Within much of the legacy nuclear power fleet, hazardous materials (acids, alkalis, organic solvents) may be derived from multiple sources and may be present in multiple locations. They may be stored in containers, tanks or silos, which have been in operation for several decades and the composition of the waste and the condition of the storage vessels is often unclear or unknown.
Historically, hazardous substances have been identified by the visual inspection of an experienced operator, who must then collect samples to be analysed. This is an expensive and potentially hazardous process. Therefore, a system capable of in-situ identification of unknown samples without the need for direct human interaction is a clear advantage.