Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

More Protection Against Explosives And Nuclear Material In Freight Containers

Date:
May 8, 2009
Source:
Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB)
Summary:
Scientists have developed an inspection system on the basis of neutron radiation – detection of nuclear material is planned.

Illegally transported, conventional explosives and nuclearly relevant or radioactive materials can enable international terror organizations to transport hazardous materials for attacks to any place in the world. For improved protection against such hazardous freight, scientists of the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB) and an Israeli research center have developed a cargo inspection system which detects conventional explosives – and in addition, also drugs – with the aid of neutron radiography.

Related Articles


It is intended that the research work should lead to permanently installed facilities at airports and border crossing points, at which containers and cargo pallets with freight can be inspected fully automatically. The research work was supported by the "Science for Peace" Programme of NATO. In a second step, the scientists now plan to utilize gamma radiation, in addition to neutron radiation, to be able to also detect nuclear and radioactive materials.

Neutron resonance radiography is the method which the PTB scientists and their Israeli colleagues have so improved that even very small quantities of explosives can be detected which were undiscoverable with conventional X-ray techniques due to their form or strong shielding. For this purpose, fast neutrons with energies of 1 to 10 MeV are needed. These neutrons, on average as fast as 30000 kilometers per second, are produced at the PTB accelerator facility, a unique European installation for the production and application of fast neutrons. By using the high-energy, fast neutrons, it is possible to detect the material composition of light, particularly organic, objects.

In practice, this inspection method will not be used for small pieces of freight, such as cases and baggage, as the facilities are relatively large and thus not able to be accommodated at every airport. After all, an ion accelerator and a relatively great amount of shielding material is needed for the radiation. Therefore, the method is suitable only for freight containers or combined baggage and pallets freight.

Currently, PTB, together with other partners from research and industry, is endeavouring to obtain further funding in order to be able to build such a facility to laboratory scale. Thus, the method could be demonstrated to potential customers and serve as a prototype for an operational facility. This new project, however, goes one step further: Now, not only neutron radiation, but also a particular form of gamma radiation is to be used, which is produced together with the neutrons.

Radiographing with gamma radiation supplements the neutron technique, as gamma radiation is especially suitable for the detection of heavy elements, such as fissionable and radioactive materials. These materials are moving increasingly into the focus of the national security agencies, as, on the one hand, their further distribution is to be prevented and, on the other hand, these materials could be used by terrorists for building a so-called "dirty bomb" or even a primitive nuclear weapon.

Research in this field not only has a security-political background, but also an economical one: In 2007, the US Government adopted a law which requires that by 2012 the entire naval goods and air freight with USA as country of destination must be inspected for illegal hazardous materials already before loading in the foreign harbour or airport. This law is particularly important to countries that trade extensively with the United States, as for example Germany. In future, there will probably be a great demand here for automatic inspection systems, which will allow a corresponding market to evolve.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB). "More Protection Against Explosives And Nuclear Material In Freight Containers." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 May 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090507072826.htm>.
Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB). (2009, May 8). More Protection Against Explosives And Nuclear Material In Freight Containers. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090507072826.htm
Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB). "More Protection Against Explosives And Nuclear Material In Freight Containers." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090507072826.htm (accessed October 23, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

3D Printed Instruments Make Sweet Music in Sweden

3D Printed Instruments Make Sweet Music in Sweden

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 23, 2014) Students from Lund University's Malmo Academy of Music are believed to be the world's first band to all use 3D printed instruments. The guitar, bass guitar, keyboard and drums were built by Olaf Diegel, professor of product development, who says 3D printing allows musicians to design an instrument to their exact specifications. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Chameleon Camouflage to Give Tanks Cloaking Capabilities

Chameleon Camouflage to Give Tanks Cloaking Capabilities

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 22, 2014) Inspired by the way a chameleon changes its colour to disguise itself; scientists in Poland want to replace traditional camouflage paint with thousands of electrochromic plates that will continuously change colour to blend with its surroundings. The first PL-01 concept tank prototype will be tested within a few years, with scientists predicting that a similar technology could even be woven into the fabric of a soldiers' clothing making them virtually invisible to the naked eye. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jet Sales Lift Boeing Profit 18 Pct.

Jet Sales Lift Boeing Profit 18 Pct.

Reuters - Business Video Online (Oct. 22, 2014) Strong jet demand has pushed Boeing to raise its profit forecast for the third time, but analysts were disappointed by its small cash flow. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Internet of Things Aims to Smarten Your Life

Internet of Things Aims to Smarten Your Life

AP (Oct. 22, 2014) As more and more Bluetooth-enabled devices are reaching consumers, developers are busy connecting them together as part of the Internet of Things. (Oct. 22) Video provided by AP
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