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Nonproliferation and National Security Department

Nonproliferation and Homeland Security Field Support Group

The Nonproliferation and Homeland Security Field Support Group provides radiological assistance to federal and state agencies under the DOE Radiological Assistance Program (RAP), field support for nuclear security programs such as the NNSA Material Protection Control and Accounting Program (MPC&A), technical assistance to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), particularly its Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO), and analyses and protection recommendations for events involving radiation dispersal devices (RDDs). In addition, this group researches threat mitigation from explosive devices, including the development of explosives denaturing materials and field methods to characterize explosive devices.

The group has also developed protocols and procedures for calibrating first responder, police and fire department personnel radiation detectors in the NYC metropolitan area and surrounding communities. BNL plans to increase its assistance to police and first-responders groups by offering training and assistance in establishing nuclear and radiological emergency preparedness and response capabilities for local and state response agencies.

Specific activities and programs of the Nonproliferation and Homeland Security Field Support Group include:

  • The Radiological Assistance Program (RAP) supports DOE/NNSA radiological assistance efforts, upon request, to other Federal agencies; state, tribal, and local governments; and to private groups and individuals for incidents involving radiological materials. RAP provides assistance to the appropriate on-scene authority by bringing capabilities to search for lost or hidden radioactive materials, area monitoring, radiological advice and consultation. BNL’s RAP Team is responsible for Region 1, the busiest RAP region, covering the East Coast between Maine and Maryland and inland to the Pennsylvania-Ohio border. When called by DOE, the RAP team is fully mobilized within two hours and arrives on scene within six hours of notification.
  • Technical Analyses of the likelihood (threat) that terrorists might use radiological dispersal devices and what material and potential designs might be employed. BNL personnel also participate in security system reviews at numerous facilities in NYC and the region that use radiation sources, such as hospitals, research and development organizations and industrial entities and make recommendations for improving security for these sources.
  • Training of local and regional first responders for nuclear/radiological emergencies carried out by the RAP team and other BNL experts.
  • Design, construction and operation of large testing and training facilities such as the Radiation Test and Evaluation Center (RADTEC) and the Graphite Sampling Tool (GST). Both of these facilities provide hands-on practical testing and training capabilities for personnel from BNL and elsewhere who will be deployed in the field for emergency or verification activities.