Container Scanning Begins for Nuclear Radiation, Hidden Cargo

The program is principally supported by the U.S. Departments of Homeland Security, Energy and State. Its stated purpose is to “protect international commerce from the threat of nuclear weapons or the spread of radioactive contamination from an exploding dirty bomb,” according to Michael Chertoff, Homeland Security Secretary.

Specialized optical scanners and X-ray equipment will be sent to Port Qasim in Pakistan and Puerto Cortes in Honduras in February 2007. By next summer, similar equipment will be up and running at Britain’s Southampton. The final three locations—Port Busan in South Korea, the Port of Singapore and Oman’s Port Salalah—will be included by the end of next year.

The Secure Freight Initiative has gotten underway in response toe the Safe Ports Act of 2006 that included the requirement to scan 100% of cargo destined for the U.S. at a minimum of three overseas ports. With a change in the political affiliation of both Houses of Congress, it’s expected that such requirements may be reinforced.

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