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Current State of Commercial Radiation Detection Equipment for Homeland Security Applications

Raymond T. Klann, Jason Shergur, Gary Mattesich

Nuclear Technology / Volume 168 / Number 1 / October 2009 / Pages 79-88

Detectors / Special Issue on the 11th International Conference on Radiation Shielding and the 15th Topical Meeting of the Radiation Protection and Shielding Division (Part 1) / Radiation Measurements and Instrumentation

With the creation of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) came the increased concern that terrorist groups would attempt to manufacture and use an improvised nuclear device or radiological dispersal device. As such, a primary mission of DHS is to protect the public against the use of these devices and to assist state and local responders in finding, locating, and identifying these types of devices and materials used to manufacture these devices. This assistance from DHS to state and local responders comes in the form of grant money to procure radiation detection equipment. In addition to this grant program, DHS has supported the development of American National Standards Institute standards for radiation detection equipment and has conducted testing of commercially available instruments.

This paper identifies the types and kinds of commercially available equipment that can be used to detect and identify radiological material - for use in traditional search applications as well as primary and secondary screening of personnel, vehicles, and cargo containers. In doing so, key considerations for the conduct of operations are described as well as critical features of the instruments for specific applications.

The current state of commercial instruments is described for different categories of detection equipment including personal radiation detectors, radioisotope identifiers, man-portable detection equipment, and radiation portal monitors. In addition, emerging technologies are also discussed, such as spectroscopic detectors and advanced spectroscopic portal monitors.

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