Plan for Nuclear Bomb Detection Device Is Buy Now, Test Later

Saturday, July 16, 2011
RadScout, touted by GlobalSecurity as 1st hand-held ASP monitor.
The Department of Homeland Security plans to buy new radiation-detection equipment at a cost of more than $300 million, although it has not fully tested the devices which may not work.
Once touted by the Bush administration as the answer to preventing terrorists from smuggling nuclear weapons into the U.S., the Advanced Spectroscopic Portal machine has yet to live up to its billing.
In January, the National Academy of Sciences questioned whether the machines could fulfill their mission. The NAS also pointed out that DHS had given Congress misleading information about the machines.
It’s unclear what homeland security officials intend to do with the ASPs, given that they previously abandoned plans to use them for primary screening at ports and borders.
In July 2009, DHS gifted the New York Police Department three of the “state-of-the-art” radiation detectors for use in patrol cars. The monitors, valued at $450,000 each, were to be placed in SUVs and driven around the city hunting for suspicious radiation. Their efficacy has not been documented nor did their popularity catch on.
Nevertheless, the department intends to buy up to 400 machines by 2016. It also has no intention of conducting an independent evaluation of the equipment, according to the Government Accountability Office.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
DHS Plans to Spend $300 Million on Troubled Radiation Detectors (by Robert O’Harrow Jr., Washington Post)
Report: Port Devices Not Duly Tested (by Robert O’Harrow Jr., Washington Post)

Hand Held Isotope Identification (GlobalSecurity)


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