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NNSA's Livermore Lab partners with cities and counties to track biological, chemical releases

The City of Seattle will be the first to participate in a National Nuclear Security Administration pilot project to help local communities better plan for and respond to releases of chemical or biological agents. Under the initiative, local agencies will be able to access the NNSAs National Atmospheric Release Advisory Center (NARAC) at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) in California, which predicts chemical, biological and nuclear plumes.

The program, called the Local Integration of NARAC with Cities (LINC), will eventually provide a unified tool for city, county, state and federal agencies to use in emergency planning and response.

Since 1979, NARAC has been a national emergency response service that provides planning, real-time assessments and detailed studies of chemical, biological and radiological releases to the Department of Energy and the Department of Defense.

NARACs capabilities have been enhanced recently and it can now also provide critical information in the event of an incident involving chemical, biological or natural hazardous material.

When a hazardous material is accidentally released into the atmosphere, NARAC scientists can map the probable spread of contamination in time for an emergency manager to decide if taking protective action is necessary. Since 1979, NARAC has responded to more than 160 alerts, accidents and disasters and supported more than 850 exercises.

"We have a number of cities and counties that would like to be the next demonstration jurisdiction," said Don Ermak, leader of the Labs Atmospheric Release Assessment Program, part of the Energy and Environment Directorate.

With the LINC program, initial predictions using the end users computer are available in less than a minute, while fully automated NARAC central system predictions can be delivered in five to 10 minutes. NARAC predictions can easily be distributed to multiple users such as local, state and federal go
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Contact: Anne Stark
stark8@llnl.gov
925-422-9799
DOE/Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
22-May-2002


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