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Scientific and Technical Center RATEC
Oktjabrskaj quay 44/2, Saint-Petersburg, 193079, box 84, Russia, Phone / fax: +7 812 587-5397, +7 812 640-0216
E-mail: director@ratec.spb.ru, www.ratec-spb.ru



EXPLOSIVES DETECTION SYSTEMS
ON THE BASIS OF ADVANCED THERMAL NEUTRON ANALYSIS

1. Company Profile

Scientific and Technical Center "Ratec", Ltd has been on the safety systems market for seventeen years. It is developing and producing special equipment for detection of an unauthorized displacement of the explosives, radioactive and special nuclear materials inside hand and check-in luggage, parcels, book posts, on the vehicles and on people (radioactive and special nuclear materials) in the airports, government establishments, post-offices, banks, company offices, strategic buildings. One of the Company's main directions in explosives detection systems development consists in creating systems on the basis of Thermal Neutron Analysis (TNA).

2. Short neutron technology history

For more than 15 years in Russia and the USA numerous attempts have been made to develop the systems on the basis of TNA method for explosives detection in luggage of the air passengers, the explosives being identified on the basis of registration of gamma-radiation of nitrogen irradiated by thermal neutrons.

Different companies have been made the attempts for development of EDS systems on the basis of neutrons method, however, these attempts have not so far resulted in development of systems, which would be widely used for checking of air passenger luggage and other objects. The main reason preventing successful development of the systems is the presence of significant quantities of nitrogen at the air passenger luggage having nothing to do with explosive substances, which leads to a large quantity of false alarms. The research carried out by Ratec experts enabled to solve that problem. Currently RATEC offers Advanced TNA method.

3. Advantages of TNA Method

The following features of the system based on TNA method result in impressive advantages in its employment:

  • in contrast to x-ray systems, the detection of an explosive in TNA systems is performed in the automatic mode so that a qualified operator is not required to make decisions about the presence of the explosives on the basis of visual observation.
  • in contrast to x-ray devices, the system enables to carry out non-contact explosives detection in any form, irrespective of the masking, e.g., plastic explosive in the form of thin sheets, explosives disguised in various electronic devices (cameras, radio receivers and others) and the explosives disguised under usual subjects or their part (pieces of soap, batteries, elements of a suitcases design and others);
  • compared with the techniques employing vapor systems and trained dogs, the method ensures effective explosives detection in case of hermetic sealing and introduction of the special flying component.
  • the system is instrumental in detecting the attempts to shield the explosive thus protecting it from thermal neutrons or from gamma-radiation of explosives nitrogen.

4. Ratec EDS systems

Currently S&TC “RATEC” has developed several types of explosives detection system on the basis of TNA method for different applications, first of all, for airports. This is EDS-5101 (Explosives Detection System) model. This system is second to none in this field of research. The system enables to detect any explosives irrespective of type or shape in virtually any object: baggage, photo and video cameras, notebooks, mobile telephones, etc.

The system is aimed for utilizing on the second stage of baggage inspection after baggage prescanning by means of x-ray. EDS-5101 uses target designation from x-ray, and operator in manual mode adjusts system for checking only suspicious area inside baggage.

The EDS-5101 is the first device based on the thermal neutron analysis for explosives detection together with x-ray systems.

 


Fig.1 The EDS-5101 system for detection of the explosives
and radioactive materials. The system is utilized in
operative inspection line in "Pulkovo-1" airport
(Saint Petersburg, Russia)

 

The main technical characteristics:

  1. The stable detection of the explosives and radioactive materials, independently of form, type and camouflaging;
  2. Detection of minimum explosives masses
  3. Detection of minimum quantities of the special nuclear materials;
  4. The chamber size (length, width, height), mm: 580 x 430 x 230;
  5. The device dimensions (length, width, height), mm: 2500 x 1500 x 1680;
 

Preliminary tests of previous version of EDS-5101 were carried out in Livermore National Laboratory in the USA supervised by Transport Security Administration (TSA) experts. The system got excellent reports from TSA experts.

TSA experts offered to carry out next tests TNA system together with x-ray unit for demonstration of whole inspection process.

For this EDS-5101 system the following certificates have been issued:

  • the hygienic certificate of Sanepidnadzor of the Public Health Services Ministry of Russian Federation confirming safety of its operation at realization of the air passengers’ luggage checking line;
  • the certificate of Department of Air Safety and Special Maintenance of Flights of Russian Federation Transport Ministry permitting to use this equipment for checking of air passengers’ luggage at the airports. Certification tests were carried out with several types of the explosives simulants contained in various types of luggage with different fillings.

Ratec got gold medal for explosives detection system from international experts’ juries on 32nd International exhibition of inventions in Geneva (Switzerland) in March-April 2004 and a lot of other Russian and international awards.

In the developed EDS-5101 system the target designation of suspicious area in checked object is performed in a manual mode. Thus, our system can complement some x-ray systems, carrying out the checking of suspicious carry-on luggage and some objects from check-in luggage on the second checking line.

 


Fig.2 EDS-5101M with bigger baggage inspection chamber (developed in 2006 under Russian government grant)

 

Fig.3 EDS-5101 in Sheremetyevo, Moscow

 

As it has already been noted, a manual mode of use of the system is justified at the airports with rather small passenger turnover. For the airport with middle passenger turnover the semi-automated combined system should be created.

For the airports with large passenger turnover it is necessary to develop the automated combined systems for checking of carry-on and check-in luggage of the air passengers.

The development of such combined systems is a priority direction of our company, and we are planning to create such systems in the near future. The development of such combined systems will provide airports with efficient and reliable means of customs procedures.

New device, which was developed this year, is EDS-5101C with conveyer.

The unit ensures reliable automatic detection of explosive, radioactive and fissile materials.

The unit does not have prototypes and allow users to detect any explosive materials regardless their type, form and physical phase, including plastic and liquid explosives.

The units are designed to detect explosive materials in hand baggage and suspicious passenger luggage.

In order to decrease a number of false alarms, the unit operates in a set with X-ray inspection machine(s) and uses targeted clues to an area of the item being inspected that is suspicious for presence of explosives.

The conveyer is used for hand baggage movement inside the device. The system automatically receives information from x-ray unit about coordinates of suspicious area inside the baggage by means of computer interface.

 


Fig.4 EDS-5101C in RATEC laboratory

 

The unit uses the method of advanced thermal neutron analysis that allows to conduct highly reliable inspections of any item (including non-dismountable items and powders) without destructing or dismantling them, and consistently detect explosives regardless their types, forms and concealment methods used.

During a monitoring period of 10-15 seconds, the unit allows a user to detect possible presence of minimum quantities of explosives in the item being inspected. If needed, a detection threshold can be decreased to the required level while increasing the control time.

Minimum quantities of radioactive (at the level of minimum significant radioactivity) and fissile (0.5 g of U235) materials can be detected during an inspection that lasts no more than 2 seconds.

The maximally inspected baggage (length, width and height) are 550õ400õ230 mm.

The overall dimensions of the unit (length, width and height) are 2625õ1525õ1720 mm.

Mass of the device is 2700 kg.

The unit meets all safety (including radiation safety) requirements.

A neutron generator is used as neutron sources for EDS-5101C.

 

STC “RATEC” provides full technical and service support of sold products including different variants of the service contracts.

5. Other EDS systems developed by S&TC Ratec on the basis of Thermal Neutron Analysis method

S&TC RATEC is developing EDS systems on the basis of TNA method for government establishments, post-offices, banks, company offices and strategic buildings.

System EDS-3100

System EDS-3100 is aimed to check brief-cases, bags, parcels, letters, notebooks, video and photo cameras, audio, mobile phones and other objects with dimensions of not more than 125 x 380 x 480 mm (height, width, length) on the presence of the explosives, radioactive and fissible materials.

 


Fig.5 EDS-3100 system

 

Fig.6 Modification of the EDS-3100 system, model EDS-3101 with smaller dimensions
and chamber size 120 x 350 x 280 mm (height, width, length).

 

6. UNITS AND SYSTEMS IN THE PROCESS OF DEVELOPMENT

  • EDS-1101A mobile system is aimed for detection, localization and destruction of the explosives and identification of toxic agents inside suspicious objects found in public places. The system is developed on the basis of combination of x-ray, thermal and fast neutrons analysis. The system will be able to detect wide range of explosives.
  • EDS-2001 model is aimed to detect small explosives, radioactive and fissionable materials mass, camouflaged in mobile phones, electronic pocket books, Dictaphones and other objects with similar dimensions. First of all, the system could be utilized for VIP person’s protection from using the devices with masked explosives, radioactive and fissible materials.
  • EDS-7101 model, is aimed for inspecting passengers’ check-in baggage. Transfer of target designation and baggage delivery in automatic mode.
  • The EDS system for detection of landmines;
  • The EDS system for detection of underwater mines;
  • The EDS system combined with x-ray unit for inspection of cargo containers;
  • The EDS system for detection of explosives in shells.

The model EDS-7101 are integrated systems for airports with big passenger flows. Creation of such integrated systems will allow to equipping large airports and other transport facilities with modern and highly effective technical means of inspection.

STC “RATEÑ” manufactures and supplies it’s production on the basis of license from State technical commission of Russian Federation President for activities on the Russian territory, and on the basis of the license from Federal Security Service for performing the works in plants with special regime of access. Units and instruments of company “RATEÑ” are included in the State list of measurement means.

7. EDS SYSTEMS SUMMARY

X-ray units are more effectively utilized on first checking stage for stable fast detection of different types of weapons (guns, knifes and others forbidden things) and suspicious objects with similar density as explosives inside baggage (or inside other inspected object), which could be correctly identified on the second inspection stage by TNA systems. Combination of x-ray and TNA methods could be "The gold standard" in integrated solution of security problems.

Application of Advanced TNA systems, developed by STC “RATEC” allows ensuring highly reliable protection and timely prevention of unauthorized traffic of explosives, radioactive and fissile materials.

8. DETECTORS OF RADIOACTIVITY

STC “RATEC” develops and produces wide product range of detectors of radioactivity for different application. The devices allow detecting minimum quantities of radioactivity and special nuclear materials.

The devices are aimed for detection of radioactive substances and special nuclear materials on the basis of using of scintillation detectors NaI (Tl). The principle of operation is based on both registration of a flow and energy of gamma - photons and decision making about presence of radioactive materials by means of a method of the maximal plausibility.

Pedestrian Monitor of radioactive substances detection KRP-05

It is intended for detection of deliberately or casually transferred radioactive substances or the polluted subjects by radioactivity.

The application of a spectrometric method of detection with using a priori information, allows achieving high sensitivity, in comparison with known analogues, at smaller price. These properties have allowed winning many competitions on equipment of different buildings.

 


Fig.7 KRP-05

 

Fig.8 Transport monitor KRT-11

 

Transport Monitor of radioactive substances detection KRT-11

All systems have standard software/hardware interface. The devices could be easy integrated in automatic security systems.

STC “RATEC” provides full technical and service support of sold products including different variants of the service contracts.

 

Scientific and Technical Center RATEC
Oktjabrskaj quay 44/2, Saint-Petersburg, 193079, box 84, Russia, Phone / fax: +7 812 587-5397, +7 812 640-0216,
E-mail: director@ratec.spb.ru, www.ratec-spb.ru