A laser sampling tool offers an alternative approach for  waste in the nuclear industry, NEI learns.VIRIDISCOPE IS AN INNOVATIVE LASER sampling tool for materials characterisation in nuclear applications.

It can be used in place of conventional drilling to remove material from a surface, to allow for fast sampling of materials such as concrete, plastic, wood, plaster and brick for a wide range of radionuclides and for elemental characterisation.The scope was developed by UK-based Viridian Consultants, as a spin-off from a 2013 Innovate UK collaboration with Sellafield on a feasibility study.

The scope uses a laser to rapidly (around 120s) collect a 50-100mg sample from a surface under vacuum. The sample, without further preparation, is then transported away from the active area, along a 20m line to a collection pod. It is analysed for alpha, beta and gammas, or processed for elemental and radionuclide characterisation.