U.S. starting radiation detection at foreign ports

| Thursday, April 12, 2007

The U.S. Departments of Homeland Security and Energy announced Wednesday, April 11, that operational testing of a scanning system for nuclear or radiological cargo within shipping containers has begun at sea ports in Honduras and Pakistan.

According to a DHS press release, the tests are the first phase of the Secure Freight Initiative to deploy nuclear detection machines at six foreign ports.

“Secure Freight creates a global nuclear detection network with shippers, carriers and foreign allies to head off the worst possible form of attack: a nuclear or dirty bomb on our soil,” said Homeland Security Deputy Secretary Michael Jackson, according to the release.

The release stated that data collected from the scanning of U.S.-bound containers will be transmitted live to U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers working in overseas ports and to the National Targeting Center. DHS and the Department of Energy plan to contribute about $60 million to the Secure Freight Initiative to install radiation detection equipment and communications infrastructure to send collected data back to the U.S., the release stated.

Four other ports are scheduled to begin testing the scanning system this year at Southampton in the United Kingdom, Salalah in Oman, Port of Singapore, and the Gamman Terminal at Port Busan in Korea, according to the news release.

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