Three more ports join Megaports Initiative
The United States has signed agreements in the past week with the United Arab Emirates and Cambodia to install radiation portal monitors at ports for the purpose of detecting smuggled nuclear and other radioactive material.
The National Nuclear Security Administration, part of the Department of Energy, said it would donate radiation portal monitors and related equipment to be installed at the Port of Sihanoukville in Cambodia. Similar equipment will be installed at the ports of Abu Dhabi and Sharjah in the U.A.E., where a greater cost-sharing arrangement is expected. The agency will also provide training to use the equipment and cover its maintenance for a specified period.
The radiation portal monitors passively detect the presence of radiation as trucks with containers pass through the goal-post style structure at the entrance or gates of marine terminals. The NNSA has installed similar equipment at more than 230 sites in 28 countries under its Megaports program. The United States struck a similar arrangement in 2005 with Dubai, another mini-state in the U.A.E.
The NNSA's goal is to equip 100 ports with large-scale radiation detectors by 2015, covering roughly half of all global containerized cargo. It plans to equip 14 more ports in fiscal year 2010. ' Eric Kulisch