Lab takes on biological, chemical threats

Thursday May 23, 2002

LIVERMORE — Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory officials today launched a program to give public safety officials access to state-of-the-art technology to battle chemical and biological threats. 

Lab spokeswoman Anne Stark said Seattle is the site of the pilot project, but lab officials plan to partner with cities around the nation interested in the "Local Integration of National Atmospheric Release Advisory Center with Cities'' program. 

“NARAC can predict any kind of release in the atmosphere, anywhere in the world,” Atmospheric Release Assessment Programs leader Don Ermak said yesterday, referring to the Livermore Lab-based National Atmospheric Release Advisory Center. Ermak said the program will involve a few days of initial training, along with periodic refresher practice with an easy computer program that cities can use to connect to the sophisticated center. He says the high-powered Livermore Lab center has been tapped in the past for such formidable and urgent problems as plotting the course atmospheric contaminants from the 1986 nuclear reactor explosion in Chernobyl, Ukraine were likely to take through Earth's turbulent atmosphere.