Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New study evaluates methods to prevent importation of illicit nuclear materials

17.10.2006
Research suggests that new port security act may be insufficient

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."

Rick Reiss | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.exponent.com

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Physics of bubbles could explain language patterns
25.07.2017 | University of Portsmouth

nachricht Obstructing the ‘inner eye’
07.07.2017 | Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Abrupt motion sharpens x-ray pulses

Spectrally narrow x-ray pulses may be “sharpened” by purely mechanical means. This sounds surprisingly, but a team of theoretical and experimental physicists developed and realized such a method. It is based on fast motions, precisely synchronized with the pulses, of a target interacting with the x-ray light. Thereby, photons are redistributed within the x-ray pulse to the desired spectral region.

A team of theoretical physicists from the MPI for Nuclear Physics (MPIK) in Heidelberg has developed a novel method to intensify the spectrally broad x-ray...

Im Focus: Physicists Design Ultrafocused Pulses

Physicists working with researcher Oriol Romero-Isart devised a new simple scheme to theoretically generate arbitrarily short and focused electromagnetic fields. This new tool could be used for precise sensing and in microscopy.

Microwaves, heat radiation, light and X-radiation are examples for electromagnetic waves. Many applications require to focus the electromagnetic fields to...

Im Focus: Carbon Nanotubes Turn Electrical Current into Light-emitting Quasi-particles

Strong light-matter coupling in these semiconducting tubes may hold the key to electrically pumped lasers

Light-matter quasi-particles can be generated electrically in semiconducting carbon nanotubes. Material scientists and physicists from Heidelberg University...

Im Focus: Flexible proximity sensor creates smart surfaces

Fraunhofer IPA has developed a proximity sensor made from silicone and carbon nanotubes (CNT) which detects objects and determines their position. The materials and printing process used mean that the sensor is extremely flexible, economical and can be used for large surfaces. Industry and research partners can use and further develop this innovation straight away.

At first glance, the proximity sensor appears to be nothing special: a thin, elastic layer of silicone onto which black square surfaces are printed, but these...

Im Focus: 3-D scanning with water

3-D shape acquisition using water displacement as the shape sensor for the reconstruction of complex objects

A global team of computer scientists and engineers have developed an innovative technique that more completely reconstructs challenging 3D objects. An ancient...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

Closing the Sustainability Circle: Protection of Food with Biobased Materials

21.07.2017 | Event News

»We are bringing Additive Manufacturing to SMEs«

19.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New 3-D imaging reveals how human cell nucleus organizes DNA and chromatin of its genome

28.07.2017 | Health and Medicine

Heavy metals in water meet their match

28.07.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Oestrogen regulates pathological changes of bones via bone lining cells

28.07.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>