Secure Hospital Sources from Theft or Misuse and Manage Radiological Emergencies

Radioactive sources in hospitals could be used for REDs and Dirty Bombs

Hospitals are home to dangerous radiation sources used in nuclear medicine and blood irradiators. These sources pose a risk for use in two terrorist threats described by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS); the Radiological Exposure Device (RED) and the Dirty Bomb. In the RED, radioactive material is placed in the crowd, out of sight. In the Dirty Bomb scenario, the radioactive material is dispersed with a conventional explosive. Unfortunately, the U.S .General Accounting Office has determined that "nearly four out of five high-risk hospitals nationwide have failed to implement safeguards to secure radiological materials that could be used in a dirty bomb..." or RED.

Surveillance cameras can detect sources

GammaPix patented technology can provide a low-cost, pervasive detector network to monitor radioactivity using the hospital's existing security cameras. The GammaPix Radioactivity Detection Software takes advantage of the inherent sensitivity of digital cameras to ionizing gamma radiation. Tests at a local hospital showed that an existing surveillance camera can easily detect the presence of a source that had been removed from storage and could also detect the presence or absence of the source within the storage unit.

 

Low-Cost radioactivity detection network

In addition to surveillance cameras, hospital staff smartphones and tablets plus devices used by the public can add additional data. The picture below shows signatures for 4 gamma ray hits on a single video frame from an iPad close to a 10µCurie source.

 

The surveillance cameras are already linked to the hospital security system and data from both staff and public smartphones and tablets can be collected via WiFi and cell networks. These detectors are combined to provide a radioactivity detection network covering hospital work areas, hallways, exits, parking areas and the surrounding community. Location and time-tagged data are mapped onto computer monitors to enhance radiological source surveillance, permitting hospital security station to track the location and movement of radioactive sources.

 

Managing Radiological Emergencies

Should a radiological attack or accident occur, GammaPix equipped security cameras and mobile devices belonging to the public and hospital transmit data to a Command Center for rapid assessment of the location and extent of the emergency. Police, fire/rescue and other frontline responders, staff and patients may become contaminated in radiological emergencies such as the nuclear disaster at Fukushima, Japan. GammaPix data can monitor the premises to ensure it remains free of contamination and to monitor the dose received by First Responders, hospital staff and patients.