Special Nuclear Material Detection

The Cosmic Ray Inspection and Passive Tomography (CRIPT) project was established at Carleton University in 2009 to study the feasibility of: detecting contraband nuclear materials (uranium or plutonium) in shipping containers, monitoring nuclear waste in storage tanks, and monitoring seismic activity under volcanoes.

AAPS was a member of the CRIPT team, the full members of which are listed below:

Carlton University (Lead)

Defense Research and Development Canada (DRDC)

   Advanced Applied Physics Solutions (AAPS)

   Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL)

   Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA)

   Health Canada

   International Safety Research Inc. (ISR)

The project was funded through the former Chemical, Biological, Radiological-Nuclear and Explosives Research and Technology Initiative (CRTI), a federally-funded program led by DRDC.

AAPS received a contractfrom Carleton University to design the detector system, provide the scintillation-detector materials and to guide the construction of the detectors. The detectors employed were based on the detectors used in muon geotomography, modified to measure the momentum loss of scattered muons, which is a function of the atomic number of the scattering elements. The AAPS-designed detectors were essential to this project moving forward. AAPS also provided a route into Fermi Lab., which provided the very specialized scintillation bars for the detectors to AAPS’s specifications.

CRIPT passed its final milestone in 2013 when an air cargo container was successfully scanned. Since then, CRIPT has scanned a variety of objects to test its performance. The CRIPT system, with a 5.3-metre tower, was moved to the Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL now CNL) in Chalk River in 2014 for further experiments on monitoring nuclear waste.

Further collaboration between CNL and AAPS is anticipated.