DHS Releases RFIP on Handheld Radioactive Contamination Detectors and Radiation Portal Monitors
Originally published by Homeland Security Today
DHS issued a Request for Information for Participation (RFIP) – Testing of Handheld Radioactive Contamination Detectors and Radiation Portal Monitors.
Following a commercial nuclear power plant accident it will be necessary to survey large numbers of people and vehicles; more than 300,000 people were surveyed in the aftermath of the 2011 nuclear reactor accident in Fukushima Japan, for example, along with several thousand vehicles carrying evacuees away from the area and still more vehicles bringing workers into the contaminated zone. To support this need, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Technological Hazards Division’s (THD) Radiological Emergency Preparedness (REP) program developed performance standards for radiation portal monitors used for radiological response purposes (FEMA-REP-21, 1995) and tested a number of handheld radioactive contamination detectors to determine their response while surveying radioactive sources (FEMAREP-22, 2002). Modern instruments may allow quicker scanning with adequate sensitivity at greater distances and/or higher speeds. Given the time that has passed, and advancements in technology since the publication of these documents, the DHS’s Science and Technology Directorate (S&T), in support of FEMA, is seeking to test the capabilities of a variety of handheld instruments and radiation portal monitors under standard conditions, to allow for FEMA to publish the results of this testing as updates to both FEMA-REP-21 and FEMA-REP-22 for usage with the nuclear power plant emergency response community.
This is an opportunity for manufacturers of radiation detection instruments to have their instruments tested by an independent laboratory to understand the instrument’s performance using standard sources under a variety of combinations of survey speed and distance to the radioactive source. Empirical data collected under this testing will be used by FEMA to issue updated REP guidance as described above. Published data may include information on detection capability of instruments at various speeds of survey, at certain distances from radiation sources, and various radiation source activity. Those selected will also receive data collected about their instrument’s performance, including instrument-specific conversion factors used during testing.
Respondents are required to complete a written instrument information summary for each instrument and to indicate their interest in participating in this work if their instrument(s) is selected for testing. All information received will be treated as public knowledge and may be used in the final report and other public documentation; therefore, manufacturers should not submit proprietary information in response to this RFIP.