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Anthrax Vaccines, Nuclear Terrorism and Medical Radiation Exposures

CBRNE Particles News Scan Top StoriesTopics in this issue include anthrax vaccine manufacturing, nuclear terrorism, sporting event security, and medical radiation exposures.

In This Article

Final FDA Guidance Focuses on Diagnostics Measuring Radiation Exposure

The FDA has finalized guidance detailing the types of data and study considerations necessary to support the approval of diagnostics intended to measure levels of unintended radiation exposure in patients. Unlike physical dosimetry devices, which measure the actual dose of radiation delivered to a patient, the guidance deals with biodosimetry devices, which measure a patient’s physiological, biological or chemical response to radiation. RAPS >>

Chemical Lab Catches Fire in Watertown

A two-alarm fire broke out this morning in Watertown, authorities said. The blaze was reported shortly before 7 a.m. at a Walnut Street chemical lab, fire officials said. No injuries were reported, and the cause remains under investigation. Boston Herald >>

Emergent Seeks Approval of Large-Scale Manufacturing of BioThrax

BioThrax is the only FDA-licensed anthrax vaccine. It is indicated for both pre-exposure and post-exposure prophylaxis of anthrax disease. Since 2001, the company has been supplying BioThrax to the Strategic National Stockpile to support the U.S. government’s biosecurity and preparedness efforts. Global Biodefense >>

Air Force Looking for a Small, Portable Counter-Drone Device

The Air Force, concerned about the potential threats from small drones, is in the market for a portable, lightweight commercial device that can be used against them, according to a recent solicitation. Defense Systems >>

Georgia Detains Six It Says Were Trying to Sell Uranium

Georgia’s security service said on Monday it had detained six Georgian and Armenian citizens who were trying to sell $200 million worth of uranium-238. Georgia’s security service did not say whether the group had a buyer for the uranium. Nor did it say where the group had acquired it. Reuters >>

The National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP)

Under the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP), four federal agencies have responsibility for long-term earthquake risk reduction: The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Congressional Research Service >>

SAPS Issues Tender for Counterterrorism Response Vehicles

The South African Police Service (SAPS) has issued a tender for counterterrorism response vehicles equipped with hazmat suits, decontamination tanks, radiation detectors and other equipment able to deal with chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) situations. Defence Web >>

NATO Raises ‘Justified Concern’ That ISIL Is Plotting Nuclear Attack On Britain

There is a “justified concern” that Islamist fanatics in Syria and Iraq are trying to obtain substances of mass destruction such as biological, chemical and radiological weapons. The terror group is also trying to develop new ways of avoiding security measures to carry out attacks such as bombs implanted in human bodies and hacking driverless cars, an international security conference in London heard. The Telegraph >>

Canadian Agency Tackles PTSD Head On with Peer Support Program

In response to its paramedics’ emotional trauma, the YRPS launched a Peer Support Team. Comprised of 20 York Region paramedics trained in psychological first aid, these paramedics provide traumatized EMS practitioners with someone they can reach out to for help, right after something like the Neville-Lake fatality has occurred. EMS World >>

Major Security Measures Undertaken Along Boston Marathon Route

Nearly one million spectators and 32,000 runners will be on the Boston Marathon route this year, and that means security is a top priority. The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency or MEMA is the state agency charged with ensuring the state is prepared to withstand, respond to, and recover from all types of emergencies and disasters- including natural hazards, accidents, deliberate attacks, and technological and infrastructure failures. WWLP >>

U.S. Assistant Secretary Visits IAEA Research Laboratories, Announces Contribution

United States Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs Sheba Crocker visited the IAEA research laboratories in Seibersdorf, Austria today to get a first-hand look at the work that underpins much of the IAEA’s assistance to countries in using nuclear technologies for peaceful purposes. IAEA >>

DOD’s Global Train and Equip Counterterrorism Program Needs Better Management, Reporting

Department of Defense (DOD) Global Train and Equip program project proposals did not always adhere to federal internal control standards for clearly documenting three of those elements—absorptive capacity, project assessment and sustainment plans, according to a new Government Accountability Office (GAO) audit report. HS Today >>

Video Shows IED Destroying Afghan Army Helicopter

This video purportedly shows an improvised explosive device, or IED, planted by Taliban fighters beneath a landing zone in Kunar province in eastern Afghanistan in an attack that destroyed what looks like an Afghan National Army Mi-17 transport helicopter. Viewer discretion is advised. DoD Buzz >>

Nuclear Terrorism: How the Global Community Needs to Step Up Its Game

Over the last decades, the nuclear threat has kept shifting more and more away from the so called “rogue states” to non-state actors. In wake of the terrorist attacks in Brussels on March 22, 2016 the threat of terrorists attacking a nuclear power facility has become more urgent than ever. Experts believe that the original plan was to attack a Belgian nuclear power plant and that a concrete risk will stay high for at least the next five years. CBRNe Portal >>

St. Lucian Officers Trained to Handle Chemical Warfare Agents

St Lucia has been placed in a strong position to handle a Chemical attack, after St Lucia Police and Fire Officers completed extensive training in South America this week. Police Officer Kervin Raymond and Fire Officer David Antoine both completed a three phase advanced training program in handling Chemical Warfare Agents and Incidents involving Toxic Industrial Chemicals, in Colombia on the 8th April 2016. St. Lucia News >>

How We Prevent Another West Ammonium Nitrate Explosion

In 2013, we saw and heard state, federal and local officials pay homage to the dead of West. In the view of the U.S. Chemical Safety Board in its strictly advisory capacity, do the actions of state and federal lawmakers and agencies since then fully acknowledge these losses in terms of reforming safety standards? Waco Tribune >>

Material Support: An Indispensable Counterterrorism Tool Turns 20

A few years back, there were plenty of American conservatives who publicly sneered at the notion that terrorism was anything short of a military problem. We should not treat terrorists as criminals, they argued, because that was somehow soft-headed. The problem with their argument was that it could not tell us how to handle American citizens in the United States who plot to attack the homeland. Gitmo? Not likely, and we cannot call the U.S. Air Force in to bomb Chicago if we find terrorists operating there. Kinetic options simply do not exist for certain American counterterrorism situations. War on the Rocks >>

Economic Losses From Natural Disasters Counted

Natural disasters around the globe have resulted in economic losses of roughly $7 trillion since 1900, according to a new calculation from scientists. Their database, which contains some 35,000 events, reveals the catastrophes have also resulted in more than eight million deaths. The analysis should assist governments with crisis planning and response, the researchers say. BBC News >>

Spark from Pressure Gauge Caused University of Hawaii Explosion, Fire Department Says

An explosion last month that caused a University of Hawaii, Manoa, postdoctoral researcher to lose an arm was caused by a spark from a digital pressure gauge that was not designed for use with flammable gases, says a Honolulu Fire Department investigation report. Thea Ekins-Coward was combining hydrogen, carbon dioxide, and oxygen gases from high-pressure cylinders into a lower pressure tank when the incident occurred. Chemical & Engineering News >>

Federal Perspective on the State of Our Nation’s Biodefense 

In the fifteen years since the U.S. anthrax attacks, we have continued to face not only the threat of biological attacks, but also naturally occurring disease outbreaks (e.g., avian influenza, Ebola virus, Zika virus), global pandemics (e.g., H1N1 influenza), and criminal acts using biological agents (e.g., ricin). The threats and risks posed by emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases and the potential research, development, acquisition, and use of biological agents by international terrorist organizations, homegrown violent extremists, and rogue states will continue to challenge our ability to warn, prepare, and protect the Homeland. Global Biodefense >>

The Military Is Pouring Money into Smart Fabrics, But There’s a Holdup

The Pentagon is funding high-tech textiles that could that could make soldiers’ uniforms part of a network of sensors, and researchers at the University of Central Florida are among the groups who want to create them. The DoD has announced plans to contribute $75 million to a textile technology research effort, hosted at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and led by 89 industry and academic partners including UCF. Defense One >>

At Hiroshima, Lay Plans for a Nuclear-Weapon-Free World

When it comes to nuclear weapons, patient incrementalism may not always be sufficient. The greatest progress in arms control and weapons reduction has come when leaders took bold action in response to public outcry and world events. The 1963 Limited Test Ban Treaty between the United States and the Soviet Union was the result, in part, of public distress at the effects of atmospheric nuclear testing. Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists >>

Assimilation is Counterterrorism

At least on issues concerning Muslim-majority communities, the United States can help point the way. We are fortunate, largely to the credit of our nation’s Muslims who join our society in full and pursue the American dream, to have relatively few problems with Islamist extremism. Of course, there are exceptions, but on the whole, Muslim-American communities are our single greatest domestic allies in the struggle against extremism at home. Brookings >>

Evaluation of the Downed Firefighter

Every day across the United States and worldwide, firefighters face potential acute injury and illness risks unique to their profession that must be understood by the medical professionals treating the “downed firefighter” to avoid missing a critical diagnosis. This InterAgency Board white paper outlines both the common and unique factors involved in structural and wildland firefighting that contribute to acute illness and injury risk, and provides recommendations for testing, evaluating, and resuscitating a firefighter presenting from, or immediately after, structural or wildland firefighting operations. IAB >>

Fuzzy Math on Indian Nuclear Weapons

How many nuclear weapons can India make with its existing fissile material stockpile? Recently, two different sources have produced wildly divergent estimates. In September 2015, the Pakistani newspaper Dawn reported that India possessed “enough fissile material … for more than 2,000 warheads.” In contrast, a report released by the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) in November 2015 concluded that India’s stockpile of fissile material was only sufficient to make approximately 100 nuclear weapons. What accounts for the order-of-magnitude difference between these estimates? Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists >>

Race for Latest Class of Nuclear Arms Threatens to Revive Cold War

The United States, Russia and China are now aggressively pursuing a new generation of smaller, less destructive nuclear weapons. The buildups threaten to revive a Cold War-era arms race and unsettle the balance of destructive force among nations that has kept the nuclear peace for more than a half-century. NY Times >>

Paris Attacks’ Mastermind Had Files on German Nuclear Waste Facility

Salah Abdeslam, the mastermind of the November 2015 terrorist attacks who is now in custody in Belgium, had in his possession documents about a nuclear research center in Germany. The Juelich nuclear center near the Belgium-Germany border is used for the storage of nuclear waste. HSNW >>

Man Suffers Facial Burns in Norfolk Chemical Plant Fire

Fire officials say an employee suffered facial burns when a blaze broke out at an industrial chemical plant in southeastern Massachusetts. Firefighters and a hazmat team arrived at Camger Chemical Systems in Norfolk, encountering heavy smoke coming from a single-story brick section of the facility where a mixing room for flammable solutions was located. TBO Tribune >>

North Korea May Be Preparing Another Nuclear Test, South Says

President Park Geun-hye of South Korea reported unspecified signs on Monday that North Korea may be preparing for another underground nuclear test in defiance of United Nations sanctions.  Four such tests have been conducted at the site since 2006, the latest on Jan. 6. NY Times >>

Book Review: Blood Year – The Unraveling of Western Counterterrorism

The strategy Kilcullen helped design has failed, as witness the emergence of ISIS. The Iraq war — ­needless and ineptly waged, he says — was a godsend to Al Qaeda, which used the wrath it provoked to “aggregate” the grievances of militants worldwide. NY Times >>

Why We Need to Ban Killer Robots

Dozens of countries are holding a multilateral disarmament conference at the United Nations in Geneva today to discuss a new and disturbing threat to humanity. Military powers from across the world are developing technology that could lead to the creation of fully autonomous weapons—that is, weapons that would select targets and fire without “meaningful human control.” The diplomats in Geneva need to decide how to deal with these “killer robots” in international law before it is too late. Newsweek >>

Secure Waste Disposal Facility

The Destructor Complex provides waste disposal services to Dstl and is also available for use by other government departments and non-government organizations. It contains two incinerators: the kiln and the hoval. It can safely and securely dispose of a variety of wastes, including laboratory chemicals, clinical waste, radiological waste, and explosives waste. Dstl >>

Coded Apertures Improves, Shrinks Mass Spectrometers for Field Use

A modern twist on an old technology could soon help detect rogue methane leaks, hidden explosives, and much more. Mass spectrometers were invented in the 1930s, and they are still typically the size of an oven or refrigerator. Inherent hurdles to miniaturization have made it difficult to use them outside of a laboratory. Researchers are using software to dramatically improve the performance of chemical-sniffing mass spectrometers. HSNW >>

Donald Trump’s Nuclear Threats Could Trash the Global Order

Donald Trump has once again violated all mainstream thinking to advance a dangerous and deviant policy, this time on nuclear weapons. The wannabe Republican presidential nominee recently said the US needs a policy of “unpredictability”. This means the US would be able to use nuclear weapons wherever, whenever, and against whomever it wants – no holds barred. He’s proposed using tactical nuclear strikes against Islamic State (IS), even if that means using nuclear weapons in Europe. The Conversation >>

How to Protect Nuclear Plants From Terrorists

In the wake of terrorist attacks in Brussels, Paris, Istanbul, Ankara, and elsewhere, nations are rethinking many aspects of domestic security. Nuclear plants, as experts have long known, are potential targets for terrorists, either for sabotage or efforts to steal nuclear materials. Currently there are 444 nuclear power plants operating in thirty countries around the world and 243 smaller research reactors, which are used to produce isotopes for medical uses and to train nuclear engineers. HSNW >>

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