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Lab Technology Leads to the Fission Meter


Narrator:       
This is Science Today. Technology developed by researchers at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory to aid detection of nuclear materials has gone commercial. Phil Kerr, a staff physicist at the lab, says the Fission Meter is the first portable neutron detector that can distinguish between a fissile and non-fissile neutron source in real time.

Kerr:   It's able to distinguish kind of a normal background count rate, even if it's slightly elevated. It can still say that that's background, whereas if there's a threat source in the environment, that will look distinct from the background source.

Narrator:                    The technology behind the Fission Meter has been in development at the lab for several years.

Kerr:               It's been commercialized with a commercial vendor and we optimized the size and the efficiency. Also, made it a little more flexible to handle cases where maybe you have a very thin region where you need to study - let's say between two containers and it also can articulate - that is, can fold between 180 degrees or 90 degrees or zero degrees to conform to shapes of different objects.

Narrator:        For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.