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Title: Combining Radiography and Passive Measurements for Radiological Threat Localization in Cargo

Detecting shielded special nuclear material (SNM) in a cargo container is a difficult problem, since shielding reduces the amount of radiation escaping the container. Radiography provides information that is complementary to that provided by passive gamma-ray detection systems: while not directly sensitive to radiological materials, radiography can reveal highly shielded regions that may mask a passive radiological signal. Combining these measurements has the potential to improve SNM detection, either through improved sensitivity or by providing a solution to the inverse problem to estimate source properties (strength and location). We present a data-fusion method that uses a radiograph to provide an estimate of the radiation-transport environment for gamma rays from potential sources. This approach makes quantitative use of radiographic images without relying on image interpretation, and results in a probabilistic description of likely source locations and strengths. We present results for this method for a modeled test case of a cargo container passing through a plastic-scintillator-based radiation portal monitor and a transmission-radiography system. We find that a radiograph-based inversion scheme allows for localization of a low-noise source placed randomly within the test container to within 40 cm, compared to 70 cm for triangulation alone, while strength estimation accuracy is improved bymore » a factor of six. Improvements are seen in regions of both high and low shielding, but are most pronounced in highly shielded regions. The approach proposed here combines transmission and emission data in a manner that has not been explored in the cargo-screening literature, advancing the ability to accurately describe a hidden source based on currently-available instrumentation.« less
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  1. Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States)
  2. Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Seattle, WA (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 0018-9499
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: IEEE Transactions on Nuclear Science; Journal Volume: 62; Journal Issue: 5
Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States