Shipping Containers from Abroad Remain Unscanned for Radioactivity Despite Government Deadline

Tuesday, July 17, 2012
(photo: Basal Trading)
Five years after Congress ordered it, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) still cannot guarantee that all shipping containers arriving in U.S. ports have been scanned for radioactive material and nuclear bombs.
DHS was supposed to meet a deadline this month for ensuring all inbound cargo was first screened at foreign ports. But costs and lack of technology have stymied the agency.
DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano has said it would cost $16 billion to implement scanning measures at the nearly 700 ports worldwide that ship to the United States.
Until then, less than 1% of the 10 million containers arriving annually at U.S. ports are scanned before departure from abroad.
Some lawmakers think DHS is not taking the 2007 mandate that Congress adopted seriously.
“I personally do not believe they intend to comply with the law,” Representative Edward Markey (D-Massachusetts), co-author of the 2007 law, told The Washington Post. “This is a real terrorist threat, and it has a solution. We can’t afford to wait until a catastrophic attack.”
-Noel Brinkerhoff
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