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Title: Session 70 - Panel: Consequence Management of a Radiological Dispersion Device

This was an unusual panel session in that the panelists did not give presentations but responded to a tabletop exercise where they postulated decisions necessary after radiological dispersal device detonation event (dirty bomb). Articles in the daily WM'06 newsletter sought to prepare the participants for a simulated exercise involving the sighting of a known terrorist and the theft of radiological materials. During the slide presentation (in the form of a developing television news broadcast) the audience played decision makers and their 'votes' were tallied for multiple choice decisions and questions. After that was completed, the expert panel was asked to give their best responses for those decisions. The audience was allowed to ask questions and to give opinions as the panel responded. During the exercise the session co-chairs alternated announcing the events as they unfolded in the exercise and polled the audience using multiple-choice options for decisions to be made during the event. The answers to those questions were recorded and compared to the panelists' answers. The event chronology and decisions (audience questions) are shown in this report. - An explosion was reported at the Tucson International Airport (9:35 am). 1. Who is in charge? - Witnesses report 10-20 fatalities,more » 50 injured and massive damage to the airport, no cause determined yet (9:55 am). 2. IC's Next Action Should Be? - KRAD (local television station) Investigative News Reporters interviewed witnesses that observed a 25 foot U-Haul truck pull up onto the departure ramp just moments before the explosion (10:02 am). Terrorism has not been ruled out. 3. When is the incident declared a potential crime scene? - City of Tucson IC has ordered an evacuation of the airport to a holding area at a nearby long term parking area (10:10 am). No information has been given as to why the evacuation took place. The explosion is suspected to contain chemical, biological or radiological agents. County and State emergency operations centers have been activated. 4. Terrorism is suspected; next action is? - KRAD News has just learned that elevated levels of radiation have been detected at the airport and by the University of Arizona remote detectors (10:17 am). A 'dirty bomb' is now suspected. 5. What should the IC do next? - KRAD reporters have learned that dose rates are approximately 7.5 mR/hr gamma radiation in the short-term parking area (10:28 am). Experts attending a conference at the Tucson Convention Center state that these levels are not life threatening, but well above acceptable levels. 6. What does the IC do next? 7. Who is the coordinating agency? - Forensics indicate that the radioactive material used in the explosion at the Tucson Airport is apparently a mixture of high jacked low level waste from a nuclear facility and stolen radiation sources for medical or industrial purposes (11:21 am). The origin of the waste material is from an audience member's plant (assume it is your own material). 8. Who is responsible for surveys and characterization? 9. Who is responsible for the decontamination? 10. Where are the injured and contaminated victims treated? KRAD learned from the University of Arizona that the plume from the 'dirty bomb' elevated radiation levels above approved levels over a 3 square mile area downwind of the Tucson Airport (1:13 pm). People in the affected area are checking in at emergency rooms at the hospital to learn if they're in danger of radiation health affects. Gridlock has set in as panicked people are either leaving the area or headed for emergency rooms. 11. What should be done to help mitigate fears? DHS raises the National Terrorism Alert to Code Red (late afternoon). 12. What should your nuclear facility do next? 13. KRAD reporter contacts you at your nuclear facility and asks, 'Since title to the waste remains with your company, will your company cover the cost of the terrorist event including all decontamination and medical expenses? The results of the question were very interesting and stimulated quite a bit of discussion among the panelists and the audience. Early, relatively straightforward decisions had fairly consistent answers between the audience and the panel. Later questions required a deeper understanding of national policy and there was less consensus. In many cases the decisions would have to be very event specific and rest on the shoulders of trained personnel (primarily the IC) on the scene. Some decisions had 'no wrong answer', other decisions lead panel members with specific guidance (because of their positions) to particular actions. Overall, this panel session stimulated quite a bit of interest in the subject of RDD terrorism and homeland security responses in general. While there is specific guidance on many events such as this, the response is mostly at the local level early in the event. This is good and proper, but could lead to inappropriate responses if an incident of national significance has been triggered using covert means. In this exercise national response could be slowed because the airport was unusable. Help is available to the local response teams, but the wheels have to be set in motion and the right buttons pushed. (authors)« less
;  [1] ;  [2] ;  [3] ;  [4] ;  [5] ;  [6]
  1. Pima County Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security, Tucson (United States)
  2. Nuclear Regulatory Commission's Division of Preparedness and Response (United States)
  3. Office of Emergency Management, Environmental Protection Agency (United States)
  4. Baltimore District of the Army Corps of Engineers (United States)
  5. Environmental Science Division, Argonne National Laboratory (United States)
  6. Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant, Southern Maryland (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
TRN: US09V1216081250
Resource Type:
Resource Relation:
Conference: Waste Management 2006 Symposium - WM'06 - Global Accomplishments in Environmental and Radioactive Waste Management: Education and Opportunity for the Next Generation of Waste Management Professionals, Tucson, AZ (United States), 26 Feb - 2 Mar 2006; Other Information: Country of input: France
Research Org:
WM Symposia, Inc., PO Box 13023, Tucson, AZ, 85732-3023 (United States)
Country of Publication:
United States