European Commission launches new CBRN training center

The European Commission opened a new European nuclear security training center in Karlsruhe Thursday as part of a chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear action plan created in December 2009.

EUSECTRA will be used to instruct front-line officers, trainers and CBRN experts on methods for detecting nuclear weapon and radioactive material trafficking. Hands-on training will be provided to response teams on simulated airport equipment and on four outdoor scenarios in the facility.

The European Commission's Joint Research Centre's activities will be conducted at the training facility at Karlsruhe and at the existing center in Ispra. Over 30 measurement and detection tools will be used in training with response teams to prepare for potential CBRN threats.

"Nuclear security is a major global challenge in the 21st century," the European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science Maire Geoghegan-Quinn said. "Training and international cooperation in detection are key elements in our response to the threat of illicit trafficking of radioactive and nuclear materials. This new training centre is contributing at the cutting edge of research and technology in this field."

The training programs offered at EUSECTRA were developed in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Energy and the International Atomic Energy Agency. The facility is located at the JRC's Institute for Transuranium Elements campus, with combating CBRN across the European Council in mind.

"This training center will make emergency personnel much better equipped to prevent and tackle nuclear incidents," Commissioner for Home Affairs Cecilia Malmstrom said. "Rare as they are, such incidents may have terrible consequences. EUSECTRA will not only help to protect European citizens but will also serve as a point of reference for other organizations in this field."