Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

PNNL Testing Reliability Of Radiation Detectors

Date:
August 12, 2004
Source:
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
Summary:
A marathon of testing is under way at the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory to ensure that personal radiation detection equipment purchased with Department of Homeland Security funds meets new standards for identifying potential threats.

PNNL technicians prepare several radiation detectors for reliability testing. The Department of Homeland Security will use the test results to aid in the selection of equipment for first-responders.
Credit: Photo courtesy of Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

RICHLAND, Wash. – A marathon of testing is under way at the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory to ensure that personal radiation detection equipment purchased with Department of Homeland Security funds meets new standards for identifying potential threats.

“These pocket-sized personal radiation detectors and hand-held radiation survey meters play a critical role in the work of law enforcement officers, fire fighters, hazardous material teams and other emergency first-responders,” said PNNL physicist Joe McDonald.

More than 100 instruments, representing approximately 30 different equipment models, will undergo tests of their electrical systems performance, mechanical operations, environmental susceptibilities and radiological sensitivities.

The result will be a Consumer Reports-style publication to be used by agencies purchasing radiation detection equipment with DHS funds. First responders will be able to select equipment based on actual instrument performances, rather than on manufacturer’s claims.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology is coordinating the testing, which is based on criteria that PNNL helped develop for the American National Standards Institute. McDonald chaired the 17-member collaboration of DOE laboratories, NIST, industry and users that developed the standard for personal radiation detectors.

“The group was challenged to develop the standard in record time – only six months – and the pace remains brisk for instrument testing,” McDonald said. Normally, this type of testing would be spread out over a two-year period, “but the need and the threat are present now,” he said.

The PNNL team of five calibration technicians targets Sept. 30 for completion of the DHS testing. Each instrument will undergo both automated and manual test procedures and will be given a pass/fail report, plus a capabilities overview.

McDonald explained that a one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work for first responders. For instance, the Coast Guard has a keen interest in how equipment survives exposure to salt water and extreme temperatures, while urban-area security personnel look closely at features such as portability, discreetness and detector reaction time.

Realistic conditions are critical to effective testing. Temperature testing will include highs, lows and rapid changes. Equipment will be exposed to vibrations, humidity, radio-frequency and electromagnetic fields. And, while durability tests may not be as extreme as a gorilla tossing luggage, they will evaluate the equipment’s ability to withstand anticipated wear and tear.

Calibration team members believe that the ANSI criteria for performance will ultimately raise the quality of radiation detection devices. “Because manufacturers want their equipment to score well and gain acceptance from government buyers, they have been very interested in working to produce the best possible product,” McDonald said.

“A win for us is not just completing the testing, but also providing information that makes it possible to get reliable equipment in the field as quickly as possible,” McDonald said. “On-time completion will enable DHS to allocate immediate funding for agencies that have urgent business in the line of first response.”

PNNL’s participation in the DHS-funded effort stems from the laboratory’s more than 40 years of health physics experience, including testing and developing standards for radiation detection instruments and management of a fully accredited radiological calibration and standards facility.

Oak Ridge, Los Alamos and Lawrence Livermore national laboratories will conduct similar testing regimes for other types of radiation detection equipment.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. "PNNL Testing Reliability Of Radiation Detectors." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 August 2004. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/08/040812054948.htm>.
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. (2004, August 12). PNNL Testing Reliability Of Radiation Detectors. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/08/040812054948.htm
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. "PNNL Testing Reliability Of Radiation Detectors." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/08/040812054948.htm (accessed September 30, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Argentina's Tax Evaders Detected, Hunted Down by Drones

Argentina's Tax Evaders Detected, Hunted Down by Drones

AFP (Sep. 30, 2014) Argentina doesn't only have Lionel Messi the footballer, it has now also acquired "Mesi" the drone system which monitors undeclared mansions, swimming pools and soy fields to curb tax evasion in the country. Duration: 01:18 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Do Video Games Trump Brain Training For Cognitive Boosts?

Do Video Games Trump Brain Training For Cognitive Boosts?

Newsy (Sep. 29, 2014) More and more studies are showing positive benefits to playing video games, but the jury is still out on brain training programs. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
CERN Celebrates 60 Years of Science

CERN Celebrates 60 Years of Science

Reuters - Business Video Online (Sep. 29, 2014) CERN, the European Organisation for Nuclear Research, celebrates 60 years of bringing nations together through science. As Joanna Partridge reports from inside the famous science centre it's also planning to turn the Large Hadron Collider particle accelerator back on after an upgrade. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
This 'Invisibility Cloak' Is Simpler Than Most

This 'Invisibility Cloak' Is Simpler Than Most

Newsy (Sep. 28, 2014) Researchers from the University of Rochester have created a type of invisibility cloak with simple focal lenses. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins