This paper describes the design and operation of the Combined Technology Automated Waste Characterisation System (CTA-WCS) at JRC Ispra. The WCS was designed for the measurement of fission products and uranium and plutonium containing waste arising from nuclear fuel and nuclear materials processing and reactor operations. The WCS covers a range of activity including Low and Intermediate Level Waste (LLW and ILW). The system is designed to measure the waste in 200 and 400 (440) litre drums with a maximum drum weight of 1500 kg. Gamma-ray measurements of radio-nuclide content are performed by a gamma ray measurement station which functions as either a Segmented Gamma Scanner (SGS) or Tomographic Segmented Gamma-ray Scanner (TSGS). Either of these two techniques may be employed to perform the functions of drum screening, non-destructive examination (NDE) and, where appropriate, final drum assay. Coupled to the gamma ray station is a surface dose-rate measurement station, which employs 6-shielded Geiger-Muller detectors. Active and passive neutron measurements are performed by an advanced, graphite lined Differential Die-away (DDA) system, which comprises the neutron measurement station. The DDA performs conventional passive neutron totals, coincidence, and multiplicity counting and active DDA total neutron counting. Data analysis is based on the use of a range of matrix calibrations, some determined by Monte Carlo analysis. Linking the gamma ray and neutron measurement stations is an automated roller conveyor with a 20 drum buffer capability and a weight measurement station. Drums are identified by bar code reading technology. Once loaded, the system performs automatic assay of up to 20 drums and then returns the drums to the buffer position on the conveyor. The first WCS of this type was supplied to the European Commission at the Joint Research Centre (JRC) Ispra in northern Italy and it was commissioned at the end of 2007. It is now in a phase of pilot operation. Results will be presented from the first drum measurement campaign.

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