Commercial Activation Analysis services started in 1960 at General Atomic, a division of General Dynamics, Inc. General Atomic was located in the northern part of San Diego about a mile from the ocean. It was formed to promote the sale of its TRIGA® Nuclear Reactors. General Atomic had three nuclear reactors, two neutron generators and two linear accelerators along with Na(I) and Ge(Li) gamma-ray spectrometer counting systems. It was the first and largest commercial Activation Analysis Service in the world. At one time, General Atomic employed over 3000 persons involved in various projects.
The Activation Analysis group consisted of as many as 17 full time scientists. This group worked on Government contracts and samples received from Government agencies, private companies, research institutions, universities, hospitals, law firms and enforcement agencies. Many visiting scientists used the facilities for their own projects - including testing the original rocks brought back from the Moon.
About 1970 the General Atomic division was sold, in part, to Gulf Oil Corporation and went through several name changes - Gulf Energy and Environmental Systems and Gulf General Atomic are the two most recognized. It is now known as General Atomics. In 1973 the Activation Analysis group was sold to Intelcom Industries, Inc. and became known as Intelcom Radiation Technology (IRT). In the summer of 1973, Intelcom Industries decided not to continue the Activation Analysis service and the group was dissolved.
Some of the members of the original group decided to continue the Activation Analysis Service by forming a private company and General Activation Analysis, Inc. was born. This company is located about 2 miles from the old General Atomic and use the original TRIGA® nuclear reactor (built in 1957) for sample irradiation. This nuclear reactor can provide steady neutron fluxes of 1.8 X 10^12 neutrons per square centimeter per second and can be pulsed to peak neutron fluxes of 10^16 to 10^17 n/cm2-sec. It is equipped with a 40 position rotary specimen rack for long lived isotopes and pneumatic tubes for short half life isotopes. Half lives as short as ten seconds can be examined.
General Activation Analysis, Inc. continues to test samples for outside customers. Every year hundreds of companies, from all parts of the world, send samples for elemental determinations. Some of the more interesting samples include bullets from homicide cases, parts from the Space Shuttle, hair to determine Arsenic poisoning, paint from old paintings and very, very small glass balls used in fusion experiments.
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General Activation Analysis, Inc.
1011 Elmview Drive
Encinitas, CA 92024
Thomas R. Powell & Associates