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Lab Technology Leads to the Fission Meter

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.