In the nuclear field, various processes may be performed inside a glove box in a controlled area. These processes often expose personnel to dangerous radiation. The glove box and the controlled area therefore make it possible to prevent the risks and ensure the total protection of the operator and the environment. However, it is necessary to choose the device according to the application to be carried out and the safety standards to be respected.

The Need for a Controlled Area

When applications involving hazardous materials and products are implemented, operators are the first to be exposed. Therefore, a controlled or supervised area is established to protect them. This applies to radioactive substances or radionuclides as well as to equipment emitting ionising radiation, etc.

The risk of exposure to ionising radiation is measured in millisieverts or mSv per year. A supervised area becomes necessary when this dose exceeds 1 mSv per year. A controlled area, such as a glove box, is absolutely necessary if it rises above 6 mSv per year.

What is a Controlled Area?

A controlled area is a working area that is defined and regulated in such a way as to reduce internal and external exposure doses. In this way, the radiation source cannot disperse and the workstation is protected from contamination. The radiological cleanliness of the work area provides optimum protection for personnel and the environment.

The controlled area may take the form of a fume cupboard, glove box or other closed containment device. At the same time, personnel must wear personal protection to avoid contaminating the process. This device is frequently used in nuclear, industrial and medical research and manufacturing. With a glove box as a controlled area, one can handle

  • Various sealed and unsealed radioactive sources.
  • All items that emit ionising radiation.

Choosing a Controlled Area Glove Box

The hermetic and protective enclosure of a glove box enhances the protection of applications, operators and the environment. It also allows operators to operate in the most ergonomic way possible. It has a stainless steel lining, transparent walls with glove ports so that operators can handle the products while physically outside. It is equipped with at least one transfer lock through which products and instruments are brought in and out. The internal conditions, i.e. pressure, gas, temperature, etc., of the glove box are controllable by means of regulators. It also incorporates automatic safety systems. The design of the glove box maintains containment and prevents radioactive contamination.

A distinction is made between glove boxes for containment in an inert atmosphere and glove boxes for containment of hazardous substances. The latter is used for processes requiring a controlled area. It operates in a vacuum, so that hazardous substances cannot spread to the outside.

The controlled area glove box has various applications: radiation protection in nuclear processes, handling of pathogens in pharmaceutical and biological laboratories, etc. However, the level of safety required depends on the risks posed by the radiation source. High security glove boxes that can be configured depending on the risks and requirements of your project can be found at Jacomex. Jacomex is an international company in the design and manufacture of glove boxes, offering modular and custom models for product protection or for operator and environmental protection.