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Nuclear cargo detector

United States Patent

December 19, 2006
View the Complete Patent at the US Patent & Trademark Office
Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility - Visit the Technology Review Committee Website
Nuclear Cargo Detector
Apparatus for the inspection of cargo containers for nuclear materials comprising one or more arrays of modules comprising grounded, closed conductive tubes filled with an ionizing gas mixture such as, but not limited to, Argon:CO.sub.2. A wire is suspended along each tube axis and electrically connected at both ends of the tube. A positive, dc high voltage is supplied to one end of the wire and an amplifier is attached to the other end through a capacitance to decouple the amplifier from the high voltage. X-rays, gamma rays or neutrons produced by nuclear material and passing through the tube ionize the gas. The electrons from the gas ionization process are accelerated toward the wire surface due to the wire's electrical potential. The acceleration of the electrons near the wire's surface is sufficient to ionize more gas and produce an amplification of electrons/ions that create a surge of current large enough to be detectable by the amplifier. Means are also provided for a warning device coupled to the amplifier.
Christo; Steven Basil (Gloucester Point, VA)
Southeastern Univ. Research Assn. (Newport News, VA)
10/ 412,990
April 14, 2003
The United States of America may have certain rights to this invention under Management and Operating Contract DE-AC05-84ER 40150 from the United States Department of Energy.