PNNL Making Ports Safer - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

PNNL Making Ports Safer

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RICHLAND, Wash.- A local group is making America safer.

A Pacific Northwest National Laboratory border training program is attracting security screeners from around the country.

Twice a month, PNNL puts on homeland security training at the HAMMER Center near Hanford. It's the only place in the world that this training is going on.

Border security agents from around the country are at HAMMER this week to learn how to better screen for radioactive materials at U.S. ports.

Unlike many other similar programs, they are actually using radioactive material.

"One thing we can do here that is not available anywhere else is we can bring out the real materials. We can bring out the weapons grade Plutonium, we can bring out the weapons grade Uranium," said PNNL's Bill Cliff.

They're testing cars like they would at real ports, and the world class facility is getting people out of the classroom.

Since September 11, border security officials have upped funding for the program, and now, the wait list for the training is at two years.

Training isn't all serious though.

Remember those terrorist playing cards during the Iraq war. 

PNNL is giving participants these cards labeled with various radioactive materials to help them keep track of what they're dealing with.