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Cablegate: Responding to Nuclear Terrorism and Radiological

VZCZCXRO3141
PP RUEHAG RUEHDF RUEHIK RUEHLZ RUEHROV
DE RUEHRL #0628/01 1341513
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 131513Z MAY 08
FM AMEMBASSY BERLIN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1199
RHMFIUU/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEFHLC/HOMELAND SECURITY CENTER WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
INFO RUCNFRG/FRG COLLECTIVE
RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE
RUEHUNV/USMISSION UNVIE VIENNA 0334
RHMCSUU/FBI WASHINGTON DC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 BERLIN 000628

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR ISN, PM, INR, DS, S/CT, INL, EUR
DOE FOR NNSA - KROL AND WILBER

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: MNUC KNNP PTER ASEC KCRM ENRG PREL KGIC GM
SUBJECT: RESPONDING TO NUCLEAR TERRORISM AND RADIOLOGICAL
INCIDENTS - GERMANY'S TASK FORCE APPROACH

REF: A. 07 STATE 162091
B. 05 BERLIN 3617
C. 05 HAMBURG 93
D. 06 HAMBURG 85

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: German officials from the Federal
Environment Ministry and the Federal Office of Radiation
Protection (BfS) briefed NNSA Associate Administrator for
Emergency Operations Admiral Krol on Germany's task force
approach to respond to incidents of nuclear terrorism and
other radiological incidents. In case of such an incident,
the Federal Office of Criminal Investigation, the Federal
Police, and BfS officials would stand up the federal
Central Support Group (ZUB) to provide analysis, technical
assistance, and recommendations to emergency response
personnel in German states, which have the lead for
detection and response under Germany's Constitution.
Admiral Krol described the emergency response structure and
capabilities of NNSA's Office of Emergency Operations. END
SUMMARY.

2. (U) U.S. Department of Energy National Nuclear Safety
Administration Associate Administrator for Emergency
Operations Admiral Joseph J. Krol and NNSA Office of
Emergency Response Director Deborah Wilber visited Berlin
May 7-8 for consultations with the German Federal Office of
Radiation Protection (Bundesamt fuer Strahlenschutz, or
BfS), a semi-autonomous implementation agency of the
Federal Environment Ministry (BMU). Interlocutors included
BfS Director General for Radiation Protection and
Environment Gerald Kirchner; BfS Defense against Nuclear
Hazards Task Force Director Michael Hoffmann; BfS physicist
Emily Alice Kroeger; and Mechthild Caspers of the BMU's
Office of Radiological Protection.

3. (SBU) Krol and Wilber described the emergency response
structure and capabilities of NNSA's Office of Emergency
Operations, which provides technical advice from the DOE
Complex in response to threats or acts of nuclear
terrorism, radiological accidents, lost or stolen
radioactive materials, nuclear weapon accidents, and
malevolent threats or acts. Wilber highlighted NNSA's
International Reach Back services, including:

-- TRIAGE: a 24/7 on-call support service for first
responder teams for analysis of nuclear data;
-- International Exchange Program (IXP): a 24/7 service
that provides support for radiological plume and dispersal
modeling; and
-- Radiation Emergency Assistance Center/Training Site
(REAC/TS): a 24/7 on-call service for medical support for
radiation injuries.

4. (SBU) Krol and Wilber also described NNSA's radiological
search and identification capabilities and provided an
overview of NNSA efforts to address the challenges of
maritime search operations. Wilber presented a case study
based on an October 2005 operation to locate 17 suspect
containers that had been shipped from Sri Lanka via several
vessels to ports around the world. Scanning data analyzed
post-departure showed a neutron signature from one of the
containers. At the time, NNSA officials worked closely
with officials in the port of Hamburg to exclude the three
containers that had been shipped to Germany. None of the
three containers that arrived in Hamburg was found to be
contaminated (refs B and C).

GERMANY'S STATE/FEDERAL DIVISION OF LABOR POSES CHALLENGES

5. (SBU) The German Constitution divides responsibilities
for prevention between the federal and state governments.
Under the Atomic Energy Act and the Radiation Protection
Ordinance, the federal government has responsibility for
developing security regulations, implementing and
maintaining safeguards, and compliance with international
conventions. Germany's 16 states have the lead for
detection and response but can request federal assistance
in cases of emergency. Although states can request federal
assistance in case of emergency, the states are required to
bear the cost -- even when the federal government becomes
involved.


BERLIN 00000628 002 OF 003


6. (SBU) According to Hoffmann, the lack of standardization
at the state level in terms of equipment and response
scenarios often creates difficulties for federal
authorities. As Caspers noted, "there are no minimum legal
standards." States with a large number of nuclear power
plants have considerably more experience than states
without. Authorities in different states also demonstrate
varying levels of commitment, threat awareness, and
interest in developing response capabilities. Caspers
noted that the discovery of traces of Polonium-210 in
Hamburg in December 2006 following the death of former KGB
official Alexander Litvinenko the month before (see ref D)
was a "wake-up call" for federal authorities. Hoffmann
later presented a case study describing the Hamburg
Polonium-210 incident, which highlighted the need to
improve coordination with state authorities and
communication with the public.

7. (SBU) In terms of emergency response, the federal
government's role is limited to providing technical
expertise, analysis, and recommendations. The federal
government cannot provide funding and cannot take over
emergency response. In case of emergency, the federal
government's role would be to coordinate and to provide
information and recommendations to state authorities.

FEDERAL LAW ENFORCEMENT LEADS ON CRIMINAL INVESTIGATIONS

8. (SBU) Although the states have the lead for emergency
response and post-incident radiation protection, federal
law enforcement assumes responsibility for any related
criminal investigation. Because of the high likelihood of
a terrorist link in most cases, the Federal Prosecutor
General's standard procedure would be to order the Federal
Office for Criminal Investigation (Bundeskriminalamt, or
BKA) to launch an investigation. (NOTE: The BKA can also
take over the case without permission from the Federal
Prosecutor General if more than one state is involved. END
NOTE.)

THE GERMAN TASK FORCE APPROACH

9. (SBU) In the event of a nuclear or radiological
incident, federal provision of technical assistance would
occur via the deployment of the Central Support Group
(ZUB), a federal task force composed of officials from the
BfS, the BKA, and the Federal Police (Bundespolizei) -- the
uniformed successor force to the German border guards. The
Federal Police continues to patrol border areas with
vehicles and air assets, including helicopters and fixed
wing aircraft). In cases of incidents involving small and
medium-size sealed sources, states would generally handle
response independently. The ZUB, first established in
2003, responds in cases involving larger sealed sources and
open sources. Under German law, ZUB can only become
involved in cases where there is the loss or discovery of
radioactive materials; serious danger to life, health, or
property; and at the request of the state authorities when
the state cannot undertake the required tasks itself.

10. (SBU) During the period of deployment, the ZUB is
overseen by a joint crisis management staff composed of
representatives from the BMU and the Interior Ministry
(BMI) -- the federal ministry charged with oversight of the
BKA and the Federal Police. According to Hoffmann, ZUB
personnel can generally deploy within two hours of an
incident and by deploying from four offices scattered
around Germany, can be at the scene of an incident within
another two hours.

11. (SBU) Federal Police and BKA units deployed as part of
ZUB include a specialized bomb squad, forensics experts,
SWAT teams, covert surveillance, and Federal Police air
assets. In an emergency situation, BfS is charged with
assessing criticality and risks, evaluating recovered
materials, and estimating dispersal, radioactivity, and
consequences. ZUB has 75 staff members on call on a
rotating basis. An additional 700 experts are available to
provide analysis in specialized areas. The task force has
four specialized measurement teams with mobile equipment to
analyze food supply, detect improvised nuclear devices and
dirty bombs, to work with local authorities to set up ad

BERLIN 00000628 003 OF 003


hoc measurement and detection teams, and to calculate
airborne contamination.

12. (SBU) In cases of emergency, ZUB personnel work closely
with the crisis management structures of the affected
state(s). The ZUB was designed to facilitate close
interaction among scientists, crisis management
professionals, and law enforcement. As a result, BfS and
the BKA have focused on developing crisis management
expertise and response procedures. ZUB personnel
participate in frequent small-scale, focused exercises and
conduct larger, more comprehensive exercises two or three
times per year. According to Hoffmann, frequent exercising
helps scientists and police build personal rapport and
dissolves "cultural" barriers between the two groups. The
current focus of exercises is improving internal and
external communication.

OVERVIEW OF FEDERAL OFFICE OF RADIATION PROTECTION

13. (SBU) BfS has an annual budget of 220 million euros, of
which 140 million euros is devoted to maintaining three
mines used for the disposal of radioactive waste. The
remaining 80 million euros puts the BfS budget on par with
that of an average German research institution. BfS is
responsible for all elements of transportation of nuclear
fuel in Germany, as well as disposal and intermediate
storage, oversight of non-NPP nuclear technology, licensing
of nuclear-related medical equipment, and public
information campaigns regarding protection measures. BfS
is also responsible for protection and regulation of other
forms of radiation, including electromagnetic and optical
radiation. In non-emergency situations, BfS provides
technical assistance, evaluation, estimation, and advice
for the states in the area of detection and measurement.
BfS is responsible for implementing the EU directive on
registration of larger radiological sources and for
maintenance of Germany's 2200 measurement points, which
provide full coverage of German territory.

14. (U) This message was coordinated with ConGen Hamburg
and has been cleared by Admiral Krol.

TIMKEN JR.

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