American Shipper

DHS contracts for prototype detectors

DHS contracts for prototype detectors

   The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has contracted with the ORTEC business unit of AMETEK Advanced Measurement Technology for the fast-track development and delivery of two prototypes of an advanced spectroscopic portal monitoring system to screen cargo for radioactive materials.

   The agreement calls for the prototypes to be delivered in the third quarter. Using high-purity germanium detectors, the portal monitoring system will be able to determine quickly whether a source emitting radiation is innocent, such as naturally-occurring radioactive materials and medical isotopes, or suspicious, meaning that the material detected could be part of a nuclear device or a 'dirty bomb.'

   The $3.1 million contract extension follows a first-stage award in January to AMETEK by the Homeland Security Advanced Research Projects Agency (HSARPA) to develop the portal monitors.

   AMETEK Advanced Measurement Technology is a division of AMETEK, Inc., a manufacturer of electronic instruments and electric motors with annual sales of $1.3 billion. Since the early 1960s, ORTEC has developed sensitive radiation detectors for nuclear facilities as well as government and industrial laboratories.