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  A Detector that Can be Part of a ‘Reach Back’ Program

This is Science Today. The ORTEC Fission Meter is the first portable neutron detector that can distinguish between fissile and non-fissile neutron sources in real time. The suitcase-sized detector uses technology developed by researchers at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Staff physicist Phil Kerr describes how it can be used.

Kerr:   There typically is a program called reach back, where first responders might have a smaller detector that might detect neutrons and/or gamma rays. They can report some suspicious event or some suspicious package or maybe a facility that has elevated count rate. They can then send that application to the reach back, which are groups of people that are generally located within the national laboratory system. If that information indicates that there may be something there that is of interest, such as a neutron source or a gamma ray source that really shouldn't be there, a team would go out and they would carry a number of pieces of equipment - the fission meter could be one of those.

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