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Laboratory Services and Field Operations

EPA maintains two radiological centers of excellence that provide the monitoring, assessment, radio analytical, and other services needed during a radiological emergency:

Staff from the centers join staff from EPA's headquarters and ten regional offices to form the Radiological Emergency Response Team (RERT). This team is trained and equipped to respond to nuclear emergencies anywhere in the world.

A mobile radio analytical laboratory and the latest radiation survey and communications equipment are maintained in a constant state of readiness for deployment at a moment's notice. Mobile radio analytical services include gamma spectroscopy, alpha and beta analysis, and liquid scintillation analysis.

In addition, both centers maintain communications and other support vehicles. These vehicles are equipped to support command and control activities, provide sample collection and storage, and distribute supplies and equipment. Local VHF and long-distance communication capabilities help them keep in touch with response personnel from other agencies.

National Analytical Radiation Environmental Lab (NAREL)

The NAREL is EPA's main laboratory for analyzing radiation. Each year, the laboratory performs more than 12,000 analyses on samples to identify a number of radionuclides and hazardous materials. Typical samples include air, water, soil, vegetation, human tissue and food. NAREL routinely provides analytical and technical support for the characterization and cleanup of Superfund and federal facility sites.

NAREL also operates RadNet. The system consists of sampling stations across the U.S. that regularly monitor for airborne radiation, providing near-real-time data. Filters from the air monitors are collected and sent to NAREL for screening and further analysis as necessary. Other stations collect samples of drinking water and precipitation (as it occurs) that are sent to NAREL for analysis.

While RadNet's historical data has been used established normal background radiation levels, it can also track airborne radioactivity from an incident that spreads radioactivity across a wide area. If necessary, the RadNet sampling frequency can be increased to meet the needs of any radiological emergency response. The RadNet system also contains 40 portable monitors that can be deployed anywhere in the United States as needed.

Since Chernobyl, EPA has participated in the World Health Organization's efforts to develop a global environmental monitoring program.

You can learn more at the National Analytical Radiation Environmental Laboratory website.

Contact Information

John Griggs, Director
National Analytical Radiation Environmental Laboratory
5 South Morris Avenue
Montgomery, AL 36115-2601

Phone: 334.270.3400
FAX: 334.270.3454
E-Mail Address: NAREL Webmaster

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National Center for Radiation Field Operations (NCRFO)

NCRFO coordinates preparedness planning activities for EPA's Radiological Emergency Response Team's to ensure that its field capabilities (staff and equipment) are ready to respond to the scene of radiation emergencies anywhere in the United States. It manages all of ORIA's field resources, such as on-site monitoring and communications equipment. NCRFO works with the Office of Emergency Management, Regional emergency response programs, and the Agency's other Special Teams. NCRFO staff assesses sites contaminated with radioactive material and provides site-specific computer modeling and dose assessments.

The National Center provides training on radiological emergency response field operations to EPA staff, states, tribes, local organizations and other federal agencies. In addition, it assists tribes in developing and maintaining environmental expertise through the Tribal Air Monitoring Support (TAMS) Center.

You can learn more at the National Center for Radiation Field Operations website.

Contact Information

Ron Fraass, Director
National Center for Radiation Field Operations
4220 S. Maryland Pkwy, Bldg. C
Las Vegas, NV 89119

Phone: (702) 784-8200
FAX: (702) 784-8201
E-Mail Address: radiation.questions@epa.gov

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