The Graduated Rad/Nuc Detector Evaluation and Reporting (GRaDERSM) Program is a conformity assessment program conducted on behalf of the Department of Homeland Security by the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO). The program evaluates the independent results of commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) Rad/Nuc detection and identification technologies tested against published standards. The GRaDER program currently employs DHS-adopted American National Standards Institute (ANSI)/ Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) N42 national standards within its scope of evaluation. The current scope of the GRaDER Program is outlined at GRaDER Program Equipment Categories.
Over the next two years, DNDO intends to add the following ANSI/IEEE N42 standards to the scope of the GRaDER program. Test results will be accepted from laboratories that are National Voluntary Laboratory Accreditation Program (NVLAP) accredited or DNDO accepted, and with scopes that include these new standards. NVLAP provides third-party accreditation to testing and calibration laboratories, and falls under the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) which is a non-regulatory federal agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce. The standards listed below are expected to be published during 2011:
- N42.49A&B pertaining to Electronic Dosimeters - to be published.
- N42.53 pertaining to Backpacks - to be published.
In as much as the GRaDER program is newly implemented, the scope of the program is limited and focused on the immediate needs of the US law enforcement and first responder community. However, the program should also support the broader domestic and global nuclear detection architecture with information on commercially available technologies that may be employed and integrated to counter a variety of Rad/Nuc detection and identification threats that have international implications. It is the intent of DNDO to gradually broaden the scope of the GRaDER program to include additional categories of relevant technologies, American National Standards Institute (ANSI) / Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) consensus standards, and other relevant standards that may compliment stakeholder understanding of the various technologies and support increasingly robust capabilities to counter these existing and emerging threats.
The testing infrastructure capability needed to broaden the scope of the GRaDER Program will need to expand accordingly, as will the assessment capabilities of supporting accreditation bodies that verify laboratory competence and capability to perform standards based testing. NVLAP accreditation is available to government and commercially owned laboratories, both inside and outside the United States of America.
Integration of a broader array of applicable standards and NVLAP accredited laboratories will enable DNDO to better satisfy the statutory requirements upon which the GRaDER Program is based and provide for the information needs of the community of homeland security stakeholders.
DNDO continually considers the addition of standards that support the evaluation of technologies that may be employed in the preventive Rad/Nuc detection (PRND) mission area. Standards under consideration include:
- Additional ANSI/IEEE standards that are already adopted by DHS as National Standards,
- ANSI/IEEE standards that are published but not yet adopted as National Standards,
- Draft ANSI/IEEE standards that are near publication,
- Draft DHS/DNDO government unique technical capability standards that are near publication (under the authority of the SAFE Port Act of 2006),
- International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) standards that are used by DHS/DNDO in collaborative testing programs with our international partners, and
- International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and other standards published by other recognized standards developing organizations that are integrated within the ANSI/IEEE or IEC standards included in the scope of the Program.
DNDO also collaborates with the Department of Defense (DOD) Test and Evaluation Capabilities and Methodologies Integrated Process Team (TECMIPT) and its Rad/Nuc Capabilities Area Process Action Team (CAPAT) in reviewing and developing objectives for standards, test methods and conditions, and reporting and information sharing processes.
Additionally, DNDO recognizes that the standards currently included in the scope of the program will periodically be reviewed, revised, and republished. DNDO intends to incorporate these revised standards in the scope of the conformity assessment program in a time-phased manner that will allow industry to adjust to the new requirements and the network of government and commercial laboratories to expand scopes of accreditation to encompass the new standards.
In the near future, DNDO intends to add a Government unique Technical Capability Standard pertaining to Radionuclide identifiers (RIDs) to the scope of the GRaDER program once published. DNDO intends to begin testing with that standard using Rad/Nuc detection and identification technologies that have already demonstrated at least Level 1 compliance with the ANSI/IEEE N42.34 standard. The program will add other Government unique Technical Capability Standards as they are published and anticipates beginning testing with these new standards within two years after publication, resources permitting.