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Radiation Detection Documentary Standards Program


NIST is a key player in the development of ANSI/IEEE and IEC standards for the detection of illicit trafficking of radioactive materials and homeland security applications. Part of the development includes validation measurements using different types of instruments to assess the suitability of the standard requirements and test methods.


radiation detection program icons

In addition, NIST works with Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO) in the development of new technical capability standards (TCSs) for different types of instruments to comply with the mandate in the Security and Accountability For Every (SAFE) Port Act (H.R. 4954-16, Subtitle C – Port Operations, Section 121 (f) Standards). This mandate requires NIST to work with DNDO in the development of the TCSs. These instruments include radionuclide identification devices (RIIDs), backpack (BRDs), mobile systems, aerial systems, small vessel mounted systems, and radiation portal monitors (RPMs).

NIST and DNDO tests radiation detection systems, for example:

  • Tests a myriad of commercial radiation detection equipment against the published ANSI/IEEE and IEC consensus standards (Illicit Trafficking Radiation Assessment Program (ITRAP+10)).
  • Characterization and operation testing for personal radiation detectors (PRDs), RIIDs, BRDs, mobile systems, small vessel systems (maritime environments), aerial systems, systems for screening of passengers and luggage in an airport environment and RPMs.
  • Assists in developing the Graduated Rad/Nuc Detector Evaluation and Reporting (GRaDER) Program. The GRaDER program provides users with information about the performance of radiation instruments against relevant ANSI/IEEE standards.
  • Develop different types of radioactive sources for testing of radiation detection systems. NIST developed a new source design that was transferred to a commercial source manufacturer.

NIST works with the Department of Defense (DoD) in the development of technical operation procedures (TOPs) for radiation detection instruments, dosimeters and decontamination technologies. The DoD requires NIST traceability for neutron measurements for their instruments and dosimeters; this is currently an issue as the NIST 252Cf source needs to be replaced to address this need. 

Created April 5, 2017, Updated April 27, 2017