BRUSSELS -- Security measures for the first visit by a US President to the European Union in Brussels will be enhanced by the use of the latest explosives detection equipment used in aviation security. Delegates and visitors entering the Council's Justus Lipsius building, ahead of the February 22 meeting with President Bush, will pass through a non-invasive scanner that puffs air gently over the body to release particles from clothing for instant analysis.
The particles are drawn into the machine for identification, to indicate whether a person is either carrying an explosive device or has come into contact with explosive substances. More than 400 people an hour can be screened through each machine.
The device is the Sentinel II, developed by Smiths Detection, the world's leading provider of trace detection and x-ray equipment. It is now being installed in airports worldwide as part of the drive to safeguard air travel. The Sentinel has already been selected by the U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA), having met requirements for passenger screening in extensive tests during the last few months. Installations this year have taken place at the international airports in Jacksonville (Florida), ahead of the US SuperBowl, and at Baltimore-Washington.
International installations for the Sentinel include Dakar Airport, Senegal, and extensive trials at United Kingdom airports. In addition to its applications for aviation security, the automatic machine is screening visitors at highly secure sites such as nuclear facilities.
The European Union currently deploys many Smiths Detection Hi-Scan x-ray machines to check for weapons or illegal items at its Brussels offices. These will be fully engaged in the security process when President Bush meets with the 25 EU Heads of State and Government and with the European Commission during his EU visit.