Kromek, the designer and manufacturer of biological and radiological detectors, based in Sedgefield Co. Durham, held its third annual industry day, “Kromek Futures” at the Royal Academy of Engineering in London on 25th January, showcasing its range of products designed to reduce the fallout from emerging biological and nuclear threats.
Kromek Futures brought together industry experts, end users, politicians and academics from around the world to discuss the latest trends in both biological and radiological detection. The audience in the room also heard from partners in Ukraine, Belgium, the USA, and Canada and learned more about the need for, and application of, detectors in current world conflicts.
The scale of nuclear and radiological threats to the world were highlighted in a keynote address by nuclear analyst Dr Bahram Ghiassee, a Fellow at the Henry Jackson Society and one of the leading voices in the field in the UK. He comprehensively outlined the nuclear and radiological threats from dirty bombs being made from nuclear waste in Ukraine; Russia deploying tactical nuclear bombs; North Korean weapons trials; Iran’s nuclear programmes; as well as nuclear states which are currently not signatories of the international test ban treaty – India, Pakistan, and Israel.
US Biosecurity specialist Kevin Flyangolts, Canada’s leading biological/bacterial warfare scientist Chad Stratilo and Jamie Marsay, Kromek’s Head of Biotechnology, described what is required for real time bio-surveillance and evolutions in the ability to detect and sequence novel pathogens, in order to prevent a future Covid-19-like pandemic. This could emerge, they said, from either a lab leak, an evolving animal virus, or be engineered by a rogue state or terrorist group.
On the radiological side, the European Union’s Counterterrorism Policy Adviser Radoslaw Olszewski, Ukrainian nuclear physicist Oleg Brazhiy and Kromek’s Commercial Director for Radiological, Nuclear Products Craig Duff, elaborated on how Kromek’s suite of radioactive isotope detectors are being used in various applications in both security and defence settings.
Across both the biological and radiological sectors, the clear theme which emerged from the day was the growing instability and the need for innovation in preventing and mitigating disaster.
Chief Executive of Kromek Group plc, Dr Arnab Basu, said: “Even in the days following our event in London, global instability has accelerated at pace; with news of Iran’s growing uranium stockpile and the attack of US soldiers in their Jordanian base.
“Kromek Futures was our annual opportunity to bring together technical and product experts to learn about the latest capabilities across the CBRN sector to mitigate the worst impacts should the unthinkable ever be realised.
“Our vision at Kromek is to save lives through our detection technology solutions. We were delighted to announce on the day that more of our detectors have been acquired by the EU as part of its rescEU stockpile to safeguard its citizens.”