Alion Science and Technology will help the Defense Threat Reduction Agency develop a boron-coated straw system to detect dirty bombs and special nuclear materials under a $2.8 million contract.
Alion said Thursday that agencies have traditionally used Helium-3 neutron detectors but a shortage of the rare isotope is driving agencies to seek a replacement technology.
The company will work with DTRA to explore techniques to make boron detection technology that is capable of pinpointing the location of neutron-emitting materials.
Terri Spoonhour, an Alion group senior vice president and manager of the distributed simulation group, said the company aims to help DTRA protect warfighters and citizens against nuclear threats through program.
DTRA also wants the company to research miniaturizing and manufacturing processes for the technology.
Alion said contract work will run through March 1, 2017.