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Friday, April 13, 2012


SWORD model of helo based detector with source aboard a small vessel 
Software for the Optimization of Radiation Detectors (SWORDs)
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is committed to securing the country against radiological and nuclear threats. To help further this mission, DHS Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO) is constantly working to develop smarter and more cost effective ways to address these security threats and maximize resources and expertise from across the federal government. The Software for the Optimization of Radiation Detectors (SWORDs) program enables faster development and evaluation of nuclear detection equipment at a lower cost.

The Technology
The DNDO-sponsored SWORDs program supports the development of software that simulates real-world operational environments. The easy-to-use interface, with flexible design and layout components, enables laboratories to evaluate and optimize the performance of radiation detectors without having to run multiple costly field tests. This software provides an environment for simulating gamma-ray background radiation, nuisance sources, and targets of interest. SWORDs can generate a large selection of source and background emission models, as well as object models including specific detectors, airborne detector platforms, and even advanced prototype stand-off imaging systems.

As a supplement to the program, DNDO began an initiative in early 2012 to produce validated simulation models of existing detection systems. DNDO is running comparisons between software test results and real-world studies, helping to build confidence in the accuracy of the computer models.

Current Status:
The Naval Research Laboratory has recently released the newest version of SWORDs through the Radiation Safety Information Computational Center (RSICC) for use by the nuclear detection modeling community. DNDO is also collaborating with the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) to integrate SWORDs, DTRA-sponsored operational models, and a Los Alamos National Lab software package for simulating nuclear processes.