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Since the demise of the Soviet Union, the threat that the wrong
people might acquire dangerous nuclear materials has loomed large.
This menace became that much more frightening after the terrorist
attacks of 9/11. Authorities in the United States and Europe have
been working to prevent terrorists from acquiring materials that
would allow them to fabricate a nuclear weapon or even a so-called
dirty bomb, one that dispersed radioactive debris over a wide area.
A major component of this effort involves outfitting shipping ports
and other border crossings in the United States and overseas with
equipment that can detect the telltale radiation that nuclear
materials give off. The author outlines the many-layered program the
United States in now undertaking and describes some of the technical
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