Police Cars Get Digital Cameras
With 95,000 miles of coastline in America, protecting the coastal environment from terrorists is a big challenge, but Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) scientists think they’re up to handling it, and Congress seems to agree.
PNNL’s Sequim Marine Research Operations facility in Sequim, Wash., has been appropriated $4.2 million from Congress to fund a coastal security program, which will support the development of advanced sensors for providing early warnings of biological, chemical or nuclear material releases in marine and coastal environments.
The funding will go toward several different research activities. One will be developing a new generation of sensors and technologies that detect signatures associated with weapons of mass destruction. By evaluating the living marine systems, including clams and mussels, researchers at the marine lab hope to detect the presence of biological, chemical or nuclear materials in coastal waterways, beaches and estuaries.
Another element of the program will look at developing nanomaterials designed to selectively capture and preconcentrate signatures of weapons of mass destruction in the marine environment. “The vision is to establish a network of sensors and biosensors that can be easily and inexpensively deployed across wide regions on or near the shore. This network would serve as an early warning system for coastal security,” said Karen Steinmaus, PNNL project manager for the program.
Along with these programs, PNNL researchers will use the funding to enhance the integration of imagery and measurement technologies so intelligence and national and homeland security agencies can better identify and describe potential terrorism threats. They will also develop and improve ocean transport computer models that can analyze where a signature came from and predict where it’s going