Wednesday, August 16, 2006



This from the AP today:

A nuclear explosion at the Port of Long Beach could kill 60,000 people immediately, expose 150,000 more to hazardous radiation and cause 10 times the economic loss of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, according to a new Rand Corp. study.

The study released Tuesday by the Santa Monica-based think tank was the latest to address concerns about the possible vulnerability of the nation's ports.

It analyzed the possible effects of terrorists detonating a 10-kiloton nuclear bomb in a shipping container unloaded onto a Long Beach pier.

In addition to the human casualties, such a blast might destroy the infrastructure and every ship at the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles, which together handle about one-third of the nation's imports, the study said. Damage at port-area refineries could create critical shortages.

The two ports have taken steps to tighten security.

Last September, the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles received the second- and third-largest security grants from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, $12.7 million and $11.4 million, respectively. The money is to go for protecting ports from small craft and underwater attacks and enhance explosive detection capabilities.

Efforts are also under way to design a facility within the Port of Los Angeles where agents could thoroughly inspect suspicious cargo.

Currently, customs officials screen cargo with radiation monitors and X-ray machines at the docks then truck suspicious containers to a warehouse six miles away for closer inspections.

I’m sorry you bright guys at Rand but this seems pretty dumb to me. If a nuclear device reaches the port it is likely too late. What are the terrorists going to do? Give you two days to find it just to taunt you? I think not.

Inspection must take place at the port of embarkation. Even that is not enough. Why couldn’t a cargo ship be intercepted at sea and a nuclear device put on board? What would prevent that, perhaps with the cooperation of those on board?

The only solution is for the cargo inspection to take place some miles out to sea. Sure that would be tough but we live in tough times.

You can read the story *HERE*.


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