During the October 2007 U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Top Officials 4 Full-Scale Exercise (T4 FSE), ORAU’s Cytogenetic Biodosimetry Laboratory (CBL) tested for the first time its capability to receive and process blood samples and calculate radiation doses for “victims” during a full-scale exercise.
Drs. Gordon Livingston and Mark Jenkins screened blood samples for biological evidence of radiation exposure using an established cytogenetic procedure involving cell culture and chromosome analysis. The blood samples were shipped overnight to Oak Ridge from the Portland, Ore., exercise site and were in culture at the CBL the following day.
Two days later, the cultures were harvested and prepared on microscope slides for analysis. On the third day, CBL staff used its automated cytogenetic workstation to triage the 12 samples into exposed and nonexposed categories. After a triage sample of 50 cells was screened, two samples showed clear evidence of radiation exposure.
ORAU’s national security and emergency management experts were also extensively involved in planning and assisting in the response to this Congressionally-mandated terrorism preparedness exercise.