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WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (DOE/NNSA) hosted a bilateral workshop with Japan May 2-5 at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) in Livermore, Calif.
The workshop, which focused on radiation measurement, characterization, and protective actions for emergency preparedness and response, was the ninth meeting of the Emergency Management Working Group under the U.S.-Japan Bilateral Commission on Civil Nuclear Cooperation.
Jay Tilden, NNSA’s associate administrator for counterterrorism and counterproliferation, led the workshop with his counterpart and working group co-chair, Okinobu Hirai, Japan’s director general for nuclear disaster management. They were joined by Japanese Minister of Environment State Minister Tadahiko Ito.
“The U.S.-Japan Emergency Management Working Group is a tangible display of our friendship with the people of Japan and our commitment to the long-standing alliance between our countries. Both governments are committed to energy security, nuclear energy safety, and the exchange of best practices in the area of emergency preparedness and response. We are excited to continue these fruitful technical interactions over the coming years,” said Tilden.
During the workshop, subject matter experts from the Nevada National Security Site’s (NNSS) Remote Sensing Laboratory provided a technical demonstration of the Aerial Measuring System (AMS) program, a key NNSA asset for nuclear emergency preparedness and response. The capability provided by the AMS aircraft allows for a quick and complete characterization of large geographic areas following a potential or actual release of radioactive material. Aerial monitoring requires fewer personnel and involves less risk than deploying a large number of field teams to perform a ground-based characterization. It is also more cost-effective.
The workshop also featured tours and demonstration of LLNL’s National Atmospheric Release Advisory Center, Nuclear Counting Facility, and the Center for Accelerator Mass Spectrometry. There was also a demonstration of field monitoring and sampling capabilities by the NNSA Radiological Assistance Program. Additional workshop discussions focused on public communications, training of personnel, and sharing of strategies for radiation monitoring.
The EMWG working group was established in 2012 following Japan’s 2011 Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear accident. The group brings together nuclear incident preparedness and response experts from across both governments’ agencies for strategic dialogue, sharing of best practices and lessons learned, and technical exchanges.
Participants included representatives from the Japanese Cabinet Office, Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority, and the Japan Atomic Energy Agency. The U.S. delegation included participants from NNSA, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (DHS/FEMA), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). The workshop also featured key presentations from subject matter experts from LLNL, RSL, and NNSS.
During his visit to the United States, Japan’s State Minister Ito met with NNSA Administrator and DOE Under Secretary for Nuclear Security Lt. Gen. Frank G. Klotz (Ret.), as well as senior leadership of DHS/FEMA and the NRC in Washington, D.C.
Established by Congress in 2000, NNSA is a semi-autonomous agency within the U.S. Department of Energy responsible for enhancing national security through the military application of nuclear science. NNSA maintains and enhances the safety, security, and effectiveness of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile without nuclear explosive testing; works to reduce global danger from weapons of mass destruction; provides the U.S. Navy with safe and effective nuclear propulsion; and responds to nuclear and radiological emergencies in the U.S. and abroad. Visit www.nnsa.energy.gov for more information.