Happy Nuke Year 2002
Philip Messing of the New York Post reports that cops
patrolling Times Square on New Year's Eve will be armed with high-tech
sensors to protect revelers against the possibility of nuclear terrorism.
A significant number of law enforcement officers on duty
will be using "personal radiation detectors" on loan from the
U.S. Customs Service, according to Mr. Messing.
The device, which is slightly larger than a pack of cigarettes,
is capable of alerting the user to radioactivity nearby, providing greater
protection for the expected one million New Year's Eve revelers who will
watch the ball drop in Times Square.
A NYPD spokesman, Inspector Christopher Rising, who declined
to say how many members of the force would be provided with the gadgets,
which are triggered by extremely low levels of gamma rays and X-rays.
Mr. Messing states the black gadget, which weighs 6 ounces, measures 4.1
inches high, 2.4 inches wide and 0.9 inches thick, is carried in a Velcro
belt holster. It is powered by two AA alkaline batteries and cost $1,400.
If it detects radiation, the device vibrates, sounds a tone and displays
flashing yellow lights.
Mr. Messing quotes Inspector Rising who said that "Our responsibility
is to keep everyone safe. New York City post September 11, as well as
the rest of the country, post new challenges, and the NYPD is continuing
to do everything it can to keep New York City the safest large city in
He went on to explain that "Customs has been using them (the detector)
for a while to test shipments. They're not designed to give a pinpoint
reading- they're designed to tell you where you're safe to be."
The plan to use the device in Times Square is strictly "precautionary"
and not based on a specific threat, said Rising.
The company that makes the tool, Sensor Technology Engineering Inc. of
Santa Barbara, California, would not provide basic production information,
insisting it was designed solely for "governments, countries, municipalities
and security concerns."
A spokesman for the company who declined to give his name, said that,
"If you're not one of those, you have no purpose purchasing it. It
is a very, very sensitive device. If they come into anything that emits
radiation, it will sound an alarm and tell someone they need to investigate
From A Canadian Web Site
Held Radiation Monitor
The Hand Held Radiation Monitor (HRM) is a small, self contained
gamma ray and thermal neutron radiation detector for use in the interdiction
and location of nuclear materials. It was specifically designed to
be easily used by trained security forces and emergency responders.
The HRM is the size of a flashlight, and is intended to be hand held
or worn on the operator's belt in a nylon holster provided with the
unit. The HRM is available from Sensor Technology Engineering, Inc.,
Phone: (805) 964-9507, Fax (805) 964-2772, e-mail:Sb_sensor_tech@msn.com.
NYPD sources said that the device has been used before,
although no details were available.
The device also has proved effective elsewhere in the
war against terrorism.
Mr. Messing concluded his report by stating that; John A. Gordon, undersecretary
of the U.S. Department of Energy, told the Senate Appropriations Committee
on May 9 that a year earlier, Uzbekistan customs officers using a similar
detector seized 10 containers of highly radioactive material that were
suspected of being intended for use in a "radiation-dispersal bomb."
U.S. Customs spokesman James Michie had no details about that incident,
but said his agency had "trained border guards from approximately
20 countries on how to look for radioactive materials that could possibly
be used to construct weapons of mass destruction, and these countries
include some of the former Soviet Republic."