NNSA partnered with NATO to complete its first-ever Maritime Pilot course, “Radiological Threats in a Maritime Environment,” at Souda Bay Naval Base in Crete, Greece, Sept. 9-13. Department of Energy and NNSA subject matter experts delivered the course content, which focused on searching for and identifying illicit radiological sources in commercial maritime settings.
NATO’s Maritime Interdiction and Operational Training Facility hosted the training program for 29 participants from nine different nations: Australia, the Czech Republic, Egypt, Greece, the Netherlands, Turkey, Spain, the United Arab Emirates, and the United States. The global prevalence of commercially available radiological sources and maritime transportation of goods makes this type of training crucial to prevent the malicious use of radioactive materials.
“NNSA’s Office of Nuclear Incident Policy and Cooperation is looking to form a partnership with this facility because it’s one of the best maritime training centers in the world,” said NNSA Foreign Affairs Specialist Andrae Brooks. “The facility provides a unique and world-class maritime training environment, and NATO shares NNSA’s global outlook on supporting realistic, adaptive training for international partners.”
The Pilot Course included lectures, table-top exercises, hands-on equipment demonstrations, and practical training on Rubberized Hardened Inflatable Boats, or RHIBs. The Greek naval training vessels Aeres and Akylon were used to conduct radiological search exercises using NNSA’s specialized tools. Participants enhanced their knowledge of radiation detectors and radiation protection concepts, radiation search techniques, and detection strategies. The course also provided opportunities to prepare, plan, and provide command and control activities for radiation emergency response operations.
The Department of Defense’s Defense Threat Reduction Agency provided radiological sources and radiological safety subject matter expertise to round out the multinational presence.
NNSA is expanding and aligning its NATO portfolio of radiological courses to support nations in the Partnership for Peace, Partners Around the Globe, Mediterranean Dialogue, and Istanbul Cooperative Initiative.