Press Release

FBI National Press Office
(202) 324-3691

For Immediate Release
November 17, 2006

Angeline French, SRNL
(803) 725-2854


The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Department of Energy’s Savannah River National Laboratory (SRNL) today announced the opening of a new laboratory and office suite for the forensic examination of radiological material and associated evidence, located at the Savannah River Site near Aiken, South Carolina.

The new Radiological Evidence Analysis Lab Suite (REALS) will serve as a hub laboratory for the FBI and intelligence agencies who are involved in the prevention of terrorism and the investigation of the disbursement of radiological materials. The new REALS provides the FBI with a flexible radiological containment laboratory where FBI experts can safely conduct forensic examinations on items of evidence associated with radiological material. Traditional forensic laboratories are not designed for the safe examination of radiological materials and evidence associated with a radiological disbursement.

The REALS represents a significant forensic partnership between the FBI and SRNL. Dr. Joseph DiZinno, FBI Laboratory Director, stated “Given the threats we face today, our success in defeating both crime and terrorism depends upon cooperation. The FBI is part of a worldwide network of professionals who are dedicated to protecting our security. Partnerships, demonstrated by today’s opening of REALS, are at the heart of our ability to protect America from the next terrorist attack.”

“Use of space at SRNL allows the FBI to take advantage of the safety, security and radiological protection features that are already in place at the Savannah River Site,” said Jeff Allison, Manager, Department of Energy-Savannah River Operations Office. “Some modifications to existing facilities were all that was needed to obtain laboratory space that provides the needed protections for working with radiological materials. Constructing new laboratory facilities with these features at a location outside a protected complex like SRS would have required significantly more time and money.”

The FBI and SRNL have a longstanding partnership to provide law enforcement with the ability to conduct investigations that involve radioactive materials. “The Savannah River National Laboratory’s mission is putting science to work to support the security of our nation and its people,” says Dr. G. Todd Wright of Washington Savannah River Company, SRNL Laboratory Director. “This significant partnership with the FBI allows us to combine our radiological expertise with the FBI’s forensic expertise to provide a new level of support to combat the war on terrorism.”

SRNL conducted several years of development to adapt FBI forensic protocols for application in radiological labs. Based upon this research the REALS is equipped with radiological containment systems to protect workers from harmful radiological evidence, while FBI Laboratory examiners perform traditional forensic examinations on contaminated evidence. For example, this laboratory space will allow an FBI examiner to collect latent prints or DNA which could eliminate or include a suspect associated with a “dirty bomb.” SRNL and other Department of Energy laboratories conduct the analysis of the radiological components.

SRNL also provides radiological crime scene training to FBI agents from around the country who are members of the FBI’s Hazardous Materials Response Teams. These agents are trained to safely collect, preserve, and document evidence from radiological crime scenes. Additionally, SRNL instructors provide training for the FBI Laboratory’s Hazardous Evidence Analysis Team (HEAT). The HEAT members are certified by DOE to handle radiological materials at any DOE laboratory.

"As the host of the REALS, the Columbia Division of the FBI has enjoyed a longstanding and mutually beneficial relationship with the fine men and women serving with the DOE at the Savannah River Site. Today's opening further strengthens our commitment to work jointly with our federal partners to meet the demanding law enforcement and intelligence needs of today's world," said Brian D. Lamkin, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Columbia Division.

SRNL is the applied research and development laboratory at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Savannah River Site, providing technology solutions in the areas of national and homeland security, energy security, and environmental cleanup and protection. Washington Savannah River Company, a subsidiary of Washington Group International, operates SRNL for the DOE.


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