Published: Wednesday 31 May 1995

Researchers from the US department of energy's Pacific Northwest Laboratory (PNL) in Richland have developed a new fibreoptic sensor that can immediately detect 2 of the most common radioactive contaminents left over from nuclear power generation and weapons development.

The BetaScintTM sensor relies on tiny fibreoptic strands to detect radioactive byproducts of uranium-238 and strontium-90. These half-millimetre thick and one-millimetre long fibres scintillate or light up when they come in contact with highly energized beta particles produced by radioactive decay.

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