Value Proposition for Customers
Our Team which includes several experts in radiation detection and regularly receives feedback from our customers in the nuclear power industry, has a mature opinion of what features a quality gamma-ray-measurement system needs. The H3D Team has designed a system that allows users to quickly detect, identify, locate, and characterize gamma-ray sources in a variety of applications. Several of the key reasons why Apollo™ is superior are outlined below:
- High-Performance Spectroscopy
Apollo™ achieves <1% FWHM energy resolution at 662 keV. This is close to what HPGe (High-Purity Germanium) can achieve in the field, and sufficient to separate closely spaced isotope lines encountered in applications at nuclear power plants and similar facilities. Some competitors have much worse or no spectroscopic capability. Good spectral resolution is extremely important to understanding the source of the radiation, how to shield it, and how to clean it up. Additionally, it can inform a knowledgeable user about plant operations and chemistry.
Apollo’s™ energy calibration holds for over a year and does not drift with environmental temperature or humidity fluctuations.
- Omnidirectional Gamma-Ray Imaging
Apollo™ can image gamma rays coming from any direction. It is not only sensitive in the direction the optical camera is pointing. Some competitors have a limited gamma-ray field of view, which limits effectiveness, as they need to know where the radiation is before they can image it. Other systems may be omnidirectional, but have weaker sensitivity to certain directions. Though Apollo™ may not have the best angular resolution (the ability to discriminate two nearby sources), it can tell where the radiation source is very precisely, without requiring any prior knowledge of source position.
- Easy to Use
Many customers have commented on Apollo’s™ ease of use. Most customers can take it out of the box and immediately put it to good use in their plant. The user interface was designed with feedback from experts in the user-interface community and nuclear-power industry to convey all necessary information in real time. Wireless communication between Apollo™ and the smartphone eliminates the hassle of long cables that are a risk for contamination. H3D’s post-processing software, Visualizer, is also easy to use to replay measurements and automatically generate reports of the results.
- Fast Turn-on Time
Since the CZT (Cadmium Zinc Telluride) detector crystal operates at room temperature, Apollo™ is operational within minutes of turning on. Competing HPGe systems require several hours of cool-down time since they must operate at cryogenic temperatures.
- Light-Weight and Portable
Apollo™ is less than 7 lbs. It does not require additional equipment, such as a laptop. Even though a tablet is provided for real-time visualization of the data, Apollo™ can be operated independently using a start-stop measurement button on the system.
- Easy Decontamination
Apollo™ is air-tight and waterproof. If the system gets contaminated, it is easy to clean. This allows Apollo™ to be used in contaminated areas of nuclear power plants and other facilities without the risk of becoming contaminated.
- Everything is Included
Everything you need is included with the purchase of Apollo™. A Smartphone with communication via Wifi, Bluetooth, and USB is included for real-time interaction with the system. A tripod is included for easy measurement set- up. Training is provided by an expert from H3D. A 2-year, no-questions- asked warranty for hardware maintenance and software upgrades gives the customer piece of mind that the system will work stably for years to come. H3D doesn’t charge extra for any accessories, and additional products, such as a spectrometer, are not required.
Primary Applications of Apollo™
The applications of Apollo™ at nuclear power plants are described in detail on H3D’s website (h3dgamma.com/applications.html). The uses that are of the greatest value to our customers are described below. Many of these are specific to nuclear power plants, but several of them can be extended to other markets as well.
- Dose Reduction to Radiation Workers
By better understanding the sources of dose, steps can be completed to reduce the dose received by radiation workers. Additionally, nuclear power plants have begun using Apollo™ to improve their pre-job briefs and radiation survey maps. Providing pictures showing the regions with highest contamination allow workers to avoid problem areas and follow the principles of ALARA to reduce the radiation exposure they receive.
- Improve Shielding
Closely related to the reduction of dose, shielding can be improved by using Apollo™. Taking a measurement before attempting to shield a source will allow the user to know where the primary dose is coming from, leading to better shield optimization. After shielding is in place, Apollo™ can confirm that the shielding is appropriate and, if not, give valuable feedback about where the shielding deficiencies lie. By speeding up this process compared to other survey techniques, Apollo™ can not only reduce dose but save valuable time. During outages at nuclear power plants, the time savings are highly valuable.
- Rapid Response to Critical-Path Work at Nuclear Power Plants
Apollo™ mitigated several instances where alarms were set off while draining down the cavity at nuclear power plants. In these situations, highly contaminated particles set off the dose alarm during cavity drain-down. When that occurs, the outage is halted until the problem can be solved. The source was a tool or bolt that was left in the cavity earlier, which was subsequently irradiated and became highly radioactive. Apollo™ can easily locate, identify, and characterize these objects to determine what and where they are. The hours of time saved by Apollo™ in these circumstances are worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.
- Finding Radioactive Particles in Clear Area
A major issue at nuclear power plants are workers becoming contaminated with stray radioactive particles. These incidents, called Personnel Contamination Events (PCEs), are currently a point of emphasis by radiation protection workers. Many customers are using Apollo™ to find the stray particles that lead to PCEs before the incident occurs. Apollo™ can identify these particles and reduce the numbers of PCEs occurring at a nuclear power plant.
- Locating Isotopes in Shipping Containers
Apollo™ can be used to verify the maximum dose emitted by shipments containing radioactive material, reducing the risk of shipping violations. Instead of using a hand probe to check an entire shipment, Apollo™ can determine the hottest spot on the outside of the container from its perspective and the one spot can be surveyed using the hand probe to verify it is below the shipping limits. This process will save time during the shipping process and may reduce the risk of violations due to workers missing the hot spot.
These are only a few of the many applications for which Apollo™ can provide value to potential customers. Polaris-H can also be used for clean-up verification, decontamination, decommissioning, and emergency response at events such as Fukushima.
See Before You Purchase:
Our Team believes “seeing is believing”. We urges all potential customers to request on- site demonstrations of both our and competing technologies. In our experience, on- site demonstrations have a strong correlation to future sales.
Additionally, many customers have a “bad taste in their mouth” regarding CZT (Cadmium Zinc Telluride), gamma-ray imagers, or both due to prior bad experiences with these technologies. The on-site demonstration is a great way to show them that NATS-H3D technology does not have the shortcomings of past technology. This also provides a great opportunity to compare/contrast Apollo™ with competing products.
We also provide customers the option of “trial to own”. A customer can rent a product (for a fee) for a short period of time as a trial. If, at the end of the trial, they decide they would like to buy the unit, their trial fee will count towards the overall cost of the system.
Therefore, we provide excellent service to the customer after purchase, including free initial on-site training with an H3D expert, a two-year warranty with a no-questions-asked hardware guarantee, and a 24-hour customer service line.
Resources available to sales agents are mostly available from H3D’s website (h3dgamma.com). Specification sheets can be found on the product pages. Under news, blog posts about H3D technology can be found. Past blog posts include:
1. Selecting a Gamma Imager (http://www.h3dgamma.com/
3. Why H3D CZT is Different (http://www.h3dgamma.com/
Those articles provide an in-depth technical discussion of why NATS-H3D technology is the best choice for a number of different applications
The primary market for Apollo™ is nuclear power plants. However, there are a number of other potential customers, including:
- Waste processing facilities
- Fuel fabrication facilities
- Facilities going through decommissioning
- Emergency response
- Homeland security and border protection
- Any application attempting to measure and quantify NORM/TENORM
In addition to our customers at nuclear power plants, we have also provided the Apollo™ systems to users in several of the markets listed above.