The passive, ground-mounted devices, called Radiation Portal Monitors (RPM), will enhance Calexico border station's detection capabilities to screen cars and trucks entering the country, said Al Miramontes, assistant port director at the station.
The portals are being installed on all car and truck lanes at the Calexico East cargo and passenger facilities and will act as extremely sensitive receiving antennas to detect radiation sources. They are passive devices, which means they do not emit any radiation and are completely safe, Miramontes said. He added that similar capabilities for the downtown port would be installed at a later date.
"The best way to prevent a terrorist attack is by preventing terrorists or terrorist weapons from entering the nation," Miramontes said. "These portals now being deployed at the Calexico port will help ensure that our border and our nation is secure."
The portal monitors are capable of detecting various types of radiation emanating from nuclear devices, dirty bombs, special nuclear materials, natural sources and isotopes commonly used in medicine and industry. The devices will sense any radiation sources as each car and truck passes and alert CBP officers if necessary.
In addition to the portal monitors, Calexico border patrol officers currently use hand-held radiation isotope identifier devices and belt-mounted personal radiation detectors at major airport, seaport and land border crossings in the United States.