A fully functional model of the muon tomograph was created by Russian scientists from the National Research Nuclear University MEPhI in cooperation with JSC VNIIAES (part of Rosatom). Tests of the installation, which allows a complete remote inspection of the operating reactor, have been started by the Department of Nuclear Safety and Reliability of the Kalinin NPP.
As Rosatom specialists explained, muon tomography uses a muon flux that occurs in the upper atmosphere under the influence of cosmic rays. This technology does not require artificial radiation sources and is a promising method of remote monitoring. The method is based on capturing the muon flux passing through the object under study and obtaining a “picture” of the internal structure of the object, resembling an x-ray. Muons have a high penetrating power. Several of these shots from different angles allow you to get a three-dimensional image of the object.
Currently, the technology, recording systems and software are being tested on the first model of the tomograph installed at one of the power units at the Kalinin NPP. The device is a track detector that allows real-time tracking of the track of each muon passing through the recording system.
After the tests are passed, Russian nuclear scientists plan to launch industrial production of a line of muon tomographs. They will become an additional means of remote monitoring of reactors, equipment and structures of nuclear power plants. The developers also report that new tomographic installations will allow for effective remote study of volcanoes, buildings, bridges, dams, cooling towers, bulky transport cargo, etc.