Police, firefighters, FBI agents, and other responders could eventually have access to devices capable of disabling nuclear weapons and dirty bombs, according to an announcement from the U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA).

These "Render Safe" devices, which are still classified, would be used by authorities in the field in the event that nuclear experts are unable to reach a threat-scene in time.

The Nuclear Emergency Search Team (NEST), based in Nevada, is the first U.S. line of defense against nuclear-based terror attacks. Researchers have spent years creating the Render Safe devices, and the NNSA says it will soon begin field-testing the gadgets. Security reasons prevented NNSA officials from detailing how the devices work.

In related news, California officials have been proactive about the threat of nuclear terrorism, holding a preparedness meeting in January and working with federal authorities on a statewide plan. The San Francisco Fire Department used federal funding to purchase 150 radiation-detection devices.
Abstracted by the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center (NLECTC) from the San Francisco Chronicle (02/07/07); P. A3; Davidson, Keay.