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Radiological Search and Response Training

A safe and secure environment for training

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) established two ranges for radiological search and response training at INL to provide secure, isolated locations to train personnel, test aerial and ground-based sensors and develop detection capabilities with radioactive materials under controlled conditions. 

Nuclear facilities, including operating reactors, hot cells and analytical laboratories inside a controlled location provide a safe and secure environment for training.

Radiological Search and Response Training

INL provides immersive, hands-on training for military, law enforcement, and first responders responsible for securing sites and responding to real or perceived radiological incidents.

Range training can last for several days up to a couple of weeks and can be scaled to accommodate any sized group. Course materials can also be tailored to responder needs to search, interact and render safe a radiological dispersal device or other potentially dangerous materials. Field exercises can involve the strategic placement of sealed radioactive sources, special form-sealed radioactive sources and contained radioactive sources. Responders use specialized equipment to characterize the radiation fields or areas, obtain radiation readings, train with disablement tools and collect samples in the test area. The laboratory can also provide contamination characterization and decontamination training.

Off-site Exercises

When requested, INL experts provide training sources, specialized equipment, and source handlers to support large training exercises at off-site locations like sports stadiums, concert halls or military bases. Although every training exercise is unique based on the needs of emergency responders, a typical event often involves:

  • Checking background radiation and verifying initial conditions.
  • Placing sealed radioactive sources followed by equipment surveys and search techniques.
  • Learning how to interact with the public while conducting surveys and performing scan and search activities.
  • Learning how to accurately take measurements, how to mitigate hazardous materials, and how to recover and restore the area following a suspected event.
  • Coordinating and communicating with other responders including local law enforcement, event security and emergency medical personnel.

Securing radioactive sources

Since 2006, Idaho National Laboratory has established itself as a center of excellence in the recovery of excess radioactive items and equipment from locations throughout North America. Radioactive sources are used in certain types of cancer therapy, disease control, for nondestructive examination of industrial components, and to kill germs or insects.

Idaho National Laboratory