United States Showcases Nuclear Emergency Response Capabilities

Press Release
Oct 17, 2008

AVILA, Spain – Spain wrapped up a nuclear emergency training exercise today that included 150 participants from the United States and 18 other countries.  The Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) joined the Department of State, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in representing the United States at what officials are calling an important counterterrorism exercise under the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism.

"There was an extraordinary amount of useful information exchanged between our counterparts," said Joseph Krol, NNSA associate administrator for emergency operations at the exercise.  "We continue to work together globally to combat the threat of nuclear terrorism."

NNSA's primary mission is to ensure the safety, security and reliability of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile without underground nuclear testing.  Because of this expertise, the agency also provides nuclear emergency response support to local law enforcement, DHS, the FBI and other countries.

U.S. officials provided briefings on its nuclear and radiological emergency response program at the exercise in Avila, Spain, and NNSA and the FBI provided a five hour demonstration of U.S. government capabilities.  The training included searching for, detecting, and identifying illicit radiological materials, conducting initial consequence management planning in the event of a nuclear or radiological event, and collecting evidence at a potential event for future prosecution.

The mock scenario involved the coordinated interagency response to information that a terrorist organization had smuggled radiological materials into a country and intended to use the material in a radiological dispersal device, also known as a dirty bomb.

Established by Congress in 2000, NNSA is a separately organized 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 United States and abroad.

Media contact(s):
NNSA Public Affairs (202) 586-7371