U.S. Customs to add radiation detectors

| 5/3/2002

The U.S. Customs Service plans to double its capability to check foreign cargo and mail for radioactivity by purchasing thousands more radiation detectors by next year, AP reported.

Customs Commissioner Robert Bonner in a letter to Rep. Edward Markey (D-MA), said 4,300 more detectors will be purchased to provide one to each of the agency's inspectors, canine enforcement officers, mail specialists and seized-property specialists.

Bonner's letter responded to Markey's concerns that terrorists could use carriers such as Federal Express to get radioactive materials into the country.

Markey cited an incident in January where FedEx transported a package from Stockholm to Memphis, then hired a trucking company to drive the package to New Orleans where a radioactive leak was discovered. Bonner said the shipment was low-risk and properly licensed.