The United States will work with six nations in Asia, Europe and the Americas to improve port security and prevent nuclear-related smuggling by using advanced detection tools to scan containers for nuclear and radiological materials.
The Secure Freight Initiative - unveiled December 7 and supported by the departments of Homeland Security, Energy, State and others - will spend $60 million to put sophisticated detection equipment in key ports to protect international commerce from the threat of nuclear weapons or the spread of radioactive contamination from an exploding dirty bomb, according to Homeland Security.
Specialized X-ray equipment and optical scanners will be sent to Pakistan's Port Qasim and Honduras' Puerto Cortes in February 2007. By summer 2007, detection equipment will be operating in the British port of Southampton. The effort will expand later in 2007 to South Korea's Port Busan, Oman's Port Salalah and the Port of Singapore.
Partnerships for Safe Ports
Implementing the Secure Freight Initiative will address congressional requirements - established by the Safe Ports Act of 2006 - to scan 100 percent of the U.S.-bound cargo located in at least three overseas ports.
The equipment bound for the ports will scan for radioactivity as well as concealed suspicious cargo.
Separately, U.S. Customs and Border Control announced December 7 that the United States and Colombia will work together to prevent nuclear material from being smuggled into U.S. ports.
Source: U.S. Department of State