Brookhaven Lab Staff Participate in International Counterterrorism Conference

Members of the Nonproliferation and National Security Department at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory were among exhibitors and presenters at an international counterterrorism conference held recently on Long Island.   The seventh annual CBRNe (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Explosives) Convergence 2014 Congress & Exhibition was organized by CBRNe World magazine. Hundreds of counterterrorism professionals from across the nation and around the world attended the conference, which featured more than 30 speakers and exhibitions from 60 technology companies.

The National Nuclear Security Administration’s (NNSA) Radiological Assistance Program (RAP) team out of Brookhaven sponsored a daylong class and exhibit of equipment used by the NNSA’s Aerial Measuring System (AMS) to characterize the environment following a radiological or nuclear release. Instructors from the Remote Sensing Laboratory at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada, Joint Base Andrews in Maryland, and the RAP team at Brookhaven acquainted attendees with the basics of radiation and the logistics of how to conduct a proper aerial survey.  They also introduced them to the equipment that can be deployed to support radiological and nuclear emergency responses.

“This course was just to give them a taste of what the AMS team is doing,” said Kathleen McIntyre. “In addition to displaying an airplane and a helicopter with radiation detection equipment for attendees to view, they were able to talk to the pilots and the scientists to get an understanding for developing flight profiles, positioning equipment, and reviewing AMS products used by decision-makers.  We also brought a couple of vehicles from the RAP, outfitted with radiation detection systems, as well as our emergency response vehicle, which allows a team to work for 2-plus days in the field.”

Brookhaven Lab Health Physicist Steve Musolino gave a talk on response tactics for the first 100 minutes after the outdoor detonation of an explosive radiological dispersal device, commonly referred to as a “dirty bomb.”  Musolino and his colleague Fred Harper from Sandia National Laboratories have co-authored several papers on the results of experiments conducted in New Mexico that allowed them to describe the realistic aspects of how such an event would unfold and the formulation of guidance for first responders about the optimal protective actions should be taken to protect them and the public.

Under a new Department of Homeland Security (DHS) project, four cities will be chosen to conduct pilot projects using the suggested tactics.

“We did the science, and now we’re actually going into the cities and have them develop tactics for the response for that first 100 minutes,” Musolino said. “They have the equipment, they have the training; it’s just a matter of aligning the pieces. If the local responders don’t get the first hundred minutes right, they may lose control and credibility, and it will be much more difficult to stabilize the incident and begin the recovery process.“

Musolino gave the same talk at a NATO-sponsored conference in Los Angeles last week.

“The overall goals of the DHS-sponsored project are to morph the published scientific guidance into actionable tools designed to assist first responder agencies in developing a simple, concise, and practical radiological response plan,” Musolino said. “This will increase the capability of local agencies to respond to a complex radiological event, and assure an effective, coordinated response in the first 100 minutes of an incident. Our partnership with the cities will facilitate the development of these preparedness materials.”

2014-5377  |  INT/EXT  |  Newsroom