EPA Airborne Spectral Photometric Environmental Collection Technology
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EPA Airborne Spectral Photometric Environmental Collection Technology Gamma Emergency Mapper Project. 19 th National Radiological Emergency Preparedness Norfolk, VA April 21, 2009 John Cardarelli II 1 , Mark Thomas 1 , Tim Curry 1 , Scott Faller 2 , Roger Shura 2 , and David Kappelman 3

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EPA Airborne Spectral Photometric Environmental Collection TechnologyGamma Emergency Mapper Project

19th National Radiological Emergency Preparedness

Norfolk, VA

April 21, 2009

John Cardarelli II1, Mark Thomas1, Tim Curry1, Scott Faller2,

Roger Shura2, and David Kappelman3

1 National Decontamination Team

2 Radiological Emergency Response Team, Las Vegas

3 Radiological Emergency Response Team, Montgomery

Outline Technology

  • Background: ASPECT Aircraft & Program

  • ASPECT GEM Purpose and Goal

  • GEM Team

  • Radiation DetectionTechnology

  • Example Test Runs

  • Future Work

Program aspect aircraft platform

  • AeroCommander Platform

    • Base of Operation: Waxahachie, Texas

    • IFR/GPS Equipped

    • High Quality Filtered Power

    • STC Camera Holes in the floor

  • Crew: Two Pilots, One Operator, All Commercial/ATP Rated

  • Speeds:

    • Data Collection at 100 kts

    • Cruise at 180 – 200 kts

  • Range/Aloft Time:

    • Range 1,100 NM

    • Aloft Time 4 – 6 hours

  • Service Altitude:

    • Data Collection at 200 to 2,000 ft AGL

    • Cruise at 20,000 ft (with Supplemental Oxygen)

  • Ground Needs – Standard FBO

Aspect a irborne s pectral p hotometric e nvironmental c ollection t echnology
ASPECT TechnologyAirborne Spectral Photometric Environmental Collection Technology

  • The primary mission of ASPECT is to provide information to the first responder in a form that is timely, useful, and compatible with existing infrastructures.

  • ASPECT can provide infrared & photographic images with geospatial chemical and radiologicalinformation.

Methanol plume

Aspect operational requirements

  • Rapid Response —Wheels-up within one hour

  • Direct Integration into the Local Incident Commander

  • Standoff Detection of Chemical Plumes and Gamma Contamination

  • Automatic Processing

  • Real (or Near Real) Time Collection of Data

  • Aerial Photography Capability

  • Basic Data Communication

Aspect methods of activation
ASPECT TechnologyMethods of Activation

CERCLA or OPA Authority

National Response Center:

800 424 8802





National Declaration

Mission Activation




Special Purpose Mission




Aspect deployments and responses
ASPECT Deployments and Responses Technology

ASPECT Statistics

41 Emergency Responses

6 DHS SEAR Deployments

9 DHS NSSE Deployments

4 FEMA Activations

12 Special Projects




Special Projects

EPA ASPECT Technology– Hurricane RITA Response 9/24/2005

IR Spectral


Visible Image



ICI Acrylics

30.013890 N

-94.02917 W



Plume Identification and Classification

9/24 ASPECT Flight Passes

Over Targets




Aspect current systems

Line Scanner RS-800MSIRLS

  • ASPECT Uses Three Primary Sensors:

    • An Infrared Line Scanner to image the plume

    • A High Speed Infrared Spectrometer to identify and quantify the composition of the plume

    • A Gamma-Ray Spectrometers for Radiological Detection

BomemMR-254AB FTS

Radiation Solutions RSX-4

6 NaI and 2 LaBr3 detectors

Program aspect equipment view
Program ASPECT TechnologyEquipment View

Sensor Station Rear View

Operator Station

Camera and Sensors below Operator Station

Radiation detection technology
Radiation Detection Technology Technology

  • Radiation Solutions RS-500

  • 3 2”x4”x16” Sodium Iodide

  • 1 3”x3” Lanthanum Bromide


Advance Digital Spectrometers


Top ten features
Top Ten Features Technology

  • Digital Design – More stable, less drift, higher count rates, “cleaner” spectra i.e. better data.

  • No Internal or External Test Sources – No radioactive material transport issues. No lost or misplaced sources.

  • Self Diagnostic with Auto System Validation – An Advanced design enables a more self contained system requiring less operator interaction. Individual detector raw data is archived in the system

    4. Multi-Peak U, K, Th Auto-Stabilization – Stabilizes in all areas, Faster, 3 min vs 30 min.

Top ten features1
Top Ten Features Technology

5. Individual Crystal ADC’s& Processing –

The high speed sampling of pulses allows for pulse analysis and DSP processing.

Resulting in improved pulse pile-up rejection, zero dead time & a higher throughput.

  • Wide Dynamic Range – From low level to 1,000,000+ cps for each crystal.

  • Individual Crystal Linearization with proper Poisson noise characteristics

Top ten features2
Top Ten Features Technology

  • Expandable

    Unlimited number of crystals (limited only by weight considerations)

  • Wide range of Connectivity options – RS232 serial, TCPIP and USB. Utilizing data compression that allows for full spectral data transfer every second over wireless devices.

  • Modern Compact Design – Strong & Efficient Case, Modular, Meet FAA requirements

Aspect gem project
ASPECT GEM Project Technology

Purpose: To improve the US EPA airborne gamma-screening and mapping capability of ground-based gamma contamination following a wide-area radiological dispersal device (RDD) or improvised nuclear detonation (IND) attack.

Goal: To develop the most advanced gamma-radiation detection capability mountable within an Aero Command 680 FL airframe.


Epa homeland security
EPA Homeland Security Technology

ASPECT GEM project directly supports the EPA Office of Homeland Security focal area that directs the agency to: ”Develop appropriate/effective technologies to lessen the time frame for characterization and decontamination of contaminated widespread and populated areas following an RDD.”

NDT: National Decontamination Team Technology

RERT: Radiological Emergency Response Team

ERT: Environmental Response Team

ORIA: Office of Radiation and Indoor Air

NHSRC: Nat. Homeland Security Research Center

LANL: Los Alamos National Laboratory

DOE: Department of Energy, Federal Radiological Monitoring and Assessment Center

Aspect open houses
ASPECT Open Houses Technology

March ’08: Cincinnati, OH

July ’08: Las Vegas, NV

April, ’09: DC

June, ’09: Albany, NY

Summer ’09: WPAFB

Modeling vs measurements
Modeling vs. Measurements Technology

EPA airborne and ground-based radiation detection technologies will provide long-term environmental measurement data.

Chernobyl fallout extended for great distances local deposition heterogeneous

300 km Technology

Chernobyl fallout extended for great distances; local deposition heterogeneous

Aspect flight
ASPECT Flight Technology

Field of View



Steam separator replacement old radiation detection capability
Steam Separator Replacement Technology Old Radiation Detection Capability

  • Separator constantly moved during the data collection process.

  • Image processed and transmitted via on-board satellite communications system to Command Centerfive minutes after last pass.

  • Can send images to secure FTP and Blackberry.

(8 passes, 50 minutes, 500 ft, 110 knots)

Rad assist software nai crystals
Rad Assist Software TechnologyNaI crystals

Rad Assist Software TechnologyNaI and LaBr3 crystals

Future work
Future Work Technology

  • Calibration

    • Aircraft Background (April 2009)

    • Exposure Rate Calibration (RERT, July 2009)

    • Activity Calibration (July, 2009)

  • Cross calibrate ASPECT GEM with DOE

  • Accelerated data exchange products (e.q. real-time contour mapping)

  • Communicating uncertainties with maps

  • Determine Minimum Detectable Activity for various operating conditions, and

  • Create or improve similar ground-based systems to be consistent with ASPECT GEM capabilities

Aspect contact information
ASPECT TechnologyContact Information

Primary Contacts

  • Mark Thomas (Primary Contact) 816-718-4271

    [email protected]

  • Tim Curry (Primary Contact) 816-718-4281

    [email protected]

  • John Cardarelli (GEM Contact) 513-487-2423

    [email protected]

  • National Decontamination Team 800-329-1841

    Regional Contacts

  • Region I 617-223-7265

  • Region II 732-548-8730

  • Region III 215-814-9016

  • Region IV 404-562-8700

  • Region V 312-353-2318

  • Region VI 866-372-7745

  • Region VII 913-281-0991

  • Region VIII 303-293-1788

  • Region IX 415-744-2000

  • Region X 206-553-1263

Questions? Technology