New PNNL Mobile Radiation Scanner Leaving Americans Safer - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

New PNNL Mobile Radiation Scanner Leaving Americans Safer

RICHLAND, Wash.- Working closely with United States Customs and Border Patrol, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory's new mobile radiation monitor is increasing efficiency at ports around the nation tonight, and the technology could be used for Seattle's Safeco Field too.

Safe ports are essential to homeland security, and PNNL's new system allows containers to be easily scanned for radiation.

"This gives them the ability to go out to a location where they don't have an office, they don't have any infrastructure at all, clear a ship, and, then go back," said Bruce Carlisle, a Project Manager.

Current systems force workers to put shipments through inconvenient, immobile detectors, limiting screening capabilities. 

The new truck, which can run on just a small generator, isn't just limited to port security.

"The Department of Homeland Security can use this type of technology for other applications, for example, Super Bowls, or national conventions or those sorts of things. So having a rolling technology is very effective," said Randy Barnes, a Manager. 

When designing a system, cost effectiveness is essential.  If the system isn't cost effective, it can create increased problems.

"If you just have effectiveness without the efficiency of the, how quickly you can do it, things come to a screeching halt," said Jim Toomey, Executive Director of the Port of Pasco. 

And while things have to be efficient, officials still said security is their top concern.

Officials said that keeping ports secure not only leaves us safer, but contributes to the local economy as more cargo will come through area ports.