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DHS establishes Tacoma port test center to detect radiation in rail cargo


The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recently created a Rail Test Center (RTC) at the Port of Tacoma, Wash., to scan cargo for radiation while freight transfers from ship to rail. More than 70 percent of the import cargo volume handled at the Tacoma facility — the nation’s seventh-largest container port — is transferred to multiple intermodal rail terminals.

DHS also will use the RTC to evaluate and identify radiological and nuclear detection solutions for intermodal railport facilities nationwide. The department is determining whether to use the center to scan cargo on dock, during transport to a rail yard, as trains enter a yard and leave a port, and while freight is stored or trains are assembled.

“The deployment of radiation portal monitors can be much more challenging at seaports where cargo containers depart the port by rail,” said Vayl Oxford, director of DHS’ Domestic Nuclear Detection Office, in a prepared statement. “[Advances in] technical solutions to fit the unique radiological and nuclear detection requirements of intermodal terminals … will provide greater capabilities to our partners, such as Customs and Border Protection, the United States Coast Guard and Transportation Security Administration.”

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More News from 5/16/2007