Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


C-BORD Report Summary

Project ID: 653323
Funded under: H2020-EU.3.7.

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - C-BORD (effective Container inspection at BORDer control points)

Reporting period: 2016-12-01 to 2017-11-30

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

Control of cargo containers has been a main challenge in Homeland Security applications whose importance must be viewed in light of recent terrorist attacks. Here, many different threat materials are of concern for customs, terminal operators and freight forwarders who work to secure the increasing volume of goods imported and exported against threats while facilitating trade. Techniques such as X-ray imaging and radiation portal monitors are well-adapted to controlling cargo containers. However, an improvement of existing technologies and their association with new technologies can better address a wide range of threats.
The C-BORD project has the ambition to meet these challenges by developing and testing a comprehensive cost-effective solution for the inspection of container freight with non-intrusive inspection (NII) techniques, capable of detecting explosives, chemical warfare agents, illicit drugs, tobacco, stowaways and Special Nuclear Material (SNM). By developing, combining, trialling and assessing complementary NII technologies, C-BORD pursues four aims in order to protect EU borders:
-Increase the efficiency in container NII.
-Reduce false negative and false positive alarms.
-Maximise effectiveness and reduce safety risks for customs agents when opening containers for inspection.
-Lay the groundwork for the standardisation of requirements and test procedures for evaporation based detection systems used to inspect large volume freight.
To achieve these aims, C-BORD develops five technologies beyond the current state-of-the-art: non-destructive passive measurement, active photon interrogation, tagged neutron inspection, evaporation based detection, and advanced X-ray imaging. The data from these complimentary devices is merged in a common user interface based on the X-ray image for customs decision-making. C-BORD developments will be validated through deployment in operational conditions in three countries with different types of border crossing points, modalities, cargo, threats, and operational needs. Three configurations will be tested to assess technological breakthroughs in operational conditions with mock-up or commercial containers selected by customs. The first configuration will be adapted to automated fixed installations with high-energy scanning (Rotterdam), the second will be focused on relocatable solutions for container terminals with medium energy scanning (Gdańsk) and the third will be dedicated to mobile solutions for road border checks (Hungary).

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

Customs practitioners specified the technology requirements to ensure the developments meet their needs. A simulation model is under development for the assessment of different logistics workflow concepts for NII systems. A framework for future deployment of the integrated system is being elaborated and takes into consideration technology, logistics, use cases, cost & benefits, and health & safety aspects.
X-ray inspection is commonly used by customs to detect non-radiological threats (e.g., drugs, tobacco, arms). Partner Smiths Detection has tested a method to correct x-ray image artefacts caused by movement of the x-ray scanner boom with successful results. A new representation for improving material discrimination has also been investigated to identify objects in cargo by de-overlapping them from background and surroundings. Additional work on radiation scattering has led to an improvement in the quality of material discrimination data.
Radiation Portal Monitors are also used today to control radiological and nuclear threats. Symetrica have produced a new mobile detection system that can be deployed as a rapidly relocatable portal or a fully mobile detection system. The background algorithms developed have shown a decrease of nuisance alarms from Naturally Occurring Nuclear Materials (NORMs) during testing. CEA have developed their relocatable portal systems and are implementing a new method for isotope element identification. Both partners have also developed passive detector modules which can be physically integrated in the Smiths Detection mobile x-ray trailer. The combination of cargo manifest and x-ray image data with the radiation screening report in a common user interface (CUI) can increase the radiological sensitivity of the system.
The Rapidly Relocatable Tagged Neutron Inspection System (RRTNIS) shows potential particularly for detecting explosives in cargo containers. C-BORD aims to significantly reduce the size of previous prototypes and improve the energy resolution. The dose rate calculations to define the radiation safety exclusion area have been completed. The hardware components have been procured and tested (electronics, detectors, neutron generator). The software components have been designed and implemented (data acquisition and processing, material recognition and decision making support). Mechanical components have been designed and installed (radiological shielding, external case). The lifter to position the RRTNIS is under development. Integration testing and final calibration with a complete set of pure element samples is underway. Advanced algorithmic solutions are being developed to improve gamma-ray spectra processing and provide rapid threat identification.
The Photofission technique uses a high-energy x-ray system to detect SNM even when shielded. The photofission sub-systems (delayed neutron, prompt neutron, and high-energy delayed gamma-ray detectors) have been developed and characterized. Discrimination performance between fissile and fertile actinides will be evaluated combining measurements based on delayed neutron counting during trials (macropulse and interpulse measurements). Tests were carried out with the sub-systems in the CEA SAPHIR facility in collaboration with partners NCBJ and Symetrica. The mechanical design and construction is largely complete. Consultations have further defined the integration with existing x-ray systems.
Evaporation Based Detection uses a biomimetic approach, combining a pre-concentration step, diamond-based microbalances, odorant binding proteins and machine learning to detect a broad range of substances. The challenge in C-BORD is to apply this technique to the analysis of large cargo containers. The sub-systems have been integrated on the rapidly relocatable custom-built trolley and partially tested in lab and operational settings. Optimisation of the VOC detector and thermo-desorption subsystem is ongoing.
A first version of the CUI software displayi

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

The C-BORD Toolbox of TRL7 first- and second-line devices employing non-destructive passive and active techniques and the C-BORD Framework for building comprehensive container inspection solutions will provide improved means for overall border security protection at all EU borders by proposing solutions adaptive to the respective contexts and requirements of customs, from small land border crossings to the large fully automated terminal at the port of Rotterdam.

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