DHS sets detector standards

ANSI Homeland Security Standards Panel

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"Emergency funds"

The Homeland Security Department has adopted its first radiological and nuclear detector standards so first responders, government officials and manufacturers can ensure that equipment meets certain design, performance and test guidelines.

"The department, through Customs and Border Protection, has already moved forward with deploying state-of-the-art radiation detection technologies at key installations on our nation's borders," said Asa Hutchinson, DHS undersecretary for border and transportation security, in a statement. "These standards will facilitate our ability to ensure that equipment meets rigorous standards, and supports the quick deployment of the best equipment available."

Standards ensure that equipment, gear and other technologies do what they are intended to do. National standards can also be tied to federal grants to ensure that agencies purchase equipment that adhere to approved guidelines.

The four detector standards include:

* ANSI N42.32: Performance Criteria for Alarming Personal Radiation Detectors for Homeland Security -- describes design, performance and testing criteria for pocket-sized devices that can detect the presence and level of radiation.

* ANSI N42.33: Radiation Detection Instrumentation for Homeland Security — establishes design and performance criteria as well as test, calibration and operating instruction requirements for portable instruments that detect and measure photo-emitting radioactive substances.

* ANSI N42.34: Performance Criteria for Hand-Held Instruments for the Detection and Identification of Radionuclides -- sets general requirements and test procedures for instruments that detect and identify radionuclides, gamma dose rate measurement and indication of neutron radiation.

* ANSI N42.35: Evaluation and Performance of Radiation Detection Portal Monitors for Use in Homeland Security -- covers testing and evaluation criteria for radiation-detection portal monitor systems that detect materials for nuclear weapons or radiological dispersal devices. The systems can monitor people, packages and vehicles for illegal radioactive material transportation or emergency situations.

DHS' Science and Technology division adopted the standards along with the Office of Domestic Preparedness, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the Energy Department's national laboratories, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc., and the American National Standards Institute.

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