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Disaster Communications, Consequence Management Exercises

Topics in this issue include disaster response communications, bioweapons for dummies, X-ray rover devices, preventing nuclear war, biosecurity prize challenge competition, consequence management exercises and more…

Teams of Computers and Humans More Effective in Disaster Response

With the proliferation of mass media, a lot of data is now generated from the disaster zone via photographs, tweets, news reports and the like. With the addition of first responder reports and satellite images of the disaster area, there is a vast amount of relevant unstructured data available for situation awareness. A crisis response team will be overwhelmed by this data deluge — perhaps made even worse by reports written in languages they don’t understand. HSNW >>

Bioweapons … for Dummies?

While many synthetic biologists, who fabricate or re-design biological systems, welcome community interest in their discipline, some biosecurity scholars worry that even teenagers can now make bioweapons. Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists >>

ISIS Planning ‘Nuclear Tsunami’

Nuclear annihilation across the globe. This is what a German reporter who successfully embedded with the Islamic State says the terror group is planning. Jurgen Todenhofer released his findings in a book titled “Inside IS – Ten Days in the Islamic State,” reports the UK’s Daily Express. Washington Times >>

DHS Launches New Biosecurity Lab Prize Challenge

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) this week announced a new $100,000 ideation prize competition called the “National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility Think and Do Challenge.” DHS Science and Technology Directorate (DHS S&T) is seeking individuals and entities with unique ideas and concepts to jump start the development of an innovation ecosystem focused on Bio/Agro Security. Global Biodefense >>

Faster, Lighter, DRDO’s Daksh Now Has CBRN Detection Mechanism

Armed Forces and other security agencies in the country will now have enhanced hazard detection capabilities as the Defence Research and Development Organisation’s (DRDO’s) indigenous robot Daksh has not just become lighter, faster and rugged, but has also been equipped with Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) hazard detection mechanisms. Indian Express >>

Defense Support of Civil Authorities, Updated

Before the Department of Defense can use an unmanned aerial system within the United States for domestic operations such as search and rescue missions or disaster response, specific authorization from the Secretary of Defense is necessary. Federation of American Scientists >>

How to Calm Today’s Nuclear Hysteria

It’s practically impossible to overlook the recent drumbeat of inflammatory Russian and Western statements about nuclear policy. In June 2015, when Russian President Vladimir Putin played up a long-planned deployment of 40 new intercontinental ballistic missiles, he drew an immediate reaction from NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, who said, “This nuclear sabre rattling of Russia is unjustified. It’s destabilizing and it’s dangerous.” Carnegie Moscow Center >>

29 Earn Security Master’s Degrees from NPS Center for Homeland Defense and Security

Twenty-nine professionals were awarded a Master of Arts in Security Studies during a ceremony at the Naval Postgraduate School Center for Homeland Defense and Security (CHDS) September 25. The first program in the nation of its kind, CHDS provides a cutting-edge, multi-disciplinary curriculum in its 18-month master’s degree program. HS Today >>

China, UK to Fund Nuclear Research Center

The UK’s National Nuclear Laboratory said on this week that it will jointly lead the new UK-China Joint Research and Innovation Centre (JRIC) with the China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC). Over the coming months NNL and CNNC will work together to establish a program of work for the JRIC and to develop links with other UK bodies including the Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (NAMRC), the National Skills Academy for Nuclear (NSAN), the Nuclear Innovation and Research Advisory Board (NIRAB) and key UK universities working in the nuclear sector. World Nuclear News >>

New Terminology to Help Prevent Accidental Nuclear War

Because launch-ready ballistic missiles allow either side to launch a counter-strike before nuclear detonations confirm whether or not the perceived “nuclear attack” is real, the launch of a retaliatory strike would in reality be a preemptive nuclear first-strike, should the warning prove to be false—resulting in accidental nuclear war. Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists >>

UXOs and C-IED in Europe: NCT Explosive Europe Debuting in Belgrade

After more than four successful years in Asia, the NCT eXplosive event series debuted this year in Europe. With the participation of I(N)GOs, government agencies, military and police forces from more than 20 countries, both the organizer, IB Consultancy, and the event partner, the Serbian Mine Action Center, were highly satisfied with the first explosive event ever held in the Republic of Serbia. CBRNe Portal >>

U.K. Opposition Leader Vetoes Use of Nuclear Weapons If He Is Elected P.M.

Labour’s new leader Jeremy Corbyn says that he will not use nuclear weapons if he becomes the U.K.’s prime minister in 2020. In an interview with the BBC, the opposition leader said that as prime minister there would be no circumstance in which he would launch nuclear weapons. He also reiterated his opposition to the U.K’s planned $150 billion renewal of its Trident nuclear weapons. Time >>

Battelle Awarded 10-Year Biodefense Center Contract

The Battelle National Biodefense Institute (BNBI), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Battelle, was awarded – a new 10-year management and operations contract for the National Biodefense Analysis and Countermeasures Center (NBACC). Global Biodefense >>

Wagging the Plutonium Dog: Japanese Domestic Politics and Its International Security Implications

Japan is the only non-nuclear-weapon state with a program to extract plutonium from the spent fuel produced in nuclear reactors—a process termed reprocessing—to fabricate more fuel. Because plutonium can be used directly in the manufacturing of nuclear weapons, Japan has, in keeping with internationally recognized best practice, pledged not to produce more plutonium than it can consume. Serious questions are emerging, however, about whether it can uphold this commitment. Carnegie Endowment >>

A 17-Year-Old Develops Cheap Ebola Test, Wins $50,000, Plans to Change the World

The fight against Ebola just got a little cheaper and easier, with help from an unexpected source—a 17-year-old student. Olivia Hallisey won the 2015 Google Science Fair this week—and a $50,000 education scholarship—for her rapid Ebola diagnostic test. Traditional detection kits require a highly trained staff, a temperature-controlled lab, and hours of waiting—creating a significant barrier to combating the highly infectious virus. Take Part >>

NCT CBRNe Awards 2015 Nominees Announced

In 2015, we will already celebrate the third edition of the NCT CBRNe Awards – the awards for both the CBRNe industry and I(N)GO community. As each year, a distinguished jury voted for the best and most end-user friendly CBRNe solution, the most innovative product developed during the last year, and the international stakeholder that contributed significantly to national, regional and/or international CBRNe capability building. CBRNe Portal >>

X-Ray Scanning Rover Offers a New Level of Explosives Detection

The First Responders Group is developing the X-Ray Scanning Rover to be a responder’s eyes. While other handheld scanning systems require multiple images to be stitched together, the XSR provides a complete 3-D, multi-view picture of the entire object being scanned in real time, saving first responders precious time. HSNW >>

NRC Announces Senior Staff Changes

The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has announced senior personnel changes and office reorganizations as it moves to streamline its operations. From early November, Mike Weber, currently deputy executive director for Material, Waste, Research, State, Tribal and Compliance Programs, will become director of the Office of Nuclear Regulatory Research, while Jennifer Uhle, currently deputy director for engineering in the Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation, will become director of the Office of New Reactors. World Nuclear News >>

Consequence Management Field Exercise

As a NATO civil expert in risk and crisis communication for Civil Protection Group, Irina Stănciugelu was part of the Directing Staff (DISTAFF) of the recent conducted by the NATO Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Centre (EADRCC) and the State Emergency Service (SES) of Ukraine on 21 – 25th September 2015 in Lviv – Ukraine. CBRNE Ltd >>

Uzbek Research Reactor Fuel Shipped to Russia

The first shipment of highly enriched uranium (HEU) liquid used nuclear fuel from the IIN-3M research reactor in Tashkent for reprocessing in Russia has been completed. Moscow-based Sosny, which develops technologies for the preparation of used nuclear fuel for reprocessing or storage, said today that the shipment had been completed on 24 September. World Nuclear News >>

Upcoming Events

Congressional Hearing on DoD Anthrax Shipments

Video: Congressional Hearing on DoD Anthrax Problems

CBRN Funding Announcement - Notable Contracts

BARDA Awards Thermal Burn Contract to Avita Medical