posted on Feb, 13 2011 @ 03:30 PM
This problem is true for any commercial shipping port. Not just the U.S., but pretty much anywhere in the world. Put a nuke in a box and ship it.
End-game once it reaches the port of destination.
The Coast Guards (not just the U.S. one) can only do so much, and most of the equipment that scan entire shipping pallets isn't going to fit on a
boat. If somebody has a nuclear bomb on a ship once it's in port, then you can set it off right then and there. It doesn't even have to be unloaded.
The impact will be the same whether or not it even makes it from the shipyard. Any coastal city can be a target, if the city isn't that important in
itself (from a strategic sense) - the economic impact may still be devastating.
I suppose the other concern is dirty bombs, but those aren't really considered a fully functioning nuclear device. Just requires a radioactive
material (which there are plenty of, some are commonplace in certain medical and industrial applications) that can be dispersed by a chemical
explosion. It wouldn't be anywhere as big as the first type. But if one went off while a ship was in port, it may cut off traffic to that specific
shipyard or pier. (More or less a hazmat type closure, rather than an "OMG DOOM!" situation.) Having that type of bomb go off in a shipping
container while on a ship isn't going to spread much. The hazard is from radioactive dust and smoke dispersal, and if inside a metal hulled ship or
underwater it's considered contained. These you can scan for in port, but given the huge amounts of commercial traffic - that's still a very
difficult problem to stay on top of.
In the second case, if nuclear material is found then that's a good thing. Because it means that it was contained and isn't going anywhere else. It
means the people and equipment scanning has done their job. Given enough time, somebody is going to try. So may as well be prepared and have a system
in place for it.