Dirty bomb terror threat breakthrough:Brit. scientists build machine to detect smuggling of nuclear [View all]
Source: The Independent (UK)
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.