More than nine years after installing their first LowCam system, security team members continue to be impressed.
An increase in international tensions and credible threats—both outside and inside America’s borders—has security professionals in a constant state of readiness. This is especially true of those charged with protecting our nuclear facilities.
Tucked away in a forested setting in an undisclosed part of rural America is one such facility. Here highly enriched uranium is converted for use in commercial nuclear reactors; engineers carefully synthesize tritium, a key ingredient in America’s advanced weapons systems; and spent nuclear fuel from across the nation and around the world carefully and safely consolidated and stored.
The entire site includes more than 300 square-miles. Despite the challenges of protecting such a large area, the security record at the tightly guarded facility is nearly spotless and those charged with preventing visits from uninvited guests plan to keep it that way.
Security is handled by the Department of Energy’s Protective Forces unit which is responsible for securing all DoE managed sites.
The security record at the tightly guarded facility is nearly spotless and those charged with presenting visits from uninvited guests plan to keep it that way.
Facility Selects LowCam VI104
Over the years, the Facility’s security team had become familiar with LowCam’s real-time video imaging system. Team members had met on several occasions with Advanced Detection personnel and had the opportunity to closely evaluate the LowCam system through live demonstrations. After rejecting several other UVIS vendors, the Facility made the decision to go with Advanced Detection’s Lowcam solution.
In September 2005, the Facility purchased their first LowCam solution, a single eight-camera VI104 in-ground system. The initial LowCam system installed easily and performed exactly as expected. Two years later when the Facility added a new access gate, the security team installed their second VI104.
"Our Pro(tective) Force(s) guys really came to depend on the LowCam units. If they weren't using them for some reason, they felt kind of lost." - Security Team Leader
In 2013, shortly after Advanced Detection introduced a new version of the VI104, The Facility took the opportunity to upgrade. The new system added enhanced video camera protection with an aerospace aluminum housing, scratch-resistant crystal sapphire lenses and a modular LED panel that enables easier and more cost-efficient change-outs of the lighting.
“This was a retro fit from an earlier installation. It went in smoothly, the processor came up and went to work very easily,” the security team leader mentioned.
Today, the VI104 has become one of best-selling LowCam in-ground systems. The unit installs flush to the road surface, enabling the Facility to perform regular road maintenance without damaging the UVIS system and the low profile design requires much less excavation than a traditional static line-scan UVIS. With the ability to hold up under as much as 40,000 pounds per vehicle axle, the VI104 easily met the Facility’s weight load specifications.
Eight IP67 full-color video cameras provide a comprehensive real-time, view of all undercarriage components. The cameras are motion-activated, enabling the system to automatically begin the inspection process when the vehicle approaches the guardhouse. Security personnel have complete control over video playback, image magnification and a variety of other manipulation capabilities.
The Facility’s location, in a high humidity area, led the security team to purchase an optional nitrogen purge and refill tank. The nitrogen displaces oxygen inside the housing and prevents the buildup of condensation on the camera lenses.
More than nine years after installing their first LowCam UVIS system, security team members continue to be impressed with its combination of inspection performance, full-featured image control and ease of use. To date, the location of the Facility continues to be classified, but what is known is that its spotless safety record is both intact, and in very capable hands.