DOE News Release
August 17, 2005

Media Contact: Tim Jackson 208-526-8484

DOE proposes security technology systems testing at Idaho National Laboratory

The U.S. Department of Energy is proposing two tests at the Idaho National Laboratory to see how barriers and other security system components perform in response to commonly used explosives. These tests will help determine the effectiveness of security systems designed to protect people and facilities.

"These tests are another example of the important work that we do at Idaho National Laboratory to help keep our country safe," said Elizabeth Sellers, manager of DOE᾿s Idaho Operations Office. "However, before we conduct these tests, we are evaluating potential environmental impacts and asking for the public᾿s input. And of course, we want to let people know that we are having these tests so they aren᾿t surprised by a loud noise and some dust."

The public is invited to comment on a draft environmental assessment that the DOE has prepared to evaluate the potential environmental impacts of two proposed security technology systems tests at a remote part of Idaho National Laboratory᾿s 890-square-mile desert site.

The proposed project would test the effects of large explosions such as those produced by vehicle bombs on the barriers, technology systems and other components used at DOE sites nationwide to protect people and facilities.

These tests are part of DOE᾿s ongoing requirement to continually assess the strength and resilience of vehicles, barriers and other security measures used at DOE sites nationwide. Data from these tests also could be used by other federal agencies, as well as state and local governments, to understand the effects of large explosions on other types of facility security systems.

The first explosion would test existing protective elements and protective force vehicles. The second explosion would test additional protective elements and vehicles, and newer protective devices.

The INL facility nearest the detonation site is the Materials and Fuels Complex 7.8 miles to the south. Previous test explosions by other government agencies indicate that the air blast from explosions of the magnitude proposed in these tests is capable of cracking window glass 4.2 miles away. The nearest INL boundary is 8.4 miles from the proposed test location.

DOE proposes to detonate one test explosion at INL this autumn and another in 2006.

The draft environmental assessment is available on line at, by clicking on "Laboratory Programs." The document is titled "DRAFT Environmental Assessment for the Two Dynamic Tests for Protective Elements and Vehicles Project." To be placed on a mailing list to receive a copy of the draft environmental assessment, call Nancy Elizondo at (208) 526-4169. The public is invited to submit comments through September 16, 2005, by e-mail to, or by mail to 1955 Fremont Ave., MS 1235, Idaho Falls, ID 83401. Comments submitted by mail should be postmarked by September 14 in order to be received on time.


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