THE PRACTICALITY OF PULSED FAST NEUTRON TRANSMISSION SPECTROSCOPY FOR AVIATION SECURITY

Panel on Assessment of the Practicality of Pulsed Fast Neutron Transmission Spectroscopy for Aviation Security
National Materials Advisory Board
Commission on Engineering and Technical Systems
National Research Council

NNMAB-482-6
Washington, D.C. 1999




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THE PRACTICALITY OF PULSED FAST NEUTRON TRANSMISSION SPECTROSCOPY FOR AVIATION SECURITY Panel on Assessment of the Practicality of Pulsed Fast Neutron Transmission Spectroscopy for Aviation Security National Materials Advisory Board Commission on Engineering and Technical Systems National Research Council NNMAB-482-6 Washington, D.C. 1999

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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 competencies and with regard for appropriate balance. This report has been reviewed by a group other than the authors according to procedures approved by a Report Review Committee consisting of members of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. 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. William 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 adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Kenneth I. Shine 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. William Wulf are chairman and vice chairman, respectively, of the National Research Council. This study by the National Materials Advisory Board was conducted under Contract No. DTFA03-94-C00068 with the Federal Aviation Administration. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the organizations or agencies that provided support for the project. Available in limited supply from: National Materials Advisory Board 2101 Constitution Avenue, N.W. HA-262 Washington, DC 20418 202-334-3505 nmab@nas.edu Additional copies are available for sale from: National Academy Press Box 285 2101 Constitution Ave., N.W. Washington, DC 20055 800-624-6242 202-334-3313 (in the Washington Metropolitan Area) http://www.nap.edu International Standard Book Number: 0-309-06449-X Copyright 1999 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America.

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Panel On Assessment Of The Practicality Of Pulsed Fast Neutron Transmission Spectroscopy For Aviation Security PATRICK J. GRIFFIN (chair), Sandia National Laboratories, Albuquerque, New Mexico ROBERT BERKEBILE, consultant, Leesburg, Florida HOMER BOYNTON, consultant, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina LEN LIMMER, consultant, Fort Worth, Texas HARRY MARTZ, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Livermore, California CLINTON OSTER, JR., Indiana University, Bloomington National Materials Advisory Board Liaison JAMES WAGNER, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio National Materials Advisory Board Staff RICHARD CHAIT, director CHARLES T. HACH, staff officer SANDRA HYLAND, senior program manager (until June 1998) JANICE M. PRISCO, project assistant Government Liaisons JOHN DALY, U.S. Department of Transportation, Washington, D.C. ANTHONY FAINBERG, Federal Aviation Administration, Washington, D.C. PAUL JANKOWSKI, Federal Aviation Administration Technical Center, Atlantic City, New Jersey LYLE MALOTKY, Federal Aviation Administration, Washington, D.C. ALAN K. NOVAKOFF, Federal Aviation Administration Technical Center, Atlantic City, New Jersey

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National Materials Advisory Board EDGAR A. STARKE, JR. (chair), University of Virginia, Charlottesville JESSE BEAUCHAMP, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena FRANCIS DiSALVO, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York EARL DOWELL, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina EDWARD C. DOWLING, Cyprus Amax Minerals Company, Englewood, Colorado THOMAS EAGER, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge ALASTAIR M. GLASS, Lucent Technologies, Murray Hill, New Jersey MARTIN E. GLICKSMAN, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, New York JOHN A.S. GREEN, The Aluminum Association, Washington, D.C. SIEGFRIED S. HECKER, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, New Mexico JOHN H. HOPPS, JR., Morehouse College, Atlanta, Georgia MICHAEL JAFFE, Hoechst Celanese Corporation, Summit, New Jersey SYLVIA M. JOHNSON, SRI International, Menlo Park, California SHEILA F. KIA, General Motors Research and Development Center, Warren, Michigan LISA KLEIN, Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, New Brunswick HARRY LIPSITT, Wright State University, Yellow Springs, Ohio ALAN MILLER, Boeing Commercial Airplane Group, Seattle, Washington ROBERT PFAHL, Motorola, Schaumberg, Illinois JULIA PHILLIPS, Sandia National Laboratories, Albuquerque, New Mexico KENNETH L. REIFSNIDER, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg JAMES WAGNER, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio JULIA WEERTMAN, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois BILL G.W. YEE, Pratt and Whitney, West Palm Beach, Florida RICHARD CHAIT, Director

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Preface The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) of the U.S. Department of Transportation was established in 1958 to promote and ensure the safety of air travel. One objective of the FAA is to reduce the vulnerability of the civil air transport system to terrorist threats by employing procedural and technical means to detect and counter threats. The role of the FAA in aviation security also includes developing new technologies for aviation security through the FAA's research and development program. One area of research being pursued by the FAA is accelerator-based nuclear technologies that detect explosives by measuring the elemental composition of the material under examination. Pulsed fast neutron transmission spectroscopy (PFNTS) is one of these element-specific detection technologies. PFNTS, however, has a number of practical limitations, including large size and weight, the necessity of radiation shielding, and the regulatory and safety issues associated with using neutron-producing equipment in an airport environment. In the second interim report of the National Research Council's (NRC) Committee on Commercial Aviation Security (CCAS), the committee recommended that the FAA not pursue accelerator-based technologies for primary screening of checked baggage and not fund development projects for large accelerator-based hardware. The CCAS concluded that the detection performance of these methods should be better understood before the FAA addressed airport integration issues. In 1994, the FAA awarded Tensor Technology a two-year grant to build a multidimensional neutron radiometer (MDNR) airline security system. The detection performance of the MDNR showed that it could potentially meet the probability of detection (Pd) required for FAA certification for all but one of the required explosives categories. Based on these test results and in light of the recommendations of the CCAS, the FAA awarded Tensor a six-month cooperative agreement grant to present the company's evaluation of PFNTS compared to other, currently available technologies for the primary screening of passenger baggage for explosives and for the screening of cargo in airports. In 1998, the FAA requested that the NRC review and evaluate Tensor Technology's assessment of PFNTS in light of the CCAS's recommendations and technical developments since the second interim report. In response to the FAA's request, the NRC convened the Panel on Assessment of the Practicality of Pulsed Fast Neutron Transmission Spectroscopy for Aviation Security under the auspices of the CCAS. The panel was charged with evaluating the practicality of PFNTS for primary screening of passenger baggage or for screening cargo, as compared to currently available x-ray computed tomography (CT)-based systems. This report evaluates the practicality of PFNTS for aviation security under current performance requirements, as compared to FAA-certified x-ray CT-based systems. The panel also provides several recommendations for prioritizing research to address the technical limitations of PFNTS in the event that funds are appropriated for the continued development of this technology. It should be noted that the panel does not support or oppose such appropriations. It should also be noted that solving the technical challenges of PFNTS will not address the practical limitations (e.g., size and weight) of this technology, which may be the most important factors in determining the role of PFNTS in aviation security. Patrick J. Griffin, chair Panel on Assessment of the Practicality of Pulsed Fast Neutron Transmission Spectroscopy for Aviation Security

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Acknowledgments The Panel on Assessment of the Practicality of Pulsed Fast Neutron Transmission Spectroscopy for Aviation Security would like to acknowledge the individuals who contributed to this study, including the following speakers: Curtis Bell, Federal Aviation Administration; Anthony Fainberg, Federal Aviation Administration; Richard Lanza, Massachussetts Institute of Technology; Thomas "Gill" Miller, Tensor Technology; John Overley, University of Oregon; Fred Roder, Federal Aviation Administration; and Peter K. Van Staagan, Tensor Technology. The panel is also grateful for the contributions of the contracting office technical representatives, Paul Jankowski and Alan K. Novakoff. In addition, the panel is appreciative of the insights provided by John Daly, U.S. Department of Transportation; Rodger Dickey, Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport; Karl Erdman, Ebco Technology; Ronald Krauss, Federal Aviation Administration; Lyle Malotky, Federal Aviation Administration; Ronald Polillo, Federal Aviation Administration; and Johannes E. van Lier, University De Sherbrooke. 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 NRC's Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making the 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 participation in the review of this report: Jack Bullard, American Airlines; Robert Gagne, Food and Drug Administration; Robert E. Green, Johns Hopkins University; James Hall, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory; John LaRue, Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport; Hyla Napadensky, Napadensky Energetics (retired); and John Strong, College of William and Mary. While the individuals listed above have provided constructive comments and suggestions, it must be emphasized that responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the NRC. For organizing panel meetings and directing this report to completion, the panel would like to thank Charles Hach, Sandra Hyland, Lois Lobo, Janice Prisco, and Pat Williams, staff members of the National Materials Advisory Board. The panel is also appreciative of the efforts of Carol R. Arenberg, editor, Commission on Engineering and Technical Systems.

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Acronyms CCAS Committee on Commercial Aviation Security CFR Code of Federal Regulations CT computed tomography EDS explosives-detection system EIS Environmental Impact Statement FAA Federal Aviation Administration MDNR multidimensional neutron radiometer NMAB National Materials Advisory Board NRC National Research Council Pd probability of detection Pfa probability of false alarm PFNTS pulsed fast neutron transmission spectroscopy RCRA Resource Conservation and Recovery Act SEIPT Security Equipment Integrated Product Team TLD thermoluminescent dosimeter

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Contents     Executive Summary   1 1   Introduction   6     Overview of Pulsed Fast Neutron Transmission Spectroscopy,   6     Background of This Study,   6     Organization of This Report,   8 2   Principle of Bulk Explosives Detection   9     X-ray-Based Technologies,   9     Pulsed Fast Neutron Transmission Spectroscopy,   10 3   Laboratory Tests of Pulsed Fast Neutron Transmission Spectroscopy   13     University of Oregon Blind Tests,   13     Tensor Technology Blind Tests,   14     Detection of Class A Explosives,   14     Assessment of Detection Performance,   15 4   Baseline Characteristics of Explosives-Detection Systems Based on X-Ray-Computed Tomography   17     Test Data from the FAA Technical Center,   17     Operational Demonstration,   17 5   Tensor Technology Report on the Multidimensional Neutron Radiometer Airline Security System   19     Technical Capabilities and Physical Attributes,   19     Operational Capabilities,   24     Cargo Inspection,   25 6   Comparison of Pulsed Fast Neutron Transmission Spectroscopy and FAA-Certified Explosives-Detection Systems   26     Performance,   26     Operations,   27     Airport Integration,   31     Licensing and Regulations,   32

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7   Conclusions and Recommendations   35     Questions Posed by the FAA,   35     Prototype,   36     Research,   37     References   40     Biographical Sketches of Panel Members   42

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Tables, Figures, and Boxes TABLES 3-1   Performance of the University of Oregon Explosives-Detection Algorithm in Blind Tests   13 3-2   Performance of the Tensor Explosives-Detection Algorithm in Blind Tests   14 4-1   Performance Test Results for the InVision CTX-5000 SP and CTX-5500 DS   17 4-2   Summary of Open Testing of CTX-5000 SP at San Francisco International Airport   18 6-1   Baseline Characteristics/Attributes Used in This Assessment   28 FIGURES 2-1a   Normalized nitrogen and oxygen distributions determined by PFNTS from the contents of suitcases, with and without explosives   11 2-1b   Normalized carbon and hydrogen distributions determined by PFNTS from the contents of suitcases, with and without explosives   11 2-2   Total cross section of hydrogen, carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen as a function of energy   12 3-1   Neural net values during Tensor blind testing for a slurry sample at an angle in a suitcase   15 3-2   Gray-scale maps from B-matrix during University of Oregon blind tests of a bag containing an explosive in an iron pipe sloping up to the right   15 5-1   Artist's conception of the layout of the MDNR   20 5-2   Possible baggage-flow path for the MDNR   22 5-3   Photograph of the Ebco TR19 cyclotron accelerator   23 BOXES ES-1   CCAS Recommendations for Accelerator-Based Explosives-Detection Technologies   2 1-1   CCAS Recommendations for Accelerator-Based Explosives-Detection Technologies   7 1-2   Statement of Task for the Panel on Assessment of the Pulsed Fast Neutron Transmission Spectroscopy for Aviation Security   8 6-1   Selected CFR Regulations Relevant to PFNTS   33

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