The Gamma Irradiation Facility (GIF)
The Gamma Irradiation Facility (GIF) provides high-fidelity simulation of nuclear radiation environments for materials and component testing. The GIF can produce a wide range of gamma radiation environments (from 10-3 to over 103 rad/second) using cobalt-60 sources, and can irradiate objects as small as electronic components and as large as an Abrams M1 tank. The GIF provides in-cell dry irradiations in three test cells and in-pool submerged irradiations.
Research and other activities
Radiation fields at the GIF are produced by high-intensity gamma-ray sources. The sources used at the GIF are cobalt-60 pins. The facility offers gamma dose rates from 10-3 rad/s to over 103 rad/s. The GIF can house a wide variety of gamma irradiation experiments with various test configurations and at different dose and dose rate levels. The in-air irradiations are conducted using three concrete test cells: two cells are 3 m × 3 m; one cell is 5.5 m × 9.1 m. Various objects are tested for their abilities to withstand the damaging radiation environments they might experience in space, near stored nuclear materials, or when they experience extreme radiation environments. Typical experiments at the GIF include the following:
- Testing for electronic-component hardness
- Materials-properties testing
- Investigations of various physical and chemical processes
- Testing and radiation certification of satellite and weapons system electronic components
- Dosimetry calibration
- Investigations of radiation damage to materials.
The GIF also offers a 5.5-m (~18-ft.) deep pool of demineralized water. Radioactive sources are held in a submerged irradiation fixture near the bottom of the pool, which can accommodate a variety of in-pool irradiation fixtures and source configurations. The GIF pool is used for submerged irradiation experiments, such as the following:
- Thermal- and radiation-effects studies
- Weapons degradation
- Reactor accident effects
- Electronic-component certification.