Comentario de “Contribuyendo a la seguridad en el envío de contenedores: ¿pueden los sensores pasivos brindar una solución? G. Janssens-Maenhout, F. De Roob, W. Janssens, Revista de Radioactividad Medioambiental, 2009 (CORE1096)

Resumen: el tráfico ilícito de material fisionable en carga de contenedores es reconocida como una debilidad potencial en seguridad nuclear. Atenuada por los atentados del 11 de septiembre de 2001, se tomaron medidas para mejorar la seguridad marítima en extensión a la Convención Internacional para la Seguridad de la Vida Humana en el Mar (SOLAS, en inglés) y en línea con las iniciativas de seguridad de contenedores de los Estados Unidos. Las técnicas efectivas de detección son necesarias para permitir que el inspector pueda interceptar el tráfico ilícito de componentes de armas nucleares o componentes de otros dispositivos nucleares explosivos. Reporte disponible (en inglés) en:

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Full review: Many security measures focus on active interrogation of the container content by X-ray scan, which might be extended with the newly developed tagged neutron inspection system. Both active interrogation techniques can, with the current huge volume of container traffic, only be applied to a limited number of selected containers. The question arises whether a passive detection technique can offer an alternative solution.

This study investigates if containers equipped with a small passive detector will register during transport the neutron irradiation by fissionable material such as plutonium in a measurable way. In practice, 4/5 of the containers are about 1/8 filled with hydrogenous material and undergo a typical 2 months route. For this reference case, it was found that the most compatible passive detector would be an activation foil of iridium. Monte-Carlo simulations showed that for the reference case the activity of a 250 μm thin foil with 6 cm2 cross-section would register 1.2 Bq when it is irradiated by a significant quantity of Reactor-Grade PuO2. However this activity drops with almost two orders of magnitude for other fillings and other isotopic compositions and forms of the Pu-source. The procedure of selecting the target material for Pu detection is detailed with the theoretical methods, in order to be useful for other applications. Moreover the value of such additional passive sensors for securing maritime container transport is situated within the global framework of the First, Second and Third Line of Defense against illicit trafficking.

Full citation:   G. Janssens-Maenhout a, F. De Roob, W. Janssens (2009). Contributing to shipping container security: can passive sensors bring a solution?” Journal of Environmental Radioactivity 101(2):95-105 · OCTOBER 2009.

Keywords: Nuclear illicit trafficking, Maritime container transport, Passive detection technique


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