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DHS Awards $33 Million for Stand-Off Radiation Detector System (SORDS) Demonstrations


The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO) announced today the award of three contracts related to Stand-Off Radiation Detection System (SORDS) demonstrations. Contracts were awarded to General Electric Global Research of Niskayuna, N.Y.; Science Applications International Corporation of San Diego, Calif.; and the Naval Research Laboratory of Washington, D.C. All total, the contracts have a potential value of approximately $33 million.

The goal of the SORDS program is to develop advanced nuclear detectors that demonstrate the ability to autonomously determine the type and location of radiation sources at much greater distances than current technology.

“The SORDS approach, if validated, could be used in a wide range of monitoring applications including border crossings, sea lanes and air surveillance,” said Vayl S. Oxford, director of the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office. “This program could create a significant increase in capability for monitoring the illicit movement of radiation sources.”

SORDS was initiated to explore new technology that may autonomously determine the location of distant radiation sources while maintaining sufficient energy resolution and sensitivity to reliably discriminate between normally-occurring radioactive materials, background, and potential threats. The objective of the SORDS approach is to develop vehicle-sized radiation detectors with the capability of determining the direction, flux, energy, and isotope of detected radiation, as well as the location of the radiation source. Another objective of systems developed under SORDS is a very low false alarm rates to minimize interruptions of day-to-day security operations.


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