Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New Study Evaluates Methods To Prevent Importation Of Illicit Nuclear Materials

Date:
October 16, 2006
Source:
Society for Risk Analysis
Summary:
New study evaluates the need for security measures to prevent importation of a smuggled nuclear device. On Friday, the president signed the SAFE Port Act, which is a good step towards better port security. However, there are two significant limitations to the act. First, it only requires radiation detection, but two-dimensional scans are necessary to detect a weapon if shielding with dense material is used. Also, the act does not require inspections at overseas ports, which are needed to prevent terrorists from detonating a device at a U.S. port because any attempts at detection occur.

The nightmare scenario in homeland security is a terrorist detonation of a nuclear weapon on U.S. soil. In a paper published this week in Risk Analysis: An International Journal, Dr. Lawrence Wein of the Standard University Graduate School of Business, along with his co-authors, discusses the costs and effectiveness of available technologies for detecting a nuclear device at a U.S. port or on a U.S.-destined ship at a foreign port. This study comes on the heels of the President signing the SAFE Port Act of 2006 into law last Friday.

Over 95% of overseas U.S. imports and exports are shipped in standardized containers that enter the country through U.S. ports. These containers represent a potentially vulnerable mechanism for the delivery of nuclear and radiological devices by foreign terrorists. The cost of a nuclear detonation at a U.S. port is estimated at about 1 trillion dollars. Terrorists may also attempt to detonate a smuggled device in a U.S. city center to maximize the loss of life.

Professor Wein and colleagues discuss an 11-layer security system to detect a smuggled device and use game theory to find the optimum combination of security measures. The authors estimate a low probability of detection with the current system of approximately 10% (before the SAFE Port Act is implemented). The authors suggest that achieving a detection rate of at least 90% would require an investment of about $2 billion for testing at domestic ports only with an additional $11 billion for testing done at overseas ports.

According to the study, one major limitation of the SAFE Port Act is that it only requires radiation detection. Because terrorists can shield their weapon with dense material, two-dimensional scans are also needed to detect shielding. A second major limitation of the SAFE Port Act is that it does not require inspections at overseas ports for ships destined to the U.S., although it does provide training and loans for detection equipment for ports in other nations. Terrorists may be able to detonate a device upon arrival at a U.S. port before any attempts at detection occur. The only way to prevent this scenario is to inspect cargo at overseas ports.

Dr. Wein summarized his research by noting "the estimated $10 billion/year required to secure ports is comparable to the current annual investment for ballistic missile defense, making this a sound investment in light of the shift in the nature of the threat from adversarial nations to terrorists."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Society for Risk Analysis. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Society for Risk Analysis. "New Study Evaluates Methods To Prevent Importation Of Illicit Nuclear Materials." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 October 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/10/061016121800.htm>.
Society for Risk Analysis. (2006, October 16). New Study Evaluates Methods To Prevent Importation Of Illicit Nuclear Materials. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/10/061016121800.htm
Society for Risk Analysis. "New Study Evaluates Methods To Prevent Importation Of Illicit Nuclear Materials." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/10/061016121800.htm (accessed April 19, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Small Reactors Could Be Future of Nuclear Energy

Small Reactors Could Be Future of Nuclear Energy

AP (Apr. 17, 2014) After the Fukushima nuclear disaster, the industry fell under intense scrutiny. Now, small underground nuclear power plants are being considered as the possible future of the nuclear energy. (April 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Horseless Carriage Introduced at NY Auto Show

Horseless Carriage Introduced at NY Auto Show

AP (Apr. 17, 2014) An electric car that proponents hope will replace horse-drawn carriages in New York City has also been revealed at the auto show. (Apr. 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Honda's New ASIMO Robot, More Human-Like Than Ever

Honda's New ASIMO Robot, More Human-Like Than Ever

AFP (Apr. 17, 2014) It walks and runs, even up and down stairs. It can open a bottle and serve a drink, and politely tries to shake hands with a stranger. Meet the latest ASIMO, Honda's humanoid robot. Duration: 00:54 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
German Researchers Crack Samsung's Fingerprint Scanner

German Researchers Crack Samsung's Fingerprint Scanner

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) German researchers have used a fake fingerprint made from glue to bypass the fingerprint security system on Samsung's new Galaxy S5 smartphone. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins