Askrail Mobile App, PackBot 510 Testing, Nuclear Middle East

CBRNE Particles 4

Topics in this issue include use of sarin gas in Syria, first responder PTSD, and planning for the pediatric population in disaster preparedness.

Chemical & Biological Defense

Use of Chemical Weapons Continues in Syria

IHS Jane’s has previously reported on the Islamic State’s use of chlorine, but the transition from chlorine to a chemical warfare agent marks the latest phase in an evolving conflict in which CW in Syria have changed from a strategic deterrent capability of the state to a tool for inflicting tactical and psychological damage by non-state actors. IHS Jane’s 360 >>

Destruction of Syria’s Chemical Weapons Complete

The Syrian government declared their stockpiles of chemical weapons – which included precursors to the nerve gases sarin and VX as well as hydrogen fluoride – to the OPCW, the world’s chemical weapons watchdog, in 2013 following intense international pressure. All of the weapons that were declared and surrendered at that time have now been destroyed, the OPCW says. Chemistry World >>

Russia Sees High Probability Islamic State is Using Chemical Weapons in Syria

Moscow sees a high probability that Islamic State is using chemical weapons in Syria, RIA news agency reported on Tuesday, citing Mikhail Ulyanov, the head of the Russian foreign ministry department for non-proliferation and arms control. >>

U.S. Army Tests New Chem-Bio Detecting Robots

U.S. Army scientists have launched an experiment to develop a new compact robot that’s capable of detecting chemical, biological and other deadly agents from a safe distance. The new variant of the PackBot 510 robot is designed to give soldiers with the 2nd Infantry Division’s 23rd Chemical Battalion in Korea enhanced CBRNE detection which includes a remote, first-look capability in underground facilities. Defense Tech >>

UN Chemical Weapons Watchdog Finds Traces of Sarin Gas Exposure in Syria

A fact-finding mission by the UN chemical weapons watchdog has found that some people in Syria may have been exposed to the nerve agent sarin or a sarin-like gas. The mission by the Hague-based Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) said it was investigating 11 incidents of the use of toxic chemicals reported by the Syrian government. The Guardian >>

Responder Health & Military Medicine

Ontario Could Recognize PTSD as Workplace-Related Illness for First Responders

Ontario could follow Alberta and Manitoba’s examples in recognizing post-traumatic stress disorder as a workplace illness for first responders, provided an NDP private member’s bill moves through the legislature this winter. CBC News >>

Nuclear Weapons

Declassified: US Nuclear Weapons at Sea During the Cold War

Newly declassified documents from the US Defense Department show how many nuclear weapons the United States deployed at sea between 1953 and 1991. The documents, which give totals for the Atlantic Ocean, Pacific Ocean, and Mediterranean Sea, show that the number of US nuclear weapons afloat peaked in 1975 at 6,191 warheads, at the time nearly 23 percent of the US nuclear weapons stockpile. Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists >>

Iran, Missiles, and Nuclear Weapons

It seemed during much of the negotiations over the nuclear deal and the JCPOA that Iran might be deliberately avoiding tests and activities that might call attention to any obvious fact: there is no meaningful difference between a missile that can deliver conventional munitions and one that can deliver nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons. As long as the missile booster can launch a heavy enough payload to get the desired range, any missile can carry a nuclear warhead. CSIS >>

North Korea Nuclear H-Bomb Test Claims Provoke Skepticism and Condemnation

In truth, China has less leverage over Pyongyang, both politically and in terms of trade and oil supplies, than is commonly believed. So perhaps the boyish Kim, self-styled “Supreme Leader”, does not really care what “Big Daddy” Xi wants. The Guardian >>

Nuclear Energy & Radioactive Materials

Scrambling to Sell a Nuclear Middle East

Aggressive government-backed vendors and financing options to reduce the enormous up-front capital costs of modern reactors have combined with nuclear ambitions in some Middle East states to create a troubling momentum that threatens the hopes for well-being and peace in the region. Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists >>

World Starts Up 10, Shuts Down Eight, Nuclear Reactors in 2015

Global nuclear generating capacity increased slightly in 2015 as 10 new reactors began supplying electricity and eight were permanently shut down. Last year saw new reactors with total capacity of 9497 MWe connected to the grid, up from the 4763 MWe added in 2014. China added eight units. World Nuclear News >>

Government & Legislative

Congress Moves On Chemical Safety Reform

In an unanticipated vote, the Senate passed S. 697, which would reform the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), just hours before it adjourned for the holidays last month. Congress then quickly launched negotiations to resolve differences between that bill and a similar measure approved by the House of Representatives. The House cleared its slimmer version, H.R. 2576, in June. C&EN >>

Disaster Preparedness

Pediatricians’ Group Says U.S. Lacks Resources to Treat Kids in Disasters

When a major public health emergency, disaster or act of terrorism occurs, the United States may lack adequate resources to treat children who are affected. The medical requirements of children — for example, drug formulations or dosing — would often be very different from those needed by adults when or if a chemical, biological, radiation or nuclear disaster strikes. >>

1,500 First Responders Across CN Network Sign Up for Askrail Mobile App

Through AskRail’s mobile interface, emergency responders – the only parties eligible to use this mobile application – can view railcar content through a simple search. The app, developed by the Association of American Railroads of which CN is a member, also can provide railway emergency contact information and reference resources to support incident response. Government Security News >>

Upcoming Events

EMS Evidence Based Medicine Practices

Evidence Based Medicine Practices in the EMS Community

EOD Robots Field Training

Inspecting Suitcases for Explosives with Remote-Controlled Robots