Magazine article National Defense

New Alarm Means Safer Waste Transport

Magazine article National Defense

New Alarm Means Safer Waste Transport

Article excerpt

Los Alamos National Laboratory, in New Mexico, has developed a smart computer system that produces an almost instantaneous alarm signal when nuclear waste transports waver off course. Drivers have been under close surveillance since last fall when a Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) truck took a wrong turn in Santa Fe, N.M. The present system tracks the truck's course, but provides no warning when there is a deviation. Operators in the WIPP Central Monitoring Room (CMR) had to observe the truck's route, watch for deviations and then respond, often causing a delay that meant the truck was miles off course.

The Advanced Surveillance Technology team, at Los Alamos, had already developed the Guardian system. The Guardian can "reason" and learn to track anomalies from a transport path or a set pattern of behavior for personnel and material in nuclear material facilities. It was quick and inexpensive to adapt it for WIPP staff, according to experts at the lab. Guardian links with the satellite tracking system, and as soon as it recognizes a stop, communication failure or route deviation, it sounds alarms and posts message windows on the computer screens for the CMR operators. …

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