Nuclear Instrumentation

Your safety is our commitment! Neutron and Gamma detectors are crucial for the safety

Photonis Nuclear Instrumentation is one of the world leaders in the design and manufacture of neutron and gamma detectors, an essential element for the safety and control of nuclear reactors and critical to the safety of fuel reprocessing plants, radioactive waste storage, and nuclear research facilities.

Photonis brand has a unique detector technology compatible with different reactor types, high radiation, high temperature, high external pressure, LOCA (Loss Of Coolant Accident), and post LOCA protection.

For over 50 years, Photonis has been growing its knowledge and experience through involvement with French nuclear power plants and research programs. In the last 10 years, the Photonis customer list has grown to include Sweden, Bulgaria, China, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Switzerland, Ukraine and the USA. Today our dedicated R&D team can develop or adapt our extensive catalog of nuclear components to customer specific requirements for a variety of applications, including small modular and advanced reactors.. The Nuclear Instrumentation team is organized according to ISO9001, ISO19443 , RCCE (EDF rules), ASME NQA-1, HAF604.

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Gamma detectors

Neutron detectors

Mineral insulated extensions

Produced in

FR

Gamma detectors

Neutron and Gamma Detectors for the nuclear industry, including applications in nuclear power plants, fuel reprocessing facilities, waste storage monitoring, and nuclear research instrumentation

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Produced in

FR

Neutron detectors

As a neutron has no charge, a neutron detector incorporates a neutron-to-ionisation particle converter.

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Produced in

FR

Mineral insulated extensions

The extreme operating conditions in which Photonis neutron and gamma detectors are operating can lead organic insulated cables to deteriorate, requiring repair.

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Frequently asked questions

What determines usable life in a detector?

A detector is usable so long as it remains sensitive to neutrons and capable of transmitting sufficient signal to be used by the electronics. The sensitivity of the detector will gradually decrease over time as it is exposed to thermal neutron flux, and the detector will remain viable as long as the electronics allow for the decrease in sensitivity. For B-10 lined proportional counters the gas internal to the detector is vital to linear performance of the detector and is subject to degradation during operation in high radiation environments. Photonis proportional counters may include an additional reservoir of proportional gas which extends detector life (up to ~5 x 1018 n/cm2) substantially, making total lifetime greater than the life of similar detectors without this reservoir and significantly longer than BF3 counters.

What role does temperature play in detector operation?

Detector operation can be significantly affected as the ambient temperature they are exposed to increases above 400 C, by several different mechanisms. The internal gases used to ensure linear operation of the detector must be carefully chosen to ensure they can remain chemically unchanged at these high temperatures. Further, as temperature rises above 400 C the internal resistance of the detector may decrease, causing a rise in leakage current which could limit the functional range or decrease the accuracy of the detector. For these concerns Photonis has designed high temperature detectors, utilizing the appropriate gases, materials, and guard ring construction to allow accurate and reliable operation up to 600 C.

What are the differences between a thermal and fast neutron detector? Why might I use one or the other?

‘thermal’ and ‘fast’ refer to the energy level of the neutron incident on a detector. Thermal neutrons are typically defined as having energy <.025 eV. These lower energy neutrons are more likely to be absorbed by neutron sensitive materials, meaning thermal neutron detectors tend to have higher overall sensitivity. Thermal neutron detectors are designed to generate the majority of their usable signal from interactions with thermal neutrons, where fast neutron detectors are primarily capable of measuring high energy neutrons (>1 MeV). This has applications for research, where it may be important to use multiple detectors to differentiate between neutron energies, or in reactor applications where measurable neutron flux is primarily in high energy neutrons.

Why use a B-10 lined proportional counter vs. a fission chamber for neutron detection?

Each detector type offers unique characteristics which suit it to a particular application. B-10 lined proportional counters offer excellent sensitivity to thermal neutrons, allowing them to achieve sufficient count rates in low neutron fluxes. For example, this feature makes the use of B-10 proportional counters attractive as monitors during initial reactor criticality, where the increased detector sensitivity ensures that smaller, less expensive, start-up sources can be installed in the reactor core. Fission chambers, in contrast, have lower sensitivity to thermal neutrons but have superior resistance to gamma ray interference and offer the capability to operate over many decades of neutron flux. This feature makes fission chambers the ideal choice as wide range monitors of reactor power. The Photonis technical team is happy to work with customers to determine which detector type makes the most sense in each customer application.

Why do some detectors include integrated mineral insulated cabling instead of a standard connector?

Integrating a long mineral insulated cable with the body of the detector is ideal for the severe operating environments (high radiation level, humidity, vibration, high temperature) to maximize reliability and life of the instrument. Photonis recommend the use of integral cable for nuclear power applications to ensure trouble-free long-term operation. In mild environments, or in applications which otherwise do not permit integral cabling, Photonis is able to offer detectors with connection directly at the connector body.

What difference is there between coaxial and triaxial cables? How will I know which is best for my application?

Triaxial cables provide additional screening against unwanted sources of noise compared to coaxial cables- EMI/RFI interference and potential ground loops for small signals can be minimized, although this comes at a trade-off more difficult mechanical construction, lead-time, and cost. Typically, coaxial cables are sufficient for most nuclear applications but unusual, demanding, or unique applications may require the use of a triaxial cable solution. The Photonis Nuclear Instrumentation team has experience both working with our clients in determining the correct cable solution and qualifying the solution for use in industry.

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Learn more about radiation detector and nuclear instrumentation

Neutron and Gamma detectors are crucial for the safety of nuclear facilities and beyond. 
Photonis Nuclear Instrumentation stands as a beacon of reliability and innovation in the realm of radiation detection. With an illustrious history spanning over five decades, Photonis remains steadfast in its dedication to designing and producing state-of-the-art radiation detectors. These devices serve as the cornerstone for ensuring the safety and operational integrity of nuclear reactors worldwide.

Radiation detectors are not just instruments; they are the frontline guardians against unseen threats. They detect and measure radiation levels, acting as vigilant sentinels in environments where safety is paramount. Our detectors are meticulously crafted to withstand the most extreme conditions, from high levels of radiation to fluctuating temperatures, providing constant surveillance and peace of mind. We offer various types of detectors, each designed to meet specific needs, from simple devices for small-scale operations to complex systems for large installations.

In addition to their pivotal role in reactor safety, radiation detectors find versatile applications across various industries. Our detectors are equipped to handle a wide spectrum of radiation, from high-energy gamma rays to neutrons. Their versatility ensures comprehensive coverage in diverse environments, from in core instrumentation to area radiation monitoring. They can detect even the smallest amounts of radiation, making them ideal for use in various applications. Our detectors are also designed to be resistant to radiation, high temperature, and electromagnetic interference, ensuring reliable operation even in challenging conditions.

Photonis prides itself not only on the sophistication of its detectors but also on the simplicity of their operation. Our devices are designed to be user-friendly and intuitive, providing reliable data and rugged construction. With a focus on service excellence, we offer a range of devices tailored to meet the specific needs of our customers, whether they are in commercial nuclear power generation, waste storage, or research and development. 

Whether it’s a large-scale nuclear power plant or a small research facility, our counters are designed to meet the unique requirements of different types of installations. Our counters and chambers are equipped with the ability to detect and measure charges, making them versatile and effective.

Photonis is committed to supporting research and educational programs in the field of nuclear instrumentation. Through partnerships with academic institutions and research facilities, we contribute to the advancement of scientific knowledge and technological innovation. Our radiation detectors are used in numerous research projects, helping to push the boundaries of what is possible in the field of nuclear science.

Photonis detectors boast a high detection rate and exceptional sensitivity, making them indispensable tools for radiation monitoring and analysis. Whether it’s detecting low levels of radiation in the environment or measuring the intensity of high-energy radiation sources like a spent nuclear fuel or a reactor core, our detectors deliver accurate and reliable results. We also offer neutron detectors, which are essential for measuring neutron radiation, a type of radiation that is particularly difficult to detect. 

Experience the future of nuclear instrumentation with Photonis - where safety, reliability, and innovation converge to shape a brighter tomorrow. Our commitment to quality and innovation is unwavering, and we are constantly working to improve our products and services. We believe that our radiation detectors are the best on the market, and we are proud to offer them to our customers. Whether you need a simple radiation detector or a complex system for a large facility, Photonis has the solution for you. Our detectors are designed to be easy to use, making them ideal for a wide range of applications. 

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