Electron beams could be used to irradiate mail

October 25, 2001 | Source: New Scientist

The US Postal Service is installing irradiation equipment in an attempt to destroy biological weapons, such as anthrax, concealed in envelopes and parcels. Electron beam irradiation is a leading candidate technology for this purpose.
A system from Titan called SureBeam uses high-energy electron beams to break down molecules within DNA, either killing a micro-organism or rendering it unable to reproduce. SureBeam bombards its target with energy levels of around five million electron volts.

Titan claims SureBeam has been successfully tested on anthrax and anthrax spores and can kill them in seconds.