Nuclear Detection 101

  • Why detector area matters

    I dropped my water bottle in the office yesterday, spilling water on the floor. The kitchen was stocked with two types of paper towels: expensive super high absorbent name-brand rolls, and generic, thinner wipes.  Taking one of the higher absorbent rolls did the trick, but so did two of the thinner ones.  And the thinner […]

  • Nuclear materials

    The good news about nuclear bombs is that only two elements can be used induce a nuclear explosion: plutonium (Pu) and highly enriched uranium (HEU). While securing and detecting these materials is a herculean task, at least the field of materials is narrowed. First, a refresher crash course in chemistry: An element is a substance […]

  • Dirty Bomb v. Nuclear Bomb

    This is the first post in a series that reviews the basic science, trade-offs, and policy issues around nuclear threat detection. Nuclear bombs, dirty bombs, radiological dispersion…there are a lot of threats out there, and they are not all equal. When governments assess terror risks to their citizens in part based on the potential scale […]