DIY Radiation Scanner to Patrol SF Bay for Nukes is reporting on a group of volunteer researchers in the San Francisco Bay area, who are getting a headstart on the Department of Homeland Security’s plans to patrol US ports with radiation scanners by building their own do-it-yourself, portable nuke detector that will patrol San Francisco Bay.

From the article —

The Department of Homeland Security announced plans last month to bolster U.S. port defenses with radiation scanners. The program, primarily aimed at detecting nukes smuggled by terrorists in shipping containers, will cost an estimated $1.15 billion, but won’t be completed until 2011.

Here on the San Francisco Bay, a group of do-it-yourself volunteer researchers is not waiting for the mushroom cloud. They say they are close to perfecting a portable device that could do much the same thing right now, for total out-of-pocket costs of about $12,000.

The group, led by physicist and Sandia Lab weapons subcontractor Stanley Glaros, says it has already built a boat-mounted scanner with off-the-shelf parts that might reliably spot radiation spikes in container ships at sea from a kilometer away. The team’s detector has been up and running for eight months, and the group plans to publish its test findings in the Review of Scientific Instruments.

“Can we detect hazardous material at a distance?” said Glaros. “Yes, easily.”

You can read the entire article on @ DIY Nuke Detector Patrols SF Bay.