NNSS joins federal, state and local partners for Cobalt Magnet 22 radiological incident exercise


Austin training exercise will bring numerous agencies together to ensure preparedness

The Nevada National Security Site (NNSS) is just one of more than 30 local, state, and federal agencies participating in the Cobalt Magnet 22 exercise in Austin, Texas, May 16-20. The exercise, led by the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), is a high-level drill designed to train the numerous agencies to coordinate responses during, and ensure preparedness against, radiological threats.

Cobalt Magnet 22 is the culmination of 18 months of planning by local, state, and federal responders. The exercise simulates a radiological attack on the city of Austin and prompts response personnel to practice protecting public health and safety, providing emergency relief to affected populations, and restoring essential services at various locations throughout the city.

During the week, members of the public may see field teams in protective clothing using radiological monitoring and detection equipment, low-flying aircraft conducting data-gathering overflights, and groups of first responders and others staged at various locations. The exercise is part of a regular program of training, exercises and planning by which NNSA and federal, state and local partners prepare to protect public health and safety.

“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,” said Jay Tilden, DOE’s Deputy Under Secretary for Counterterrorism and Counterproliferation. “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.”

NEST is NNSA’s multi-mission nuclear emergency response capability, providing highly trained and equipped scientists and technical experts to contend with any conceivable nuclear or radiological challenge. During Cobalt Magnet, NEST will provide radiological monitoring and assessment assistance to state and local leaders to make informed public health and safety decisions. NEST will also work with local, state, and federal law enforcement to conduct radiological search operations and identify potential threat devices.

Learn more about the Nevada National Security Site’s role in preparing for and responding to radiological threats at NNSS.gov.