Pioneering development work on next generation non-destructive assay techniques and technologies

As a physicist working for Cavendish Nuclear, Lizzie Waterhouse has been driving pioneering development work to establish the next generation of non-destructive assay techniques and technologies with the aim of making nuclear reprocessing and decommissioning activities safer, faster and lower cost.

Lizzie has been instrumental in leading the transfer of a novel type of fast neutron detector technology into an industrial plant environment. The new detector, which employs an entirely different neutron interaction mechanism compared to traditional neutron counting technology, has resulted in the development of a system that is compact and readily deployable, achieving characterisation in access-restricted plant environments, which would not previously have been possible.

Another key area of work for Lizzie has been in the area of radioactive waste minimisation. Her focus in low to intermediate level alpha waste has been on understanding existing decommissioning processes to identify the point at which new and innovative assay technologies can be exploited in order to help nuclear facilities minimise their nuclear waste footprint and make best use of the waste hierarchy strategy. This has been achieved through close collaborative relationships with key decommissioning stakeholders, working together to achieve safer, cost-effective and more efficient clean-up of the U.K’s nuclear legacy.

Lizzie said:

“A vital part of my role is to engage with the wider radiation detection community, through international and national working group forums, allowing the sharing of knowledge and experience to identify improvements to current technologies and methods. This is key to providing a link between academia, research facilities and industry experts, in order for the industry to benefit from exploiting new concepts and ideas to deliver fit-for-purpose, cost-effective and innovative solutions.”