CBRNE Particles – Toxin Countermeasures, Barrel Bombs in Syria, and EW Systems

Topics in this issue include toxin countermeasures, nuclear assassinations, barrel bombs in Syria, advanced reactor funding, and early warning systems.

Old Bombs, Chemical Weapons Now Home for Deep-Sea Starfish

Surplus mustard gas canisters and unexploded bombs dumped in the Pacific Ocean near Hawaii after WWII, have become, scientists say, a potential reef that is home to numerous marine species, including brisingid starfish, sea anemones, mollusks, crustaceans and fish. Smithsonian Science News >>

Study: Law Enforcement Worries More About Domestic Than Islamic Terrorism

Despite public perception about the threat of extremists inspired by al-Qaida and the Islamic State, a new study shows that law enforcement officers are more concerned about the homegrown terrorist next door. In addition, the study said, the violence associated with foreign-inspired extremists has remained low in comparison to domestic terrorism. Emergency Management >>

Senate Energy Bill Calling for 4% DOE Science Boost Moves Forward

Just before Congress takes its August break, the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee has finished marking up its bipartisan energy bill, an effort to make the most sweeping update to the country’s energy policy in more than 8 years. The legislation—which would authorize a wide array of programs—includes a call to boost funding for the Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Office of Science by 4% per year for 5 years. Science Insider >>

USGS, Universities Collaborate on Improving Earthquake Early Warning System

The U.S. Geological Survey said last week that it awarded about $4 million to four west coast universities to help improve the speed and reliability of an earthquake early warning system called “ShakeAlert” and increase the number of test users. Fierce Homeland Security >>

Putin on Trial in London, Accused of Ordering Nuclear Assassination of Ex-KGB Agent

Russian dissident, ex-KGB agent, and British citizen Alexander Litvinenko died a painful death in 2006, three weeks after consuming a “colossal” amount of the radioactive substance polonium-210. The Russian state, and President Vladimir Putin in particular, stand accused of ordering the 43-year-old’s murder, while current MP Andrei Lugovoi and Russian businessman Dmitry Kovtun are believed to have carried it out. Vice News >>

Characterization and Countermeasures for Biological Toxins

The Defense Threat Reduction Agency is looking to assemble background characteristics, putative mechanism of action, toxicological implications and assessment, and identify candidate medical countermeasures. Both pre- and post-exposure indications are included. Global Biodefense >>

Barrel Bombs, Not ISIS, Are the Greatest Threat to Syrians

As the self-proclaimed Islamic State, or ISIS, commits horrendous videotaped executions, it might seem to pose the greatest threat to Syrian civilians. In fact, that ignoble distinction belongs to the barrel bombs being dropped by the military of Syria’s president, Bashar al-Assad. The Islamic State has distracted us from this deadly reality. NY Times >>

Rebels in Eastern Ukraine Say Radioactive Waste Cache Safe

Russia-backed rebels in eastern Ukraine have sought to assuage concerns that a cache of radioactive waste at a local chemical factory could pose a threat.  Andrei Purgin, a rebel leader in Donetsk, reportedly said that the rebel leadership would welcome monitors from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe to check the site’s condition. Associated Press >>

Fukushima Disaster: Tepco Executives to Face Trial

In a rare legal move, a citizen’s panel ruled the three Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco) officials should face charges. The judicial panel, made up of ordinary Japanese citizens, allege the three failed to take sufficient preventative measures at the plant while knowing the risks of a tsunami. BBC News >>

DHS Alerts Law Enforcement of Potential Criminal, Terrorist Drone Threats

DHS’ office of Intelligence and Analysis has reportedly issued a warning to law enforcement agencies nationwide about criminals and terrorists potentially using drones for attacks. The bulletin explains that images taken from drones supported an attack last year by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria on an oil refinery in Iraq. Fierce Homeland Security >>

Fast, Accurate Nanosensor Acts as a Biochemical Nose

Imagine being able to test your food in your very own kitchen to quickly determine if it carried any deadly microbes. Research conducted at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and now being commercialized by Optokey may make that possible. NanoWerk >>

DOE Funds Advanced Reactor R&D

It is soliciting proposals for cost-shared advanced reactor concept development projects with the potential to be demonstrated by 2035. The DOE says it will partner with industry to fund up to two awards, investing up to $3.6 million in each project, with a federally funded research and development center (FFRDC) providing up to an additional $2.4 million. World Nuclear News >>

New Shellfish Reference Material Will Help Monitor Oceans’ Radioactive Contamination

A new reference material that will help laboratories accurately measure radioactive contamination in seawater is now available from NIST. The new reference material, a mixture of freeze-dried, powdered shellfish, provides a benchmark for scientists analyzing the local ocean environment’s level of contamination. NIST >>

What to Make of Turkey’s New Counterterrorism Policy

Until recently, Turkey had tried to manage some sort of a relationship with the self-proclaimed Islamic State. But Ankara has just made a drastic adjustment in its policy toward the militants. What are the implications of this shift for the country and for its Western allies? Carnegie Europe >>

Canadian Regulator Dismisses Québec Uranium Report

The head of the Canadian nuclear regulator has written to Québec’s minister for sustainable development, environment and climate change questioning the recommendations made by a public consultation on uranium mining in the province. World Nuclear News >>

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