- The government is looking to buy radiation detection equipment (RDE) to deter and detect illicit trafficking of radioactive materials across international borders. Border crossings, integrated check posts (ICPs), and land ports will be equipped with RDE to stop any smuggling of material needed for a nuclear device or radiological dispersal device, said officials.
- The move will lead to a significant enhancement of India’s internal security abilities as border checks have so far focused on detecting counterfeit currency, drugs, arms and ammunition, and explosives, said a senior government official, who did not wish to be identified. The government issued a request for interest (RFI) on August 21, a copy of which has been seen by ET, for seeking inputs on system requirements and technical information for procuring RDE. India has ICPs at Attari, Jogbani, Raxaul, Agartala, Petrapole, and Moreh which see cross-border trade and movement of passengers.
- The government has sought information from bidders on the experience from places the world over where RDE has been installed and is actually underuse. The US Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration, for example, has been helping many countries combat the smuggling of radioactive material at important international border crossing points with such equipment, including at the Friendship Bridge connecting Afghanistan to Uzbekistan. Traditional security tools such as X-ray scanners and metal detectors cannot detect radiation, and special radiation detection equipment is a necessary and effective tool to prevent smuggling across borders, as per the US Department of Energy.
- “The intent of this RFI is to seek inputs on system requirements and other technical information from leading organizations in the design, development, implementation, operation, and management of RDE, and get the information from the bidders on the latest products and best practices followed globally,” said the document.
- Customs or security agencies could use the RDE, which could be installed in a drive-through monitoring station that scans trucks and their cargo. The equipment is capable of raising separate gamma and neutron radiation alarms and generating video frames of the target object. It will also have the ability to differentiate between special nuclear material and naturally occurring radiation in fertilizer or ceramics as well as high-energy gamma isotopes which are an attribute of recycled uranium, as per the document. Bidders have been asked to submit information regarding RDE by early September
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