Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Got an Atomic Bomb in that Shipping Container? No? Okay, Mr Bin Laden, We'll have to Take Your Word for It.

Washington has put radiation detectors at only two of 20 high-risk shipping ports. The Government Accountability Office investigated nuclear security and found it's pretty weak. The GAO report also found the Energy Department doesn't even have plans to expand the security system past 2010. The GAO says that'll make it hard to tell if the Department is making any progress in securing ports against nuclear smuggling.

The Energy Department set up the program to catch nuclear smuggling in foreign countries before it leaves ports for the US. Washington has spent more than $40 million dollars so far, but only has systems in place in Greece and the Netherlands.

About 7 million shipping containers come into the US every year. That's so many that US Customs can't inspect every one. They don't have enough people. Only about 3% of the containers get a good going over once they get here. The other 6.79 million or so are assessed on the risk they pose based on the country of origin, shipper, and other factors. (CBS)

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