Emergency Exercise to Focus on Aerial Radiation Detection and Measuring Systems at Nevada National Security Site

Press Release
Mar 20, 2014

LAS VEGAS – The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) and the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will be sponsoring an Aerial Measuring System (AMS) WINGS exercise March 25-27, the agencies announced today.

WINGS is a series of tabletop exercises and field deployments designed to exercise collaboration of multiple aerial radiation detection assets. Local, state and federal agencies will conduct the field emergency exercise using aerial radiation detection and measuring systems in a real-life, controlled radiological contaminated environment at the Nevada National Security Site located outside of Las Vegas, Nev. Participants have the opportunity to improve their aerial emergency response techniques and establish working relationships with other key agencies.

“NNSA will share its extensive knowledge and experience in using aerial radiation detection and measuring systems during this exercise,” said NNSA Associate Administrator for Emergency Operations Joseph Krol. “WINGS participants will receive hands-on training to help them better understand and use these systems in the most effective ways possible.”

A number of local, state, and federal government agencies have the capability to deploy aerial radiation detection assets in the midst of an emergency. Since local emergency responders will most likely be the first on scene at a radiological incident, it is critical they have the knowledge and expertise to achieve a seamless integration of all aerial assets into a unified response.

During a radiological emergency, the Federal Radiological Monitoring and Assessment Center (FRMAC), managed initially by the Department of Energy, is responsible for coordinating all federal radiological monitoring efforts.

On March 24, participants will be able to attend either an interactive tabletop exercise or a one-day course on aerial measuring techniques. From March 25-27, participants will be involved in a full-scale exercise that will allow the participants the opportunity to deploy their aerial radiation detection assets under the FRMAC umbrella.

NNSA’s Aerial Measuring System characterizes ground-deposited radiation from aerial platforms. These platforms include fixed wing and rotary wing aircrafts with radiological measuring equipment, computer analysis of aerial measurements, and equipment to locate lost radioactive sources, conduct aerial surveys, and map large areas of contamination.

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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.