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RFID Technology for Environmental Remediation and Radioactive Waste Management

[+] Author Affiliations
Hanchung Tsai, Yung Y. Liu

Argonne National Laboratory, Argonne, IL

James Shuler

U.S. Department of Energy, Washington, DC

Paper No. ICEM2010-40218, pp. 511-518; 8 pages
  • ASME 2010 13th International Conference on Environmental Remediation and Radioactive Waste Management
  • ASME 2010 13th International Conference on Environmental Remediation and Radioactive Waste Management, Volume 1
  • Tsukuba, Japan, October 3–7, 2010
  • Conference Sponsors: Nuclear Engineering Division and Environmental Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5452-5 | eISBN: 978-0-7918-3888-4
  • Copyright © 2010 by ASME


An advanced Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) system capable of tracking and monitoring a wide range of materials and components—from fissionable stocks to radioactive wastes—has been developed. The system offers a number of advantages, including enhanced safety, security and safeguards, reduced personnel exposure to radiation, and improved inventory control and cost-effectiveness. Using sensors, RFID tags can monitor the state of health of the tracked items and trigger alarms instantly when the normal ranges are violated. Nonvolatile memories in the tags can store sensor data, event records, as well as a contents manifest. Gamma irradiation tests showed that the tag components possess significant radiation resistance. Long-life batteries and smart management circuitries permit the tags to operate for up to 10 years without battery replacement. The tags have a near universal form factor, i.e., they can fit different package types. The read range is up to >100 m with no line-of-sight required. With careful implementation, even a large-size processing or storage facility with a complex configuration can be monitored with a handful of readers in a network. In transportation, by incorporating Global Positioning System (GPS), satellite/cellular communication technology, and secure Internet, situation awareness is assured continuously. The RFID system, when integrated with Geographic Information System (GIS) technology, can promptly provide content- and event-specific information to first responders and emergency management teams in case of incidents. In stand-alone applications, the monitoring and tracking data are contained within the local computer. With a secure Internet, information can be shared within the complex or even globally in real time. As with the deployment of any new technology, overcoming the cultural resistance is part of the developmental process. With a strong institutional support and multiple successful live demonstrations, the cultural resistance has been mostly overcome. As a result, implementation of the RFID technology is taking place at several of U.S. Department of Energy sites and laboratories for processing, storage, and transportation applications.

Copyright © 2010 by ASME



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