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CBRN / HazMat Training Blog

What are the pros and cons of simulators for radiation safety training?

Written by Steven Pike on 04 Jun 2019

Electronic radiation simulators provide trainees with realistic first-hand experience of handling detector equipment that is identical to that which they will use in the field.

But while the use of simulator detectors can offer significant advantages for both student and instructor, as with any form of training method there may be some compromises.

In this blog post we explore some of the pros and the cons of radiation safety training using simulator detectors.

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What is the difference between pure and enriched uranium?

Written by Steven Pike on 27 Mar 2019

Uranium is a radioactive element that is well-known for its use as the essential fuel for commercial nuclear power plants, with around 11% of the world's electricity being generated from uranium in nuclear reactors. 

In March 2019, an incident on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil sparked global media coverage, when an armoured convoy transporting uranium fuel to the Angra 2 Power Plant became caught up in a shootout between two rival gangs.

Following the incident, a spokesperson for Brazil's nuclear agency stated that the uranium posed "no risk" to humans or the environment, due to the fact that it was being transported in its"natural form."

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How simulators aid emergency response radiation safety training

Written by Steven Pike on 18 Dec 2018

In an ideal world, an emergency response team would know exactly what kind of radiological hazard they were attending before they arrived on the scene of an incident. This might be via a resource such as a central database that lists the addresses of properties that are known to contain specific sources of ionising radiation.

In other cases, such as a road traffic accident for example, that risk might not become apparent until responders reach the incident and are confronted with a clear visual warning in the form of a trefoil.

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Getting hands-on with nuclear emergency response training

Written by Steven Pike on 05 Dec 2018

Large-scale releases of ionizing radiation are thankfully a rare occurrence. But with just over sixty commercially run nuclear power plants currently in service in the US, and fifteen operational nuclear reactors located across seven plants in the UK, the risk of an accidental release, however minor, is one that must be meticulously trained for.

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What are the options for obtaining CBRN simulator detector equipment?

Written by Steven Pike on 15 Nov 2018

Radiation training has always been an inherently challenging exercise for first responders. After all, how do you ensure that your crews recognize and understand the very real dangers of this silent and invisible threat?

Thankfully exposure to dangerous levels of ionizing radiation is not something that most first response teams are likely to encounter that frequently. But having the right training - and having access to the resources and equipment to be able to train as often as necessary - is absolutely essential.

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CBRNe Convergence 2018: what to see and do

Written by Steven Pike on 10 Oct 2018

Argon Electronics will be among the global CBRNe and HazMat professionals at the eleventh annual CBRNe Convergence which takes place in Orlando, Florida, from November 6th to 8th, 2018.

This year's event brings together leading world experts in the fields of WMD, chemical attacks, biological weapons and HazMat - with the programme of activities tying together on the theme of the merging of military and civilian response to CBRNe and IED threats.

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How to make radiation safety training easier and more effective

Written by Steven Pike on 23 May 2018

A key objective for HazMat and CBRNe instructors is to be able to devise realistic radiation safety training opportunities that replicate the challenges and conditions of live incidents.

There are a variety of key skills that you may well want to be able to observe and assess in your radiation safety training exercises, including:

  • Their understanding of critical search, reconnaissance, survey and location skills
  • Their comprehension of inverse square law
  • Their knowledge of isodoserate mapping, shielding and safe demarcation
  • Their understanding of contamination, cross-contamination and decontamination

Hands-on training exercises can offer an invaluable opportunity to test your students' ability to read, interpret and accurately convey the information from their survey meters.

And wherever possible, these training exercises should enable you to mimic the complex physical and psychological challenges that your trainees are likely to face in real-life radiation events.

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4 essential features of electronic simulators for radiation training

Written by Steven Pike on 01 Mar 2018

Any exposure to ionizing radiation brings with it a degree of risk.

So for those tasked with emergency response, it’s crucial that they are able to handle the unique challenges of radiation incidents with confidence, a mindfulness of their personal safety and a thorough working knowledge of their detector equipment.

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Balancing realism and reality in radiation safety training

Written by Steven Pike on 22 Feb 2018

The creation of realistic training scenarios is vital in ensuring that military crews and first response teams are prepared and equipped to handle actual detectors in real-life radiation incidents and that industrial operatives are practiced in their respective monitoring activities.

Radiation training exercises that are rooted in applied learning techniques can be an invaluable tool in enabling trainees to read and understand changes in units of measurement, to relay their findings up the chain of command and, above all, to stay safe.

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IRR 2017 and the use of simulators for radiation safety training

Written by Steven Pike on 26 Jan 2018

On 1 January 2018, the UK’s Ionizing Radiations Regulations (IRR) 1999 were replaced by the IRR 2017. The regulations establish a clear framework to protect trainees, employees and other personnel from unnecessary exposure to high levels of radiation whether as a result of their duties or during the carrying out of training exercises. The aim is to keep radiation exposure as low as reasonably practicable (ALARP) to ensure that individual dose limits are not exceeded.

To this end, electronic radiation simulators can offer significant benefits for radiation safety training, as they provide trainees with the opportunity for first-hand experience in handling detectors in live-incident scenarios, but without any risk of exposure to potentially high levels of radioactivity.

In this blog post we explore the careful compromise that is often required in balancing the goals of radiation safety training with the realities of creating the most life-like scenarios.

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