Port Radiological Sensors Delayed and Overbudget

By Matthew Harwood

A government audit says the development of high-tech sensors to detect radiation at ports and border crossings is hamstrung by poor coordination between government agencies and is overdue and overbudget, reports the AP.

At issue is a project called the Radiological/Nuclear Countermeasures Test and Evaluation Complex, which is supposed to develop next-generation sensors to detect radioactive or nuclear materials. The devices would one day be used for purposes such as keeping weapons from entering the country at airports or seaports.

Under an interagency agreement, the Homeland Security Department is handling the project with the Nevada Site Office of the Energy Department's National Nuclear Security Administration.

The coordination between DHS and the NNSA was so bad that Nevada Site Office officials thought DHS managed the project while DHS claimed the NNSA wouldn't allow it to speak with Bechtel, the original contractor, which has now been replaced by National Security Technologies, LLC, because of delays.

Originally, the radiological sensors were scheduled to be finished February 2007 at a price tag of $33 million. No work has been done since August 2006 when the money ran out and it is estimated a further $10 million is needed to complete the project.


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