The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) conducts tests to evaluate the performance of radiological and nuclear detection systems (to include technology components, algorithms and materials), at specialized facilities, laboratories, or operational venues. The Domestic Nuclear Detection Office leads the Department’s efforts to test and evaluate these technologies.
For radiological and nuclear detection, testing may include the use of radioactive sources or surrogates to evaluate how well a system detects and identifies a threat in various configurations and conditions. Many tests include operational personnel who use the equipment in realistic scenarios according to prescribed protocols.
Testing is critical to nuclear security because it:
- helps identify optimal detection solutions for users and informs investment decisions by the Department and its stakeholders in the nuclear security mission;
- supports research and development by allowing the Department to evaluate the performance of prototype technologies against existing commercial and government detection systems; and
- informs the development and update of standards for radiological and nuclear detection equipment.
The Department has numerous ongoing or recently completed test events that will improve the nation’s nuclear security capabilities.