Port radiation screening expands despite warnings of ineffectiveness

| 12/8/2006

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced Thursday, Dec. 7, that equipment that scans container cargo for radiation has been installed at six foreign ports, allowing containers to be checked before they're shipped to the U.S.

Included on the list are ports in Pakistan, Oman and Korea.

According to media reports, the government plans to add screening devices at more foreign ports in the future with a goal of eventually checking more than 80 percent of all incoming containers.

However, the additional screening may not help. According to researchers at Harvard University and London's King's College, radiation screening at foreign and domestic ports may not do much good if some determined terrorists wanted to attack a city with a radiological weapon.

Jeffrey Lewis, director of Managing the Atom Project at Harvard University, told "Land Line Now" on XM Satellite Radio that enriched uranium is easy to shield, so it can't be detected by machines.

And, he said, smart terrorists wouldn't build a bomb overseas and try to sneak it in - they'd build it right here in the U.S.

- By Reed Black, staff writer