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Point source detection and characterization for vehicle radiation portal monitors

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4 Author(s)
Runkle, R.C. ; Radiat. Detection & Nucl. Sci. Group, Pacific Northwest Nat. Lab., Richland, WA ; Mercier, T.M. ; Anderson, K.K. ; Carlson, D.K.

Many international border crossings presently screen cargo for illicit nuclear material using radiation portal monitors (RPMs) that measure the gamma ray and/or neutron flux emitted by vehicles. The fact that many target sources have a point-like geometry can be exploited to detect subthreshold sources and filter out benign sources that frequently possess a distributed geometry. This report describes a two-step process, which has the potential to complement other alarm algorithms, for detecting and characterizing point sources. The first step applies a matched filter whereas step two uses a weighted nonlinear least squares method. In a base-case simulation, matched filtering detected a 250-cps source injected onto a white-noise background at a 95% detection probability and a 0.003 false alarm probability. For the same simulation, the maximum likelihood estimation technique performed well at source strengths of 250 and 400 cps. These simulations provided a best-case feasibility study for this technique, which will be extended to experimental data that possess false point-source signatures resulting from background shielding caused by vehicle design and cargo distribution

Published in:

Nuclear Science, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:52 ,  Issue: 6 )

Date of Publication:

Dec. 2005

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