Nuclear Science


Radiation Inspection System Lab

This team has the background and experience to test and optimize radiation detection systems from handheld background survey meters to advanced spectroscopic portal monitors. The main focus is the support of the field operation and optimization of radiation portal monitors (RPM) using polyvinyl toluene (PVT) for gamma detection and Helium-3 for neutron detection.

  • Focus areas include:
  • Radiation Inspection System Development
  • Second Line of Defense Portal Monitor Testing
  • Spectroscopic Portal Monitor Evaluation
  • Optimization of Fielded Radiation Monitoring Systems

The Radiation Inspection Systems team is primarily funded by the Second Line of Defense (SLD) program (NA-256).  The mission of the SLD program is to strengthen the capabilities of international partner countries to deter, detect and interdict illicit trafficking of special nuclear and other radioactive materials at international border crossings including airports, seaports and other points of entry and exit. The ORNL team has the responsibility to perform analysis of the data received from the RPMs that are installed around the world to evaluate their health and operability. This team also provides training to host country partners to analyze their respective RPM data using an ORNL developed analysis tool, and training of program personnel on the basics of operation of radiation portal monitors, detector components, spectroscopy, shielding and moderation.  The objective is to educate and train program personnel on key factors that affect the operability of radiation portal monitors to enhance monitor effectiveness in the field.


Radiation detection equipment TSA pedestrian portal monitor
TSA vehicle portal monitor
Thermo spectroscopic portal monitor
Radiation identification equipment ORTEC high purity germanium detector
Sodium Iodide detectors
Handheld gamma/neutron detectors
Instrument capability Rack mounted computing
NIM electronics
Source capability Material balance areas
Indoor and outdoor testing capability



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