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Homeland Security Components

DNDO Agency Guidance on the GRaDER Progam

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO) is mandated by Congress to set Technical Capability Standards and implement a test and evaluation program, to provide performance, suitability, and survivability information, and related testing, for preventive radiological/nuclear (rad/nuc) detection equipment in the United States. DNDO intends to meet these responsibilities by establishing the Graduated Rad/Nuc Detector Evaluation and Reporting (GRaDER) program. This summary introduces the guidance that has been approved by the Director for publication on the DNDO Web Site.

The GRaDER program establishes the current American National Standards Institute (ANSI) N42 consensus standards as the initial acceptable performance baseline for radiation detectors and contemplates the use of government-unique technical capability standards currently under development as the next overall performance objective. This guidance introduces the basic concepts of the GRaDER program and lays the groundwork for more detailed instruction to enter the program. Concurrently, the GRaDER program is working with Department of Energy (DOE) laboratories and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to use the National Voluntary Laboratory Accreditation Program (NVLAP) as the program under which laboratories perform independent and consistent testing of the commercial-off-the-shelf radiation detectors. Results of the GRaDER program testing will be made available to the Department and other federal components, and state, local, and tribal law enforcement and first responder agencies to inform the procurement and grant awards process.

Manufacturers and vendors will be responsible for paying the laboratory directly for testing their own equipment. The NVLAP-accredited and DNDO-accepted laboratories will set their own rates for testing, which shall not exceed the amount necessary to recoup the direct and indirect costs involved. Vendors may initiate testing against the ANSI consensus standards at any time. However, rad/nuc detectors must first pass the minimum GRaDER requirements against ANSI consensus standards before they can be tested against future government-unique technical capability standards. While there will be no requirement for a manufacturer either to have its product tested against the ANSI consensus standards or future technical capability standards, or to have its test results published, Federal, state, local, or tribal agencies may use the published test results in making procurement decisions. Test results will be confidential, and will not be disclosed without the consent of the manufacturer.

This guidance has been coordinated with the Office of the Under Secretary for Science and Technology, Federal Emergency Management Agency, and NIST.

This page was last reviewed/modified on April 6, 2009.