The McMaster Nuclear Reactor is equipped with an air-driven pneumatic (or “rabbit”) system designed for short neutron irradiations and rapid retrieval of samples. The sample is sealed in a polyethylene capsule and sent from a loading station in either the Reactor Building or the Nuclear Research Building to any of three irradiation positions on the east face of the reactor core.

The length of irradiation (usually ranging from seconds to minutes) is controlled manually or automatically, after which the pneumatic system diverts the sample either to a shielded fumehood for manual sample retrieval, or loads it directly onto the gamma counting equipment available at the Centre for Neutron Activation Analysis.

Rabbit irradiations are used for many applications including undergraduate laboratory experiments, isotope production and neutron activation analysis, particularly for the detection and quantification of short-lived isotopes.

The CNAA is designed to be user-friendly, it has simple, easy-to-use automatic irradiation and counting systems. In addition to irradiation terminals within the reactor containment building, the CNAA has fully equipped analytical labs in the adjacent High Level Laboratory Facility with an additional irradiation terminal, gamma counting equipment and sample preparation areas.

NAA is an outstanding analytical tool because it is non-destructive, extremely sensitive, appropriate for crude samples, cost-effective.

The CNAA facility is available to industrial, academic or government agencies for development projects or service work with full technical support provided by Nuclear Operations and Facilities staff. CNAA also operates as a user facility, with interested parties providing their own staff to perform the analytical work, under the joint direction of the research supervisor and CNAA personnel. CNAA can train your staff to make full use of the capabilities of NAA to produce high quality solutions for your analytical problems.

Services available include: