NE Seminar: “Radiation Sensor Networks for Counter-Terrorism”


1:50 pm-2:50 pm
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Edward Cazalas, Ph.D.

Dr. Cazalas is an Assistant Professor of Nuclear Engineering in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at the University of Utah since 2018. Dr. Cazalas’ past experience includes being a post-doctoral researcher at the Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT) and a Stanton Nuclear Security Fellow at the RAND Corporation. His research interests include topics in radiation and nuclear physics including radiation detection, dosimetry, radiation effects in electronics, and simulation and modeling.

Radiation Sensor Networks for Counter-Terrorism

How would we stop a nuclear detonation by a terrorist in our cities? One of the potentially promising final pre-detonation defenses is a radiation sensor network. Here, we will explore the concept of a traffic-based radiation detector network deployed onto roads/highways/stoplights/etc. The network has two functions: to detect and localize the covert transport of nuclear materials or weapons and to monitor nuclear fallout in post-attack scenarios.

We will discuss the technical feasibility of such a network, including detector hardware, deployment, and detection statistics. We will also discuss some other methods to defend against nuclear terrorism.

Finally, we will uncover considerations that may affect the policy of development and deployment, including considerations of cost, potential benefits, and drawbacks of the radiation sensor network discussed.