Technology Developed to Help Track Radioactive Materials

New technology has been developed and licensed by the scientists at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Washington state. This technology will help to make sure that radioactive materials do not fall into the wrong hands or end up lost during transport.

Radioactive materials play a larger part in industries than a lot of us realize. Radiation is often found in the medical industry, industrial (like oil or gas drilling), and in power plants. They can be potentially dangerous if not handled correctly or if they are used for purposes in which they were not intended to be used. This is why technology that keeps track of the materials is so important.

The Mobile Source Transit Security, or MSTS, is a system that is comprised of detection devices and radiofrequency tags. The included GPS monitoring also allows for constant “eyes” on the radioactive materials in transit. The MSTS knows when it moves from where it originally was and if the level of radioactivity has decreased.

Brian Higgins, the MSTS project manager, stated in an interview that not only is there protection to national security but profitability for the company that is utilizing their technology. It can become costly if something falls off of a truck, gets left behind, or is truly stolen for its radioactive isotopes.

The device will be produced by Golden Security Services and is being funded by NNSA’s Office of Radiological Security. The hope is to get the devices out worldwide, however, at the present time, they are only being used in parts of Latin America. Getting the technology to the point it is at right now was the first step in the journey for the MSTS, but there is still a significant amount of work to be done before the device can be fully commercialized.

The idea is to get the technology out there and get the working infrastructure going to help keep national security safe.