DHS tests handheld nuclear detectors

WASHINGTON, 9 Jan. 2006. The Department of Homeland Security's Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO) is seeking ways to improve upon nuclear and radiation detection technologies.

Jan 9th, 2006

WASHINGTON, 9 Jan. 2006. The Department of Homeland Security's Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO) is seeking ways to improve upon nuclear and radiation detection technologies.

Handheld detectors have been available for some time, but their performance can be greatly improved, particularly in the areas of detection range and threat identification capability, the department said.

So DNDO engineers will be testing current and prototype next-generation handheld and mobile nuclear detectors at the Nevada Test Site (NTS) from Jan. 9 through Feb. 3, 2006.

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.

The 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.

This testing is the next step in a comprehensive and long-range plan to continually improve upon nuclear and radiation detection technologies.

"A critical component of the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office's program is high fidelity testing and evaluation, using test objects and configurations representative of actual threats," said Vayl Oxford, the DNDO director. "Characterization of detection systems will provide for more educated acquisition and deployment decisions."

DNDO was established in April 2005 to coordinate and improve the ability of the U.S. government to counter the threat of terrorist nuclear attack. DNDO is responsible for all DHS research and development in support of this mission, as well as the acquisition of nuclear detection equipment for domestic use. To date, DNDO and CBP have deployed over 650 portal monitors to the nation's ports of entry.

In addition, DNDO and the DHS Office of Grants and Training are currently working with representatives from 34 state and local agencies to develop comprehensive domestic nuclear detection programs, to include planning, exercises, training, and acquisition of detection systems. For more information, see www.dhs.gov.

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