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Daily News on Nuclear, Biological & Chemical Weapons, Terrorism and Related Issues

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Scientists Study Crystal-Based Radiation Detection Method

Scientists at Fisk University in Nashville have formulated a variety of crystal they believe can be used to distinguish potential radiological "dirty bomb" ingredients from harmless radiation sources more accurately than scanners now in use, The Tennessean reported Tuesday (see GSN, Sept. 16).

The strontium iodide crystals under investigation can be produced relatively inexpensively inside a laboratory in a number of weeks. Other radiation scanner materials can only be employed at very low temperatures or produced with byproducts from nuclear weapons assembly, according to the newspaper.

Other participants in the projects included the U.S. Homeland Security Department, the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California, the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee and Massachusetts-based Radiation Monitoring Devices Inc. Manufacturing of the device -- the "high-performance iodide scintillator for gammar-ray spectroscopy -- could begin in 2011 (Jennifer Brooks, The Tennessean, Sept. 21).