R. Coogan, C.M. Marianno, and W.S. Charlton, “A Strategic Analysis of Stationary Radiation Portal Monitors and Mobile Detection Systems in Border Monitoring”, Nuclear Engineering and Technology, 52, 3 (2020).
Radiation Portal Monitors (RPMs) are our primary border defense against nuclear smuggling, but are they still the best way to spend limited funds? The purpose of this research is to strategically compare RPM defense at the border with state-side mobile detectors. Limiting the problem to a comparison of two technologies, a decision-maker can prioritize how to best allocate resources, by reinforcing the border with stationary overt RPMs, or by investing in Mobile Radiation Detection Systems (MRDs) which are harder for an adversary to detect but may have other weaknesses. An abstract, symmetric network was studied to understand the impact of initial conditions on a network. An asymmetric network, loosely modeled on a state transportation system, is then examined for the technology that will maximally suppress the adversary’s success rate. We conclude that MRDs, which have the advantage of discrete operation, outperform RPMs deployed to a border. We also conclude that MRDs maintain this strategic advantage if they operate with one-tenth the relative efficiency of their stationary counter-parts or better.