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Federal Agencies Demonstrate Response Capabilities for a Radiological Event

KANSAS CITY, KAN. – A joint federal, state and local government workshop and demonstration of the emergency response capabilities that will be deployed in the event of a radiological accident or incident was held this week in Kansas City, Kan. This technical workshop was part of a series of events associated with Amber Waves 2012, a radiological dispersal device (RDD) exercise series sponsored by the Department of Energy/National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA). Personnel from the states of Kansas, Missouri and Iowa, as well as numerous federal agencies participated in the events.

“The event is critical to the collaboration and integration of emergency responders during a radiological emergency,” said Joseph J. Krol, NNSA Associate Administrator for Emergency Operations. “The technical workshop enhances federal, state and local emergency responders’ ability to work together and to be better prepared should a radiological emergency occur.”

During the workshop, emergency response personnel demonstrated equipment and expertise available through the Federal Radiological Monitoring and Assessment Center (FRMAC), which is initially coordinated by NNSA. As an interagency organization, the FRMAC also includes assets from the Department of Defense, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Department of Health and Human Services, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and other federal agencies. The FRMAC provides access to plume modeling through the National Atmospheric Release Advisory Center (NARAC) at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, aerial and ground monitoring and sampling capabilities, data assessment and radiation medical advice through the Radiation Emergency Assistance Site / Training Center in Oak Ridge, Tenn.

Other agencies at the workshop provided demonstrations including the Kansas City Fire Department, Platte County, Mo., National Guard 73rd Civil Support Team, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the EPA. The Centers for Disease Control demonstrated establishment of a community reception center for triage of individuals exposed to radiation after an RDD event. Medical support and capabilities were showcased along with demonstrations of air, water, soil and vegetation sample collection and field radiation monitoring techniques. Additionally, the workshop tested and demonstrated how NARAC atmospheric release predictions are generated and updated.

This workshop is part of a three-phase event, which includes a senior leadership seminar and incident management table-top exercise in July, followed by a three-day workshop in September that will discuss agricultural consequences, community reception center activities and the FRMAC transition from NNSA to EPA leadership in the recovery phase of an event.

For more information on NNSA’s Office of Emergency Operations, click here.

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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.