WASHINGTON, D.C. – The final session of a series of joint federal, state and local government workshops on radiological emergency response in the event of a terrorist attack was held Sept. 27 in Kansas City, Mo.
Amber Waves 2012, a consequence management exercise series involving a radiological dispersal device (RDD) scenario, was sponsored by the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (DOE/NNSA) and hosted by Kansas and Missouri.
“Exercises of this type are crucial to providing an interagency capability to respond to a large scale radiological or nuclear emergency,” said NNSA Associate Administrator for Emergency Operations Joseph Krol. “We are evaluating and improving our procedures to provide necessary federal support to state and local agencies responsible for protecting the public and environment following a release of radiological materials.”
The concluding workshop provided an opportunity for interagency personnel to discuss issues related to the transition of operational authority from the Federal Radiological Monitoring and Assessment Center (FRMAC) during the recovery phase of a response and the establishment of long-term monitoring of contaminated areas. An interagency organization, the FRMAC involves the Department of Defense, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Department of Health and Human Services and the FBI in addition to DOE/NNSA. The EPA would assume responsibility for long-term radiological environmental monitoring.
“In an emergency, EPA’s number one priority is taking care of the impacted community,” said Acting Deputy Regional Administrator for EPA Region 7 Mark Hague. “Exercises like Amber Waves help us test our plans to ensure the most efficient and effective response.”
The scenario for this series of workshops was the simultaneous detonation of RDDs in the Kansas City Region in Leavenworth County, Kan., and Kansas City, Mo., that resulted in limited casualties and damage related to the blast effects of the devices, which had both a localized and dispersed impact.
Links to fact sheets about DOE/NNSA emergency response assets:
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.