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Cargo Security International: Benign Scanning

By August 7, 2012No Comments

Luke Ritter of Ridge Global discusses Decision Sciences’ cargo scanning technology with Cargo Security International. Not only does this technology harness the power of naturally occurring cosmic rays, it has also been tested and verified by the National Technologies LLC (NSTec), an independent lab used by the U.S. Department of Energy. Read the Q & A to find out more!

Cargo Security International (CSI): We have heard about a new cargo scanning technology called muon tomography – how does it work?

Luke Ritter (LR): The interesting thing about muon tomography is that it takes advantage of physics, and naturally occurring cosmic rays, to interrogate cargo containers. About 10 years ago, scientists at the Los Alamos National Laboratory figured out a way to detect and classify radiological material by measuring angles of deflection when muons collide with a nucleus (and I just told you more than I actually know about physics). What’s interesting about this is that the cosmic rays (muons) are natural and harmless. And they pass through everything because they are sub-atomic. So lead shielding does not hide nuclear material from this type of scanning. A tremendous amount of resource has been invested since then to take this science and turn it into a practical, commercial technology that can efficiently, effectively and safely scan cargo in operational transportation environments. I’m fortunate to have been part of this important security initiative over the last six years or so.

CSI: What impact will this technology have on the cargo scanning industry?

LR: This technology truly has the potential to revolutionise the way we currently scan cargo. First of all, it is passive and benign – so this kind of scanning can be done without any restrictions on personnel or operational processes. No exclusion zones are required. Secondly, it has the ability to accurately detect, classify and locate threat objects – so false positives are eliminated and the scanning process becomes much more efficient. And finally, this technology can find shielded special nuclear mater ial – a feature not offered by any other system that is currently fielded.

Read the full Q & A here

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