WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced today the award of Advanced Spectroscopic Portal (ASP) program contracts totaling $1.157 billion to enhance the detection of radiological and nuclear materials at the nation’s points of entry.

“This program is the latest effort in the Department’s broader strategy to enhance our nation’s security by harnessing cutting-edge technologies,” said Secretary Michael Chertoff. “This advanced equipment will greatly enhance our ability to manage risk and focus on the greatest threats, particularly those presented by nuclear and radiological elements.”

The ASP program improves upon the existing polyvinyl toluene based radiation portal monitors which are currently being deployed to the nation’s points of entry by Customs and Border Protection, as well as overseas through the Department of Energy Megaports Initiative. These new systems will enhance current detection capabilities by more clearly identifying the source of detected radiation through spectroscopic isotope identification.

“The ASP program provides significant improvement in the detection of special nuclear materials such as highly enriched uranium and weapons grade plutonium,” said Vayl S. Oxford, Director of the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office. “The program is critical to implementing the Global Nuclear Detection Architecture. By identifying these materials through spectroscopy, these next-generation systems will reduce the false alarm rate by distinguishing between special nuclear materials and naturally occurring radioactive materials.”

Three vendors, Raytheon Company – Integrated Defense Systems, Thermo Electron Corporation, and Canberra Industries, Inc. have been awarded contracts with one base year and four one-year options. The contracts include cost-plus award fee options to cover engineering and development activity as well as firm fixed price options for hardware purchases. The priority for the base year is development and testing of the fixed radiation detection portal that will become the standard installation for screening cargo containers and truck traffic.