GAO: Oversight of imported radiological material needs to be improved

On Jan. 12, the U.S. Government Accounting Office (GAO) published a 28-page report on its website that called for U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to improve its ability to verify the licenses of imported radiological material.

“GAO recommends that CBP develop a monitoring system to help ensure that CBP officials comply with the agency’s license verification policy, conduct an assessment to determine relevant information that is not included in the automated alerts, and develop a system that allows it to identify shipments of greatest risk,” according to the GAO report.

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission regulates the possession and import of such materials, though the CPB is required to verify shipments entering the U.S. The newly released report examined the CPB’s policies and the effectiveness of these policies.

The GAO had three recommendations:

  1. CBP should develop a monitoring system to help ensure that CBP officials comply with license verification policies and procedures.
  2. CBP should conduct a comprehensive assessment of information not included in the automated alert to determine what information is needed to identify licensable radiological material.
  3. CBP should develop a system that better identifies shipments of radiological material that pose the greatest risk and revise CBP’s policies and procedures as necessary to verify licenses for these shipments.