Narrator: This is Science Today. Scientists at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory are building and testing radiation detectors to detect dirty bombs and other kinds of weapons of mass destruction inside cargo containers. Program manager Arden Dougan explains how they test these instruments.
Dougan: What we did was we put realistic threats inside a cargo container, we put various cargos inside and we walked up to the container with the instruments to see if we could detect them and we didn't just use PhD physicists to try out these instruments. We used some volunteers from local customs and Coast Guard and border patrol to give us their ideas on how well these worked.
Narrator: Dougan says there are many instruments that are commercially available now.
Dougan: Many of them are quite good in use at ports and by law enforcement personnel. We tested quite a few of them - they're good. The new detectors we're building will help strengthen our defense against terrorism.
Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.