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A while ago I was traveling through Riga airport where in the middle of the terminal I saw a machine I had never seen at any other airport. It looks like it might be related to security, however there was nothing around it that explained what it is. What is the purpose of this machine?

Machine inside Riga airport

  • a full body scanner/x-ray machine ? – Max Oct 24 '17 at 20:17
  • Text says in English, "Please move by one person at a time". Before I read that I was wondering if you could open both doors and lock them together to block off the area. – mkennedy Oct 24 '17 at 20:29
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    Ah, that's a vending machine. You put money in, and get drinks out, such as bottled Evian water. ... Oh, you don't mean the machine on the left? – Dawood says reinstate Monica Oct 25 '17 at 8:59
  • See also travel.stackexchange.com/questions/62781/… – MJeffryes Oct 25 '17 at 9:15
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This is a detector of radioactive materials (to make sure passengers are not carrying anything radioactive), possibly model "TSA PM700" from Rapiscan Systems.

From the site:

A high sensitivity walk-through radiation portal monitor to automatically scan pedestrian traffic for radioactive materials.

  • High Sensitivity Portal Monitor
  • Continuously Scan Moving Pedestrians
  • Gamma and Neutron Radiation Detection Options
  • Fast, Seamless Integration
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    A lot fancier than the system we saw in the Shanghai/Pu Dong airport. No question that was a radiation detector, it caught my wife's lingering radioactivity from a heart scan. – Loren Pechtel Oct 25 '17 at 4:47
8

To backup the already correct answer, what you're looking at is a Radiation Portal Monitor. They vary in size depending on what they're scanning. They are designed to scan for radioactive materials. I've seen car-scale versions of these at the border-control in Calais, most likely acting on behalf of Project Cyclamen with more info found here.

Funnily enough these can apparently be set off even by recent medical procedures as described here:

My parents were on a coach that set one off. One of the passengers had been treated with radioactive iodine for thyroid cancer."

Although a better question to ask is why does Riga believe people are transporting radioactive material through an airport.

  • 7
    Although a better question to ask is why does Riga believe people are transporting radioactive material through an airport. I've seen them at many European airports. Usually they are somewhat disguised, so you might mistake them for a doorway. e.g: i.stack.imgur.com/I5wfy.jpg To answer your question, most countries want to avoid people smuggling radioactive materials into them. – MJeffryes Oct 25 '17 at 9:14
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    @MJeffryes Not hand-drawn circles :( anyway, you're right, my mistake in hoping someone smuggling radioactive materials would be smart enough to avoid a major airport xD – Tom Oct 25 '17 at 9:25

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