Some people are fearless. When others run away from danger, these people thrive. We call them heroes, leaders, and good Samaritans because they perform important jobs that the rest of us are unable to do. And more often than not, they are highly trained in their fields.
For civilian and military first responders who prepare to deal with radiological dispersion devices (RDD) and other weapons of mass destruction (WMD), special training is offered only in a few locations. One of those places is Idaho National Laboratory (INL).
As the nation’s lead research institution for nuclear energy, INL employs world-renowned nuclear scientists, engineers, and nonproliferation experts who lead immersive, hands-on responder training. Sessions include a mixture of classroom and field exercises taught by experts with backgrounds in safeguards, forensics, measurement, and interrogation.
Classes range from several days to a few weeks and can be scaled to accommodate any sized group. Course materials are tailored to the participant’s potential need to search, interact, and render safe a radiological dispersal device or other potentially dangerous materials. Field activities can involve the strategic placement of radioactive sources so detection and identification techniques can be taught and performed by participants in a similar fashion to real deployment.
The laboratory’s 890-square-mile site can be used for large-scale interagency technology and capability demonstrations. Students also have access to nuclear facilities including operating reactors, hot cells, and analytical laboratories inside a controlled location that provides a safe and secure environment for training.
- INL has conducted RDD and WMD classroom and field training since 2002.
- Participants have controlled access to live radioactive materials including sealed sources, fissile materials, and spent nuclear fuels.
- INL’s 890-square-mile site, nuclear infrastructure, and staff expertise are ideal for conducting detection, identification, measurement, and recovery exercises.
- The laboratory has provided source material and expertise to agencies wishing to conduct training at their facilities.
- INL’s site has been utilized for several radiological joint capability and technology demonstrations.