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While thousands of athletes competed at the 2019 Pan American Games on July 26 – August 11 in Lima, Peru, the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) quietly furnished preventive radiological and nuclear detection assistance worthy of a gold medal.
At the request of the Government of Peru, NNSA’s Office of Counterterrorism and Counterproliferation provided emergency preparedness and technical support for this major public event. The office coordinated with the Peruvian Institute of Nuclear Energy and the Peruvian National Police to ensure the necessary training; scientific, technical, and advisory support; and detection equipment were available. The International Atomic Energy Agency provided additional equipment.
“We are pleased to have had the opportunity to work with Peru on such an important issue,” said Ann Heinrich, Director for the Office of Nuclear Incident Policy and Cooperation. “Together, we exchanged techniques and applied best practices to maintain the radiological safety and security of athletes and spectators at the Pan American Games.”
The Peruvian Institute of Nuclear Energy’s request for assistance stemmed from the recommendation of an Argentinian colleague who received NNSA support for a major public event last year: the G-20 meeting in Buenos Aires.
NNSA’s assistance to Peru included equipment and operational training, maintenance, data interpretation, technical advice, and access to Department of Energy (DOE)/NNSA reach-back capabilities. The support also included response refresher training plus equipment maintenance, spectral data analysis capabilities, and technical assistance as needed throughout the event.
The Pan American Games featured competitors from 41 countries throughout the Americas. The multisport event is held every four years in the year before the Summer Olympic Games.