Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

January 7, 2006

DHS testing new rad-nuke sensors this month

Filed under: Radiological & Nuclear Threats,Technology for HLS — by Christian Beckner on January 7, 2006

The website The Conservative Voice has an informative story today on tests beginning this week at the Nevada Test Site for radiological detection technology:

The Department of Homeland Security’s Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO) will be testing current and prototype next-generation handheld and mobile nuclear detectors at the Nevada Test Site (NTS) from January 9 through February 3, 2006….

This testing will subject detectors to a series of realistic materials and threats encountered in legitimate commerce, as well as occur in potentially illicit activities. Testing will offer insights into the performance of the nuclear and radiological detectors, and how they are to be integrated into the DNDO-developed domestic nuclear detection strategy. Following the test series, DNDO will make these evaluations available to state and local agencies to aid their selection and acquisition of preventive nuclear detection equipment using Department of Homeland Security (DHS) grants.

Nuclear and radiological detection is in my opinion the most difficult – but also the most critical – technological challenge in homeland security today. It’s also one that cannot easily be solved: detection technologies are insurmountably constrained in some cases by the laws of physics. Nevertheless, this quiet effort by DHS’s Science and Technology Directorate and the DNDO to develop and test new technologies needs to remain a critical priority for DHS for years to come.

For more on this topic, see this testimony by DNDO director Vayl Oxford from June 2005, this webpage on the Nuclear Threat Initiative website, and this report that I co-authored a year ago.

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1 Comment »


Pingback by Homeland Security Watch » Blog Archive » Inside the radiological sensor tests in Nevada

January 28, 2006 @ 12:50 pm

[…] The AP reported yesterday on the current radiological sensor tests at the Nevada Test Site, as mentioned in this post earlier in the month. From the story: Technicians are testing pillar-style roadside sensors like those deployed to ports of entry and some highway weigh stations. The sensors detect neutrons and gamma rays emitted by lethal nuclear devices or radioactive isotopes that could be dispersed by less sophisticated explosives in a “dirty bomb.” […]

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