There is a need in research reactors like the one at INL to inspect irradiated materials and structures. The goal of this work is to develop a portable scanning infrastructure for a material characterization technique called vibro-acoustography (VA) that has been developed by the Idaho National laboratory for nuclear applications to characterize fuel, cladding materials, and structures. The proposed VA technology is based on ultrasound and acoustic waves; however, it provides information beyond what is available from the traditional ultrasound techniques and can expand the knowledge on nuclear material characterization and microstructure evolution. This paper will report on the development of a portable scanning system that will be set up to characterize materials and components in open water reactors and canals in situ. We will show some initial laboratory results of images generated by vibro-acoustics of surrogate fuel plates and graphite structures and discuss the design of the portable system.