National Nuclear Security Administration

NNSA and inter-agency partners conduct radiological counterterrorism tabletop exercise

January 4, 2017

You are here

An NNSA presenter addresses exercise participants at the Rhode Island Nuclear Science Center in Narragansett, Rhode Island.

NNSA, in partnership with the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) Directorate, recently conducted the “Atomic Thunder” tabletop exercise at the Rhode Island Nuclear Science Center in Narragansett. Emergency responders from Narragansett and the surrounding area participated.

Developed for Federal, state, and local government agency partners, the exercise was the capstone event to NNSA-led training on physical protection upgrades and response to alarms. The six-hour event challenged participants to develop plans of action in response to a hypothetical event--terrorist theft of radioactive materials and the subsequent use of those materials in a radiological exposure device.

At numerous points during the exercise, the Nation’s top subject matter experts in radiological and nuclear crisis and consequence management challenged emergency responders and site officials with new scenario elements. NNSA and Department of Energy personnel described their capabilities and roles during and after a terror incident involving radiological materials.

The exercise allowed participants to discuss better methods to communicate when responding to alarms. Additionally, opportunities to cooperate as part of a larger team were identified.

Exercise participants are briefed on the evolution of U.S. counterterrorism policy and terrorism trends.

Partners gather during "Atomic Thunder," a WMD counterterrorism table top exercise in Narragansett, Rhode Island.