(Photo/National Nuclear Security Administration)

UK Firm Awarded $291 Million Contract for Radiation Portal Monitors

Britain-based threat detection solutions firm Smiths Detection has been awarded a $291 million indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract with the Department of Homeland Security Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Office to provide checkpoints that can detect radiation-emitting material.

The contract was awarded prior to the government shutdown, which has stalled the issuance of all new contracts.

The contract was one of three that DHS awarded to supply U.S. Customs and Border Protection with replacement radiation portal monitors, which are large, stationary radiation detectors at ports of entry that can scan automobiles, containers, packages and people for radiation-emitting materials. CBP operates a fleet of nearly 1,400 RPMs. The other contracts were awarded to Leidos and L3.

“We are ready to help DHS and the CWMD office protect the United States for years to come,” said Smiths Detection, Inc. President Shan Hood in a Jan. 14 statement. “Smiths Detection’s extensive experience with radiation detection and checkpoint solutions, as well as our research and development investment in data solutions, makes cutting-edge screening technology a reality. Solutions like the RPM and our ability to deliver 24/7/365 service sets Smiths Detection’s solutions apart for their efficiency and effectiveness.”

A 2016 GAO report found that the RPMs were lasting longer than expected, and recommended that future acquisitions focus on RPM operational efficiencies.

“Preventing terrorists from smuggling nuclear or radiological materials to carry out an attack in the United States is a top national priority,” notes the GAO report. “Terrorists could use these materials to make an improvised nuclear device that could cause hundreds of thousands of deaths and devastate buildings and other infrastructure. DHS’s fleet of almost 1,400 RPMs helps secure the nation’s borders by scanning incoming cargo and vehicles for radiological and nuclear materials. DHS began deploying RPMs to seaports and border crossings in fiscal year 2003. As RPMs began to approach the end of their expected 13-year service lives, DHS raised concerns over the sustainability of the fleet, the ability to maintain current scanning coverage, and the need for fleet recapitalization.”

ICYMI: DHS S&T Awards $3.5M to Improve X-Ray Detection Technology

Smiths Detection also recently announced that it was awarded a Department of Defense contract to be one of the suppliers to design and engineer an Aerosol and Vapor Chemical Agent Detector, which the company described as “the next step in miniaturized chemical detection.”

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Multimedia journalist James Cullum has reported for over a decade to newspapers, magazines and websites in the D.C. metro area. He excels at finding order in chaotic environments, from slave liberations in South Sudan to the halls of the power in Washington, D.C.

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