HSARPA looks for radiation detector improvements

With a rising fear terrorists may detonate a dirty bomb and other dispersal devices, Homeland Security Department officials want to improve existing radiological and nuclear detector systems and implement more advanced ones.

The Homeland Security Advanced Research Projects Agency (HSARPA) is seeking broad input on what critical features such detection systems should contain. Desired attributes should include the ability to detect shielded nuclear material with few false alarms, agency officials said, adding that such systems should be affordable.

Under the agency's Detector Systems for Radiological and Nuclear Countermeasures program, HSARPA officials plan to issue solicitations for detector systems as part of an overall system of countermeasures. They want to address enhanced capabilities of existing and deployed systems, develop complete systems of next-generation capabilities and develop component technologies.

HSARPA is the external funding arm of the department's science and technology division. It awards procurement contracts, grants and cooperative agreements to public or private entities, businesses and federally funded research and development centers and universities to accelerate research or develop prototypes.

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