GE global research to build mobile imaging system to improve nuclear threat detection

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Source: General Electric

GE Global Research, the technology development arm for the General Electric Company (NYSE:GE), this week announced it has been awarded funding from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to develop a working prototype of a mobile Standoff Radiation Imaging System (SORIS). The research is part of a DHS program to advance technologies that provide new tools for law enforcement and first responders to better protect against nuclear threats.

The goal of the project is to build a prototype imaging system that can identify radioactive sources from longer distances with greater specificity, pinpointing their origins almost to an exact location. The system will be highly sensitized to detect the weakest signs of radioactivity from a distance, while in a moving vehicle such as a SUV or cargo van.

“GE researchers are building a roving nuclear threat detector that will enable law enforcement and first responders to more effectively root out dangerous radioactive threats at our borders, bridges, tunnels and other highly trafficked public areas,“ said Scott Zelakiewicz, GE Global Research’s principal investigator on the SORIS project. “Increasing the distance at which these threats are detected is a central goal of this project. Fortunately, we can leverage complementary technology and expertise in medical imaging to help meet DHS’ goal of getting these solutions to market faster.”

GE researchers will be adapting nuclear medicine imaging technology from the GE Healthcare business.

Zelakiewicz added, “The same imaging technology doctors use today for the detection of cancers will be used to sense radioactive materials in the environment, giving first responders a new tool to combat and protect our nation from potential nuclear threats.”

Development of GE’s initial prototype for the mobile standoff radiation system marks the second phase of a multi-phased $7 million program with DHS to support advancements in standoff radiation detection. Phase I began in October of 2007, with developments progressing at a significantly accelerated pace due to GE’s extensive knowledge in imaging, materials and radiation detection technologies.

Once completed, the Standoff Radiation Imaging System will add radiation detection to a broad portfolio of detection products offered today by GE’s Homeland Protection business. The business now offers products for the detection and identification of explosives, narcotics, chemicals and biological threats.

'SORIS will provide an important technology tool to help law enforcement better protect communities, borders and high-risk facilities,' said Dennis Cooke, president and CEO, GE Security's Homeland Protection business. 'This is another great example of GE's commitment to providing more and better advanced technology solutions to help our customers address real world security challenges.'

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