The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) is slated to join over 30 local, state, and federal agencies to conduct a major radiological incident exercise during the week of May 16-20.
The Austin, Texas-centered Cobalt Magnet 22 exercise, spearheaded by the Department of Energy (DOE), unifies numerous agencies to ensure preparedness against radiological threats.
“The men and women of the Nuclear Emergency Support Team – or NEST – are trained to provide decision-makers with timely, actionable scientific advice during fearful events,” DOE Deputy Under Secretary for Counterterrorism and Counterproliferation Jay Tilden said. “Saving lives and reducing the impact of a nuclear incident requires a full understanding of what happened, who will be affected, and what the optimal response should be. NEST’s bread and butter is providing that information to local, state, and federal leaders as rapidly as possible.”
Cobalt Magnet 22 is the result of 18 months of planning by local, state, and federal responders. The exercises will occur at various locations throughout Austin – simulating a radiological attack while enabling response personnel to practice protecting public health and safety; providing emergency relief to impacted populations; and restoring essential services.
NEST will provide radiological monitoring and assessment assistance to state and local leaders during the exercise, according to the DOE, in conjunction with the effort to aid in making informed public health and safety decisions.