Stopping a Dirty Bomb, Iran Nuclear Deal, Explosive Detectors

Topics in this issue include the threat of CBRN weapons, stopping a dirty bomb, IAEA guidance, explosives detection systems, and the Iran nuclear deal.

New NGA Global Map Advances Geophysics R&D, Nuclear Nonproliferation

A team of researchers led by scientists at the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency published a new map which characterizes the Earth’s radioactivity and offers new and potential future applications for basic science research and nonproliferation efforts. HSNW >>

DTRA Awards 8M for Ebola Medical Countermeasure

BioProtection Systems Corp. (BPS), Ames, Iowa, is being awarded an $8,168,814 cost-plus-fixed fee contract to advance the rVSV ZEBOV-GP (BPSC1001) candidate Ebola Zaire vaccine towards regulatory approval.  BioProtection Systems Corporation operates as a wholly-owned subsidiary of NewLink Genetics, Inc. Global Biodefense >>

How Many US Troops Were Killed By Iranian IEDs in Iraq?

Explosively formed penetrators — a particularly deadly form of roadside bomb — killed 196 American soldiers in Iraq over a five-and-a-half-year period, according to recently declassified Pentagon documents. That’s about half as many deaths as lawmakers have attributed to the bombs, which U.S. officials say were largely supplied by Iran’s elite Quds Force. Defense One >>

New Public Safety Antennas Enable Improved Safety and Security for Emergency Responders

To ensure consistent, highly reliable emergency voice & data radio coverage inside buildings, Laird engineers have designed a range of new antennas for a Distributed Antenna System. Government Security News >>

Whiting Refinery Explosion Seemed like ‘End of the World’

On an already hot morning during one of the hottest summers on record, shortly after the sun peeked over the horizon, a huge blast at the Standard Oil Refinery in Whiting startled thousands out of their sleep and shattered windows as far away as Crown Point. Emergency Management >>

International Police Agencies Focus on Countering Growing Threat of IEDS to Civilians

Improvised explosive devices aren’t just a significant threat to soldiers on the battlefield, but they’re also a leading killer of civilians worldwide. “For instance, we have had more than 10,000 civilian casualties just this year around the world,” said Jürgen Stock, Interpol’s secretary general. Fierce HS >>

Particles from the Edge of Space Shine a Light on Fukushima

Los Alamos physicist and Laboratory Fellow Christopher Morris and other researchers think a subatomic particle called a muon can help answer the question of what happened to the nuclear fuel inside the Fukushima plant. NPR >>

How the Iran Deal Could Complicate U.S. Efforts to Prevent a Nuclear Breakout

Contrary to what we are hearing from the White House, the nuclear deal with Iran could make preventive military action to stop an Iranian bomb an even more problematic proposition than it was before. War on the Rocks >>

The Growing Threat of CBRN Weapons

In the past, there has been a consensus among counter terrorism experts that the use of a CBRN weapon by terrorist groups is unlikely as these armaments were expensive, difficult to acquire, complicated to weaponize as well as to deploy. The current instability in the Middle East, particularly in Iraq and in Syria, may have shifted that paradigm. Asia Times >>

UNCP Lab to Study Neurotoxins for the Army

Dr. Ben Bahr is the lead scientist at the lab, which studies neurodegenerative disorders including Alzheimer’s disease, TBI and seizure events. For the Army, Bahr will study the effects of toxins on the brain, specifically anticholinesterase nerve agents. Global Biodefense >>

ANA Calls for RNs to Be Immunized Against Vaccine-Preventable Diseases

The American Nurses Association recently called for all individuals, including registered nurses, “to be immunized against vaccine-preventable diseases, with the only exemptions being for medical or religious reasons.” This is a new position for the union. ANA’s re-examination of its position was prompted partly by outbreaks of 2015 measles cases that affected unvaccinated adults and children. Occupational Health & Safety >>

Military Still Sees Red: Chlorine-Free Flares

The carmine colour of pyrotechnic flares used by the military and in maritime and civilian applications is usually generated by strontium monochloride. However, there is an urgent need to reduce chlorine use and now military research has developed a chlorine-free formulation for such flares that in some ways overturns the received wisdom that there was ever a need for a chlorine source in the first place. Spectroscopy Now >>

Intense Exercises Help Keep Nuclear Plants Secure

Demonstrating an intense focus, stealth, and military-style tactics, a team moves in concert to destroy a specific target. The team plans and executes each action with deliberate purpose. Who are they? What are they after? This could easily be mistaken for any civilian war-game.  But this is no game. This is an important part of the inspection program for one of the nation’s most critical assets — commercial nuclear power plants. U.S. NRC Blog >>

IAEA Issues Revised Guidance Document for Countries Introducing Nuclear Power

The Milestones in the Development of a National Infrastructure for Nuclear Power, released today, updates the Agency’s first document published in 2007 under its Milestones approach, aimed at providing structured guidance and checklists to countries embarking on a nuclear power program. There are about 30 countries around the world considering, planning or starting such a program. IAEA >>

Oppenheimer, Martinis, and the Atom Bomb

Einstein realized in 1903 that matter and energy were equivalent, and that even tiny amounts of matter contained unbelievable potential. For years however, his findings were regarded as a unique theory among a number of competing models of the relationship between matter and energy. War on the Rocks >>

US Military Ordering Troops in Iraq to Dust Off Chemical Weapon Suits

The U.S. military has ordered its nearly 3,500 troops stationed in Iraq to reacquaint themselves with their chemical weapons suits due to evidence that the Islamic State has obtained chemical weapons and used them on multiple occasions. Fox News >>

First in Croatia: Explosives Detection Systems for Aviation Security

Dubrovnik Airport introduces a new security method to all its passengers – the Explosive Trace Detection (ETD) safety equipment able to detect explosives of small magnitude. ‘We started to scan passengers and their hand luggage. Samples are being taken from a person’s body, in four different places – finger, belt, shoes and a bag. After we take the sample, we place it in the device that searches for explosive ‘powder’ or vapor’, explained Antun Skurić, head of security at Dubrovnik Airport. Just Dubrovnik >>

The US Navy’s New Ships Are Supposed to Hunt Mines But Can’t Actually Find Them

In response to an internal Pentagon report that pointed to continuing, decade-long deficiencies in the ship’s mine-hunting system, leaders of the Senate Armed Services Committee have served notice that the Department of Defense (DOD) shouldn’t rush forward with the current mine countermeasures system and look for alternatives. Vice News >>

Who Could Forget When Chemical Weapons Were Tested in D.C.?

Engineers performed gas-mask research, investigated offensive and defensive chemicals, and developed smoke mixtures for Navy smoke screens and Army battlefield signaling. Hundreds of different gases were tested in Spring Valley, including mustard gas, phosgene and ammonium cyanide. Washington Post >>

Stopping a Dirty Bomb

Ten years after world leaders agreed to amend the landmark 1987 Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (CPPNM) to make it harder for terrorists to obtain nuclear material, the new measures have yet to enter into force. The resulting vulnerability needs to be addressed urgently. Project Syndicate >>

North Korea Denies Apologizing for Land Mine Blasts

North Korea on Wednesday accused South Korea of misreading the two countries’ recent agreement on easing border tensions, insisting that Pyongyang’s expression of “regret” over the wounding of two soldiers from the South was never meant as an apology. NY Times >>

Mutated Plants Can Grow in TNT-Toxic Soil

When the explosive chemical trinitrotoluene (TNT) detonates, the destruction continues to spread even after the blast. TNT particles seep into the dirt below, poisoning the soil for plant life. TNT particles seep into the dirt below, poisoning the soil for plant life. When grown in TNT-laden areas, which include old mines, waste sites, and military conflict zones, plants absorb and remove the toxic chemicals from the soil through their roots in a process known as remediation. Science >>

Plutonium Is Unsung Concession in Iran Nuclear Deal

At first glance, the metals that give atom bombs their destructive fury might seem interchangeable: Uranium and plutonium are both more valuable than gold. Both captivate would-be atomic powers. And both fueled bombs that leveled Japanese cities — uranium at Hiroshima and plutonium at Nagasaki. NY Times >>

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