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.

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 1, 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 1, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Wednesday, October 1, 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