Lebanon NSNS

Published Date: 21 December 2010

© IAEA Beirut, March 2010: The IAEA and the EU conducted a training programme on radiation detection techniques for Lebanese customs officers. The training consisted of both classroom and practical sessions, given by international experts, as well as recently trained Lebanese officers. Here, Pascal Daures, an expert from the EU’s Joint Research Centre Institute for the Protection and Security of the Citizen (IPSC) in Ispra, provides an overview of different radiation detection instruments commonly used at border crossings. (from left) Patrice Richir from the EU’s Joint Research Centre, Valerie Rouillet-Chatelus from the IAEA’s Office of Nuclear Security, and Colonel Pierre El-Hajj from the Lebanese Customs Administration, brief the participants about the training programme. The EU funded the €2.1 million project which the IAEA implemented. Within 18 months, a radiation detection network was established and the national infrastructure to respond to chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) incidents was strengthened. With the theory lectures finished, participants begin hands-on training with the radiation detection equipment. The challenge begins: trainers hide a sealed radiation source in a camera before placing it into a bag. During this simulation, a “passenger” attempts to enter an airport with the radiation source hidden in one of his bags. Will the officers find it? Testing time! Success! The customs officer found the source. This Personal Radiation Detector gives a signal that confirms the presence of a source. An additional instrument is necessary to identify the hidden radionuclide. A Radionuclide Identification Device tells the officer the type of the radiation source. The peak seen on its screen confirms the Personal Radiation Detector’s earlier reading and pinpoints the source’s hiding spot. Only 60 seconds after the radiation source has been found, this easy-to-use Radionuclide Identification Device names the type of source. What is it? It’s an industrial Caesium-137 source, probably. The Radionuclide Identification Device categorizes its confidence in the result as a score of seven of a possible ten. In the next test, the officers need to determine if a vehicle might be hiding radiation sources. Again, the Personal Radiation Detector signals that a radiation source is present. The more sensitive Radionuclide Identification Device confirms the finding, as well as the source’s location. The Radionuclide Identification Device quickly guides the officer to the hidden source . The Radionuclide Identification Device accurately identifies the source. After the week-long course, the Lebanese custom officers receive their certificates. The EU/IAEA project trained 60 officers, staffing eight border crossings. At those border crossings, the project will install Radiation Portal Monitors to enhance the officers’ ability to detect radioactive material. © IAEA