In an effort to curb terrorist attempts to smuggle nuclear or radiological weapons into the country via oversees cargo, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is deploying equipment that will scan all trucks leaving cargo terminals operated by the Port of Authority of New York and New Jersey.
The scanning equipment, called portal radiation monitors, will be installed over roadways leading out of cargo terminals at the ports to scan all trucks leaving the area, the New York Times reported. The monitors— which have already been deployed to scan passenger vehicles along the Canadian and Mexican border— are set to send an alert when they detect radiation as a truck passes through.
“What’s important about the New York and New Jersey Ports is that this marks the first time the portals have been installed in a seaport environment,” Janet Rapaport, spokeswoman for the Dept. of Homeland Security told Fleet Owner.
All manifest data on containers is examined before the cargo reaches the port to determine high-risk cargo. X-ray machines capable of scanning a sea container within two to three minutes and radiation isotope identifiers will be used in conjunction with the monitors to pinpoint the source of radiation when necessary.
“What we do is use advance information regarding cargo manifest of each container and determine what containers are high-risk— then we pick what we deem as high risk and go through the secondary detection procedures,” Rapaport said.
CBP is deploying these devices to all major U.S. seaports. By the end of the year the systems will be installed at all port terminals receiving oversees cargo, the New York Times reported.
“The recent terrorist attacks in Madrid drive home the increased need to secure our borders against terrorist penetration,” said Commissioner Robert Bonner of the CBP. “The new highly sophisticated radiation detection devices CBP is deploying in our seaports are a major step in ensuring that our border and our country is more secure.”
The New York Times reported that about three million shipping containers pass through the New York and New Jersey ports each year.