January 26, 2023
News Release

PNNL Commercialization Team Receives Award for Radiological Materials Tracking System

Federal Laboratory Consortium for Technology Transfer honors work that promotes innovations

Group photo of the PNNL commercialization team (2023)

The PNNL commercialization team was honored for its promotion of Mobile Source Transit Security, or MSTS, which is an electronic system that keeps track of and secures radiological materials.

(Photo by Andrea Starr | Pacific Northwest National Laboratory)

RICHLAND, Wash.—A Pacific Northwest National Laboratory team that transferred a PNNL-developed security innovation to private industry has been honored with a 2023 Federal Laboratory Consortium Excellence in Technology Transfer Award.

PNNL has received 102 FLC awards since the program’s inception, more than any other national laboratory. This year’s winners will be recognized at the FLC national meeting, scheduled for March.

The innovation, called Mobile Source Transit Security, or MSTS, is an electronic system that keeps track of and secures radiological material in transit or at jobsites. 

“It's great to be recognized by the Federal Laboratory Consortium for the efforts the Laboratory has taken in terms of moving federally developed technology to the marketplace,” said Kannan Krishnaswami, PNNL technology commercialization manager, who guided the MSTS marketplace introduction. “MSTS is another great example of PNNL’s leadership in developing innovative nuclear and radiological security solutions that are making the world a safer place.”

PNNL researchers developed the system with the support of the National Nuclear Security Administration's Office of Radiological Security.

While radiological materials are safe and well regulated for their intended use, if lost or stolen they could be used by terrorists to make dirty bombs. Radioactive materials are a critical tool in numerous industrial applications, particularly oil and gas drilling and welding. Missing sources also pose a health threat to anyone who might encounter or touch the source, unaware of what it is.

PNNL has licensed the technology to Golden Security Services, located near Miami, and to Eagle Integrated Services of Washington, D.C.

“During the development of MSTS, the team met frequently with industry partners to make sure what we were developing was something they could easily integrate into their operations and provide a return on investment,” said PNNL software engineer Brion Burghard, development team leader. “Our team paid a lot of attention to documenting the details of the MSTS design to help the technology transfer of our solution to the licensee go smoothly.”

In addition to Krishnaswami and Burghard, the PNNL team that developed MSTS includes: Kurt Silvers, project manager; Tonya Roush, project manager; Brian Higgins, project manager; Ann Archer, electrical engineer; Andrei Valsan, software engineer; Bruce Lawler, software engineer; Emiliano Santiago-Rojas, electrical engineer; Franco Santiago, lead hardware technician; and Angelica Abide, program manager at the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA). The NNSA's support throughout the project and continued funding of this technology development has been critical in the success of this technology transfer.

The annual FLC awards, a program started in 1984, recognize federal laboratories and their industry partners for technology transfer achievements. The FLC was formed in 1974 to help boost U.S. productivity by promoting the movement of technologies out of federal labs and into the private sector. 


About PNNL

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory draws on its distinguishing strengths in chemistry, Earth sciences, biology and data science to advance scientific knowledge and address challenges in sustainable energy and national security. Founded in 1965, PNNL is operated by Battelle for the Department of Energy’s Office of Science, which is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States. DOE’s Office of Science is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, visit https://energy.gov/science. For more information on PNNL, visit PNNL's News Center. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.

Published: January 26, 2023

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