Facilitation of Safe and Secure Trade Using Nuclear Detection Technology - Detection of RN and Other Contraband

Open for proposals

Project Type

Coordinated Research Project

Project Code




Approved Date

2 July 2020


Active - Ongoing

Start Date

20 April 2022

Expected End Date

1 July 2026

Participating Countries

Iran (Islamic Republic of)
Lao People’s Democratic Republic
Saudi Arabia
South Africa
United Republic of Tanzania
Viet Nam


Facilitation of safe and secure trade is a fundamental need for every State. Although trade facilitation is critical to economic prosperity, it is also essential to ensure the safety and security of the supply chain by detecting, preventing, and deterring illicit trafficking of nuclear and other radioactive materials. To address nuclear security and safety issues, Member States have installed more than 11,000 radiation portal monitors (RPMs) at border locations (airports, seaports, land border crossings) around the globe to detect the presence of nuclear and other radioactive material. Though the use of these radiation detectors has mostly been limited to nuclear security applications, these passive nuclear detection technologies could readily be used to provide an additional layer of radiation safety and also yield data to be used in conjunction with information-based risk assessment and other non-intrusive inspection technologies to enhance detection of other types of illicit trafficking and commercial fraud. The focus of the CRP is the enhancement of the use and sustainability of nuclear detection technologies by developing and advancing the methods, techniques, algorithms, software tools, specifications and technical guidance documents used to detect nuclear and other radioactive material out of regulatory control.  Concurrently, the improvement in the methods and approaches will be used to facilitate safe and secure trade by enhancing the use of nuclear detection technologies and data analytics to also detect radiation safety hazards, and support detection of anomalies that indicate the possible presence of other contraband materials or commercial fraud.


The primary objective of the CRP is to enhance the use and sustainability of nuclear security detection systems and measures at points of entry/exit and other trade locations used to detect nuclear and other radioactive material out of control. Through the development and advancement of nuclear detection technology related methods, techniques, algorithms, software tools, specifications and technical guidance documents, nuclear detection systems will be improved and concurrently support facilitation of safe and secure trade. The integration of nuclear detection technologies with other technologies and data analytics will support detection of anomalies indicating the presence of other contraband materials, safety hazards, and commercial fraud. The increased “value” of nuclear security detection systems and methods will support enhanced use and sustainability of the systems.

Specific objectives

Enhance the use and sustainability of nuclear security systems and measures by increasing the value proposition of associated equipment through demonstration and development of methods to detect illicit trafficking of radioactive materials and detect anomalies that may indicate the presence of other contraband, smuggling, and commercial fraud.

Development of advanced methods and techniques to enhance the ability of existing passive nuclear detection technologies to verify cargo contents, e.g., assessment of streaming data from radiation portal monitors (RPMs) and comparisons to declared commodity information.

Enhancing the use of various active detection technologies (e.g., use of X-rays and neutrons) to identify elemental constituents in shipping containers for use in detecting nuclear and radioactive materials, explosives, drugs, and chemical agents, other contraband, and commercial fraud.

Development of advanced techniques for integration of passive and active detection systems to enhance detection of shielded nuclear and other radioactive material, other contraband, and commercial fraud.

Development of algorithms, approaches, software tools, and specifications for data integration of different detection technologies, automation of the information processing to optimize the limited resources, and improving the use of data analytics in the assessment of detector technology response.

Development of better understanding of legitimate shipping practices of NORM commodities with high radionuclide concentrations by collaborating with the industry to increase the effectiveness of detection of illicit activities and support safe and secure trade.

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