface and a size small enough to fit in your hand. A single BlueTooth PDA could run one or many at the same time. 

My dream job. Running a room full of counting equipment kicked back in a chair while playing Sudoku.  Sure beats the old days.

16  Reference, Questions and Help / Instrument Q&A / Hand Held Count Rate Meters on: Apr 14, 2009, 06:30

I'm curious as to what instruments are commonly used these days when you need just an old fashioned count rate meter.  Ludlum still seems to sell a bunch of Model 3 meters and I actually ran across somebody the other day that said they'd buy every clean E-140N that I could lay my hands on.

I can understand why the hand held scalers are popular for uses like D&D work but what do you use when doing contamination surveys where a straight count rate will do. Is everybody happy with meters like the Model 3 and Model 14 or is there something else you'd like to see.

Do you really see any value in the computerized meters or are the regular old analog meters good enough?


17  Reference, Questions and Help / Instrument Q&A / Re: RO-2 and RO-2A Question on: Apr 12, 2009, 09:41

I'm going to give the devil his due while in no way wanting to seem like I'm going to minimize the ongoing impact that Don's products continue to make. Don started Ludlum Measurements in 1962 so he was pretty much out of Eberline at the height of their business which I would have to say was more like the 1970s and 1980s.  I think you are right on the money in terms of where the focus of the company needs to be if you are going to be successful in the long run. I don't think there is a better company than Ludlum Measurements when it comes to the values that customers look for in terms of value, supportability, and customer service.

Now as to Eberline, I think they did have that customer focus through about 1980 and then something went horribly wrong. I don't think most of their instruments ever really held a candle to the stuff Ludlum was producing but they were selling a bunch of them and they were being very successful at it. If you look back at the main Eberline instruments of that era, E-140, E-520, E-530, RO-1, RO-2/2A, RO-7, RM-14, and the MS-2 and MS-3, they pretty much owned a good portion of the market.

I sort of saw two things happen that was their downfall.  One was that Eberline thought they could get into the systems business and the other was they got into the computerized hand held market without understanding what problem they were trying to fix.  Both of these efforts led to them taking their eye off the ball and letting Ludlum take over the market Eberline had owned. Meanwhile, Thermo is buying up companies like crazy and integrating them trying to add value and reduce costs and in the process further destroying the former brands and producing a "one size fits none" set of meters that nobody is happy with.

I'm not sure that Thermo is ever coming back from the hole they've dug for themselves. I've read a number of the DOE Instrument Committee reports and every meeting with the Thermo/Eberline folks sort of read like an NTSB Accident Report.  I'm not sure why it is that the Thermo guys can't seem to get it but trying to convince somebody that what you're selling is what they want regardless of how many times they tell you it's not is just plan silly.

SloGlo, I'll have to work on the 2221 next.  I agree with you, the capability is great but the weight and size needs work. On the other hand, if you needed a meter in an alley fight, I'd grab a 2221.

18  Reference, Questions and Help / Instrument Q&A / Re: RO-2 and RO-2A Question on: Apr 06, 2009, 08:06

I've now been through the guts of a few RO-20s that I had in for repair and frankly, the things are horrible.  It's basically a Bicron RSO-50 with less thought into it.  At nearly $2000 a pop, I wouldn't have one of the things.

I think I might look at having some RO-2 type meters manufactured as a competitive product. I think that with the newer ICs, you can get five decades like an RO-20 so you'd cover the range of the RO-2 and RO-2A. Add an audio feature to make hot spot surveys and high rad entries easier and light the meter for low light conditions and I think you have a really nice meter. I'm pretty sure you could market and sell the meter for under $1000.

Hadn't really thought of getting back into the rad monitoring business but seems like there a need for a high quality instrument at a reasonable cost.  Guess I'll have to switch my ID from X-Nuke to Re-Nuked.

19  Reference, Questions and Help / Instrument Q&A / Re: RO-2 and RO-2A Question on: Feb 11, 2009, 01:31

Funny you should bring it up SloGlo as I was thinking about that BlueTooth idea myself.  I think the clicking or chirping traces back to the old days of geiger counters but does tend to be more easily heard in high noise environments because of the on-off nature of the sound.  Sure do like the wireless headset idea.

Speaking of RO-2s, I have a friend that just came across a bunch of new old stock RO-2 replacement cases complete with slides and windows.  Does anybody still use these and what do you think they're worth.  Thanks.

20  Reference, Questions and Help / Instrument Q&A / Re: RO-2 and RO-2A Question on: Feb 06, 2009, 11:24

I saw something else in the posts about ion chambers and GM tubes being the same but that's not really the case.  Ion chambers are current mode devices operated in the ionization region. Ions that are formed from interactions within the chamber are drawn to the electrodes resulting in a small current.  There aren't pulses in a normal ion chamber.

A geiger tube is a "cascade" type detector where ions are accelerated toward the anode at a much higher voltage (geiger region) and results in secordary collisions that generate a detector discharge and associated pulse.  All pulses are the same height regardless of energy of the radiation that caused them.

Fission Chambers and other reactor startup detectors are ion chambers internally coated with a fissionable material that results in a current spike due to the interaction of a neutron.  Electronically, you can treat this spike as you would with any other pulse type detector and this is useful because the normal current output from the chamber is the gamma background whereas the pulse can be decoupled with a capacitor and used as the neutron rate only. 

Proportional detectors operate in the proportional region between the ionization and geiger regions.  In a proportional detector, the multiplication of the cascade results in a pulse that is proportional to the event that caused it. 

Hope I didn't put anybody off with the explanation but it seemed like there was a misunderstanding.

21  Reference, Questions and Help / Instrument Q&A / Re: RO-2 and RO-2A Question on: Feb 06, 2009, 06:09
The audio feature is something I've never used but is available on ion chambers like the Ludlum Model 9.  I can see the usefulness if you're looking for small hot spots as the sound changes faster than the meter indication.  I see it working like surveying with a geiger type meter like the E-530 or Ludlum Model 3 with an energy compensated GM probe.  I've just never had anything like that on an ion chamber.

22  Reference, Questions and Help / Instrument Q&A / RO-2 and RO-2A Question on: Feb 05, 2009, 10:49

I've been reading through the posts about the aging fleet of RO-2s and RO-2As and it got me a bit curious.  If you could buy an RO-2 new today with updated electronics and a heavier case and an audio feature, is that an instrument that people would buy?

If you could buy an instrument like that in the $500 to $600 range, is that of any interest?

I've seen the posts about the RO-20s and just wondering if Thermo is really missing the boat with their marketing.  I'd really like to get your thoughts (I'm in no way affiliated with an instrument vendor, I just curious about why a successful product is no longer sold and if I'm misreading the market).


23  Career Path / Radiation Safety / Re: Technical issues for New Reactor Designs on: Nov 27, 2008, 05:55

Hi Anny,

I'm an ALARA Engineer from a long ways back so I'm not as current on recent issues as many of the other folks on this board.  I did get to work on Fort St. Vrain in its last few years of operation and actually worked for one of the original design engineers when I started out working for the Navy so I might be able to get you started.  The Hanford DOE guys and maybe some of the other HP types that got a chance to work on Peach Bottom Unit 1 can give you some other pointers.

From an ALARA standpoint, an HTGR is a dream design.  I believe the total plant dose at Fort St. Vrain was around 300 mR/yr.  At Palisades, that was a typical worker exposure back in the 1980s.  There were no real contamination issues and from an HP standpoint, it looked like you'd get pretty bored working there. 

The plant really never ran very well.  My former manager told me that it had a lot to do with physicists at General Atomic making firm price commitments for deliveries of systems that had never been designed or built before.  That said, the design was really interesting and if you could find a copy of the FSAR for Fort St. Vrain, it would give you a good leg up on radiological design considerations.

Issues that I remember from those days included water intrusion into the primary coolant system, condensation of water in the reactor shutdown system, and instrumentation issues with measuring really low dewpoints at really high temperatures.  The condensation problem was because the design used a system where a LOCA caused a rupture disk that held back a hopper full of borated balls to break dumping the balls into the core.  The disk had a small orifice to allow pressure equalization during normal reactor startup and shutdown but also allowed and water vapor in the primary system leak through and condense on the borated balls thus gluing them together.

Water intrusion into the primary system was the worst case scenario.  Reactivity control was severely jeopordized with the additional moderator and the steam would react with the graphite directly leading to all sorts to badness.  The secondary loop was water/steam so the ideal design would be to keep primary pressure higher than secondary to prevent intrusion. I remember that Fort St. Vrain had some extraordinary steam generators but don't remember much more.

The plant used a cryogenic primary coolant treatment system if I remember correctly although it seems like you could have used a straight activated charcoal system.  I remember they also had an RO treatment system but don't remember the particulars.  I do seem to remember that almost all the plant dose was related to maintenance and repair work on their primary coolant circulators as I believe those were the source of several water intrusions but that's about all the help I can be.  When I was taking graduate classes at Penn State in NucE, there was a lot of thinking around a HTGR design that used magnetohydrodynamics to generate electricity using an all gas design but there were significant technical issues to pulling it off.  Maybe you folks can do it now.

24  News and Discussions / Fallen: / Pat Barton on: Nov 05, 2008, 11:34

Pat Barton died October 30, 2008 from a stroke.  He was 52.  Pat cofounded Watts-Bar Jones Nuclear Consulting Services with me and worked on the startup of the Shoreham and Perry radiation monitoring systems as well as consulted at D.C. Cook, Hope Creek, Palo Verde and a number of DOE facilities. He had a Ph.D. in Health Physics from Purdue and would be familiar to any number of folks from the late 70s and early 80s.

25  Career Path / Navy:Getting In / Re: do I stand a chance at getting into NUPOC on: Oct 12, 2008, 08:48

I'd pretty much go along with everybody else as well.  Just never paint yourself into a corner.  In my case, I was turned down as an officer candidate the same day I received my offer letter to go to work for the Navy as a civilian nuclear engineer.  I worked at Mare Island on projects like the decommissioning of the USS Nautilus as well as developing some new and innovative technologies around radioactive decontamination.  I went on from Mare Island to Three Mile Island where I worked in the early stages of post accident recovery.  The thing that really struck me years later was that if I had gotten my wish for a Plan A, I would have missed out on what was an incredible set of opportunities.  Always best to leave your options open and have a Plan B, C, etc. 
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