Nuclear Incident Response

National Nuclear Security Administration

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Counterterrorism

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NNSA is the premier technical leader in responding to and successfully resolving nuclear and radiological threats worldwide. World-class technical teams train to counter acts of nuclear terrorism, and are prepared to search for radioactive material, support the rendering safe of threat devices, and help manage the consequences of a release of radioactive material into the environment. Each of NNSA’s response teams provides specialized expertise in each of the following mission areas:

  • Search/Surge: Detecting nuclear or radiological materials during a particular event
  • Render Safe: Disabling a potentially yield-producing nuclear device by gaining access and performing diagnostics and disablement operations. Also, safely disposing of the components and supporting nuclear forensics
  • Consequence Management: Addressing the consequence of a nuclear or radiological incident, including a terrorist attack, on people and the environment.

These assets encompass four core competencies: core knowledge of U.S. nuclear weapons, “dirty bombs” and crude nuclear devices; core knowledge of use and interpretation of specialized radiation detection equipment; core technical operations; and core technical support requirements.

Accident Response Group (ARG)

The ARG response element is comprised of scientists, technical specialists, crisis managers, and equipment ready for short-notice dispatch to the scene of a U.S. nuclear weapon accident.

Aerial Measuring System

NNSA's Aerial Measuring System (AMS) has specialized airborne radiation detection systems to provide real-time measurements of low levels of air and ground contamination. The AMS team consists of scientists, technicians, pilots, and ground support personnel. These trained experts are in charge of maintaining a state of readiness to respond to a radiological emergency at any time.

Learn more about AMS here.

Federal Radiological Monitoring and Assessment Center (FRMAC)

FRMAC is an interagency entity that coordinates federal offsite radiological monitoring and assessment activities for nuclear accidents or incidents.  FRMAC is responsible for providing a single source of compiled, quality controlled monitoring and assessment data to the lead federal agency involved in the incident response.

National Atmospheric Release Advisory Center (NARAC)
NNSA's National Atmospheric Release Advisory Center provides real-time assessment advisories to emergency managers during the response to a nuclear or chemical event.
NNSA's National Atmospheric Release Advisory Center provides real-time assessment advisories to emergency managers during the response to a nuclear or chemical event.

NARAC is a computer-based emergency preparedness and response predictive capability.  NARAC provides real-time computer predictions of the atmospheric transport of material from radioactive release.

Radiation Emergency Assistance Center/Training Site (REAC/TS)

REAC/TS provides medical advice, specialized training, and onsite assistance for the treatment of all types of radiation exposure accidents.

Radiological Assistance Program (RAP)
NNSA's Radiological Assistance Program (RAP) has team members nationwide to respond to a radiological emergency.
Radiological Assistance Program (RAP) team members include these volunteers from Sandia National Laboratories.

RAP provides advice and radiological assistance for incidents involving radioactive materials that pose a threat to the public health and safety or the environment. RAP can provide field deployable teams of health physics professionals equipped to conduct radiological search, monitoring, and assessment activities.

As part of a robust and coordinated preparedness effort, NNSA works extensively with interagency partners. These partners include law enforcement and public health and safety agencies. NNSA lends technical support through planned training and hands-on exercises intended to ready all involved for real-world response scenarios.