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Radiation Protection > Radiation Safety Control of Steel Mills Owning Smelting Furnaces
 
Radiation Safety Control of Steel Mills Owning Smelting Furnaces
 
- 2018.8.24

Detection and Control of Abnormal Radioactive Materials

More than 20 years ago some radiation contamination events occurred in Taiwan, inflicting the society and people's lives to some extent. Those who involved in these events were worried about the negative aspects of possible health effects caused by radiation. Among those abnormal radiation level events having occurred, the most telling are steel construction materials being contaminated by Cobalt-60 nuclide, lost radiation sources, and slag from iron and steel smelting furnace subject to contamination of Cesium-137 nuclide. And the most significant one was houses being contaminated by radioactively contaminated iron and steel construction materials.

Since the start of implementing radiation detection operation in 1995, iron and steel makers who own smelting furnace(s) are required to install portal type radiation detector(s) as shown in Figure 1, to effectively prevent mis-smelting of Radiation Sources. Up to July 31st of 2018, there have been 1027cases of Abnormal Radiation Level Materials being detected out from metal scrap in the steel mills. The Abnormal Radiation Level Materials mostly belong to scrap materials contaminated by natural radioactive nuclides (Radium-226, Thorium-234 and their decay daughters) as shown in Figure 2, and Cobalt-60 contaminated steel re-bar tailing materials and radioactive orphan sources are also included. Some were from imported scrap metal; some were from scrap metal collected by scrap metal collectors. From the statistical analysis data as shown in Tables 1, 2 and Figures 3, 4 , 5, Taiwan has made a great achievement in establishing regulatory control system in preventing contamination of iron and steel from radiation sources.

Portal Type Radiation Detector
Figure 1. Portal Type Radiation Detector

Discovered Steel Tube (containing Uranium and Thorium natural radioactive nuclides)
Figure 2. Discovered Steel Tube (containing Uranium and Thorium natural radioactive nuclides)

Table 1. Statistics of Abnormal Radioactive Material Cases
Year
Domestic
Foreign
Total
1995 8 1 9
1996 4 1 5
1997 5 4 9
1998 3 9 12
1999 13 5 18
2000 15 25 40
2001 7 14 21
2002 14 17 31
2003 16 13 29
2004 22 7 29
2005 20 14 34
2006 33 26 59
2007 51 65 116
2008 20 66 86
2009 22 68 90
2010 31 20 51
2011 21 33 54
2012 17 31 48
2013 20 48 68
2014 29 41 70
2015 32 21 53
2016 16 27 43
2017* 19 33 52
Total* 438 589 1027
*Up to July 31st of 2018



Figure 3. Yearly Statistics of Iron and Steel Makers' Abnormal Radioactive Materials.

Table 2. Categorical Statistics of Abnormal Radioactive Material Cases
Year
Contaminated Iron and Steel
Radioactive Sources *1
Others *2
Total
1995 5 1 3 9
1996 2 1 2 5
1997 4 1 4 9
1998 1 1 10 12
1999 3 2 13 18
2000 8 4 28 40
2001 1 0 20 21
2002 4 4 23 31
2003 2 3 24 29
2004 2 2 25 29
2005 3 2 29 34
2006 5 4 50 59
2007 32 7 77 116
2008 2 2 82 86
2009 2 3 85 90
2010 9 5 37 51
2011 5 5 44 54
2012 2 6 40 48
2013 2 6 60 68
2014 0 1 69 70
2015 2 2 49 53
2016 0 2 32 34
2017* 2 0 50 52
Total* 99 63 865 1027
*Up to July 31st of 2018
Note *1 Including Radiation Sources for calibration use
*2 Others means scrap iron containing Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials(NORM)


Note *1 Including Radiation Sources for calibration use
*2 Others means scrap iron containing Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials(NORM)

Figure 4. Yearly Categorical Statistics of Discovered Abnormal Radiation Level Materials by Iron and Steel Makers

Figure 5. Yearly Trend of Iron and Steel Makers Discovered Abnormal Radiation Level Materials. (Up to July 31st of 2018)

On-Duty Nuclear Safety Center

For instant response to and handling of unexpected events, whether it be of nuclear, radiation, or other kinds of emergency or abnormal nature, Atomic Energy Council (AEC) has established a 24-hour On-Duty Nuclear Safety Center, functioning as a sole window for emergency reporting and communication by competent authorities. There are some tasked staff responsible for receiving, studying, relaying and instant handling of reporting events; once abnormal radioactive material is discovered, the AEC shall be immediately informed to ensure the radiation safety for the public.

Assisting and Auditing of Detection Operation of Steel Mills Owning Furnace

There are 18 steel mills owning furnace in Taiwan. Since 2008, AEC has been conducting yearly tasked audit to assess the radiation detection operation at the steel mills. Focal points were: detection operational procedures for incoming steel scrap up to outbound products, alarm functional test of portal type radiation detector, handling mechanism with Abnormal Radiation Level Materials and establishment of relevant radiation detection system. The results of the audits have shown that the operations of these radiation detection systems were in compliance with regulatory requirements. The radiation detection system established at steel mills has successfully prevented mis-smelting of Radiation Sources.



Outbound steel products radiation detection in steel mill

Outbound steel products radiation detection in a steel mill
 
 
 
 
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