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Fixed gauges are typically used in production facilities – mines, mills, oil and gas platforms – as a means of controlling and monitoring quality from a production process.
For example, in the North Sea, fixed nucleonic gauges are sometimes deployed to determine conditions within separator vessels and to monitor residual oil content within separated gas streams.
Such level gauges are among the most common industrial uses of radioisotopes.Small concentrations of short-lived isotopes can be detected whilst no residues remain in the environment.By adding small amounts of radioactive substances to materials used in various processes it is possible to study the mixing and flow rates of a wide range of materials, including liquids, powders, and gases and to locate leaks.Radioisotopes have the supreme advantage that they can be taken to the site when an examination is required – and no power is needed.
However, they cannot be simply turned off, and so must be properly shielded both when in use and at other times.
Both Japan and Malaysia have since backed an IAEA initiative to use NDT for the inspection of civil structures more widely following natural disasters.