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Monday, November 13, 2006

DHS Funds Portable Radiation Detection Systems

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO) announced $113 million in competitive awards to enhance the detection of radiological materials at the nation's ports of entry. The search for nuclear and radiological materials increased in importance after 9/11 as terrorists could smuggle them into the United States to stage another terrorist attack.

Human Portable Radiation Detection Systems (HPRDS) program contracts will be awarded to Ametek AMT of Oak Ridge, Tenn., Science Application International Corp. of San Diego Calif., Sanmina-SCI of Huntsville, Ala., Target Instruments, Inc. of Oak Ridge, Tenn., and Smiths Detection Inc. of Pine Brook, N.J.

"These next generation handheld devices will bring an even faster and more reliable means to detecting and identifying radioactive materials at our ports," says Vayl Oxford, DNDO director. "They are part of a robust global nuclear detection architecture built for the most consequential threats to the homeland."

DNDO anticipates purchasing and deploying roughly 1,000 next generation handheld systems and 200 backpack systems through the HPRDS program. The portable technology will be used primarily by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers for secondary screening of cargo to identify and localize radiological material after a primary alarm has been triggered. It is also anticipated that the devices could be used by U.S. Coast Guard officers aboard vessels prior to an arrival at port. There are more than 14,000 handheld devices in use at our nation's ports.


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