Using Tracer Technology to Characterize Contaminated Pipelines

Period of Performance: 01/01/2002 - 12/31/2002


Phase 1 STTR

Recipient Firm

Vista Engineering Technologies, LLC
1355 Columbia Park Trail
Richland, WA 99352
Principal Investigator
Firm POC

Research Institution

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
902 Battelle Blvd.
Richland, WA 99354
Institution POC


70607 Improved technologies are needed to assist in the decontamination and decommissioning (D&D) of facilities used to support nuclear weapons production. Specifically, innovative approaches are sought to determine the existence or absence of contamination in piping or duct systems. This project will use tracers to remotely determine the presence and the amount of contaminant within a run of piping or ductwork. By injecting tracers in one end of the piping and measuring the time history of the concentration of the tracers at the other end, the amount of contaminant within the pipe or ductwork can be determined. Phase I will develop the tracer technique, make model estimates of key parameters that may affect detection limits, conducting a simple demonstration, and identify potential tracers for key DOE contaminants of interest (such as chlorinated solvents, mercury, lead and possibly some radioactive elements). Commercial Applications and Other Benefits as described by the awardee: The tracer approach would be a safe, easy to use, relatively non-intrusive tool for monitoring the build-up of contamination on the inside of pipelines and ductwork. Most importantly, very little waste would be generated during the characterization process. The approach should not only be applicable to DOE facilities but also could be utilized by the chemical, oil, and gas industries as a safe and effective method for characterizing pipeline systems.