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Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development

Advanced Screening Technologies Demonstrated at Adelaide Airport


01 October 2008

New ways of detecting explosives in liquids, aerosols and gels carried by air travellers were on show at Adelaide Airport today.

The Australian Government's Office of Transport Security (OTS) will be trialling the new technologies for five weeks from mid-October to evaluate how they perform in Australian airports.

OTS Executive Director, Paul Retter, said the trials would take place at Adelaide, Sydney and Melbourne airports.

"The technologies include the latest in vapour and liquid analysers, explosive detecting X-ray technologies, and 'millimetre wave' and 'backscatter' body scanning technologies. Each of these technologies has undergone rigorous testing by the Australian Nuclear Science Technology Organisation and the Defence Science and Technology Organisation.

"Some are already used overseas as part of aviation security and we would like to assess which, if any, may be appropriate for use in Australia.

"During the trial, travellers will be able to choose the existing hand luggage scanners and walk-through metal detectors - or - they could choose the technology trial lane and provide feedback on the new technologies.

"Participation is voluntary and Trial Assistants will be on hand to answer questions", Mr Retter said.

"People who do opt for the technology trial lane can do so knowing that the officer examining the images is located away from the screening lane and cannot see them. Faces are blurred and images are not saved and cannot be transferred.

"The technologies have all been approved for use by the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Authority. Actual radiation levels are very low. The dosage from one body scan is 400 times less than a single medical x-ray. It would take 10,000 scans to reach the maximum level of safe radiation recommended in a year.

"Before the trials start, we would like travellers to be informed and have an opportunity to take part."

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