NuScan – Neutron Backscatter Inspection

Horizontal vessels

ScanTech’s non-invasive NuScan service is primarily used for level and interface measurements inside process vessels. The neutron backscatter technique is used to obtain accurate levels through the wall of the vessel.

NuScan neutron backscatter technology can be used to find deposits within storage tanks, vessels and pipelines, to determine external corrosion under insulation (CUI), and to identify voids under tank floors. This technique is not limited to process plants as it has found applications offshore, under the ocean surface, as well as in the food industry and security/law enforcement.

NuScan Neutron Backscatter – Theory

ScanTech’s NuScan is a portable device featuring a side-by-side configuration of a radioactive source emitting high-energy neutrons and an electronic detector. When the scanner traverses the vessel shell, the obtained readings are directly correlated with the quantity of hydrogen atoms in the scanning path. A higher hydrogen concentration leads to a stronger signal being detected.

Significant signal discrepancies arise at interfaces between hydrogen-rich liquids and vapors. Conversely, interfaces between two liquids typically exhibit a smaller signal variation, which is contingent upon the hydrogen concentration of each liquid involved. The utilization of low-energy neutrons facilitates accurate measurements and enhances the sensitivity of the NuScan device.


NuScan Applications

The NuScan obtains its readings in front of the scanning head so it can be used on any diameter of vessel to measure the contents next to the exterior wall. The handheld device has an extension handle to increase the reach of the operator which decreases the need for scaffolding and ladders. Applications of the NuScan include:

  • Storage tank sludge and inventory levels
  • Liquid heights on trays and in downcomers
  • Sand or deposit height in separators
  • Calibration of existing level gauges
  • Determine the location of wet insulation and corrosion under insulation (CUI)
  • Locate voids in the earthen support under tank floors

In-House Development

NuScan Scanning


The NuScan equipment was developed in house at ScanTech to provide state of the art neutron backscatter readings for a growing industry. The electronics feature both analog and digital displays as well as a computer interface for recording and printing measurements.

Please inquire at our head office if you are interested in our neutron backscatter service for level measurements or CUI.

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