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US deal for 'dirty bomb' detector.

Byline: Kelley Price Business reporter kelley.price@trinitymirror.com

A WAVE of high-value manufacturing jobs could be on its way to Teesside after a tech firm's 'dirty bomb' detector win.

Kromek, based at Sedgefield's NETPark, has won work with the US equivalent of the Ministry of Defence, in a multi-million pound deal to make the world's first fullyapproved gamma and neutron detector.

The "early warning systems" are part of a US programme to counter terrorism.

If things go well, says CEO Arnab Basu, the extra jobs boost for Teesside could run to "several tens, if not hundreds".

He said: "This is exciting, but it could be the tip of the iceberg.

"It's a kind of prototype deployment; of significant value for us, but still only a very small part of the requirement for the US Government.

If this deployment goes well, the potential scale of this could be 10 to 100 times greater and create significant new jobs and expansion.

"It's been developed and manufactured here from the start, all the expertise is here and it's our absolute intention and commitment to build the product here."

The contract, worth PS4m, has been awarded by DARPA, an agency of the US Department of Defense, as the sole supplier of personal radiation detectors as part of Sigma, its programme for homeland security.

Arnab added: "Radioactive material, in the wrong hands, can be used in a catastrophic way - potentially in so-called 'dirty bombs.' .' Detectors are needed in cities and at ports and borders.

"Our detectors are very small. If you have a lot of them, carried by people in mobile phones and linked by a central command centre, you can build a heat map of radiation activity for an entire area, city or country.

"Any time there's an anomaly, it triggers an alarm. It's effectively an early warning system against dirty bombs."

Durham University spin-out Kromek currently employs around 57 at Sedgefield and a further 40 staff around the globe. The new roles would be in high-value manufacturing, skilled assembly and testing.

"We'll know, hopefully, by the middle of the year where things are

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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Feb 24, 2016
Words:361
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