[ RadSafe ] Re: GAO Calls Radiation Monitors Unreliable

Dimiter Popoff didi at tgi-sci.com
Wed Oct 18 10:10:57 CDT 2006

Thanks for posting this. 

Nothing unexpected, they are likely
to spend more billions and more years until either one of the
"awarded" companies finds someone hireable who can make things
work or until the not-so-well working stuff gets deployed anyway.
 Nobody has contacted me so far on anything relating to this
effort, although probably most consultants (and certainly all
competitors) know quite well this would likely yield the
immediate solution.


Dimiter Popoff               Transgalactic Instruments


> Date: Wed, 18 Oct 2006 09:10:57 -0600
> From: "Philip Egidi" <pvegidi at smtpgate.dphe.state.co.us>
> To: <radsafe at radlab.nl>
> Subject: [ RadSafe ] GAO Calls Radiation Monitors Unreliable
> This was in today's Washington Post.
> I just pass em along.
> Phil Egidi
> ********
> GAO Calls Radiation Monitors Unreliable
> By Spencer S. Hsu
> Washington Post Staff Writer
> Wednesday, October 18, 2006; A12
> The Department of Homeland Security's plan to spend $1.2 billion deploying
> next-generation nuclear-detection equipment at U.S. ports and border
> crossings cannot be justified, given test results that showed the devices
> are unreliable, congressional investigators warned yesterday.
> The department ignored its own tests showing the new monitors could not
> meet a standard of detecting enriched uranium 95 percent of the time,
> according to the Government Accountability Office, Congress's audit arm.
> When the nuclear material was shielded, detection rates ranged from 17
> percent to 53 percent.
> DHS also understated the project's costs by up to $181 million, GAO
> officials wrote to the leaders of the House and Senate Appropriations
> Committees.
> The department's cost-benefit "analysis does not justify its recent
> decision to spend $1.2 billion to purchase and deploy" the new radiation
> portal monitors, the GAO reported. Homeland Security "relied on potential
> future performance to justify the purchase," the agency said.
> The report came four days after President Bush signed a $3.4 billion
> port-security bill that, among other things, requires new monitors to be
> deployed at the nation's 22 busiest ports by the end of 2007. Congress
> raced to pass the legislation last month before recessing for the midterm
> elections.
> "We're going to protect our ports. We're going to defend this homeland.
> And we're going to win the war on terror," Bush said at a signing ceremony
> Friday.
> In separate legislation last month, however, Congress barred full-scale
> production of the devices until the department certifies "a significant
> increase in operational effectiveness."
> The GAO report warns that the Bush administration risks repeating earlier
> failures. After the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the government spent $300
> million on radiation monitors that could not tell uranium from cat litter
> or ceramic tile. They also had high false-alarm rates.
> Existing monitors cost about $55,000. The new screening machines now cost
> at least $377,000 each, the GAO reported.
> DHS spokesman Jarrod Agen said the GAO missed the fact that the department
> is continuing to test and review devices produced by Thermo Electron
> Corp., Raytheon Co. and Canberra Industries Inc., which were awarded the
> business in July.
> The DHS is testing 80 devices under a one-year contract before deciding
> whether to move ahead with a five-year program to deploy 1,400 screening
> machines at ports and border crossings.
> "That 95 percent rate of effectiveness is a standard that we maintain. We
> are not going to put devices in the field unless they meet those high
> standards," Agen said.
> 2006 The Washington Post Company

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