• New technology speeds cleanup of nuclear contaminated sites

    Hundreds of millions of dollars are spent on cleanup of some major sites contaminated by radioactivity, primarily from the historic production of nuclear weapons during and after the Second World War; Oregon State University researchers have invented a new type of radiation detection and measurement device that will be particularly useful for cleanup of sites with radioactive contamination, making the process faster, more accurate and less expensive

  • Geologists develop way to monitor covert nuclear tests in the Middle East

    Not only is it difficult to identify exactly where an explosion takes place, but it is especially challenging to differentiate the seismic waves generated by nuclear explosions from those generated by earthquakes, volcanic activity, and mine collapses; geologists develop improved seismic model for monitoring nuclear explosions in Middle East

  • Medical isotopes no longer require weapons-grade uranium

    Highly enriched uranium (HEU) is used in nuclear weapons, but it is also used to make the radioisotopes that are injected in tiny quantities into people to diagnose and treat disease; indeed, making medical isotopes is a time-honored excuse for enriching uranium, if you want to build nuclear weapons but do not want to admit you are doing so (this is the cover Iran is using for its bomb-oriented enrichment program); South Africa’s Pelindaba reactor is now producing medical treatment-oriented molybdenum-99 (Mo-99) made from low-enriched uranium

  • ICx Technologies: comprehensive, layered approach to security

    At the recent ASIS exhibition and seminar, Homeland Security Newswire took the time to walk through the ICx Technologies booth and speak to some of their subject matter experts; CommandSpace® & ThreatSense™, solutions which provide a comprehensive, layered approach to perimeter security and chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear security for critical facilities, respectively, were on display

  • Spotting illicit nuclear activity from a distance

    French scientists unveil a plan to place antineutrino detectors off the coast of rogue nations suspected of operating clandestine nuclear reactors; their idea is to turn a supertanker into an antineutrino detector by kitting it out with the necessary photon detectors and filling it with 10^34 protons in the form of 138,000 tons of linearalkylbenzene (C13 H30); the plan is to sink the tanker in up to four kilometers of water off the coast of a rogue state, and the supertanker would then watch for the telltale signs of undeclared antineutrino activity

  • New nuclear detection method does not use helium

    Current nuclear detection technology uses helium 3, which was a by-product of the U.S. earlier nuclear weapons programs and which is in increasingly short supply; Dynasil’s new “dual mode” detectors are designed to work without helium 3 and can replace two separate nuclear detector systems for gamma radiation and for the neutrons from nuclear materials

  • DHS gives New York $18 million for radiation detection system

    DHS will hand New York $18.5 million today to keep the city’s prototype dirty-bomb detection system running; the nuclear detection operation is run out of an operations center in the city, featuring more than 4,500 pieces of radiation detection equipment, many equipped with GPS locators

  • GAO: $4 billion border radiation detectors program a bust

    The Government Accountability Office (GAO) reported Wednesday that the $4 billion program to install radiation detectors at U.S. border crossings yielded few tangible results; the detection machines were too big for border inspection lanes, and the software for the Cargo Advanced Automated Radiography Systems also was not up to the task; DHS: “We are mindful of getting something delivered that has a credible basis for the implementation plan that follows”

  • Rapiscan in $12 million nuclear detection contract

    DHS’s Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO) has contracted Rapiscan Systems for detection of shielded nuclear materials; the company has been tasked with developing a Liquefied Noble gas detector — in collaboration with Yale University — a threshold activation detector, a human portable system, and an aircraft inspection solution

  • Flir to acquire sensor maker ICx for $274 million

    Flir, maker of thermal imaging technology, is acquiring ICx for $274 million; the merger will give Flir the capability to expand into the market for advanced sensors for chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear explosives (CBRN) detection for homeland security and defense

  • Many ways to smuggle nukes into the United States

    The United States focuses on scanning shipping containers for nuclear smuggling; with nearly 10 million cargo containers arriving in the United States by sea or on land each year, this is a difficult task; the GAO says this is not enough, and that the government must find ways to keep an eye on 13 million recreational boats and 110,000 fishing vessels which go in and out U.S. sea ports — and also on freight trains, which are often more than three kilometers long

  • U.S. has no plan to keep nuclear bomb materials from crossing border

    In 2006 the George W. Bush administration announced a $1.2 billion project to deploy thousands of scanners for screening vehicles and cargo at U.S. ports to block the importation of radioactive materials that could be used to make a bomb to protect the United States; the scanners — known as the advanced spectroscopic portal (ASP) machines — proved a failure, and in February, following one setback after another, officials abandoned full-scale deployment of the machines; GAO says that the attention and resources invested in the ill-fated ASPs delayed the creation of a “global nuclear detection architecture” to protect the United States

  • U.S. lab center of information gathering effort in the event of nuclear terror

    In a laboratory on the edge of the vast Nevada desert, U.S. officials would gather some of the first critical information that could affect the lives of millions in the aftermath of a nuclear terrorist attack in an American city

  • UN: Iran has fuel for two nuclear weapons

    IAEA says Iran has enough nuclear fuel for two nuclear weapons; the toughly worded IAEA report says that Iran has expanded work at one of its nuclear sites; it also describes, step by step, how inspectors have been denied access to a series of facilities, and how Iran has refused to answer inspectors’ questions on a variety of activities, including what the agency called the “possible existence” of “activities related to the development of a nuclear payload for a missile”

  • Bureaucratic hurdles delay NYC dirty bomb defenses

    NYPD says that since last fall, it has been trying to obtain an $8 million federal grant for a radiation detection system which would instantly read data from 4,500 sensors in cop cars across the region to intercept vehicles carrying explosive devices; NYPD is still waiting