Lead glass windows such as this one allow operators a viewing port into a hot cell whilst remaining safe and unexposed to harmful radiation.
A hot cell is a heavily shielded room in which radioactive materials can be handled remotely using robotic or otherwise remote manipulators while being viewed through shielded windows. Many hot cells have walls of concrete or metal of a metre or more in thickness. These allow extremely radioactive items to be manipulated without exposing operators to dangerous amounts of radiation.
Hot cells are used to inspect spent nuclear fuel rods and to work with other items which are high-energy gamma ray emitters. For instance, the processing of medical isotopes that have been irradiated in a nuclear reactor or particle accelerator would be carried out in a hot cell.
Written by Erika Dicker
Assistant Curator, 2007.