Radiological response training facility celebrates opening in Oak Ridge
Officials cut the ribbon to open the Emergency Response Training Facility in Oak Ridge.
Preventing radiological material from falling into the wrong hands or being used for nefarious purposes is a law enforcement concern. Government nuclear facilities are well protected for that very reason. Many hospitals, universities, and laboratories, however, also have radiological material that could be appealing to those wishing to do harm, and local law enforcement agencies may not always be prepared to respond to theft of these materials or to an emergency involving them.
With the grand opening of Tennessee’s Emergency Response Training Facility (ERTF) Monday, law enforcement personnel from across the state, nation, and globe now have access to a state-of-the-art location in which to train for various situations that could involve radiological material. At ERTF, first responders can learn from Y-12 National Security Complex trainers who are experts in radioactive sources.
The $15-million, 40,000-square-foot ERTF was funded by the State of Tennessee and developed by Roane County, led by the Roane Alliance. ERTF has teaching-staff offices, augmented and virtual reality rooms, and traditional classrooms to provide immersive first-responder training.
Community, economic benefits
ERTF is the first facility to begin operations at the Oak Ridge Enhanced Technology and Training Center (ORETTC), the new nuclear security and training campus funded by federal and state dollars. The second facility will be the federally funded Simulated Nuclear and Radiological Activities Facility (SNRAF). When complete, SNRAF will serve as a technology demonstration space and train those responsible for safeguarding nuclear and radioactive material in the latest nuclear security, detection, and nonproliferation technologies.
“These facilities will not only provide a much-needed regional training venue, but also significant benefits to the local economy,” said Roane County Executive Wade Creswell.
Consolidated Nuclear Security (CNS) manages and operates Y-12. CNS President and CEO Rich Tighe noted that the trainees coming to ORETTC’s facilities will result in tax dollars for Tennessee and local governments. “Those dollars will fund education, infrastructure improvements, and other needs,” he said.
Setting the bar
The National Nuclear Security Administration’s (NNSA) Office of Global Material Security, one of the federal programs set to use the facility, will provide state-of-the-art training for law enforcement and other responders to prevent the theft of high-risk radioactive material. This training will improve the security of our homeland and build an international network of radiological and nuclear security practitioners.
“Before this facility, we had inadequate training space to prepare our first responders for an increasingly complex environment,” said Tighe. “At the same time, demand has grown for the unique training available at Y-12.”
“The Emergency Response Training Facility meets those needs, and will help set the bar for outstanding emergency response and the protection of infrastructure during complex conditions,” Tighe said.
The Roane County Alliance and Consolidated Nuclear Security hosted a ribbon cutting and grand opening for the Emergency Response Training Facility (ERTF). As part of the now-operational Oak Ridge Enhanced Technology and Training Center, the facility provides 40,000 square feet of training space for first responders from around the nation and the globe who could encounter radiological material in various scenarios.
Consolidated Nuclear Security, LLC operates the Pantex Plant, located in Amarillo, Texas, and the Y-12 National Security Complex, located in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, under a single contract for the U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration. CNS member companies include Bechtel National, Inc.; Leidos, Inc.; ATK Launch Systems, Inc.; and SOC LLC. Pantex and Y-12 are key facilities in the U.S. Nuclear Security Enterprise, and CNS performs its work with a focus on performance excellence and the imperatives of safety, security, zero defects, and delivery as promised.
Kathryn King, APR
Office (865) 315.5996