Urkraine, Belarus take part in nuclear, radiological weapons response workshop

National security officials from Ukraine and Belarus conducted a series of exercises from Oct. 15 to 17 in Kiev, Ukraine, to strengthen the countries' response to radiological and nuclear weapons.

The workshop, which was organized by Interpol, presented specialists from Ukraine and Belarus with a fictional radiological nuclear terror attack to understand the impact such an event would have on the region and develop a joint response plan.

"Radiological and nuclear attacks are a genuine risk worldwide and the threat they pose should not be underestimated," Interpol Radiological Nuclear Coordinator Alan King said. "The worst-case scenario can happen anytime, anywhere and law enforcement and its partners must be prepared."

Exercises were led by a nuclear chemistry and forensic science expert. Public safety officials used the exercises to analyze its response protocols regarding nuclear or chemical terrorist attacks.

"The problem of radiological or nuclear terrorism is very real, and to tackle it effectively, international cooperation is essential," Interpol Kiev Head General Major Vasyl Nevolia said. "This event is a reflection of our efforts to strengthen international cooperation with Interpol in tackling the threat of nuclear materials being used for illegal purposes, particularly terrorism."

The workshop was endorsed by the International Atomic Energy Agency and was a part of Interpol's All Hazards Counter Measures program to curb and address situations involving radioactive materials.