Identifying anomalous nuclear radioactive sources using Poisson kriging and mobile sensor networks. Academic Article uri icon


  • Nuclear security is a critical concept for public health, counter-terrorism efforts, and national security. Nuclear radioactive materials should be monitored and secured in near real-time to reduce potential danger of malicious usage. However, several challenges have arose to detect the anomalous radioactive source in a large geographical area. Radiation naturally occurs in the environment. Therefore, a non-zero level of radiation will always exist with or without an anomalous radioactive source present. Additionally, radiation data contain high levels of uncertainty, meaning that the measured radiation value is significantly affected by the velocity of the detector and background noise. In this article, we propose an innovative approach to detect anomalous radiation source using mobile sensor networks combined with a Poisson kriging technique. We validate our results using several experiments with simulated radioactive sources. As results, the accuracy of the model is extremely high when the source intensity is high or the anomalous source is close enough to the detector.

published proceedings

  • PLoS One

author list (cited authors)

  • Zhao, J., Zhang, Z., & Sullivan, C. J.

citation count

  • 8

complete list of authors

  • Zhao, Jifu||Zhang, Zhe||Sullivan, Clair J

editor list (cited editors)

  • Shah, T. I.

publication date

  • January 2019