With the help of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), U.S. Customs and Border Protection has been able to significantly improve the efficiency of its Radiation Portal Monitors (RPMs), which are used to detect radiological threats that may be transported in cargo and conveyances entering at U.S. ports. Through a multi-year effort, PNNL was able to customize the operational settings of the RPMs at several major sea and land ports around the U.S. to reduce false positive hits by an average of 78% at seaports and 44% at land ports.
This adds up to 230,000 less RPM alarms per year and more than 57,000 hours of processing time. This then allows 88 CBP Officers to shift their focus to higher risk areas of the mission. The effort is estimated to save approximately $65 million over the next 10 years. This stands as a fine example of the security and efficiency that can be gained when innovative technology is applied to the mission of enabling secure trade, in turn helping to boost the U.S. economy.