Technologies & Modeling for Nuclear Material Identification


Radiation detectors are deployed in a variety of scenarios in order to detect and counter illicit trafficking of materials and potential weapons of mass destruction. There are many different types of radiation detectors, all of which offer various benefits and drawbacks, depending on the situation. The differing performance of various technologies presents a challenge when determining what technology to use in a given situation. Additionally, it is impossible to deploy radiation detectors along every street or transport corridor. This necessitates determining an optimal layout or radiation detectors to offer the greatest possible chance of interdicting any illicit trafficking of material. Often times the materials that one is trying to detect may have their signal masked in such a way that even if the right detector is deployed, it may not positively identify the material.


Using ARA’s advanced computer modeling codes the various types of radiation detector technologies can be modeled against varying parameters. Some of these parameters may include location, size of the detector, type of material expected to detect, orientation of the detector, and environmental factors that may influence detection.

Computers models consider these parameters to predict the signature of the nuclear material. This information allows the user to determine the best detector type, layout, or number to deploy in an anticipated scenario to ensure effective use of a limited technology. Computer models also help software developers create more reliable nuclear material identification algorithms.

ARA’s work has resulted in several scenarios where the performance of a radiation detector has been accurately modeled.

ARA technology enables decision-makers to more quickly determine what type of detector and how many to deploy to detect and interdict trafficked material.

Michael Ortelli  •  Tel: 703-816-8886