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Frames and Crawlers for On-ship Detection of Nuclear Materials

IB-2262

APPLICATIONS OF TECHNOLOGY:

  • Inspecting the contents of stacked cargo containers for nuclear materials

ADVANTAGES:

  • Allows the thorough inspection of every cargo container entering the US without delaying shipping
  • Reduces risks of human tampering
  • Minimizes false positives
  • Eases speed requirements for detection equipment, likely lowering costs and reducing triggering risks
  • Requires minimal adaptations to existing loading and shipping processes
  • Inspection distances are 5 feet or less

ABSTRACT:

Researchers at Berkeley Lab are developing an innovative approach to cargo inspection that maximizes national security while preserving the flow of commerce.  Stephen Derenzo has designed a frame and crawler system that, coupled with robotic passive or active nuclear material detectors, enables the robust, in-transit inspection of stacked shipping containers. 

The Berkeley Lab  method allows much longer inspection times per container than can be achieved by at-port protocols, not only ensuring a robust inspection but also allowing the use of weaker detection equipment, which is less likely to trigger booby-trapped nuclear devices. The system also allows for follow-up inspection of initial positive results, reducing the number of false positives.  In addition, because access to cargo and inspection equipment is much more severely restricted on ship than at port, the supply chain is secured all the way up until docking.

The Berkeley Lab system consists of steel frames that are attached to the top of each cargo container.  The frames are designed with hardware that allows the container/frame unit to be lifted and loaded just as containers are now.  When the container/frame units are stacked on the ship, the frames offer contiguous and open horizontal layers throughout the shipload in which the detector-mounted crawlers can roam.  The height of the frames will be determined by the size of the detection equipment.  The system is designed to allow all cargo to be inspected from within five feet or less.

STATUS:

  • Patent pending. Available for licensing.

REFERENCE NUMBER: IB-2262

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Last updated: 01/14/2014