Tennessee Lab Puts Emphasis on National-Security Technologies in Wake of 9/11

Laboratory now spends about $300 million a year, on programs related to national security

The Oak Ridge institute also recently reopened its Cytogenetics Biodosimetry Laboratory, which analyzes blood samples to determine how much radiation has been absorbed in the body. In the case of a "dirty bomb" and broad population exposure, the lab could prove important to medical response and crisis management.

ORISE personnel train Customs agents in detection of radiological materials at U.S. borders and ports. The institute also refurbishes older nuclear-detection equipment for reuse in communities around the country.

Ron Townsend, director of the institute and president of Oak Ridge Associated Universities, said ORAU traditionally performed critical missions for DOE, but that role has broadened.

"Since Sept. 11, Homeland Security, the Centers for Disease Control, Customs, the Bureau of Reclamation -- even the state of California -- have called upon ORAU's expertise to meet their expanding needs for emergency preparedness, science education and research," Townsend said.