NNSA, IAEA conduct training for first responders

The National Nuclear Security Administration and the International Atomic Energy Agency recently conducted an international training program for first responders for customs and ports, the NNSA said on Thursday.

The International Radiological Assistance Program Training for Emergency Response course trained 16 representatives from 10 countries, including Vietnam, Thailand, Philippines, Netherlands, Mexico, Malta, Jamaica, Dominican Republic, Djibouti and Armenia. The Las Vegas-based course focused on response procedures for port and customs offices involved in detecting radiological and nuclear material encountered during routine inspections.

"NNSA and the IAEA continue to be committed to helping prepare port and customs offices around the world to respond to radiation emergencies," Joseph Krol, the NNSA's associate administrator for emergency operations, said. "NNSA's technical expertise supported this joint training to ensure that more first responders have the capability to locate, characterize, identify and control nuclear and radioactive material."

The participants received classroom instruction on response and recovery, alarm adjudication, radiation detection, radiation safety and international response criteria. The course also included field exercises meant to give hands-on training with radiation detection technology to measure dose rates, localize radiation hotspots and identify radioactive material.

The NNSA collaborates with more than 80 foreign governments and 10 international organizations to provide joint collaborative activities, improve emergency management infrastructure and strengthen emergency preparedness and response programs.