The Interdiction Technology and Integration Laboratory (ITIL) is designed to be flexible and expandable so that research and test scientists can replicate field conditions at U.S. and foreign ports of entry and military bases where the detectors are used. The facility houses radiation portal monitors, or RPMs, along with the necessary supporting systems that make up a deployed radiological interdiction system. The equipment can be arranged to simulate actual port configurations to conduct functional demonstrations, system integration, and regression testing. It can be configured to test new components and upgrades to existing equipment or to troubleshoot operational issues. Training on the systems is also provided for facility personnel and approved visitors. Procedures are developed and tested for the systems installed at the facility and field applications. The track also can be used to conduct forensic analyses on the equipment as it ages. When a test is completed, the equipment is returned to a standard configuration.
The test track includes three traffic lanes in each of two test areas and the capability to use multiple test beds per lane. Power and data communication are provided throughout each test area and are also included at each corner of the track. This infrastructure facilitates the use of ancillary equipment, such as lane cameras, gate arms, traffic control lights, and weather monitoring stations.
The test track enables researchers to examine the interaction between active interrogation (radiography) and multiple passive radiation detection systems simultaneously. The 400-meter lit, paved track has two separate three-lane-wide testing areas with room for 30 fixed-site systems. This is very useful for understanding the impact to system performance from interference and cross-talk effects often experienced in high-density port environments.
The ITIL maintains a full suite of interdiction sensors and the supporting technology used at U.S. and foreign ports of entry and military bases today. These radiation detection systems support PNNL’s world-leading research in support of nuclear interdiction methodologies.
In addition to testing new systems or technical refinements, work at the test track also includes troubleshooting, maintaining, and enhancing the performance of deployed configurations. This type of work is important in ensuring new systems perform as expected and that performance enhancements will have the desired effect when put into service in the field.
Radiation detection is a core science competency at PNNL. The ITIL benefits from proximity to the dozens of radiation detection experts located in the nearby Radiation Detection Laboratory.