Scientists join forces under EU program which aims to develop cheap and accessible mine clearing methods. Roselle Chen reports.
Unexploded mines left over from past conflicts are an ongoing global problem. Experts think there are more than 100 million of them world-wide. The European Commission is co-funding 28 teams of scientists to detect and neutralize unexploded landmines, in a project called TIRAMISU. Professor Adam Januszko's team from Wroclaw's Military Institute of Engineering Technology has put forward five designs. This device targets a mine's detonator, making it inoperable and safe to dispose of. (SOUNDBITE) (Polish) MILITARY INSTITUTE OF ENGINEER TECHNOLOGY IN WROCLAW SCIENTIST, PROFESSOR ADAM JANUSZKO, SAYING: "We use an explosive charge placed in the housing, which is detonated by a fuse, and in this section we placed a very important element. We call it an insert, which means that we can shoot it at the mine's detonator trying to neutralize it. A mine without a detonator will not explode." Affordability is crucial to each projects' feasibility, along with ease and safety of use - even by inexperienced operators. Other devices created by the team involve a substance burning at more than 2,500 degrees Celsius, which destroys the mine without causing an explosion. They've also built a tractor-based mine detonating vehicle and a modified explosives transportation container, which can be hauled by a tractor and has a modified lid, allowing for the escape of a possible explosive blast upwards. The tools will be tested and validated in mine-affected countries. The most successful could eventually be used by governments, private firms and NGOs involved in demining projects.