• Pure samples of telltale xenon-133 gas help detectors sniff out nuclear tests

    Nuclear explosions produce an excited form of the radioactive gas xenon-133, called xenon-133m, in which the atomic nucleus is boosted to a higher-energy state, but it is not known exactly how sensitive detectors are to this form because there has been no way to make pure samples of xenon-133m with which to test them; until now

  • Duke University team develops nuclear terrorism detection tool

    If terrorists detonate a nuclear bomb or a dirty bomb in a city, first responders rushing to the scene would have to sort out the thousands of victims exposed to the harmful effects of radiation to see who needs more immediate attention and who can wait; current tests for radiation poisoning take a number of days to complete, which is too slow; Duke University researchers develop a device which uses genomic technology to capture molecular snapshots of genes or patterns of genes that are “turned on” or “turned off” in the body’s response to radiation; this allows emergency crews to determine the severity of radiation poisoning in under 30 minutes

  • Thermo Fisher Scientific granted two U.S. patents for radiation detection instruments

    Thermo Scientific RadEye PRD will help border guards, customs agents, or counterterrorism teams detect radiation sources more effectively than conventional personal detectors

  • CBP deploys radiation detection portals at Port Hueneme, California

    During fiscal year 2009, CBP deployed 179 new radiation portal monitors (RPMs) throughout the U.S. ports of entry, bringing the number of RPMs to 1,354 at the U.S. land and sea ports of entry; the latest RPM were deployed at Port Hueneme, California

  • Unmanned helicopter to monitor the consequences of nuclear disasters

    Engineering students at Virginia Tech designed a UAV for flying into American cities blasted by a nuclear weapon or dirty bomb; the unmanned helicopter’s main mission would be to assist military investigators enter an American city after a nuclear attack in order to detect radiation level

  • DHS budget has little money for radiation detector devices

    Placing radiation detectors at U.S. ports of entry would help prevent the smuggling of nuclear material into the United States — but it is also a business issue for Washington state: 400 employees work at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Washington; the proposed DHS budget contains only $8 million for these detectors, and the Washington congressional delegation presses for more

  • Dynasil's RMD receives $2.5 million from DHS to continue work on nuclear detection

    RMD specializes in developing scintillator crystals, which convert radiation to visible light; DHS gives the company $2.5 million — in addition to an earlier award of $5.6 million — to continue work on the crystals, which will enable more accurate detection of radioactive materials

  • NYC subway security system: past due, over budget

    In 2005 the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) awarded Lockheed Martin a $212 million contract to create a cutting-edge security system the city’s subways, buses, and commuter trains; the cost of the security system has ballooned to $461 million and is now over-schedule by a year-and-a-half; The MTA. has $59 million left in capital funding

  • Researchers propose a new way to scan cargo containers

    In 2007 the U.S. government set itself the goal of screening all aviation cargo loaded onto passenger planes and all maritime cargo entering the country for both explosives and nuclear materials; this is an ambitious goal: there are more than ten millions containers entering the United States every year through sea ports and land border crossings, and there are more than 28,000 commercial flights

  • Decision Sciences, Battelle to develop passive nuclear material detector

    The companies will rely on work done by Decision Sciences and Los Alamos National Laboratory on muon tomography and gamma ray detection applications; the collaborative effort will yield a multi-mode system capable of detecting nuclear materials across the complete threat spectrum, including shielded and unshielded nuclear materials

  • Mirion delivers SPIR Detect to Italy

    California-based company delivers its radiation detection product to Italy’s Civil Defense Authority; the Italians say they will deploy the monitors to protect critical infrastructure facilities

  • Pakistan installs radiology scanner in Islamabad

    There are more than 160 points of entry into Islamabad but four main entry points for goods carrying vehicles; the Pakistani government buys radiation detectors from China to prevent terrorists from smuggling a nuclear or dirty bomb into the city; worries about the health effects of the strong radiation the scanner emit

  • TSA agents monitor U.S. ground transportation for nuclear, biological threats

    DHS, the FBI, and TSA quietly monitor the U.S. ground transportation system for nuclear and biological weapons; TSA agents carry portable detection sensors fan out aboard trains and buses and at transit hubs

  • DHS misses deadline for certifying new radiation detectors

    Back in June, the head of DHS’s nuclear monitoring division said the agency would sign off this fall on two congressionally mandated certifications for the Advanced Spectroscopic Portal monitor system; the testing and evaluation of these innovative nuclear detection systems have not yet been completed, though; the new machines are designed to not only detect radiation but identify the nature of its source, thus eliminating time-consuming secondary inspections to determine whether a material is dangerous

  • Radiological monitoring system along U.S.-Canada border completed

    The last of the 600 radiological monitors along the U.S.-Canada border has been deployed (at Trout River, New York, on the Quebec border); DHS says it is now scanning 100 percent of all vehicle traffic entering from Canada and Mexico — plus all mail and courier packages from Mexico and a further 98 percent of all arriving seaborne container cargo — for radioactive threats