Bournemouth Report: The Conference Where Nothing Happened

An Accurate, Real-Time, Centralized Radiation Detection System for Major Events and Sites

At last year’s annual Labour Party Conference in Bournemouth, Dorset (U.K.), the Dorset Police Department was faced with its largest security operation ever. The event, comparable to a U.S. Democratic or Republican presidential nominating convention, was attended by more than 12,000 delegates, media representatives, and exhibitors. Responsible for the meeting’s overall security and employing more than 400 officers, the Dorset Police planned to focus particular attention on monitoring and managing potential radiation threats during the conference.

The Bournemouth event required a flexible but dependable radiation-monitoring system that would provide precise radiological detection in real time at various sites throughout the venue and surrounding areas. The main objective was to ensure that an early warning would be issued in the case of a change in the radiological signature of a secure area. Other prime objectives were that the system should not create any false positives and should not interfere in any way with either the throughput of delegates or the overall security operation itself. Equally important was that every sensor and detector be connected into a central information hub where the radiation warnings could be immediately assessed and exactly located.

The Thermo Scientific ViewPoint™ Enterprise System

To accomplish these ambitious goals, the Dorset Police chose the Thermo Scientific ViewPoint Enterprise radiation-detection system from the Radiation Measurement and Security Instruments business of Thermo Fisher Scientific. Because it had the capability to tie together all of the remote sensors via a robust, open, and scalable IT architecture, the Thermo ViewPoint Enterprise system acted as the command-and-control focal point for centrally processing and analyzing all instrument and detector information.  

For the U.K. event, the pre-installed ViewPoint data engine received information from the system inputs – a complete set of detection appliances that were installed at strategic locations within the conference site – and routed the input to the command center, which employed multiple workstation PCs for display, job coverage, and/or database logging walk-through portals.

RVSS Survey Vehicle: Mobile Radiation Monitoring

The detection appliances also were used to equip a Thermo Scientific survey vehicle for a remote vehicle search site (RVSS) – both to screen vehicles entering the conference’s confines and to provide wide-area radiological background trending. The survey vehicle – outfitted with gamma and neutron probes, an ADR (Absorber-coupled Double-effect Regenerative) air concentrator detector, a GID (Grazing-Incidence Diffraction) spectroscopy personal radiation detector (SPRD), and a RadEye PRD (Personal Radiation Detector) – also drove predetermined routes twice a day monitoring radiation levels and comparing them with previous background radiation surveys.

In addition, the centralized communication network allowed the real-time transmission of data, recorded by the Thermo Scientific detection appliances, to be sent to both the Winfrith Headquarters of the Dorset Police and the Thermo Scientific RVSS via the ViewPoint system. The system, operated with Windows™ NT/2000/XP, not only produced real-time dose readings but also Global Positioning System (GPS) data that enabled police officers and Thermo Fisher Scientific personnel to determine the exact location of a radiological event.

During the conference, a Thermo Scientific TPM 903B transportable portal monitor was also utilized to ensure that nobody carrying potentially threatening radioactive materials would be able to enter the conference site. All of the detectors at the U.K. event featured the inherent capability to clearly distinguish between naturally occurring radiation and radioactivity that is artificial and could pose a serious threat.

“The ViewPoint system was easy to use and provided a high degree of confidence,” said Charlie Eggar, superintendent of the Dorset police force. “The Thermo Fisher Scientific team fitted in very well with the CBRN [chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear] operation and had the expertise needed to keep the systems working reliably. They also had the reachback capability required to assist with the speedy identification of any alarm activations. This was demonstrated when alarms were set off by low-level sources used in press cameras that caused an alarm to activate when a large number of cameras were grouped together.”

The Thermo Scientific ViewPoint Enterprise system also is available for wider security markets, within the United States and overseas, for a variety of tasks, including first responder, nuclear power, industrial, and medical facility protection.

Read full Bournemouth Report.

View Thermo Fisher Scientific’s Solutions 

Steve Fortado

Steve Fortado is a communications specialist with a depth of experience in technical and marketing communications writing for the high-tech and bio-tech industries, focusing principally on analytical and scientific instruments, filtration, and liquid and gas chromatography. He has worked with several leading high-tech companies throughout his career including Millipore, Waters Corporation, ESA Biosciences, and Thermo Fisher Scientific.



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