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City Making Checks For Radioactive Contamination

July 9, 1985

CORONADO, Calif. (AP) _ This resort city on a peninsula across the bay from nearby San Diego has installed Geiger counters along its main street to measure atmospheric radiation and check for radioactive vehicles.

Retired Navy captain and police volunteer Arch Kelley proposed the system after batches of radioactive steel reinforcing rods were trucked into the United States from Mexico without being detected at the El Paso, Texas, customs station.

″Spending money on detection devices is not frivolous for a city near (a) port of entry which perceives potential problems with contaminated materials passing through,″ said Greg Yuhas, facilities protection officer at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission office in Walnut Creek.

Customs officials have since set up radiation measuring equipment at ports of entry to guard against a repeat of the tainted steel incident.

Coronado is about 10 miles from the border, on a lengthy peninsula connected to San Diego by a bridge.

Kelley said the measuring has two main goals: to establish the background radiation level in a city such as Coronado, with its large concentration of naval facilities, and to alert police when a truck or other vehicle with contaminated material passes along the city’s main thoroughfare.

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