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DHS Radiological and Nuclear Detection Efforts Are Off to the Races

Nassau County and Suffolk County
Police Department officers looked
inside the SORDS unit trailer to see
the operator display, which provides
information about alarm location
and radiation signals.

This past weekend, while crowds were lining the stands to see the horses at the Belmont Stakes in Elmont, New York, the DHS Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO) was working behind the scenes in partnership with the Nassau and Suffolk County Police Departments to assess a new technology that could help protect the public at events at large venues from the threat of illicit radiological and nuclear weapons and materials. These operations were not conducted in response to any known threat.

Currently, police officers conduct radiological and nuclear scanning operations at special events using handheld or backpack detectors – many of which are obtained through homeland security grant funding or the Securing the Cities program, a DNDO pilot project that began in the
New York City region and is being expanded to other major metropolitan areas.

At the Belmont Stakes, DNDO tested three prototype detection systems for potential future use over bigger areas surrounding large-scale events to prevent a dirty bomb from being smuggled into the vicinity. Two were Stand-Off Radiation Detection Systems (SORDS), which are designed to detect and identify radiation sources from a mobile platform at a long distance. The other was the Roadside Tracker (RST), which is designed to detect and identify sources of illicit materials in vehicles traveling at speed over multiple lanes of traffic.


The Roadside Tracker (RST) unit was
set up to scan vehicles moving in
several lanes of traffic for radiological
and nuclear threats.

The Belmont Stakes demonstration builds on DNDO’s broader effort to actively engage federal, state, and local partners to utilize and assess the new radiological and nuclear detection systems.

For more information on DHS’ radiological and nuclear detection efforts, visit
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