Brookhaven National Laboratory protects against radiological threats during Super Bowl

Brookhaven National Laboratory said on April 18 that its Radiological Assistance Program (RAP) team members were on hand during the Super Bowl and for weeks leading up to the event to search for potential radiological threats.

RAP is an emergency response team used by the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) made up of highly trained lab staff and volunteers.

The equipment used by the team includes commercially developed tools, in addition to tools specifically developed for the Department of Energy (DOE). Lab staff participated in the development, testing and evaluation of many pieces of equipment developed for the DOE and NNSA.

Advancements in technology has made equipment less bulky and more portable, making the search for radiological threats in large crowds or at high-profile events faster and easier.

"The instruments are also, in effect, becoming 'smarter' and better able to help first responder partners with limited knowledge collect the initial on-scene information," RAP Region 1 Contractor Operations Manager Kathleen McIntyre said. "This improves the quality of the data collected, which in turn helps a team scientist to understand the event more quickly."

McIntyre said new equipment has the capacity to communicate wirelessly with the command center, allowing the team to send information in real time.

"Operators in the field working in multiple locations can send data back to the command center to be analyzed by one specialist at the command center," McIntyre said.

The team uses an array of detection tools to seek out radiological threats for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, public safety department, hazmat units and Weapons of Mass Destruction Civil Support Teams