Available Technology

Radiation Field Training Simulator (RaFTS)

The United States Government and many state and local agencies have spent billions of dollars fielding radiation detection equipment at borders, ports, and in cities to protect against attempts at radiological or nuclear terrorism or to prepare for the potential life-saving response needed in the aftermath, should such an attack occur. Such training is inadequate because it does not allow for the simultaneous use of their actual radiation detection gear, against scenarios of most concern. Training for scenarios that include high-hazard-level radiation sources such as Radiological Dispersal or Exposure Devices (RDD, RED, respectively), or wide-area contamination. limited because of the unwanted radiation dose, cost, safety, security (especially for special nuclear materials, SNM), as well as licensing and shipping requirements associated with their use. No current training methods provide the fully realistic experience to the user dealing with actual hazard-level RDD/RED sources or SNM in field operations with realistic radiation detection physics in the neighborhoods and borders where responders are expected to be prepared to face such possibilities. Use of small radioactive sources or virtual trainers have fundamental limitations that provide less than adequate training for responders. In order to address such limitations LLNL has developed RaFTS, an externally mounted device that directly interfaces with the circuitry of operational radiation detection systems. With RaFTS, trainees’ detectors respond on their own instruments to radiation levels that are dependent on their physical location relative to a pre-determined scenario. The outputs produced by RaFTS are of a quality that the detection instrument behaves as it would with real radioactivity, producing spectra on the detector that can be analyzed, andradiation intensity levels that realisticly depend on the detector’s location, without the presence of any radiation sources. Detectors behave as they would in real life, even including out-of-range responses, if so enabled. The physics of the radiation detection process is absolutely maintained including time and location varying responses, statistical randomness, etc. These same phenomena are observed when measuring real radiation sources. .

Patent Abstract: 

There are three main components to the RaFTS system: 1) the radiation detector, which can be of any type and from any manufacturer; 2) the RaFTS electronics, which produce the electronic pulses that are injected into the electronics of the radiation detector through a (to be) standardized port interface; and 3) the exercise scenario, which defines the synthetic radiation field and time-varying radioactivity concentrations/signal rates throughout the exercise area. The result is the detector system responds as if real sources are present and located at specific locations or are dispersed over specific areas in the training exercise.

Technology Type(s): 
radiation detection
Internal Laboratory Ref #: 
Lab Representatives
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