AFP, SYDNEY (AFP) Oct 28, 2003-Soldiers from an elite anti-terrorism unit on Tuesday held an exercise at a nuclear reactor site to test Australia's readiness to deal with a radiological terror attack, the defence department said.
Exercise Clean Slate featured search, disposal and medical treatment after the simulated discovery of an illegal laboratory containing “radiological improvised explosive devices”, it said.
Since the attacks of September 11, 2001, authorities around the world have been concerned that an even larger terrorist attack could be in the planning stages involving a so-called “dirty bomb” — an explosive device wrapped in radioactive material.
The exercise was to be carried out at outbuildings of a nuclear facility at Lucas Heights, on the southern outskirts of Sydney, by soldiers of the recently created Incident Response Regiment.
“Exercise Clean Slate will be a valuable chance for our soldiers to hone their skills at detecting and dealing with radiological devices,” said Lieutenant Colonel Craig Petrie, commanding officer.
“This will ensure that the Incident Response Regiment remains ready to support the response to any incident that involves radiological release — be it through accident or a deliberate terrorist act.”
The Incident Response Regiment was created in 2002 in response to the growing threat of terrorism.
The exercise follows the deportation from Australia of French national Willie Virgile Brigitte, now held in France on terror-related charges.