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U.S. Department of Homeland Security Adopts Radiological and Nuclear Detection American National Standards

New York, Feb 27, 2004

At a press conference at John F. Kennedy International Airport, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology division today announced the adoption of four American National Standards designed to assist federal agencies as well as state and local officials in procurement decisions related to radiological and nuclear detection equipment.

The DHS Office of Domestic Preparedness developed the standards in partnership with the Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the Department of Energy’s National Laboratories, and the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), an ANSI-accredited standards development organization. DHS and its partners will convene on a regular basis to revise these standards as detection technology evolves.

“The availability of these standards is vital in our ability to detect weapons of mass destruction or other potentially dangerous devices,” said Dr. Penrose “Parney” Albright, Under Secretary of Science and Technology, DHS (pictured above, at podium). Dr. Albright remarked on the dedicated effort of the participating organizations in accelerating the development and approval process for this group of standards. “IEEE and ANSI stepped up to the plate to deliver these standards to meet urgent needs in nuclear detection,” said Albright. “This is a 21st century way of doing business that we hope the Department embodies.”

The standards will assist manufacturers and homeland security professionals by providing performance standards and test methods, as well as minimum characteristics for four classes of radiation detection equipment ranging from hand-held alarming detectors to radiation portal monitors for cargo containers:

  • ANSI N42.32-2003: Performance Criteria for Alarming Personal Radiation Detectors for Homeland Security
  • ANSI N42.33-2003: Radiation Detection Instrumentation for Homeland Security
  • ANSI N42.34-2003: Performance Criteria for Hand-Held Instruments for the Detection and Identification of Radionuclides
  • ANSI N42.35-2004: Evaluation and Performance of Radiation Detection Portal Monitors for Use in Homeland Security

New York Fire Department Chief Robert Ingram (pictured above, at left) expressed his gratitude to the individuals that contributed to this cross-sector effort. “As first responders, we need these standards, otherwise we are at the mercy of salespeople. We don’t always have the technical expertise to distinguish between our needs and the capabilities of equipment. Knowing equipment has been tested to a standard helps us to do our jobs.”

Officials receiving DHS grants through the Office of Domestic Preparedness will use the standards as technical guidance on performance specifications for detectors. The standards reflect the continuing support of a multi-year program in Homeland Security’s Science and Technology division, managed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, to develop detection equipment for use by federal, state and local employees for the detection of radiological and nuclear material.

The four documents are available for purchase from IEEE ( and the ANSI eStandards Store (

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