The Energy Department’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory has developed a new method to help the Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection agency reduce the number of nuisance alarms that radiation portal monitors produce at various U.S. ports of entry.
PNNL said Jan. 4 the Revised Operational Settings approach works to optimize the settings of RPMs through the use of alarm algorithms that are considered to be selective energy-sensitive.
CBP uses RPMs at various ports of entry to screen bags, cargo and mail for threatening radiological materials.
“[The ROS method] is based on data analytics techniques utilizing the analysis of the unique characteristics of each specific radiation portal monitor deployed and the type of cargo that goes through it,” said Sonya Bowyer, a physicist at PNNL.
According to PNNL, sea ports and land border crossings have respectively seen a 78 percent and 44 percent drop in average alarm rates on nonthreatening radioisotopes in cargo following the implementation of the new technique.