TSA launches millimeter wave technology in Richmond

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Local Press Release
Friday, November 14, 2008

RICHMOND, Va. – Today, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) launched millimeter wave technology at Richmond International Airport. There are two millimeter wave portals, one at each security checkpoint in the airport.

Millimeter wave detects weapons, explosives and other threat items concealed under layers of clothing without any physical contact. Millimeter wave uses electromagnetic waves to generate an image based on the energy reflected from the body. It passes harmless electromagnetic waves over the human body to create a robotic image.

"Millimeter wave is another layer of security that our security officers use to protect the public from evolving threats," said Federal Security Director Annie Nelson. "By enhancing the security checkpoint, through our people, processes and new technologies, we make certain that dangerous items, and people, do not get on planes."

Passenger privacy is ensured through the anonymity of the image: The officer attending the passenger will not view the image, and as an additional precaution, the officer viewing the image will be remotely located and the image won't be stored, transmitted or printed, and deleted immediately once viewed. In fact, the machines have zero storage capability

The use of millimeter wave technology is voluntary and any passenger who is randomly selected may opt for a different form of screening, like a pat-down. The technology is also a voluntary alternative to a pat-down during secondary screening. It is safe and the energy emitted by millimeter wave technology is 10,000 times less than that of a cell phone.

For more information on millimeter wave technology visit www.tsa.gov.