Testing of New Cargo Screeners for Nuclear, Radiological Materials Needs Improvement


Shortcomings in tests to assess the performance of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's next generation of nuclear and radiation cargo screeners will impair DHS's ability to draw reliable conclusions about their likely performance, says a new report from the National Research Council.  The estimated net cost of the new detectors -- advanced spectroscopic portals (ASPs) -- exceeds that of the existing radiation monitors, suggesting ASPs should be procured only if the security benefits justify the additional investment. The study committee found that DHS’s draft cost-benefit analysis, completed to support such decision making, needs substantial improvement, including examining more alternatives and better evaluating how ASPs improve security.


The report, Evaluating Testing, Costs, and Benefits of Advanced Spectroscopic Portals, is available for immediate release. Reporters can obtain copies by contacting the Office of News and Public Information at tel. 202-334-2138 or e-mail news@nas.edu.