(WBIR - Oak Ridge) Y-12 celebrated the opening of its new National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) Alarm Response Training Academy (ART) on Thursday. The company's old training facility was flooded last winter after a water main broke.

The new building features classroom space as well as many other areas.

"There's a mock reactor, there's a gamma knife facility, there's a blood bank. There are all sorts of facilities with real equipment that some of it has been donated by industry," described Anne Harrington, deputy administrator for Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation for the National Nuclear Security Administration. "This is the only facility like this that we have in the United States."

The program trains local law enforcement and other critical first responders around the country. Since January 2009, Y-12 has trained more than 3,400 personnel, from 44 states and 18 countries. The program features a three-day course. Participants in the program develop and discuss tactics, techniques, procedures and protocols for responding to a theft or sabotage event involving radioactive materials. After two days of classroom instruction, Y-12 experts facilitate live-action scenarios allowing participants to test their knowledge.

"The facilities participating in this program are facilities such as hospitals, universities, research facilities that use a radiator for medicinal purposes, for research purposes, and for sterilization," said Toby Williams, ART program manager.

The voluntary ART program is free. The Global Threat Reduction Initiative (GTRI) funds all expenses (travel, meals, etc) except the trainee's time. The GTRI's mission is to reduce and protect vulnerable nuclear and radiological material located at civilian sites worldwide.