The RadTruck stops here from Law Enforcement Technology at Officer.com
Even though a dirty bomb incident would be unlikely to cause manydeaths, its real purpose would be to create instant terror in the form of masspanic, with lingering psychological damage. The aftermath would be asunpleasant as it is unprecedented. If a dirty bomb device were to bedetonated in a crowded sports arena or holiday shopping mall,decontamination and treatment of potentially thousands of panic-strickenvictims, as well as decontamination of affected areas, would be lengthy andexpensive. A dirty bomb set off in a metropolitan setting would also renderthe contaminated area unsafe and unusable for weeks if not months, resultingin further commercial doom.Having a speedy, reliable way to detect radioactive material, particularlywhile the source is in transit, has been the nuclear holy grail of homelandsecurity officials for years. Yet, few protections exist today that can be readilyinstalled into the stream of commerce to prevent dirty bombs and thematerials for larger nuclear weapons from entering or leaving the country.When earlier types of radiation detectors are put on the street they tend toalarm on harmless amounts of naturally occurring isotopes of potassium,radium, thorium and uranium — elements commonly found in commercialshipments and medical practices.To avoid the nuisance alarms associated with real but non-threateningmedical and industrial radiation sources, instantaneous isotope detection andidentification is therefore mandatory for mobile applications. ARAM, licensedto IST-Textron Systems, accomplishes this in near realtime in the RadTrucks.Tests have demonstrated that detection passes are successful in less than 5seconds at speeds of up to 50 mph.ARAM provides detection and identification in one pass. "Previousgenerations of detection systems needed a first pass to detect a radiationsource, followed by a second pass to identify the material," notes DaveTrombino, one of the Lawrence Livermore physicists that developed ARAM.ARAM not only makes nuclear counterterrorism mobile, it makes radiationdetection portable. "The 'A' in ARAM stands for Adaptable," Trombino says."This detection system can be used in fixed locations, in mobile SUVs, onsmall boats or even in backpacks."
The New Jersey RadTruck project is part of the federally sponsored"Securing the Cities Initiative," a program that focuses on increasing terrorismreadiness in the regions surrounding metropolitan New York City. The DefenseNuclear Detection Office within the Department of Homeland Security is thecoordinating federal entity working to establish an enhanced level of preparedness in the Northeast, including the states of New York, New Jerseyand Connecticut. The RadTrucks were provided to the New Jersey State Policeas a key component to the early detection strategy.So far, the trucks have been used to cruise metropolitan streets near theUnited Nations complex, around Flushing Meadows in New York City duringthe U.S. Open tennis championship, at football games at MeadowlandsStadium in East Rutherford, N.J., and at the presidential debate held atBelmont College in Nashville, Tenn., last fall before the election. "The mobileRadTrucks provide the ability to search for concealed radiation sources whileon the move," says Textron spokeswoman Sharon Corona. "Now, we can golook for the threat instead of waiting for the threat to come to us."ARAM technology is pretty good at going after the threat. ARAM is capableof identifying 30 microcuries of 137cesium — about the size of a granule of
http://www.officer.com/print/Law-Enforcement-Technology/The-RadTruck-stops-here/1$46943 (2 of 5)6/27/2009 9:29:21 PM