This document contains guidance for students and interns working at the Rhode Island Nuclear Science Center (RINSC). The different areas of work conducted at the RINSC, as well as physical locations, have been outlined in this document for general guidance. Many sections contain a brief introduction for areas that require further research and training. If any section of this document is unclear, ask a member of the staff for more information.
All individuals will complete radiation worker training, emergency training, and the safety training required for their work area. Students will work under the direct supervision and guidance of an advisor for the fulfillment of a specific purpose. Your work and goals will be the responsibility of your advisor. However, your conduct and safety while in the facility is the responsibility of the staff.
Interns will receive additional training in a variety of operations, health physics, and maintenance procedures. Most interns will concentrate on operations, health physics, or a special project. Specific goals will be determined for the intern by the staff at the beginning of training. It is important to meet these goals in order to continue work at the RINSC.
This document contains safety information for different hazards and locations. Serious safety incidents can, and have occurred due to negligence and disregard for procedures. It is absolutely imperative that individuals working at the RINSC follow the guidance set forth in this document, the related procedures, and any posted notices. Staff direction is to be followed at all times while in the facility. Any student or intern found to be in violation of these requirements will be banned from further work at the RINSC, without the possibility of returning.
Most internships will begin in September and last until the end of that academic year. Summer internships last from May to August. Summer interns may be asked to continue through the academic year depending on the scope of their goals or project.
Individuals may be required to obtain some training material at their own cost. The primary training material for reactor operators includes:
Introduction to Nuclear Engineering (3rd Edition), John R. Lamarsh, Anthony J. Baratta. Prentice Hall, March 31, 2001
Introduction to Nuclear Reactor Operations, Reed Robert Burn. Detroit Edison Company, 1982
Radiation safety and health physics training material can be found on the facility website. Any necessary facility documentation will be provided.
The Rhode Island Atomic Energy Commission (RIAEC) is a special commission affiliated with the Board of Governors for Higher Education. Consisting of five members appointed by the governor, it is the duty of this commission to advise the governor on matters concerning the nuclear industry and education in the State of Rhode Island. The commission is made up of educators from some of the state’s major institutions of higher education. The RIAEC is also the governing body of the Rhode Island Nuclear Science Center. A current list of commissioners can be found on the State website: RI.gov>public information>State Boards and Commissions>Atomic Energy Commission
The Rhode Island Nuclear Science Center (RINSC) is a state facility located on the Narragansett Bay Campus of the University of Rhode Island. It houses a 2MWTH light water, open pool reactor, laboratories for handling and analyzing radioactive materials, a classroom, and a machine shop. It is among the top four most powerful public research reactors in the country.
The mission of the Rhode Island Nuclear Science Center is to operate the nuclear reactor for the purposes of research, experimentation, training, testing of materials and techniques, and any other purposes deemed to be appropriate for the health, welfare, and economy of the people of the State of Rhode Island. The RINSC is open to all educational institutions, in and out of the state.
The University of Rhode Island Bay Campus is located on East Ferry Road in Narragansett. In addition to the Rhode Island Nuclear Science Center, the URI Bay Campus is home to the Graduate School of Oceanography.
Prior to being an education and research campus the site was known as Fort Kearney, a military instillation that was part of the Harbor Defense of Narragansett Bay. RINSC sits on Battery French, which held four 6” disappearing coastal defense guns. It is the foundations of these guns that the confinement building, lab building, reactor, and cooling towers sit on today.
In 1956 the Atomic Energy Commission was created through the passing of RI General Law 42-27. Section 42-27-2.a.5 calls for the Commission:
“To contract for, construct, and operate a nuclear reactor for the purpose of research, experimentation, training personnel, testing of materials and techniques, and for such other purposes related thereto which the commission shall deem necessary for the health, welfare, and economy of the people of this state”
Ground was broken on the facility on August 27th, 1962; the reactor first went critical in 1964. The reactor power was upgraded from 1 MW to 2 MW in 1968. In 1993 the core was reconfigured and the fuel was changed from high enriched uranium (~90% 235U) to low enriched uranium (< 20% 235U). The facility entered timely renewal for its license extension in 2004. A 20 year license extension is expected to be granted by the NRC.
For almost 50 years the reactor has been used for research by the faculty, staff, and graduate students of the Universities found throughout Rhode Island, and researchers from around the world. The reactor has been used to conduct extensive research in the areas of atmospheric chemistry and geology. Neutron beams from the reactor are used to perform neutron scattering research and neutron damage studies. At present, neutron activation analysis is used extensively for biomedical purposes. Over one hundred graduate degrees have been awarded as a result of research conducted at the reactor.
Director - Dr. Cameron Goodwin
Information Specialist - Sophia Lenihan
Assistant Director for Operations - M. Jeffrey Davis
Reactor Supervisor - Paul Martin
Principle Reactor Operator/Health Physics - Maggie Damato
Assistant Director for Radiation Safety - Sangho Nam
Health Physicst - Connie Hathaway
Radiation Safety Clerk - Robin Wheeler
Senior Facility Engineer - R. Bruce MacGregor
Custodian - Brenda Whitford
Located on the water's edge at the University’s Narragansett Bay Campus, GSO is an internationally respected oceanographic institution with a longstanding seagoing tradition. Founded in 1936 as the URI Narragansett Marine Laboratory, and reorganized as the Graduate School of Oceanography in 1961, GSO is the state's center for marine studies and cutting-edge research and outreach.
The RINSC has collaborated with GSO since it was formed and continues to have a mutually beneficial relationship in education, research, and community outreach.
The NRSC is responsible for the safety oversight at the RINSC. Established by the RIAEC, the NRSC approves all new experiments and reviews all safety measures and documentation at the RINSC to make sure the facility is running safely. The NRSC is chaired by Dr. John Breen, Associate Professor of Chemistry at Providence College.
All administrative requirements must be completed before keys or ID cards may be issued, or training can begin.
In order to work without direct supervision you must be a trained radiation worker. To qualify you must go to www.rinsc.ri.gov, where under the health physics tab you will find the online training modules. After you have read through and understand the modules you must schedule a radiation worker test with either the AD for Radiation Safety or the Health Physicist. Once you pass the test (70% or better) you will eligible to work towards unescorted access.
All interns are subject to a criminal background check by the State of Rhode Island in order to continue training and education. Interns must obtain a Bureau of Criminal Identification Disclaimer form from the Information Specialist. This form must be signed, notarized, and returned to the information specialist.
Once you have passed the radiation worker training test you should see the radiation safety clerk to have a personal dosimeter ordered. You are required to wear the badge when you are in the confinement building, a radiation area, or handling radioactive material.
The RINSC emergency preparedness documents define and classify emergencies, emergency responses, and emergency preparedness requirements. To obtain any level of unescorted access, all occupants must be familiar with these documents and be able to respond accordingly in the event of an emergency.
The Emergency Plan is a part of the facility license with the NRC. It defines different types of emergencies and most facility preparedness requirements.
The Emergency Plan Implementing Procedure (EPIP) is EP-01. This procedure provides guidance for response to the emergency scenarios as classified in the Emergency Plan.
In the event of a facility evacuation, all occupants must meet at the pre-planned gathering point in accordance with the EP and EPIP. The gathering point is located in the North-West corner of the Coastal Institute on Narragansett Bay (Building #6 on Bay Campus Map).
The RINSC maintains a number of different irradiation facilities for neutron activation, gamma sterilization, neutron scattering and shielding experiments, instrument calibration, and a variety of other uses. All interns will be given an introduction to each of these facilities so that they may work safely in the areas surrounding them. As necessary, interns may be trained to operate these different facilities for use in their projects. Operation clearance requires a strong knowledge of the respective procedures, hands on training, and a clearance test. See XP-01, “Reactor Experiment Request” and XP-02, “Reactor Experiment Approval” for guidance on performing experiments.
The Rabbit System is a pneumatic irradiation facility used for placing small canisters called Rabbits adjacent to the core for irradiation. The Rabbits can hold from one to about a dozen samples depending on the packaging. During a system upgrade in 2010 the send/receive station was moved out of confinement to the 305 lab. The new send/receive station integrates both original systems into a single unit with an upgraded controller. The storage box now has the capability to store numerous samples, allowing for lower doses to researchers. See XP-03, “Rabbit Irradiations” for guidance.
The reactor has 6 beam ports and a through port. These are used to obtain neutron beams at different flux and energy levels. Shutters, plugs, and flange covers protect researchers and staff when not in use. Once experiments are in place the shutters can be lifted to perform the experiment.
The thermal column is located on the West face of the reactor bio-shield, and is used to provide access to low energy (thermal) neutrons. This is achieved by the two graphite packs built into the thermal column. Gamma radiation is partially shielded by the large lead shield located adjacent to the core, on the end of the thermal column. To access the thermal column the large green shield must be rolled out on the tracks. Once the sample is in place and the door closed the reactor can be started up.
The incore devices are located on the pool level in the confinement. The devices are solid aluminum tubes and can be loaded with a sample, sealed, and then placed in the core for neutron irradiation. The tops must be properly secured and a vent tube attached to prevent pressure build up in the device. Over pressurization can damage the device and the reactor, as well as cause a sudden change in reactor power due to flooding. When placing an incore in the core one must be careful not to hit the core with the device. When removing the incores after irradiation the incore must be removed from its seat slowly, ensuring the orifice plates located in the incore basket are not disturbed. The incore must remain submerged in the pool to decay before it can be raised to the surface. The sample must be surveyed before it can be removed from the incore and taken out of the confinement. See XP-04, “Incore Irradiations” for guidance.
The Dry Irradiation Facility (DIF) is a small room built into the structure of the reactor pool, adjacent to the low power section. This room is used for neutron and gamma irradiations of large objects and sample collections. Although this room is not a radiation area under shutdown conditions, the room and its surroundings have the potential to become a Very High Radiation Area under certain conditions. Strobe lights located throughout confinement indicate when there is a High Radiation Area present. A locked scissor gate restricts access to the area outside the DIF. These areas may not be accessed without a staff escort. See XP-10, “Dry Irradiation Facility” for guidance.
The gamma tube is a hollow tube with a sealed base located in the reactor low power section. Following shutdown, fuel is placed on either side of the tube to create a very high radiation area due to fission product decay. At this point, the uncovered surface of the tube becomes a radiation area. Samples are lowered by rope or string so that they are in the center of the fuel and receive the maximum gamma dose, without being activated. This facility has been used in the past to sterilize small objects and simulate long term solar-radiation exposure. Dose rates are dependent upon time since shutdown, but do not follow a standard decay equation due to the numerous different isotopes present. Information on accumulated doses can be found in the Gamma Tube section of the Reactor Experiment Notebook. The lead cover should be kept in place whenever samples are not being raised or lowered. See XP- 12, “Gamma Tube Irradiations” for guidance.
A variety of gamma and neutron sources of different activity are used to calibrate radiation detection equipment. Sources range from microcurie button sources to multiple curie sources stored in protective housings. Button sources can be found in cabinets in the laboratories for energy and efficiency calibration. Larger sources are stored in the calibration range. See section 8.c.iv for more information on the calibration range. All neutron sources are stored in the reactor pool.
It is important to know the location of these sources, and understand proper handling and dosimetry procedures when working in these locations.
The Rhode Island Nuclear Science Center can be separated into 4 different major areas. Some hazards may be found throughout the facility. However, each of these areas has their own requirements and restrictions on access, protective clothing, and personal radiation monitoring. Each area also has unique risks such as radiation areas, high voltage, steam, or crush points. Before interns are allowed to work in these areas, they must be familiar with the requirements of each area, and the specific hazards present. All occupants should also be familiar with other key points on the Narragansett Bay Campus. Before unescorted access can be granted, interns must demonstrate they are proficient in the restrictions and procedures pertaining to that area, as well as receive permission from an Assistant Director.
All areas throughout the facility have posted Hazard Communication notices. It is the responsibility of every intern to become familiar with these notices. If the postings are unclear at any time, or you are not familiar with the hazards indicated, consult a member of the staff before entering the area. Do not handle any substances that you are not familiar with.
Lead is used and stored throughout the facility. If ingested, lead can have serious adverse effects on almost every system in the human body. If it is necessary to handle lead, gloves should be worn at all times. Wash hands immediately after handling lead.
Cadmium is also used and stored in a few locations throughout the facility. Like lead, cadmium is extremely poisonous if ingested or inhaled. Handle cadmium only under the direction of a member of the staff. Wear gloves at all times while handling cadmium. Wash hands immediately after handling cadmium.
Nitrogen is used primarily at the RINSC for cooling germanium detectors. Liquid nitrogen is a cryogenic and can freeze flesh instantly. In gaseous form nitrogen is not harmful to the body. However, as nitrogen boils at room temperature it displaces breathable oxygen, making it an asphyxiate. Only approved containers may be used to store liquid nitrogen. Never attempt to contain nitrogen vapors as the container may rupture causing serious injury or death. Always wear long sleeves, pants, closed shoes, gloves, and face protection when handling liquid nitrogen. Never handle liquid or gaseous nitrogen without proper ventilation. See GI-03, “Filling Dewars” for guidance.
The confinement building has a 15 ton overhead crane that is used to move equipment, experiments, casks, or other objects around the confinement floor or to the pool level. The crane power is normally locked in the off position. Only members of the staff are permitted to unlock and operate the crane. All individuals in confinement should wear hard hats when the crane is in operation.
Two electrical breaker panels are located on the south wall of the confinement building. These panels supply power to various areas of the confinement building, including the control room and the overhead lights. These panels contain high voltage and should only be accessed under the direction of a member of the staff.
A wide variety of instrumentation may be in use on the reactor floor. These include instruments for operation, such as the floor radiation monitor and Area Radiation Monitors, or experiment instrumentation, such as the neutron scattering equipment. Some of these instruments are extremely delicate and sensitive and should only be handled under the direction of their respective owners or operators. These instruments can also pose dangers such as high voltage and tripping hazards.
The reactor bridge spans the width of the pool and supports the entire reactor structure. The bridge has four steel wheels that sit on tracks on either side of the pool. These tracks and wheels allow the reactor to be moved across the pool, from the high power section to the low power section, using a hand crank located on the bridge platform. Chains span from the bridge to the conduits on the side of the pool to support the wiring for the reactor control and safety systems. Various scrams ensure the bridge does not move during operation, and is properly seated during high power operations. Refer to XP-10, Dry Irradiation Facility Irradiations for instructions and requirements for moving the reactor bridge.
The reactor walkway spans the width of the pool and provides access to the front of the bridge and some reactor structures. The walkway sits on the same steel rails as the reactor bridge. It can be rolled back and forth across the rails on its own, or latched to the reactor bridge to keep it stationary in relation to the bridge. To move the bridge completely into the low power section, the walkway must be removed using the overhead crane.
There are three blowers located on the midsection and pool level of the confinement building. These blowers are the rabbit blower, the off-gas blower, and the main confinement exhaust blower. These blowers each have manual and automatic controls located in the reactor control room. The main confinement blower has a timer function when in automatic mode to allow any radon build up to be expelled prior to facility opening. All blowers have manual power shutoffs located adjacent to, or below the blower. These shutoffs should be in the off position whenever work is being performed on the blower or related system. If the shutoff is in the off position for an unknown reason, notify Operations and Facility Engineering.
Many systems, including the confinement blowers, use 240V AC power supplies. Most of these supplies run from the breaker panels on the confinement floor level and run up behind the stairs to the pool level. Do not attempt to remove any covers, disconnect any wires, or service any electrical supplies or electrical equipment. The facility engineering staff must power down these systems before any authorized work can take place.
The confinement air compressor supplies air pressure for the pneumatic isolation valves located at the confinement intake and exhaust ducts. It is hard piped into these systems, as well as the backup cylinder located in the reactor portal.
Two isolation dampers close off the confinement building in the case of an emergency. The intake damper is located in the South-East corner of the building, level with the midsection level of the pool. This damper is normally open and closes with the activation of the facility evacuation system. The exhaust damper is located just outside of the control room on the pool level where the main exhaust duct exits the confinement building. This damper is normally open and closes when a loss of exhaust flow is detected at the main confinement blower. The main confinement blower will not operate if these dampers are not powered and pressurized.
The reactor control console displays information on reactor power levels, count rates, and rate of change. The control computer displays current control blade heights and allows manipulation of the control blades. The original blade controls remain intact on the console for override and redundancy. The console also holds the reactor annunciator panel, which displays various warnings and indications for the state of the reactor and reactor safety systems.
The instrument rack holds all of the monitors that control the displays on control console. All information pertinent to reactor operations can be found on the instrument rack. Computers allow redundant displays and controls and are used to log information during reactor operation.
The work benches located in the control room hold a variety of small hand tools. Any tools taken from these areas must be returned. If any supplies, such as tape or electrical connectors are in short supply, the Operations or Facility Engineering staff must be notified so replacements can be ordered.
The control room fire escape is located on the east side of the building. Outside of the door is a platform and a ladder that goes down to the back parking lot. This exit should only be used in the event of an emergency blocking access to the interior stairs. This door must remain closed at all other times to maintain differential pressure in the confinement building.
The top of the control room has a finished ceiling and railing for use as storage. This area is accessed by the wall ladder located just outside the control room. This area should only be accessed, and items should only be placed or removed from this area under the direction of a member of the staff.
The confinement building roof can be accessed by a scuttle hatch located above the control room. The hatch is accessed by a short ladder from the platform just below the hatch. This platform is accessed by the same ladder used to access the control room ceiling storage area. This hatch is locked when not in use and is not a viable means for exit during an emergency. The roof hatch, roof hatch platform, and wall ladder should only be accessed under the direction of the staff.
The locker room is located just past the red door in the basement of the RINSC. The area is used to store various items including gloves, hazmat suits, and old radiological equipment. Some lockers are used for storage of radioactive materials and should not be opened without the approval and supervision of the Health Physics staff.
The blower room houses the emergency and dilution blowers and filter systems. It is located past the red door to the right and up the stairs. The dilution blower is continuously operating. This blower supplies “clean” air from outside of the confinement facility to reduce the concentration of radioisotopes being released through the stack. The air flow comes from a laboratory in the basement section. This air flow also helps remove radon and radon daughters from the basement area. The emergency blower is activated with the evacuation system and takes air from the confinement building above. The large bank of filters is used to remove iodine from the air inside the confinement should a release of radioisotopes occur. On the face of the filter bank is a gauge that measures the pressure differential across the filters. Near the filter banks is radioactive waste that is being held for decay and disposal.
The demineralizer room is located past the locker room in the Basement Secure Area. This room houses the piping, pump, and filter for the primary water clean-up system. The pump runs whenever the reactor is shut down to remove any contaminants from the primary coolant system. During operations the pump is turned off to minimize water containing Nitrogen-16 from entering the system and degrading the resin filter. The space immediately surrounding the filter becomes a radioactive area during full power operation. Old resin is stored adjacent to the resin filter for drying and decay. This area can be a radiation area and is roped off and signed.
The primary coolant make-up system joins with the clean-up system in this room to add demineralized water to the primary coolant. The amount of make-up water that is added is recorded each day to monitor coolant loss and detect potential leaks in the primary coolant systems.
Also located in the demineralizer room are the transfer pump, sump pump, and secondary coolant system discharge.
Interns are not to manipulate any valves or controls in this room. Do not attempt to service or dismantle any pump, valves, or fittings. Use caution when in this room to avoid high voltage. Limit time spent near radiation areas.
The heat exchanger room is located just past the scissor gates in the basement. This room houses the 2 heat exchangers and primary and secondary pumps for the cooling systems. When the reactor is running the heat exchanger room is a radiation area due to the presence of Nitrogen-16 in the primary water and should not be entered. The pumps operate on 450V AC; do not operate, service, or dismantle the pumps. Use caution whenever walking through the heat exchanger room so as not to collide with the piping and cause injury.
The delay tank is located past the heat exchanger room down the hall through the steel gate and behind the wall. The delay tank is used to allow the N-16 produced while the reactor is running to decay before the primary water is sent through the heat exchanger. During operation the delay tank area is a high radiation area and should not be entered. The hallway that leads to the delay tank contains drums of radioactive waste. Other waste is stored in drums on the gun pad just outside of the delay tank area. These drums should be avoided and never opened. Limit time spent in this area to only that which is required to complete the necessary task.
The work benches are located in the main area of the workshop. All hand tools are kept here. The workbench in the shop should remain clean at all times. If you are using it be sure to clean up after yourself.
The store room is located behind the work benches. Most reactor and facility spare components are located in this room.
The power equipment is to be used only with staff permission. Permission will be granted by a technical staff member on a case by case basis. Power equipment includes all the machines in the machine shop, the bandsaw, table saw, lathe, and any power hand tools.
The calibration range is located through the store room past the scissor gate. The range is used to calibrate all the survey equipment at the RINSC and also as a low level irradiation source. The calibration range is to be entered only when accompanied by a qualified staff member. When entering the range all personnel must be wearing their OSL badge as well as a pocket dosimeter. Areas in the range have the potential to become high radiation areas.
The lunch room is located on the second floor. Interns are free to use any appliances and accommodations in the lunch room. Be sure to clean up after yourself. Radioactive and hazardous materials are not to be brought into the lunch room at any time.
The basement roll-up door opens to the rear parking lot of the CACS building, behind the dumpsters. The staff may unlock the door should it need to be opened. Make sure the door is closed and locked after use and when not being attended.
Just inside the basement roll-up door is the main lead storage area. Use caution in this area to minimize lead contamination or injuries due to falling lead. The lead stored in the blue box contains low level contamination and should not be used. Follow guidance from section “Lead” of this document when handling the non-contaminated lead.
Trash from throughout the facility will be stored just inside the basement roll-up door for a short period of time until it is brought to the dumpster. Each bag of trash must be surveyed before it leaves the building to ensure no radioactive material is being discarded. Do not throw anything in the dumpster that has not been surveyed by a member of the Health Physics staff.
The reception area is located within the front door. You will be buzzed in by the Information Specialist or Radiation Safety Clerk. If no one is present, ring the doorbell to the left of the door.
All visitors are required to sign in at the front door. Do not proceed beyond this point until you are signed in and your escort is with you.
Once administrative and emergency preparedness requirements have been met, your name will be added to the staff board and you will no longer be required to sign in. The staff board uses magnets to indicate a person’s presence in the facility or other location.
Staff offices are located throughout the laboratory wing. Space is available in the Operations office for interns to work. Space may also be available in some laboratories or the classroom at the discretion of the staff.
Room 305 houses the rabbit send/receive station as well as the rabbit cool down box. This area has the potential to be a radiation area when hot rabbits are present. The fume hood also can contain radioactive material.
Room 317 is a lab used for radioactive sample analysis and nuclear chemistry studies. Items in this room include open samples of radioactive chemicals which have the potential to contaminate clothing and skin. The room should only be entered and exited from the East doorway and you should frisk yourself with a survey meter before exiting the area. The lab also contains high voltage items and sensitive detectors.
The counting room houses four high purity germanium detectors used for gamma spectroscopy. There is liquid nitrogen present in the detector dewars. High voltage wires may run throughout the room to power the detectors. This room is used for most counting experiments conducted by researchers and the staff. Be sure that no experiments are being conducted before disturbing any computers or detectors.
The student lab is located in the South-West corner of the lab wing and connects to the classroom and the 317 lab. The student lab contains six work stations, each with a computer and a high purity germanium detector. This lab is used for most experiments conducted by classes visiting the RINSC. High Voltage supplies for the detectors are located on the storage cabinet and lab benches. The detectors may be charged with liquid nitrogen, the vapors of which may discharge from the bottom of the dewar. Larger liquid nitrogen dewars and pressurized gasses may be present also. Do not energize the high voltage power supplies without properly cooling the detectors first.
The class room is located at the South end of the lab wing. This room is used for presentations and meetings. Interns are welcome to use this room when it is not otherwise being used.
Liquid nitrogen is stored in the transport container at the back of the classroom, just inside the loading dock doors. The large closet opposite the transport container holds a number of smaller dewars. These dewars may be full of liquid nitrogen. Use caution when shifting dewars. Follow guidance from section “Liquid Nitrogen” in this document.
The copy room is located at the back of the reception area. This room is available for interns copying, scanning, faxing or printing. Most office supplies are also stored in the copy room.
The Bay Campus Security office is located on the first floor of the CACS building, next door to RINSC. The head of security is Sgt. Linda Palazzo, she can be reached at 401-874-6262. The emergency number for the Bay Campus is 401-874-2121.
The GSO copy room and IT office are located on the first floor of the OSEC building. They can be reached at 401-874-6266.
The Nautilus Galley is located in the first floor of the OSEC building. Lunch is served here daily for purchase. Menus and more information can be found on the GSO website.
The primary parking lot for RINSC interns is located directly in front of the confinement building and CACS. Additional parking is available in the OSEC or Horn parking lots. A parking pass may be issued if necessary.
The control room holds all reactor controls and information displays. Interns studying reactor operations will learn to manipulate these controls under the direct guidance and supervision of a licensed Reactor Operator. Use of control computers is limited to manipulation of their associated systems. Never manipulate reactor controls, system controls, or instrumentation without direction from a licensed Reactor Operator.
The control computer is located on the reactor control console in the control room. This panel is used to manipulate the control blades and regulating rod, and monitor some aspects of reactor function.
The confinement ventilation and reactor cooling controls are located in the last section of the instrumentation rack. The Ventilation/Cooling computer may be used to manipulate pumps and blowers in automatic mode. Manual mode bypasses the computer and allows control only by the manual push buttons. Local control is limited for some pumps to manual mode.
Reactor power level instruments are located in the second section of the instrumentation rack. Each Wide Range Monitor is a separate channel with its own compensated ion chamber. The Neutron Flux Monitor measures multiple channels using one fission chamber. Interns working on reactor operation must understand the theory of operation for each system.
The operations computer is located in the control room, away from the reactor controls. The operations computer is not connected to the reactor or any of its associated systems. This computer is used primarily for logging reactor operations data.
Operation of the reactor concerns three major procedures. It is the responsibility of the intern training in reactor operation to become fluent in all these procedures. Copies of these procedures may be obtained from the Operations staff. A copy of each of these procedures will be at hand whenever an intern is performing any form of reactor operation.
Most safety system features must be tested for operability prior to reactor start-up. OP-02, “RINSC Pre-Start Checkout” outlines the steps to be taken prior to manipulation of reactor controls for power. These steps will be performed under the supervision of a licensed Reactor Operator
Reactor power changes include reactor start-up and shut-down. OP-03, “Reactor Power Changes” outlines the steps to be taken for normal reactor operation.
In the event of an abnormality during reactor operation the licensed Reactor Operator will direct an intern to perform actions in accordance with OP-4, “Abnormal Procedures”. This procedure describes the actions to be taken based on a variety of abnormal readings from instrumentation or alarms.
The two main survey meters used at RINSC are the Ludlum Model 3 Geiger- Mueller detector with a pancake probe and the Ludlum Model 17 Ion Chamber. Interns interested in surveys & lab inspections should be familiar with the operation of both of these instruments. Additionally Interns can learn to operate the Canberra multi probe systems and use them to conduct surveys
There are surveys conducted in rooms around the RINSC on a weekly/monthly/quarterly basis. These surveys ensure there has been no contamination of radioactive materials. Areas with greater risk and use are surveyed more frequently.
Occasionally special surveys are required to map out radiation and high radiation areas. Interested interns should first learn how to operate the required survey instruments and then train with the Health Physicist or Radiation Safety Officer to learn how to conduct a special survey. Interns should never conduct a Special Survey unless under the direct supervision of a RINSC staff member.
All analytical and survey instruments must be calibrated on a regular basis. Each instrument has its own procedure and reporting criteria.
The DCS 30 System is a simple gamma spectroscopy software package. Interns interested in gamma spectroscopy should become familiar with this software. It provides a good basis to learn the fundamentals of gamma spectroscopy.
The Genie 2K program is another spectroscopy platform that allows the user greater control and accuracy. It allows the user to produce more sophisticated analysis of data. Genie 2K should be used once the user has a strong understanding of gamma spectroscopy.
If contamination or a spill of radioactive or hazardous material is experienced a member of the staff must be notified immediately. Depending on the means of contamination, a subject may be instructed to disrobe, shower, rinse eyes, or vacuum for dry contamination. Neutralizing agents are found throughout the facility for chemical spills. Avoid contact with doors or phones to minimize further contamination. Do not spread substances with contaminated footwear.
All interns should be familiar with instrument calibration. It is the responsibility of the intern to learn the theory behind the operation of various survey and analytical equipment. Interns studying health physics and radiation safety will be instructed in calibrating these instruments. Instrument calibration is outlined in the following procedures:
Geiger-Mueller detectors - SOP#801
Ion Chambers - SOP#801
Pocket Dosimeters - SOP#220
It is the responsibility of the health physics staff to inspect all laboratories at the RINSC facility and URI. Interns studying health physics may assist in inspections and decommissioning of some laboratories.
For a better understanding of the reactor systems and operation, and in order to assist in maintenance actions throughout the facility, interns should become familiar with the following procedures:
Primary Temperature Channel Calibration
Alarm, Scram, and Interlock Checks
Core Element Movement and Inspections
Primary Water Analyses
Secondary Water Analyses
Evacuation System Test
Shim Safety Rod Drop Time Test
Control Rod Reactivity Worth
Approach to Critical
Depending on an interns interests, projects, and concentrations, they may be expected to complete the above procedures with a member of the staff or individually. Copies of these procedures can be obtained from the Operations staff.