CBRNE Particles – First Responder Apps, Miniature Explosives Detection, and Synthetic Polymers

Topics in this issue include miniature wireless explosives detection, apps to use in an emergency, ruggedized anthrax detector, and synthetic polymers for counter-WMD.

Contract to Develop Synthetic Polymers to Counter Chem, Bio Threats

The program aims to reimagine how proteins are constructed and to develop novel medicines and diagnostics as countermeasures to chemical and biological threats. The initial goal of the program is to develop biologically active non-natural polymers that are structurally similar to naturally occurring proteins, but without their limitations, such as sensitivity to heat denaturation or chemical degradation. HS Today >>

Bills in Texas Would Boost Chemical Information Sharing

Two years after the deadly West explosion and three months after four workers died in a leak at a La Porte Dupont plant, lawmakers think it is time companies share more information about their chemical stockpiles. Just not with the public. The push to implement statewide safety precautions for ammonium nitrate facilities — while also continuing to block information from public release — has some local officials and citizens’ rights activists concerned. Emergency Management >>

India, Sri Lanka Agree to Nuclear Cooperation

India and Sri Lanka have signed an agreement to cooperate in civil nuclear energy. The accord will facilitate exchange of knowledge and expertise, sharing of resources, capacity building and training of personnel, as well as facilitate cooperation in radioactive waste management and nuclear and radiological accident mitigation and environmental protection. World Nuclear News >>

Sandia Labs Recognized for Ruggedized Anthrax Detector

Sandia National Laboratories won the Federal Laboratory Consortium’s (FLC) 2015 Award for Excellence in Technology Transfer for a credit-card-size device that can detect bacteria that cause anthrax. BaDx (Bacillus anthracis Diagnostics) works in places with no power, refrigerated storage or laboratory equipment. Global Biodefense >>

Cybersecurity as an Emergency Management Function

Determining which organizations should be involved and the roles they will play has proven challenging at all levels of government for nontraditional catastrophic emergencies such as chemical or biological attacks. When it comes to a cyberattack, emergency managers often struggle to understand the nature of cyberthreats, cybersecurity’s place in emergency response, and the decision-making process for a true all-hazards approach that includes cybersecurity. Domestic Preparedness >>

NRC Needs to Develop Better Criteria in Making IT Investments, Agency Watchdog Says

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission isn’t doing a good job of making business cases for its information technology procurements, meaning it’s not getting a full return on investment on such acquisitions, the agency’s inspector general said in a recent audit. Fierce Government IT >>

Organizations Team Up on UK Nuclear Skills

A memorandum of understanding to collaborate in the development of a skilled workforce for the UK’s nuclear power industry has been signed between the Engineering Construction Industry Training Board (ECITB) and the Nuclear Institute, the UK membership organization and professional body for those employed in the nuclear industry. World Nuclear News >>

When Disaster Strikes: Android Apps You Want in Case of an Emergency

A natural disaster can come with days of warning, or one can strike at a moment’s notice. Either way, it pays to be prepared. Here are some of the potentially life-saving apps that you might just want to have lying around on your Android phone or tablet during an emergency, along with a few tips on how to put them to use. Make Use Of >>

A Valentine’s Day Guide to the Necessary Considerations of CBRN APR Use

For the last few years NIOSH has celebrated this romantic holiday by showing a little love for respirators. This year they are highlighting the special considerations necessary for the use of CBRN Air-Purifying Respirators. NIOSH Science Blog >>

Ricin Charge: Mohammed Ammer Ali Appears in Court

Mohammed Ammer Ali, 31, of Prescot Road, Liverpool, is accused of trying to buy five vials of the deadly chemical over the dark web for £325. Prosecutors say he tried to buy the vials in what is understood to have been an FBI sting and was sent them in a remote control car battery pack. BBC >>

This Wireless Explosives Detector is the Size of a Postage Stamp

For public safety agencies, sniffing out explosives and other contraband is a tricky task. Handheld explosive detectors can be as small as a purse, but still must be manually operated. Permanently mounted sensors need to be even bigger. Dogs are useful in some scenarios, but they’re expensive to deploy en masse and must always have a handler. Wired >>

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