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Assessment of the Practicality of Pulsed Fast Neutron Analysis for Aviation Security ASSESSMENT OF THE PRACTICALITY OF PULSED FAST NEUTRON ANALYSIS FOR AVIATION SECURITY Panel on Assessment of the Practicality of Pulsed Fast Neutron Analysis for Aviation Security National Materials Advisory Board Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences National Research Council NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS Washington, D.C.
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Assessment of the Practicality of Pulsed Fast Neutron Analysis for Aviation Security NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS 2101 Constitution Avenue, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20418 NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. This report by the National Materials Advisory Board was conducted with the support of the Department of Transportation, Contract No. DTF-A02-99-C00006. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of Transportation. Available in limited supply, with appropriate approvals, from: National Materials Advisory Board 500 5th Street, N.W. Washington, DC 20001 202-334-3505 http://www.nationalacademies.org/nmab firstname.lastname@example.org Copyright 2002 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America
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Assessment of the Practicality of Pulsed Fast Neutron Analysis for Aviation Security THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES Advisers to the Nation on Science, Engineering, and Medicine National Academy of Sciences National Academy of Engineering Institute of Medicine National Research Council The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Bruce Alberts is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Wm. A. Wulf is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an advisor to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy's purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Bruce Alberts and Dr. Wm. A. Wulf are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council.
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Assessment of the Practicality of Pulsed Fast Neutron Analysis for Aviation Security PANEL ON ASSESSMENT OF THE PRACTICALITY OF PULSED FAST NEUTRON ANALYSIS FOR AVIATION SECURITY PATRICK GRIFFIN, Chair, Sandia National Laboratories, Albuquerque, New Mexico ROBERT BERKEBILE, US Airways, Leesburg, Florida (retired) HOMER BOYNTON, American Airlines, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina (retired) LEN LIMMER, Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, Oak Point, Texas (retired) HARRY E. MARTZ, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Livermore, California CLINTON OSTER, Indiana University, Bloomington National Materials Advisory Board Staff CHARLES HACH, Program Officer (until May 2000) JULIUS CHANG, Program Officer (May 2000 to March 2002) EMILY ANN MEYER, Research Assistant Government Liaisons JOHN DALY, U.S. Department of Transportation, Washington, D.C. LYLE MALOTKY, U.S. Department of Transportation, Washington, D.C. PAUL JANKOWSKI, Aviation Security AAR-520, Atlantic City, New Jersey CURTIS BELL, Aviation Security AAR-520, Atlantic City, New Jersey
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Assessment of the Practicality of Pulsed Fast Neutron Analysis for Aviation Security NATIONAL MATERIALS ADVISORY BOARD JULIA M. PHILLIPS, Chair, Sandia National Laboratories, Albuquerque, New Mexico JOHN ALLISON, Ford Research Laboratories, Dearborn, Michigan FIONA DOYLE, University of California, Berkeley THOMAS EAGAR, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge GARY FISCHMAN, University of Illinois, Chicago HAMISH L. FRASER, Ohio State University, Columbus THOMAS S. HARTWICK, Advisor, Snohomish, Washington ALLAN J. JACOBSON, University of Houston, Houston, Texas SYLVIA M. JOHNSON, NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California FRANK E. KARASZ, University of Massachusetts, Amherst SHEILA KIA, General Motors Manufacturing Engineering, Warren, Michigan ENRIQUE LAVERNIA, University of California, Irvine HARRY A. LIPSITT, Wright State University (emeritus), Yellow Springs, Ohio TERRY LOWE, METALLICUM, LLC, Santa Fe, New Mexico ALAN G. MILLER, Boeing Commercial Airplane Group, Seattle, Washington ROBERT C. PFAHL, JR., Motorola Advanced Technology Center, Schaumberg, Illinois HENRY J. RACK, Clemson University, Clemson, South Carolina KENNETH L. REIFSNIDER, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg PETER C. SCHULTZ, Advisor, Bogart, Georgia T.S. SUDARSHAN, Materials Modification Inc., Fairfax, Virginia JULIA WEERTMAN, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois TONI MARECHAUX, Director
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Assessment of the Practicality of Pulsed Fast Neutron Analysis for Aviation Security PREFACE Assessment of the Practicality of Pulsed Fast Neutron Analysis for Aviation Security sprang from a 1993 request by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for the National Research Council (NRC) to assist in assessing its explosives-detection program. The resulting Committee on Commercial Aviation Security (CCAS) produced two interim reports on the subject.1 In the second report, the committee recommended that the FAA should not pursue accelerator-based nuclear detection technologies for the primary screening of checked baggage, nor should it fund any new, large, accelerator-based hardware development projects. In 1997, the FAA funded Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) with nearly $1 million to demonstrate the feasibility of using pulsed fast neutron analysis (PFNA) to search for small quantities of explosives in cargo containers. In conjunction with this pursuit, the FAA asked the NRC to independently evaluate the potential of PFNA. This evaluation would take into account both the earlier recommendations from the CCAS and technical developments since its previous reports. The FAA has continued to pursue accelerator-based nuclear detection technologies that detect explosives and drugs by measuring the elemental composition of materials. These technologies exploit the high nitrogen and oxygen content found in most explosives and the high chlorine content and high carbon-to-oxygen ratio in certain drugs.2 PFNA uses a collimated, nanosecond-pulse-width beam of monoenergetic fast neutrons to excite the nuclei of common elements in bulk materials.3 PFNA identifies explosives and drugs by the specific material- and energy-dependent absorption and scattering cross sections of neutrons as they interact with the nuclei of different elements. Inelastic interaction of fast neutrons with nuclei generates gamma rays. From the characteristic gamma-ray spectrum of a material, PFNA can determine its carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen content. The relative amounts of these elements can be used to discriminate explosive from non-explosive materials. PFNA can generate three-dimensional, characteristic gamma-ray maps and is able to detect explosives and drugs hidden in vehicles and in large cargo containers. However, it also has a number of practical limitations, including large size and weight, the need for radiation shielding, difficulty in penetrating hydrogenous materials, and regulatory and safety issues associated with nuclear-based technologies.4 In many ways, the activities undertaken and the technology assessed by the Panel on Assessment of the Practicality of Pulsed Fast Neutron Analysis for Aviation Security are similar to those of the Panel on the Assessment of Pulsed Fast Neutron Transmission Spectroscopy.5 Both technologies had strong congressional backing and both have similar advantages and disadvantages. STATEMENT OF TASK The specific statement of task as agreed upon by both the panel and the sponsor was to evaluate the potential of PFNA for screening cargo and passenger baggage for explosives and drugs, compared with the potential of current and projected x-ray–based computed tomography (CT) systems. The panel was charged to— Review the laboratory-demonstrated explosives-detection performance of PFNA. Review, if available, laboratory-demonstrated drugs-etection performance of PFNA. Compare demonstrated and projected PFNA capabilities with the demonstrated and projected capabilities of x-ray radiographic and CT systems. Evaluate the potential preference of end users for a PFNA-based system over the currently available x-ray radiographic and CT systems. Outline any key assumptions that would be required to envision the use of PFNA in airports and, if 1 National Research Council. 1996. First Interim Report of the Committee on Commercial Aviation Security. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press; National Research Council. 1997. Second Interim Report of the Committee on Commercial Aviation Security. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press. 2 T. Gozani. 1995. Understanding the physics limitations of PFNA–The nanosecond pulsed fast neutron analysis. Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research B 99:743–747; B.J. Micklich, C.L. Fink, and T.J. Yule. 1994. Key research issues in the pulsed fast-neutron analysis technique for cargo inspection. SPIE 2276 Cargo Inspection Technologies: 310– 320. 3 D.R. Brown. 1994. Cargo inspection system based on pulsed fast neutron analysis: An update, SPIE, Cargo Inspection Technologies 2276:449-456. 4 National Research Council. 1993. Detection of Explosives for Commercial Aviation Security. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press; National Research Council. 1997. Second Interim Report of the Committee on Commercial Aviation Security. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press. 5 National Research Council. 1999. The Practicality of Pulsed Fast Neutron Transmission Spectroscopy for Aviation Security. Washington D.C.: National Academy Press. Available at <http://www.nap.edu/catalog/6469.html>. Accessed June 2002.
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Assessment of the Practicality of Pulsed Fast Neutron Analysis for Aviation Security appropriate, recommend strategies to confirm these assumptions. Determine if PFNA has realistic potential for application to full cargo container inspection as compared with currently available x-ray radiographic and CT systems. Identify and prioritize research that should be pursued in the near future to further define the potential of PFNA for cargo and/or baggage screening. It is important to note what this statement of task did not encompass. Specifically, the panel did not address cargo threats in ports of entry other than airports. Further, the panel used the threat classes as they were presented by the FAA and did not evaluate their efficacy. The panel also restricted its focus to current implementations of the technology and thus did not evaluate applications that exist outside the arena of cargo screening, nor did it conduct an exhaustive review of concepts or technical papers. Within the existing implementations, the only working prototype has been developed by Ancore Corporation. For this reason, the bulk of the analysis centers on the Ancore technology. The panel's expectation is that this report will be read and used as a reference on the subject. For this reason, it has endeavored to be as comprehensive and detailed as possible in both the analysis and the recommendations. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS The panel wishes to thank the following people for their invaluable contributions to this report. The following Ancore employees provided much assistance to the panel: Tsahi Gozani, Rob Loveman, Pat Shea, and John Stevenson. Curtis Bell of the FAA was also very helpful in acquiring information to support our study. The following people provided briefings to aid the panel: R.S. Armstrong, U.S. Customs Service; John Daly, Department of Transportation; D. Ferris, National Institute of Justice; Howard Fleisher, FAA; Richard Lacey, Police Scientific Development Branch of the British Home Office; Lyle Malotky, FAA; Carl Mosby, FAA; Richard Vigna, U.S. Customs Service; Bill Wilkening, FAA; John Pennella, U.S. Customs Service; and Paul Nicholas, U.S. Customs Service. This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the National Research Council’s Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their review of this report: Larry Cress, Food and Drug Administration; Jay Davis, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory; Ernest Henley, University of Washington; Richard Lanza, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; John Larue, Dallas/Fort Worth Airport; John J. Pennella, U.S. Customs Service; and John Strong, College of William and Mary. Although the reviewers listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommendations, nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Frank Stillinger, Princeton University. Appointed by the National Research Council, he was responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring panel and the institution. Patrick J. Griffin, chair Panel on Assessment of the Practicality of Pulsed Fast Neutron Analysis for Aviation
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Assessment of the Practicality of Pulsed Fast Neutron Analysis for Aviation Security CONTENTS EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 1 1 PRINCIPLES OF BULK EXPLOSIVES AND DRUGS DETECTION 9 X-ray–based Detection Technologies, 10 Nuclear-based Detection Technologies, 11 2 ASSESSMENT OF TEST RESULTS 21 X-ray Detection Technology, 22 PFNA Explosives Detection Technology, 42 Comparison of X-ray and PFNA Technologies, 46 3 APPLICATION OF TECHNOLOGIES FOR EXPLOSIVES AND DRUGS DETECTION 65 Cost, 65 Issues Specific to Cargo Inspection, 65 Issues Specific to Screening Checked Baggage, 67 Safety and Worker Protection, 69 Public Perception, 69 4 CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS 70 Explosives in Containerized Cargo, 70 Research Priorities, 73 REFERENCES 76 APPENDICES 83 AAcronyms and Symbols, 85 BBiographies of Committee Members, 88
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Assessment of the Practicality of Pulsed Fast Neutron Analysis for Aviation Security TABLES AND FIGURES TABLES 2-1 Summary of X-ray Explosives-Detection System Attributes, 24 2-2 Summary of Explosives Detection Baseline Test and Evaluation Results for Containerized (LD-3) Cargo X-ray Inspection Systems, 27 2-3 Summary of Explosives Detection Baseline Test and Evaluation Results for Break Bulk Cargo X-ray Inspection Systems, 33 2-4 Summary of High-Energy ASEC Results at Tacoma for Drugs Detection, 36 2-5 Summary of CargoSearch™ Results for Drugs Detection at Otay Mesa, 37 2-6 Summary of Assessment Results for Tacoma High-energy and Otay Mesa Low-energy Vehicle and Cargo Drug X-ray Inspection Systems, 38 2-7 Summary of VACIS II Results at TMEC for Drugs Detection, 39 2-8 Summary of MTXR-T TMEC Test Results for Drugs Detection, 40 2-9 Summary of MTXR-WE TMEC Test Results for Drugs Detection, 41 2-10 Summary of Assessment Results for Manual CTX Drugs Detection of Small Packages, 42 2-11 Baseline Characteristics and Attributes for Containerized Systems Used in This Assessment, 50–55 2-12 Baseline Characteristics and Attributes for Break Bulk Systems Used in This Assessment, 56–61 2-13 Technology Selections for Specified Scenarios, 63 FIGURES 1-1 Schematic of thermal neutron analysis of nitrogen, 12 1-2 PFNTS spectra for explosives and non-explosives in air passenger bags. (a) nitrogen/oxygen distribution, (b) carbon/hydrogen distribution, 15 1-3 PFNA laboratory prototype, 16 1-4 Conceptual design for PFNA air cargo inspection (ACI) system, 17 1-5 LD-3 air cargo container being scanned by Ancore’s PFNA system, 18 1-6 Detection of explosives with PFNA, 18 1-7 Schematic of the NRA detection method, 19 2-1 The throughput-detection probability space, 22 2-2 Two representative improvised explosive devices used in the FAA effectiveness testing of air cargo inspection systems, 24 2-3 Example of newspapers packed in an LD-3 container, 25 2-4 Typical magazine test item, 25 2-5 ARACOR Eagle transmission x-ray system. (a) Inspecting cargo (b) Transmission x-ray image, 28 2-6 VACIS II system. (a) Scanning a truck; (b) Representative transmission radiograph for a truck without C-4 simulant, (c) With C-4 simulant; (d) Transmission radiograph of an LD-3 container, 29 2-7 Typical machine part test item, 30 2-8 Typical electronics test item, 30 2-9 Typical produce test item, 31 2-10 Typical seafood test item, 31