National Nuclear Security Administration

NNSA debuts cloud computing capabilities to support security activities at major public events

February 6, 2017

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NNSA scientists review radiological data for potential nuclear threats during the 2017 Inauguration

NNSA’s use of cloud-based computing enhanced its abilities to collaborate with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, United States Secret Service, and local law enforcement partners on preventative radiological and nuclear detection efforts during the 58th Presidential Inauguration Jan. 20.

NNSA supported this event using Radiological Assistance Program (RAP) and Nuclear Radiological Advisory Team (NRAT) equipment and personnel drawn from across the Department of Energy.  The teams worked closely with the other agencies that were supporting preventative and detection efforts for a single, integrated capability. 

As part of the Government’s cloud computing strategy, NNSA has been working to move its computing capabilities for preventive and detection efforts to the cloud. For the first time during a major event, NNSA was able to use cloud services to stream multi-gigabytes of data in real time. This advanced capacity improved the team’s efficiency, allowing it to manage and assess larger amounts of data than ever before – at a lower cost. This data enabled the NNSA’s law enforcement partners to respond quickly.

All elevated radiation readings were identified and determined not to pose a threat. The anomalous readings resulted from medical procedures, authorized industrial activities, or simply areas of elevated, naturally-occurring radiation. Due to this enhancement of capability through cloud computing, NNSA’s longstanding and continued collaboration with its law enforcement partners resulted in greater security at a lower cost during the Inauguration.

NNSA supports a wide range of programs, plans, and systems to prevent and mitigate radiological and/or nuclear threats to national security and public safety.