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Washington DC gets $30 million grant to protect against nuclear threats

FILE - This Dec. 31, 2013 file photo shows The U.S. Capitol in early morning light in Washington. Washington may be a sea of dysfunction, but the current Congress is at least offering a few recent reminders about how a bill becomes a law: compromise. It could become rare with the coming retirements of veteran dealmakers. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File) AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File

The Department of Homeland Security announced that it has awarded Washington DC a $30 million grant to expand its ability to detect and deter nuclear and radiological threats.

The grant, which will be distributed to Washington DC over five years, was made by DHS's Domestic Nuclear Detection Office, which runs a program called Securing the Cities. That program started in 2006 and provided aide to New York City, and was then expanded to the Los Angeles/Long Beach area.

The nation's capital will get $30 million over the next 5 years to beef up its protections against nuclear and radiological threats. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)

"Expanding the Securing the Cities program to the National Capital Region, New York City and Los Angeles and Long Beach is another step in our efforts to raise the nation's capabilities to protect against catastrophic threats," said Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson. "This program is a key part of the Department's efforts to enhance the capability of all our partners to detect and interdict dangerous radiological and nuclear weapons or materials in major metropolitan areas."

The District of Columbia's Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency will use the grant money, which will be $6 million in 2014. Chris Geldart, the director of that office, said the money would help the city "continue to build robust nuclear detection capabilities that will protect citizens, businesses, and visitors throughout the nation's capital."

Geldart also said it would help provide equipment and fund training efforts.

DC Mayor Vincent Gray said the city would use the money to "further reduce risk along our area roadways, rail, and maritime pathways."

"The funding will allow the District to work with partners in the National Capital Region to build a robust, regional nuclear detection capability for law enforcement and first responder organizations," DHS said. "Initial efforts will focus on analyzing the region's current capabilities and planning for post-program sustainment activities."

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