Los Angeles Port installs comprehensive radiation detection system

Published 19 December 2005

Los Angeles port, among largest in nation, to be equipped with comprehensive radiation detection system

DHS officials say that the nation’s busiest seaports — Los Angeles/Long Beach, California — will have complete Radiation Portal Monitor (RPM) coverage by year’s end. Three terminal locations, at 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 ninety 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 which provide Customs & Border Protection (CBP) officers with a passive, nonintrusive 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.

In April 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 seven seconds. Customs and Border Protection commissioner Robert Bonner said that by the end of the year every container arriving at California seaports and every private vehicle, truck, or rail car coming into California through the land border crossings from Mexico will be monitored by these high tech devices.

-read more in this report; and in this story