Radioactive materials do a great deal of good: they treat cancer, eliminate certain blood transfusion complications, and are invaluable tools for industry both at home and abroad. But if lost or stolen, these materials can pose a risk to people, cities, and economies. A terrorist could use these sources to make a radioactive dispersal device (RDD), or “dirty bomb.”
ORS 2020 Cities Initiative
NNSA’s Office of Radiological Security (ORS) prevents high-activity radioactive materials from being used in acts of terrorism. While ORS already has secured over 930 buildings in the United States and provided training and equipment to thousands of law enforcement professionals, there is still a significant number of sites and responders in our most heavily populated cities that have not yet volunteered for ORS security enhancements and training.
The ORS 2020 Cities Initiative focuses on enhancing radiological security in major U.S. cities by 2020 by providing security enhancements to sites that house high-activity radioactive materials and training to law enforcement professionals responsible for responding to a theft of these materials.
Securing Our Businesses, Communities, and Country
To secure radioactive materials in U.S. cities where the consequences of radiological terrorism would be most severe, ORS is working to protect, remove, and reduce these materials.
The initiative offers federally-funded security enhancements, disposal of disused sources, and financial incentives to users interested in removing and replacing their cesium irradiators with X-ray devices. Through the Cesium Irradiator Replacement Project, ORS offers participating sites an opportunity to achieve permanent radiological risk reduction. For law enforcement, ORS provides centralized monitoring systems that integrate critical alarms and video from local sites into operations centers along with response training.
The success of the ORS 2020 Cities Initiative requires support and collaboration with a wide range of partners that include businesses, law enforcement, city and state leaders, and federal agencies. ORS has launched an outreach campaign to connect with these audiences. Through a series of short videos, print materials, case studies, news releases, speaking engagements, and workshops, ORS is providing timely radiological security information and awareness to build on success and secure our businesses, our communities, and our country.
You can read more about NNSA’s Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation work in the latest DNN Sentinel Newsletter.