CBRNE Particles – Forensic Evidence, DoD HDIAC Resources, and Emergency Wireless Alerts

Topics in this issue include firefighting robots, preserving CBRNE forensic evidence, HDIAC resources, FERN funding, and emergency wireless alerts.

A Century of Chemical Warfare: Nations Reflect on Grim Anniversary

Since the CWC came into force in 1997, 190 member states have agreed to destroy all their chemical weapons. Even Syria bowed to international pressure and acceded to the CWC in 2013, less than a month after it used the nerve agent sarin to kill more than 1,400 people in Damascus. That leaves just six states in the cold: Egypt, Angola, South Sudan, North Korea, Israel and Myanmar. Nature >>

A Novel Device for Preventing Acute Radiation Syndrome in Emergency First Responders

The destructive potential of radioactive material may be realized following an accidental or intentional reactor meltdown, a radiological ‘dirty’ bomb explosion or even a nuclear detonation. These risks are fueled by the ongoing race of unstable regimes to obtain nuclear arms. Most worrisome is a scenario in which terrorists acquire a nuclear weapon. Thus, there is an ever-growing risk of radiological catastrophe. CBRNe Portal >>

Addressing Risk in Chinese Nuclear Cooperation

President Obama recently approved an agreement for bilateral nuclear cooperation with China, which would replace an agreement from 1985 that will expire in December. The new agreement will be sent to Congress for consideration at a time when the future direction of America’s relations with China has become uncertain. Carnegie Endowment >>

Enhancing CBRNe Response with Scenario-Based Training

Responding to CBRNe incidents remains a top national security concern in the United States, particularly in New York State. Over the past decade, there has been an increase in complex attacks involving small arms, improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and fire resulting in both Multiple Casualty Incidents and immediate threats to responders. CBRNe Portal >>

Navy Unveils Firefighting Robot Prototype

Developed by researchers at Virginia Tech, the two-legged, or bipedal, humanoid robot is helping ONR evaluate the applications of unmanned systems in damage control and inspections aboard naval vessels, supporting the autonomy and unmanned systems focus area in the Navy’s Science and Technology Strategy. Armed with Science >>

BMC Develops Protocol for Preserving Forensic Evidence After a Terrorist Attack

Boston Medical Center (BMC) pathologists have developed a set of protocols for processing and preserving forensic evidence, such as shrapnel, bullets and other projectiles, in surgical specimens (i.e. amputated limbs, injured organs, etc.) after a terrorist attack based on lessons learned from the Boston Marathon bombing. Their findings are published online in advance of print in the Archives of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine. MNT >>

HDIAC Is Helping Resolve Complex Homeland Defense Challenges Through Knowledge Base

Driven by changes in US government policy to incorporate the best practices gleaned from decades of operational experience, the Department of Defense (DoD) restructured its Information Analysis Centers (IACs) by creating the Homeland Defense and Security Information Analysis Center (HDIAC), a DoD Knowledge Center of Excellence managed by the Defense Technical Information Center (DTIC). HS Today >>

Longer Messages Are Needed for Wireless Emergency Alerts

Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) messages need to be longer, URLs should be included, message order must be changed and more outreach is needed, according to a new study conducted for the U.S. DHS.
Emergency Management >>

Building Confidence and Trust During a Nuclear or Radiological Emergency

Building public trust is part of emergency preparedness and should begin well in advance of an accident. Brian Ahier, Director of the Radiation Protection Bureau within Health Canada, said, “There are many ways of building confidence and part of that is being open and transparent and communicating with the public and stakeholders during the non-emergency preparedness phase.” IAEA >>

U.S. Urged to End “Hair-Trigger” Nuclear Weapons Alert

The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) has called on President Barack Obama to use the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference — which begins this Monday, 27 April at the United Nations — to announce an end to the cold war practice of keeping U.S. ground-based nuclear missiles on “hair trigger” alert. HSNW >>

France’s Flagship Nuclear Power Reactor Hobbled by Mishaps, Delays

France’s position as a leader in the nuclear energy industry is being undermined by the country’s pending flagship nuclear reactor, which may be delayed by another year following a series of setbacks. The third-generation European Pressurized Reactor (EPR), built by Areva and EDF, was meant to be in operation by 2012 and its designers claimed it would be one of the safest. HSNW >>

Funding for Food Emergency Response Network (FERN)

The FERN cooperative agreements are intended to target state, local, and tribal FERN laboratories to provide increased analytical capacity and expertise (including method development and validation) in the event of food outbreaks or other large-scale food emergency events requiring surge capacity testing of implicated food samples. Global Biodefense >>

Water-Saving Firefighting Nozzle

This high-efficiency nozzle atomizes water to put out fires in an average time of 15 seconds, while using as little as 2 gallons of water per minute under 20 psi. The nozzle’s low-pressure airline sheers the stream from its water hose into micro-droplets, which become a layer of fine mist that is carried to the target on a pressurized stream of air, depleting the oxygen at the point of combustion. It can be adjusted to various air/water ratios and spray distances. FLC Laboratories >>

Biological Terrorist Attack on US an ‘Urgent and Serious Threat’

In the wake of the recent Ebola crisis, the House Committee on Homeland Security’s Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Response and Communications convened a hearing Wednesday to examine US preparedness for a bioterrorist attack. “The risk of a biological terrorist attack to America is an urgent and serious threat. A bioattack could cause illness and even kill hundreds of thousands of people, overwhelm our public health capabilities, and create significant economic, societal and political consequences,” said subcommittee chairman Martha McSally (R-Ariz). Homeland Security Today >>

Cloth Masks Increase Infection Risk for Healthcare Workers

The widespread use of cloth masks by healthcare workers may actually put them at increased risk of respiratory illness and viral infections and their global use should be discouraged, according to a UNSW study. Cloth masks remain widely used globally because they are a cheaper option especially in areas where there are shortages of protective equipment. Global Biodefense >>

CRS at Home: Human Trafficking, Marijuana, Terrorists and More

There’s never a dull moment at the Congressional Research Service. Here are some recently added CRS reports from the HSDL collection. Homeland Security Digital Library >>

RFI – Dugway Biological Testing Facilities Water Analysis

The U.S. Army Dugway Proving Ground is seeking sources to analyze and install water recycling systems for research laboratories used to grow bacterial, simulated toxins and viruses. The end state of this effort is two waste water recycling systems which reduce water use at Special Programs Divisions’ biological testing facilities by 75%. Current water volume is approximately 90,000 gallons per year. Global Biodefense >>

Droning On Over Nuclear Power Plants

Drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles, have been in the news lately. Last fall, unidentified drones breached restricted airspace over 13 of France’s 19 nuclear power plants in a seemingly coordinated fashion. In January, a drone crashed onto the lawn of the White House. And this week, a drone was found on the roof of the Japanese prime minister’s office. U.S. NRC >>

Why Nuclear Dominoes Won’t Fall in the Middle East

To be sure, civilian nuclear programs have been used as cover for nuclear weapons acquisition. The front and back ends of the fuel cycle for a nuclear power plant provide technology—uranium enrichment and spent nuclear fuel reprocessing—that can provide the nuclear material needed to build nuclear weapons. Because this fuel cycle paves the path to nuclear weapons, many experts call for limiting its spread and suggest that countries creating nuclear power industries develop international sources for their fuel needs. Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists >>

Emergent BioSolutions Resumes Anthrax Vaccine Manufacturing

The company announced it has resumed full manufacturing operations of its anthrax vaccine, BioThrax (Anthrax Vaccine Adsorbed), after completing its internal manufacturing investigation. The inquiry followed discovery of foreign particles discovered in a limited number of vials in two manufactured BioThrax lots. Global Biodefense >>

Air Force Realigns B-1 Bombers Under Global Strike Command

The Air Force moved its B-1 bombers from Air Combat Command to Global Strike Command in an effort to organize its entire bomber fleet under one command, Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James announced Monday. DoD Buzz >>

FirstNet Making Progress, But Hasn’t Fully Assessed Risks, Lessons Learned

The First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) still hasn’t “fully assessed its risks or established standards of conduct,” or fully assessed risks which “could help FirstNet achieve its objectives and maximize use of its resources,” concluded the 72-page Government Accountability Office (GAO) audit of FirstNet. HS Today >>

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