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Regional airport to receive new TSA devices



Published: Tue, October 11, 2011 @ 12:00 a.m.

By Karl Henkel

khenkel@vindy.com

VIENNA

The latest wave of airport- security technology is coming to the Youngstown- Warren Regional Airport.

Advanced imaging technology, or AIT, will soon make its debut, according to a release on the Transportation Security Administration’s website.

An official announcement is expected today.

The devices, which use automatic targeting recognition, allow TSA agents to quickly detect metallic and nonmetallic items — including weapons and explosives — that may be hidden under passengers’ clothing.

“It’ll speed up production and efficiency,” said Dan Dickten, aviation director.

The airport currently has X-ray baggage scanners and metal-detector machines.

AITs use new X-ray technology that emits small levels of radiation but well below dose limits specified by the American National Standards Institute. So-called “backscatter” X-ray detects radiation that reflects from an object, instead of through an object, as is the case with normal X-ray machines.

The TSA did, however, re-test for radiation levels earlier this year after reports of radiation levels much higher than reported levels. It has since confirmed the safety of the AITs but has not allowed independent testers to further investigate.

According to the TSA’s website, AIT screening is safe for all passengers, including children, pregnant women and individuals with medical implants.

Unlike full-body X-ray scanners, which can show too-revealing physical traits, AITs create computer-generated outlines that the TSA says “enhances privacy.”

The Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport did not have the revealing X-ray machines, Dickten said.

There are currently about 500 AIT units at 78 airports across the nation.

The TSA in September purchased 300 units to be deployed in the coming months.


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