Last week was the fifth anniversary of the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration’s Alarm Response Training program for local law enforcement and other critical first responders around the country. In the five years of providing this course, NNSA has trained more than 3,000 on-site radiation safety and security personnel, local law enforcement officers, and other first responders on how to respond to a security incident involving nuclear or radiological materials, a press release said.
“One of the greatest threats to national and global security is the danger of nuclear and radiological terrorism, and the Alarm Response Training program directly addresses this threat,” said NNSA Deputy Administrator for Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation Anne Harrington. “We recognize that reducing the risk of radiological or nuclear terrorism requires a whole-of-community approach that brings together officials and responders from the federal, state, local, and facility levels. NNSA is able to utilize its unique expertise and technical resources to partner with local communities and other agencies to make our cities safer here and around the world.”
The three-day course is held at the NNSA’s Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge. While at Y-12, participants develop and discuss their own tactics, techniques, procedures, and protocols for responding to a theft or sabotage event involving radioactive materials. After two days of classroom instruction, Y-12 experts facilitate live-action scenarios in which participants get to test their knowledge and exercise their revised response plans.
The ART program is a key component of NNSA’s Global Threat Reduction Initiative, or GTRI, which works domestically with volunteer sites like hospitals, universities, and industry as well as state and local governments to install sustainable security enhancements for high-priority nuclear and radiological materials. After GTRI has provided the security upgrades, on-site radiation safety and security personnel, local law enforcement officers, and other first responders participate in the ART course to learn how to use and respond to their new equipment and alarms.
The Department’s GTRI program works to reduce and protect vulnerable nuclear and radiological material located at civilian sites worldwide. GTRI achieves permanent threat reduction by converting research reactors and isotope production facilities from highly enriched uranium to low enriched uranium, removing and disposing of excess nuclear and radiological materials, and protecting high priority nuclear and radiological materials from theft and sabotage.
For a fact sheet on NNSA’s GTRI program, click here.