Port Panama City to Receive Radiation Detector

PANAMA CITY, Fla (AP) - The growing port of Panama City is adding radiation detection equipment to screen for nuclear devices, dirty bombs and other sources of radiation.

Judy McKee is the Customs and Border Protection director for the port. She says the port plans to install a radiation portal monitor to check departing containers at a new gate starting next month.

Any time containers go out of the port by truck, drivers will pass through the device.

McKee says Port Panama City average ten vessels a month in 2004 - the year before Hurricane Katrina devastated the Louisiana and Mississippi coasts.

After Katrina, the port's average ballooned to 33 vessels a month. During the first four months of 2007, more than four-thousand containers entered the port.

McKee's agency operates more than 800 radiation portal monitors nationwide, including 181 at seaports.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)