THMG251 – Portable Neutron Generator with Jimmy Davis

A good friend of the show got in touch with us after listening to our recent episode THMG249 on radiation and taught us about something we didn’t even know existed, PORTABLE ISOTOPIC NEUTRON SPECTROSCOPY. Yup!, look it up. (or listen here)!

***WARNING*** Bob’s audio completely sucks. We know he’s a jerk, but apparently he’s also unable to pick the correct microphone. We apologize!

Show Notes:

2:45 Introduction To Jimmy Davis

  • Jimmy Davis works for large law enforcement agency in Southern California alongside HazMat
  • 17 years in law enforcement, 11 years dealing specifically in HazMat
  • Work alongside many different agencies with a focus on terrorism

4:18 What Is A Neutron Generator?

  • Excess neutrons in an atom creates radiation
  • Can detect radiation through metering
  • RID detecting with WMD’s
  • Neutron spectroscopy allows teams to determine radioactive nature of unknown substances (initially purchased by military to test for WMD’s)
  • Bombard the substance with neutrons and detect what is coming out of the container through metering
  • Expensive piece of technology that is generally used for a potential WMD

10:00 Neutron Generator on Poison Gas

  • Looking at spectrum on a RID to determine peaks and valleys of the substance (net peak)
  • Proportionate to chemical concentration in the container
  • Can look through steel container, mortar shell, steel drums, cylinders, etc
  • Neutron Generator is shielded by polyethylene and portable (3 pelican cases)

13:30 How Big Is the Neutron Generator?

  • 4ft in diameter on a tripod
  • Carried in three pelican cases
  • Traditional HazMat teams have never heard or seen a neutron generator

15:00 How Does It Determine Chemicals Inside?

  • Omits gamma ray when neutron bounces off substance
  • If it detects phosphorus, will look at ratio between phosphorous and hydrogen
  • Is there sulfur present? VX nerve gas
  • If there is nitrogen present, there are other potentials
  • Goes through a decision matrix looking at ratios of elements detected within
  • Commonly used alongside EOD teams
  • Standoff is 10ft
  • Comparison to AP4C
  • Limitations of Neutron Generator is that it doesn’t detect carbon or oxygen

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