Phoenix Nuclear Labs

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Job Title: Neutron Radiographer

Department: R&D

Reports To: President

Revision Date:  08/22/2017

 

NOTE:  This job description is not intended to be all-inclusive. Employee may perform other related duties as negotiated to meet the ongoing needs of the organization.

 

Position Overview:

Phoenix Nuclear Labs is seeking an experienced neutron radiography professional to provide research and development support and business development in the neutron imaging industry focused primarily on neutron detection hardware and software and image reconstruction.  Certified x-ray radiographers will be considered for this position, and training will be provided by the company as needed.  This need could be filled by full-time employment (preferred), part-time employment, or by a consulting engagement, and the start date is as soon as possible.

 

Background:

Phoenix Nuclear Labs (PNL) is an early stage technology development company based in Madison, WI.  The core technology developed by PNL over the last 10 years is a high current, medium voltage ion accelerator with application in the following markets:

  1. Neutron radiography for nondestructive testing of industrial components
  2. Medical radioisotope production
  3. Nuclear fuel quality control
  4. Nuclear instrumentation calibration and testing
  5. Radiation effects testing
  6. Explosives and nuclear material detection

In all of the applications above, the PNL accelerator is configured such that the accelerated ion beam is deuterium, and the ion beam impinges on a solid or gaseous (deuterium or tritium) neutron-producing target.  The nominal operating point for most PNL neutron generators is 50 – 100 mA of deuterium at 300 kV beam energy.  The resultant neutron yield is 100-1000 times higher than other commercially available neutron generators, which typically operate with substantially lower beam current and voltage.  This increase in neutron yield results in higher-volume isotope production, faster neutron images, greater detection standoff distances, and higher-throughput QA systems.

Over the past several years, there has been increasing interest in the neutron imaging community to develop electronic, compact, high-flux neutron sources.  Benefits of the PNL technology to this industry include the following:

  • D+ beam current in excess of 50 mA is significantly higher than commercially available neutron generators
  • PNL’s neutron source is not a sealed source, which have lifetimes of <1000 hours, nor is it a highly radioactive source such as a nuclear reactor. The PNL neutron source has essentially an unlimited lifetime.
  • PNL’s microwave ion source is highly stable and reliable, leading to improvements in total uptime
  • PNL’s microwave ion source provides very high current density and atomic ion fraction

Some examples of the various uses of neutron radiography are listed below:

  • Industrial inspection of pipelines and welded and brazed metals
  • Inspection of critical aerospace components such as turbine blade cores
  • Inspection to determine the reliability of detonators and transmitters/receivers in explosives in both the military and civilian sectors
  • Adhesive and bonding delamination inspection
  • Cultural heritage and archeological studies

PNL is seeking product and business development support for further commercializing its accelerator technology in the neutron radiography industry.

 

Duties and Responsibilities:

The candidate’s primary focus will be on providing technical support to enhance the neutron radiography capabilities at PNL and for radiography customers of PNL.  Details are outlined below:

  1. Provide technical expertise on the use and optimization of neutron detectors to support product development efforts in neutron imaging. These techniques include film, direct radiography systems, computed radiography, micro-channel plates, scintillators and CCD/CMOS devices.
  2. Provide technical expertise in the reconstruction of images using software packages such as MatLab or Python to automatically adjust brightness/contrast and perform defect recognition and construct tomograms.
  3. Support PNL in identifying new applications for its technology in the neutron imaging industry.
  4. Identify research institutions for neutron imaging and work collaboratively with them to build up PNL’s imaging capabilities.
  5. Support PNL in building relationships with prospective users and customers of the PNL technology via development contracts (e.g., customized design work for specific applications, laboratory demonstrations, etc.)
  6. Support marketing and sales of PNL systems by attending and presenting at conferences and trade shows as applicable.

 

 

Qualifications:

A successful candidate will have at least 10 years of experience in the industrial radiography industry.  He or she should have a bachelor’s degree in a technical field (physics or engineering preferred) or equivalent technical experience.  Preference will be given to candidates with a master’s or doctoral degree in a technical discipline and further to one who is certified as a level III neutron radiographer. The candidate should have general knowledge of laboratory etiquette and safety considerations for working in a potentially hazardous environment in regards to high voltage electricity and hazardous chemicals. An important part of this role will be to educate new customers on the benefits offered by the PNL technology.  Most potential customers will be highly educated scientists and engineers, and a successful candidate must be able to talk confidently and competently about neutron imaging techniques, hardware and software.  Excellent verbal and written communication skills are an absolute requirement.

PNL is considering both full-time applicants and part-time consultants.  Applicants must be available to work at minimum 10 hours per week, though availability to work half-time or more is preferred.  Relocation to Madison, WI is not required but is preferred.  Applicants must be available to travel to PNL on occasion to interface with the PNL team, to support customer visits, and to support trade shows.

Compensation:

Compensation will be competitive and provided based on several criteria, namely level of education, experience in the neutron imaging industry and level of neutron radiography certification.  Benefits are provided to employees that work 32hrs/week or more.

 

Eligibility for employment is conditioned on an individual’s ability to qualify for access to information subject to U.S. Export Controls regulations (U.S. Citizen, U.S. Permanent Resident, Asylee or Refugee).  Also, an individual’s eligibility may be conditioned based upon access to information classified under the Atomic Energy Act requiring pre-employment drug test, fingerprinting, and a criminal background check.