UC Berkeley to examine new methods of screening for nuclear materials

Published 24 September 2007

The Academic Research Initiative, a new DHS-NSF project, give a UC Berekeley scientists $1.4 million to develop new methods for screening for nuclear materials

Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley are launching an ambitious new effort to find better methods of detecting nuclear material. Dr. Edward Morse heads the multidisciplinary research team called Domestic Nuclear Threat Security, and said that new $1.4 million federal grant has made the work possible. Morse said the team’s goal is to reduce or eliminate the false positives during routine cargo screening checks. “There’s a lot of natural radioactive material in cargo,” said Morse. “For example, a load of porcelain toilets. They are basically made out of clay, which has thorium in it, and thorium is a radioactive element.”

The funding for the project comes from the Academic Research Initiative, a partnership between the National Science Foundation (NSF) and DHS. The team could potentially secure up to $7 million over the next five years.