WASHINGTON, D.C. - Emergency responders from the Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) teamed up with their counterparts from the Russian Atomic Energy Agency (ROSATOM) for the first-ever joint radiological emergency response field training in St. Petersburg, Russia.
"This successful and productive event is another sign of increased cooperation between the United States and Russia," said NNSA's Associate Administrator for Emergency Operations Joseph Krol. "Preparing for an emergency situation is critical to our efforts and we can both 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 will continue working closely with our Russian partners in the important area of radiological emergency response."
Under the Bratislava Agreement on Nuclear Security signed by Presidents Bush and Putin in 2005, the United States and Russia agreed to cooperate on various nuclear security efforts, including securing nuclear material and coordinating on emergency response efforts. The recent training in St. Petersburg is the latest in a series of bilateral meetings, mutual equipment demonstrations, and joint exercises between NNSA and ROSATOM emergency responders.
The full week of training from October 29 to November 2, 2007, covered various emergency response topics, including the theory of radiation detection, detection equipment uses, and real-world responses to terrorism situations. Two mini-exercises were held to test responses to the dispersion of radioactive material. The culminating event in the week was a day-long exercise that incorporated notification and alert procedures, mission planning, deployment of response personnel, field operations and event resolution.
In order to continue enhancing bilateral preparedness for radiological emergency response, further efforts are planned and regular joint training sessions for emergency response personnel will be held in the United States and Russia. A Russian team has been invited to the United States for the second of the series of field training events. The goal of U.S.-Russia emergency response cooperation is to share best practices between the two organizations so that an effective operation will be ready should the need arise for an international response to nuclear and radiological incidents or terrorist events.
NNSA provides the country's technical response to nuclear or radiological emergencies within the United States and abroad. It maintains a high readiness alert level and deployable assets that respond rapidly to nuclear and radiological accidents or incidents, lost or stolen radioactive materials, and acts of nuclear terrorism. Teams of experts are located throughout the country and ready to respond in support of federal, state and local governments.
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.
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