In a recently released video, a CBRNE scientist from Singapore discusses how she and others work around the clock to detect radiological threats — including dirty bombs, IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices), and material that could be used to build these weapons — before they cross their borders and cause mass destruction.
CBRNE is an acronym for Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and Explosives. Interpol, the world’s largest international police organization, declared on their website that “terrorism that makes use of CBRNE materials … poses a clear threat to public health and safety, national security and economic and political stability on a global level. As such, the prevention of such incidents is of the highest priority.”
During the video, the scientist outlines how they are positioned at various checkpoints to support Singapore’s Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (which is responsible for the security of Singapore’s borders against the entry of undesirable persons, cargo and conveyances through land, air and sea).
Throughout the video, the scientist shows how handheld Radiation Isotope Identifiers are used to detect radiological sources among the cargo and how trace detectors are able to detect small non-visible amounts of particles. Suspicious materials are collected and brought back to the lab at the borders for confirmation.
We have previously written about Border Protection by Detecting Radiation on Container Ships and how when a ship arrives in port, cargo containers pass through radiation portal monitors as they are unloaded, and then if they trigger an alarm, they’re secondarily inspected by customs officers equipped with a RIID, or Radioisotope Identification Device, which is a Geiger counter-like instrument.
RIIDs are handheld instruments designed to determine the identity of radioactive materials by measuring the energy of the emitted gamma rays. They can scan and check large bundles, pallets of products, or containers full of goods for unseen radioactive elements. Every isotope has its own signature ‘spectrum’ that is detected and displayed on the RIID. This enables the ability to differentiate between benign isotopes and threat material.
Singapore officials have found that lately smaller amounts of the dangerous materials are being transported across the borders in order to not be detected, but then the materials are accumulated for nefarious purposes – which gives more reason to try and detect and intercept any threats early.
The scientist credits these and other various radiation detection and monitoring technologies with helping the country stay ahead and being prepared for any evolving CBRNE threats.
Watch the video here: What Does a CBRNE Scientist Do? | Things You’ve Always Wanted to Ask…
For more information about radiation detection and measurement technology, visit the Radiation Protection for Government Agency Personnel section of our website.