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Nation's Busiest Seaports to Have Complete Radiation Detection Coverage

The nation's busiest seaports – Los Angeles/Long Beach, California – will have complete radiation portal monitor (RPM) coverage by the end of 2005.

Three terminal locations (Piers 400, 300 and Trans Pacific) within the Port of Los Angeles are scheduled to go on-line by the end of June. A total of 90 RPMs, which will screen all international container traffic and vehicles exiting the facility for nuclear materials or hidden sources of radiation, will be operational by December 2005.

RPMs are detection devices that provide U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers with a passive, non-intrusive means to screen containers, vessels or vehicles for the presence of nuclear and radiological materials. These systems do not emit radiation but are capable of detecting various types of radiation emanating from nuclear devices, dirty bombs, special nuclear materials, natural sources, and isotopes commonly used in medicine and industry.

"By applying advanced technology, we will soon be able to screen every vehicle and container entering the nation's busiest seaports for nuclear and radiological materials, without disrupting the free flow of trade. Complete and efficient coverage at the LA/Long Beach Seaports is a major step forward for national security and a model for other ports," said Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Michael Chertoff.

DHS implements a multi-layered strategy for screening cargo shipped to the United States. One such layer is the installation of RPMs at seaports, land border ports of entry and crossings nationwide, to include rail crossings, international airports, and international mail and express consignment courier facilities, in an effort to screen 100 percent of all incoming goods, people, and conveyances for radiation.

On April 26, 2005, Oakland's Seaport became the first in the country to have complete coverage. RPMs at the LA/Long Beach Seaports will complement existing cargo security measures to include, five mobile gamma-ray and two X-Ray scanners, personal radiation detectors and isotope identification devices.

The LA/Long Beach Seaports receive approximately 44 percent of all sea cargo destined for the United States. More than 4.3 million foreign cargo containers arrived at the LA/Long Beach Seaports last year – an average of one container every 7 seconds.

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