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NNSA Participates in Annual Radiological Health Conference

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) Aerial Measuring System (AMS) helicopter will be part of the 43rd Annual New England Radiological Health Conference (NERHC) in Burlington, Vt., this week. The NNSA helicopter will be used as part of training demonstrations that are vital for coordinated emergency response.

“Conferences of this type are crucial to providing a coordinated response to a large-scale radiological or nuclear emergency,” said NNSA Office of Emergency Response Director David Bowman. “It is important that NNSA partners with state, local, tribal and territorial agencies to assist in their preparations for these events. NNSA’s attendance at this conference will help the partners in the New England Compact to better understand how to incorporate the unique capability that our AMS provides into their emergency planning efforts.”

The NNSA’s twin-engine Bell 412 helicopter, operated by the Remote Sensing Laboratory Aerial Measuring System at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland, will land at Waterfront Park in Burlington the morning of Wednesday, Oct. 24.

The NERHC is a training component for the New England Compact, a six-state mutual aid agreement that allows for sharing of scarce radiological emergency resources from all states when a member state needs assistance. The compact, primarily designed to provide assistance during nuclear power plant incidents, is also available to assist a requesting state during transportation accidents or emergencies resulting from terrorist actions.

The NERHC is focused on radiological emergency training and exercises this year. In addition to a demonstration of the capabilities provided by the NNSA helicopter, several AMS scientists are presenting at the conference.

The NNSA is prepared to deploy its AMS helicopter to measure radioactive materials deposited on the ground following a release from a nuclear power plant, radiological dispersion device (dirty bomb), transportation accident or other release of radioactivity. The AMS team consists of scientists, technicians, pilots and ground support personnel. These trained experts are in charge of maintaining a state of readiness to respond to a radiological emergency at any time. The AMS team was deployed to Yokota Air Base in Japan for almost three months following the releases from the Fukushima nuclear power plants.

More information on the NNSA AMS capability can be found here.

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.