NNSA Conducts International Radiological Response Training in Vienna

The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), in partnership with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Incident and Emergency Center (IEC), last week completed an International Radiological Assistance Program Training for Emergency Response Advanced (I-RAPTER A) training course at the IAEA headquarters in Vienna, Austria.

“The I-RAPTER A course provided incident commanders and second line responders training to address significant detailed response measures associated with a response to a nuclear and/or radiological incident or event,” NNSA said in a statement Thursday. “The I-RAPTER A course was providedto 26 participants representing 16 countries. At the conclusion of the course, international first responders were able to appropriately respond to incidents involving radioactive material."

“Our strong partnership with IAEA is integral in our efforts to improve global nuclear and radiological emergency preparedness and response capabilities,” said NNSA Associate Administrator for Emergency Operations, Joseph J. Krol. “NNSA, with its unique and valuable technical expertise, continues to provide assistance to strengthen worldwide capabilities."

Krol said, "We can all learn from each other’s experiences in order to better protect the people and the environment in the event of a nuclear or radiological incident. We look forward to our continued cooperation with our international partners in the important area of radiological emergency response.”

Similarly, the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO) had intended to conduct the first ever National Radiological and Nuclear Detection Challenge in August designed “to improve and advance the radiological and nuclear detection capabilities of federal, state, local and tribal first responders” through a competition that will increase responders’ awareness and cooperation.

DNDO officially opened registration for its National Radiological and Nuclear Detection Challenge in May as the challenge had been scheduled for this month. However, the challenge has been pushed back until sometime in 2014. No new date has been scheduled. See update on the Rad/Nuc Challenge here.

According to NNSA, the I-RAPTER A course was taught by personnel from the IAEA IEC and NNSA personnel from the Office of Emergency Operations, Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque and the Remote Sensing Laboratory at Joint Base Andrews.

One of NNSA’s primary missions is to ensure the safety, security and effectiveness of the US nuclear weapons stockpile without the use of underground nuclear testing. In addition, NNSA 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. And with this expertise, NNSA provides nuclear emergency response support to local law enforcement, DHS, FBI and emergency responders in other countries.

NNSA currently collaborates with more than 80 foreign governments and ten international organizations, with projects ranging from providing assistance in improving emergency preparedness and response programs, to joint collaborative activities to improve emergency management infrastructure worldwide.

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