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Tech Training Egyptian Scientists In Radiation Safety

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. May 7, 2010 – New Mexico Tech and Trinitek Services Inc. are hosting safety training with a group of Egyptian scientists for the next six weeks.

Tech and Trinitek are presenting radioactive source safety training for 15 scientists from the Egyptian Atomic Energy Authority, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Global Threat Reduction Initiative. Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Off-Site Source Recovery Program will provide an additional two weeks of training. Sandia National Laboratories is the leading the Department of Energy efforts in Egypt.

Dennis Morrison is the director of New Mexico Tech’s Institute for Engineering Research and Applications. He said the visiting scientists are receiving specialized hands-on comprehensive training from Trinitek personnel, with support from New Mexico Tech.

The six-week training course will help the Egyptian authorities deal safely with radioactive materials used in medicine, welding and other industrial uses. The program will also include detailed course work on handling, transportation and disposal.

The final week of the training in early June will be in Playas, N.M., the former mining town that Tech purchased in 2003 for use as a research and training facility. At Playas the Egyptian scientists will apply their classroom knowledge in real-time drills that simulate various scenarios for recovery of radioactive sources. The scientists will get hands-on experience in responding to unexpected radiological incidents.

Morrison said the program also includes an exchange-program component. The Egyptian group will have numerous opportunities to visit cultural sites in Albuquerque and around New Mexico, visit homes of local residents and learn about America.

Trinitek is a minority-owned small business founded in Albuquerque in 1999. The company is a leading international consulting firm that specializes in nuclear and atomic regulations, hazard mitigation, environmental protection, radiation safety and waste management. Trinitek engineers and scientists will provide the majority of the classroom instruction and field exercise training.

The joint effort of the national laboratories, New Mexico Tech, and Trinitek offers a unique set of skills and customized practical training that enables effective recovery of used radioactive materials from civilian sites.

The federal Nuclear Security Administration established the Global Threat Reduction Initiative to improve safety and security protocols for high-risk nuclear and radiological materials around the world. The Initiative aims to protect nuclear and radiological material at civilian sites around the world.

This training program highlights New Mexico’s role in supporting many of the Department of Energy initiatives that brings high-tech jobs and business opportunities to small business in the state. Morrison said New Mexico’s weather and terrain are similar to many countries in the Middle East, Gulf States and North Africa, which positions New Mexico as a favored site for such training and can lead to more opportunities for cultural exchange with the foreign visitors.

– NMT –

By Thomas Guengerich/New Mexico Tech