Bandung – BRIN Public Relations. In the industrial world, sustainability of production process is one of the most important factors and must be taken seriously so that damage would not occur. Damage to equipment will disrupt the production process and ultimately cause losses. If the location of the damage is unknown, the solution possibly offered is to stop the production process, then find the source of the damage.

This kind of solution is certainly avoided industry players, as this will stop the production process and inflict huge losses to the industry. In order to avoid possible losses due to cessation of production to detect damage to the equipment, it is necessary to use a damage detection technology that can be used without disturbing production activities. One of these detection technologies is using gamma scanning. This gamma scanning detection is often referred to as a non-destructive test, because detection can be carried out without having to disassemble/damage the equipment that is suspected of having a malfunction. This detection technology can even be used without halting the ongoing production process.

Senior Researcher at the Research Center for Radioisotope, Radiopharmaceutical and Biodosimetry Technology (PRTRRB) – Nuclear Energy Research Organization (ORTN) of the National Research and Innovation Agency (BRIN), Duyeh Setiawan said, in the process, this gamma scanning utilizes gamma rays from the source of radiation cobalt -60 (Co-60). This Cobalt-60 can be produced from Nuclear Power Plants (PLTN). As Indonesia has yet to have a nuclear power plant, to get cobalt-60, we have to import it from countries that already have nuclear power plants at a high price.

According to Duyeh, the function of cobalt-60 as a radiation source in the gamma scanning process can be replaced by other sources of gamma radiation from the radioisotope scandium-46 (Sc-46). The radioisotope Sc-46 can be produced from research reactors owned by Indonesia. It should be noted that currently, Indonesia has three research reactors, namely the Triga Mark 2000 in Bandung, the GA. Siwabessy Multipurpose Reactor in Serpong, and the Kartini reactor in Yogyakarta. By empowering these research reactors, the radiation source from the Sc-46 radioisotope becomes affordable and the waste can be reused through a re-radiation process.

For this reason, explained Duyeh, PRTRRB developed a Scandium-46 Closed Radioactive Source for Gamma – Ray Scanning. “This development includes the design of Sc-46 radiation source through the neutron activation technique at the Triga 2000 Reactor in Bandung, as an effort to test the reliability of the Sc-46 source in detecting damages to equipment in the industry, especially in distillation columns,” said Duyeh.

In detail, Duyeh explained the development process that is currently being carried out with his fellow researchers at PRTRRB. “Scanning distillation column or vessel distillation can be done using a sealed gamma radioisotope and a radiation detector. Both the gamma ray source and the detector are moved together in slow motion on opposite sides, and scanning can be done along the exterior part of the unit,” he said further

“The profile of relative density of the column contents will be identified i.e. the area containing relatively high density materials, such as liquids and/or metals, providing a relatively low radiation intensity, while the area with relatively low density, such as vapor space between the trays produce high levels of radiation intensity,” he continued