September 11, 2008

Air Cargo Scanning Begins at Dulles

The U.S. Homeland Security Department plans to run all incoming air cargo through radiation detectors at the nation's airports, the agency has announced.

The object, closing what the Sept. 11 commission called a major security vulnerability, would be to try to prevent terrorists from smuggling radioactive bombs into the United States, USA Today reported.

The testing begins this week at Dulles International Airport outside Washington and while every piece will be scanned, the emphasis is on international cargo, Homeland Security says.

Four more major airports will be outfitted with radiation detectors, called Radiation Portal Monitors, before the end of the year and eventually the nation's 30 largest airports will have them. Each machine costs $450,000 to install, the report says.