EOIR tests remote chemical detection system

Published 27 March 2006

The move toward federal regulation of safety measures at the more than 15,000 U.S. chemical plants is inevitable, and companies begin to suggest their under-development products in support of the forthcoming measures

Senators Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Joseph Lieberman (D-Connecticut) are pushing a chemical plant security bill in Congress, and last week DHS secretary Michael Chertoff for the first time committed the administration to some form of security regulation of the more than 15,000 chemical plants in the United States. Critics point to two weaknesses in the proposed legislation and Chertoff’s outline — specifically, the weakening of states security regulations by a superseding federal regulation, and the absence of a requirement for facilities close to population centers to replace the most toxic chemicals they use with less toxic ones. Still, the fact that everyone concerned — including important members of the chemical industry — now acknowledges that the “voluntary, industry-developed” security measures leave millions of Americans exposed to a grave and unacceptable risk, and that the industry cannot be relied upon to police itself, are both moves in the right direction.

As new security measures are formulated, there is a need to provide the technology to support them, and some companies are quick to come forward. Woodbridge, Virginia-based EOIR Technologies, a wholly owned subsidiary of Technest Holdings (OTCBB: TCNH), has developed a new remote sensing device called Automated Adaptive Chemical Examination System (AACES). The AACES is expected to be able to provide advanced capabilities to detect and classify a broad range of chemicals which could be released into the air during a terrorist attack against or an accident in any one of the U.S. chemical facilities. The AACES is being designed and tested under a Phase 2 SBIR funded by the U.S. Army. Originally intended for use in military applications, it can provide an effective perimeter security capability for the protection of chemical facilities, and the people living around them.