Wallet-sized dosimeter would alert users to dangerous radiation levels


July 5, 2011

Adam Hutter, Director of NUSTL, presents Cecilia Murtagh (center) and Gladys Klemic with plaques commemorating Homeland Security's first patent, for the Citizen's Dosimeter (Photo: Jenny May)

Adam Hutter, Director of NUSTL, presents Cecilia Murtagh (center) and Gladys Klemic with plaques commemorating Homeland Security's first patent, for the Citizen's Dosimeter (Photo: Jenny May)

Personal radiation dosimeter badges are the things that you may have seen people wearing in nuclear power plants, that measure how much radiation is in the immediate environment. Unfortunately, the devices don't provide real-time feedback - instead, they must be sent off to a processing lab, which determines the wearer's radiation exposure after the fact. Now, however, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Science and Technology Directorate (S&T;) is working on a wallet-sized card that would serve the same purpose, but that could also be read on the spot using a handheld reading device. Called the Citizen's Dosimeter, it could be used to detect the presence of ionizing radiation caused by nuclear accidents or dirty bombs.

Currently in the blueprint stage, the dosimeter is being developed by the New York City-based National Urban Security Technologies Laboratory (NUSTL), which is managed by S&T.; The device is designed to incorporate commercially-available components, in order to keep production costs down. It will utilize the radiation-sensitive element tantalum, combined with a double-layer stainless steel filter. Tantalum was chosen from about half a dozen other materials, as it strikes a good balance between accuracy and minimal thickness.

NUSTL is also working on a portable reading device for the cards. The idea behind the system is that when emergency crews show up at the scene of a nuclear accident or terrorist attack, they could read the dosimeters of citizens in the area, to see if they have been exposed to dangerous levels of radiation.

Although it will reportedly be years before the Citizen's Dosimeter is available, the device has recently been awarded a patent. Although Homeland Security has developed numerous technologies over the years, this is the first one to ever be patented.

About the Author
Ben Coxworth An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away. All articles by Ben Coxworth
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Depleted Uranium DU: A NEW LOOK AT U.S. RADIOACTIVE WEAPONS Posted on 06/22/2011 by admin


During the current Iraq War the U.S. use of radioactive DU weapons increased from 375 tons used in 1991 to 2200 tons. Geiger counter readings at sites in downtown Baghdad record radiation levels 1,000 and 2,000 times higher than background radiation. The Pentagon has bombed, occupied, tortured and contaminated Iraq. Millions of Iraqis are affected. Over one million U.S. soldiers have rotated into Iraq. Today, half of the 697,000 U.S. Gulf War troops from the 1991 war have reported serious medical problems and a significant increase in birth defects among their newborn children.

The effects on the Iraqi population are far greater. Many other countries and U.S. communities near DU weapons plants, testing facilities, bases and arsenals have also been exposed to this radioactive material which has a half-life of 4.4 billion years

Mr Stiffy
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