This month the lab will begin testing the system for the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office, a branch of the Department of Homeland Security.
It’s made up of several radiation sensors installed inside empty shipping containers. The containers are then stacked in an arch that cargo cranes can drive through.
Lab spokesperson Bruce Cadotte says the system helps the ports since it uses materials they already have.
"People are scanning for radiation in various ways but this looked like a way that would be less expensive and perhaps easier for the ports to manage," said Cadotte.
Cadotte says that after testing the system at the Savannah River National Lab near Augusta, it’ll be sent to one of the nation’s ports for testing.