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Fri Nov 2, 2012, 07:46 AM

Dirty bomb terror threat breakthrough:Brit. scientists build machine to detect smuggling of nuclear

Source: The Independent (UK)

...Materials

By OLIVER WRIGHT

Friday November 02 2012

British scientists have created a machine that can detect terrorist attempts to smuggle nuclear material through ports and airports - even if it has been shielded from giving off radiation.

The Independent understands that prototypes of the machine - developed using a technique first established by experiments using the Large Hadron Collider - have already been tested by researchers at Britain's Atomic Weapons Establishment.

It is now expected to be rolled out across Britain's ports and airport as part of the UK's secret Cyclamen nuclear monitoring system.
The technology is unique because, unlike existing nuclear detectors, the new Muon-based machines can thwart attempts to disguise or hide radioactive material.

It works by passing tiny Muins - a type of subatomic particle - through containers and bags and monitoring how they bend as they pass through solid objects. As all nuclear materials have a unique density the machine can identify them even if they have been prevented from emitting radiation.

Read more: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/dirty-bomb-terror-threat-breakthrough-british-scientists-build-machine-to-detect-smuggling-of-nuclear-materials-8273751.html

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Reply Dirty bomb terror threat breakthrough:Brit. scientists build machine to detect smuggling of nuclear (Original post)
Turborama Nov 2012 OP
oldbanjo Nov 2012 #1
leveymg Nov 2012 #2
caraher Nov 2012 #3
formercia Nov 2012 #4
caraher Nov 2012 #5
formercia Nov 2012 #7
whatchamacallit Nov 2012 #6

Response to Turborama (Original post)

Fri Nov 2, 2012, 08:03 AM

1. They have put out to much info in my opinion.

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Response to Turborama (Original post)

Fri Nov 2, 2012, 08:12 AM

2. Too bad you need a large Hadron collider to produce and accelerate the "Muins" (sic).

Last edited Fri Nov 2, 2012, 08:44 AM - Edit history (1)

Unless you plan to build one in every airport and seaport in Britain, I don't think so.

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Response to Turborama (Original post)

Fri Nov 2, 2012, 08:42 AM

3. Who wrote that, a 5th grader?

Nobody capitalizes "muon" and "Muin" is a typo.

The detection technology was developed for LHC, but you don't need to build a multibillion dollar collider to have a muon source (otherwise this technology would be a non-starter). In fact, the muon source is natural - cosmic radiation - in the schemes I've seen.

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Response to Turborama (Original post)

Fri Nov 2, 2012, 08:53 AM

4. Hint:

Packages containing shielded Nuclear Material are heavy and likely to give a substantial thermal signature. Two properties that are easy to detect.

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Response to formercia (Reply #4)

Fri Nov 2, 2012, 09:18 AM

5. It's not quite that easy

If it were we'd be using scales and infrared thermometers and we'd be done. If you've got enough radioactivity to make a package thermally hot you're really not going to be able to shield the radiation. Most shielding will be pretty dense, but all kinds of legitimate cargo can also have high density.

What the muon scheme does is give an isotopic breakdown of the contents, which is what you really want anyway. The problem is that you don't have a lot of muons to work with, so you need to make the most of what you have (high efficiency detectors, fast algorithms for analyzing the scattered muons) in order to make the screening time tolerable. Even in a best-case scenario I don't think you screen everything, just what may seem suspicious (e.g. cargo with unusually high density, as you suggest).

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Response to caraher (Reply #5)

Fri Nov 2, 2012, 12:09 PM

7. Like a Gamma Ray Spectrometer

Then there's Thermal Neutrons...Stop those..

I helped NEST develop some of their detection equipment back in the 80's and seen them in action in the Field. I would bet that by now, they have a pretty good handle on the problem.

I have to admit that, using Cosmic Radiation, is a novel idea.

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Response to Turborama (Original post)

Fri Nov 2, 2012, 09:28 AM

6. Awesome, another cash cow born of pants-wetting fear (n/t)

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