Cops from Long Island, New York City and nearby states used special truck-mounted radiation sensors and other devices Thursday to detect a nuclear "bomb" hidden in a Suffolk County self-storage container during a drill aimed at preventing an atomic explosion in Manhattan, officials said.

As part of a federal "Securing the Cities" exercise, 80 officers in 12 teams used intelligence reports from the FBI to zero in on the hidden cache of weapons-grade nuclear material as part of a last line of defense in a simulated terror plot, said Insp. Stuart Cameron, head of the Suffolk County police special patrol bureau.

"You really need to have your A-game," Cameron said of the exercise.

Cameron wouldn't disclose the exact type of nuclear material hidden in the storage locker, which he said was located in under eight hours in the Third Precinct patrol area. Fission bombs use either highly enriched uranium or plutonium.

Detectors used by the cops were able to not only find the nuclear material but identify it as weapons grade, he said.

Deputy Insp. Michael Riggio, who works in the NYPD counterterrorism division, said the city brought in a special neutron and gamma ray detector built by the federal Department of Energy. "Suffolk did a pretty good job in creating real-life conditions," Riggio said.

Suffolk and Nassau county police are among 150 law enforcement agencies within 100 miles of New York City that participate in the Securing the Cities initiative.

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