HLS210DB – Photonuclear Inspection and Threat Assessment System

Thousands of cargo containers enter the US through the 93 maritime ports across the country. The products entering the country include medical equipment, televisions, clothing and much more. There however has been concerns since the year September, 11,2001 on the best ways that can be used to prevent the smuggling of dangerous materials particularly illicit radio-logical materials.

For many years, there has been use of the traditional counter proliferation system to screen and inspect every cargo that enters the country. This however has not been successful since there is limited technical advances and also the process is delayed since it takes a lot of time to screen each container. In addition, there has been concerns about the increase in the global terrorist attacks hence causing an alarm about nuclear attacks that might be carried out. This has created a greater emphasis on the need to have a more advanced machine that can be used to detect any nuclear material that might enter the country through the borders.

Scientists and engineers in the US department of Energy’s Idaho National Laboratory are thus trying to perfect a technology that will aid in the accurate scanning of the cargo containers so as to enable detection of any nuclear materials that might enter the country. The system is known as the Photonuclear Inspection and Threat Assessment System (PITAS). This is a non- intrusive technology that uses high velocity photos in the detection of nuclear materials. This technology can also detect materials that are shielded.

PITAS consists of several parts including the collimator, Klystron, waveguide and the targeting platform which works together simultaneously.

This system has one major benefit in that it employs transportable technology hence could thus be stationed at random positions on the desired shipping routes and shoot configuration.

PITAS also has several advantages over other competing technologies. These include its ability to detect even the shielded materials, high detection time, operates in a remote location, detects goods from up to 200 meters away, high detection accuracy and above all, it offers noncontact and nonintrusive technology.

It is thus evident that once this technology has been perfected, there will be high security at the ports since there will be no more smuggling of goods especially dangerous ones in the country.


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