Neutron Radiographic Inspection of Industrial Components using Kamini Neutron Source Facility


Kamini (Kalpakkam Mini) reactor is a U233 fuelled, dernineralised light water moderated and cooled, beryllium oxide reflected, low power (30 kW) nuclear research reactor. This reactor functions as a neutron source with a flux of 1012 n/cm2 S·I at core centre with facilitates for carrying out neutron radiography, neutron activation analysis and neutron shielding experiments. There are two beam tubes for neutron radiography. The length/diameter ratio of the collimators is about 160 and the aperture size is 220 mm x 70 mm. Flux at the outer end of the beam tube is _ 106 - 107 n/cm2 s. The north end beam tube is for radiography of inactive object while the south side beam tube is for radiography of radioactive objects. The availability of high neutron flux coupled with good collimated beam provides high quality radiographs with short exposure time. The reactor being a unique national facility for neutron radiography has been utilized in the examination of irradiated components, aero engine turbine blades, riveted plates, automobile chain links and for various types of pyro devices used in the space programme. In this paper, an overview of the salient features of this reactor facility for neutron radiography and our experience in the inspection of a variety of industrial components will be given. Keywords: Kamini, neutron radiography, flux, LID ratio, thermal neutron, pyro device, turbine blade, roller chainN. Raghu, V. Anandaraj, K.V. Kasiviswanathan and P. Kalyanasundaram Indira Gandhi Center for Atomic Research, Kalpakkam - 603102, India