WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) recently conducted an International Radiological Assistance Program Training for Emergency Response (I-RAPTER) course at the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Joint Chemical Biological Radiological and Nuclear (JCBRN) Defence Centre of Excellence (COE) in Vyskov, Czech Republic.
“NNSA and the NATO JCBRN Defence COE continue our partnership in helping train specialists to be prepared to respond to radiation emergencies,” said NNSA Associate Administrator for Emergency Operations Joseph Krol. “The NATO JCBRN Defence COE provides a unique setting for NNSA’s technical experts to train targeted specialists in techniques to be able to locate, characterize, identify and control nuclear and radioactive material during an emergency.”
Fifteen students from seven countries including Afghanistan, Belgium, Bulgaria, Germany, Italy, Netherlands and Poland attended the three-and-a-half days of instruction and field exercises.
The course focused on procedures for first responders, law enforcement and specialists in detecting and responding to emergencies involving nuclear and radiological material. The participants received classroom instruction on radiation concepts, radiation detection, mission planning, alarm adjudication and response/recovery. The field exercises were designed to provide hands-on training using radiation detection technology to localize radiation hotspots, measure dose rates, and identify the radioactive material. Participants gained real-world experience when they located and identified radiation sources at the local air museum using a Spectral Advanced Radiological Computer System (SPARCS) mounted in a van.
The training was conducted by personnel from NNSA; NSTec’s Remote Sensing Laboratory at Joint Base Andrews; Idaho National Laboratory in Idaho Falls, Idaho; and Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, N.M.
In addition to NNSA’s primary mission to ensure the safety, security and effectiveness of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile without the use of underground nuclear testing, the agency provides the United States government’s primary capability for radiological and nuclear emergency response and for providing security to the nation from the threat of nuclear terrorism. With this expertise, NNSA provides nuclear emergency response support to local law enforcement, the Department of Homeland Security, the FBI and emergency responders in other countries.
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Established by Congress in 2000, NNSA is a semi-autonomous agency within the U.S. Department of Energy responsible for enhancing national security through the military application of nuclear science. NNSA maintains and enhances the safety, security, reliability and performance of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile without nuclear testing; works to reduce global danger from weapons of mass destruction; provides the U.S. Navy with safe and effective nuclear propulsion; and responds to nuclear and radiological emergencies in the U.S. and abroad.