Report on a 2009 Mini-Demonstration of the ARG-US Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) System in Transportation

The Packaging Certification Program (PCP) of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Environmental Management (EM), Office of Packaging and Transportation (EM-14), has developed a radio frequency identification (RFID) tracking and monitoring system for the management of nuclear materials during storage and transportation. The system, developed by the PCP team at Argonne National Laboratory, consists of hardware (Mk-series sensor tags, fixed and handheld readers, form factor for multiple drum types, seal integrity sensors, and enhanced battery management), software (application programming interface, ARG-US software for local and remote/web applications, secure server and database management), and cellular/satellite communication interfaces for vehicle tracking and item monitoring during transport. The ability of the above system to provide accurate, real-time tracking and monitoring of the status of multiple, certified containers of nuclear materials has been successfully demonstrated in a week-long, 1,700-mile DEMO performed in April 2008. While the feedback from the approximately fifty (50) stakeholders who participated in and/or observed the DEMO progression were very positive and encouraging, two major areas of further improvements - system integration and web application enhancement - were identified in the post-DEMO evaluation. The principal purpose of the MiniDemo described in this report was to verify these two specific improvements. The MiniDemo was conducted on August 28, 2009. In terms of system integration, a hybrid communication interface - combining the RFID item-monitoring features and a commercial vehicle tracking system by Qualcomm - was developed and implemented. In the MiniDemo, the new integrated system worked well in reporting tag status and vehicle location accurately and promptly. There was no incompatibility of components. The robust commercial communication gear, as expected, helped improve system reliability. The MiniDemo confirmed that system integration is technically feasible and reliable with the existing RFID and Qualcomm satellite equipment. In terms of web application, improvements in mapping, tracking, data presentation, and post-incident spatial query reporting were implemented in ARG-US, the application software that manages the dataflow among the RFID tags, readers, and servers. These features were tested in the MiniDemo and found to be satisfactory. The resulting web application is both informative and user-friendly. A joint developmental project is being planned between the PCP and the DOE TRANSCOM that uses the Qualcomm gear in vehicles for tracking and communication of radioactive material shipments across the country. Adding an RFID interface to TRANSCOM is a significant enhancement to the DOE.

  • Record URL:
  • Corporate Authors:

    University of Chicago

    Chicago, IL  United States  60637

    Argonne National Laboratory

    9700 South Cass Avenue
    Argonne, IL  United States  60439

    Department of Energy

    1000 Independence Avenue, SW
    Washington, DC  United States  20585
  • Authors:
    • Tsai, Hanchung
    • Chen, Kun
    • Jusko, Mark
    • Craig, Brian
    • Liu, Yung
  • Publication Date: 2009-9


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Print
  • Edition: Technical Report
  • Features: Appendices; Figures; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 74p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01342773
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: ANL-DIS-09-06
  • Contract Numbers: DE-AC02-06CH11357
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jun 1 2011 1:24PM