First Responder Trauma, Disaster Management in Liberia, Soundwave Remediation

Topics in this issue include nuclear modernization plans, wireless chem-sensing badges, toxic firefighting foam disposal, and first responder trauma from mass-shooting events.

Detection Technologies

Wireless Badges Sense Hazardous Chemicals

A new wireless hazard badge developed by MIT researchers detects certain dangerous compounds at parts-per-billion levels and warns people of their exposure to these chemicals via smartphone. The inexpensive, battery-free device could find use in chemistry labs and in military settings. C&EN >>

Nuclear Weapons

Former US Defense Officials Push for New Nuclear Cruise Missile

The U.S. and Russia can easily tell the difference between a conventionally armed cruise missile en route to a target and a nuclear armed one, former senior defense officials told a Senate panel on Wednesday. John Hamre, deputy secretary of defense during President Bill Clinton’s second term, and Franklin Miller, a special assistant on defense policy and arms control to President George W. Bush and a member of the National Security Council, told a Senate subcommittee that using a cruise missile for a conventional strike would not spur an adversary to go nuclear. Defense Tech >>

DoD Experts Tell Congress Nuclear Modernization Efforts ‘Crucial’

DoD witnesses Robert Scher, assistant secretary of defense for strategy, plans, and capabilities, told a congressional committee this week that the projected cost for the nuclear force’s modernization is $350 billion to $450 billion over 20 years. “While not a small amount of money, … the total defense budget in fiscal year 2016 alone was over $580 billion,” he said. “The cost for nuclear modernization is substantial, but it is not unreasonable for what [Defense Secretary Ash Carter] has called the bedrock of our security.” >>

Taking First-Use of Nukes Off the Table: Good for the United States and the World

Washington Post columnist Josh Rogin reported earlier this week that among the changes under consideration is the adoption of a clear no-first–use doctrine. Such a shift would build upon earlier adjustments made to U.S. nuclear policy in the 2010 Nuclear Posture Review, which said the United States should pursue the objective of making deterrence against a nuclear attack the “sole purpose” of the nuclear arsenal. War on the Rocks >>

Book Review

A Stark Nuclear Warning

I know of no person who understands the science and politics of modern weaponry better than. In clear, detailed but powerful prose, William J. Perry, the US Secretary of Defense from 1994 to 1997, tells the story of his seventy-year experience of the nuclear age. Beginning with his firsthand encounter with survivors living amid “vast wastes of fused rubble” in the aftermath of World War II, his account takes us up to today when Perry is on an urgent mission to alert us to the dangerous nuclear road we are traveling. NY Review of Books >>

Recovery & Remediation

Air Force Hopes to Destroy Toxic Firefighting Foam Using Only Sound Waves

Military and university researchers believe a newly developed system using sound waves could eventually help dispose of toxic firefighting material. The Air Force currently maintains stockpiles — totaling more than 619,000 gallons — of firefighting foam that contains toxic perfluorinated compounds. Researchers from the Air Force Civil Engineer Center and the University of Arizona deployed two different sound frequencies at the same time to target and break down the foam’s harmful chemicals in a tiny sample. >>


Employee Taken to Hospital After Genentech Hazmat Spill in South San Francisco

A small chemical spill at the San Francisco campus of Genentech (RHHBY) sent one employee to the hospital on Wednesday as part of a precautionary measure, SFGate reported Wednesday afternoon. The incident was apparently minor and the company has not made any announcements on its website about what was spilled or provided any updates on the employee who was taken to the hospital for precautionary reasons. Biospace >>

Health & Exposures

Weeks After Orlando Rampage, Medical Examiner Faces His Trauma

The flashback hit nearly three weeks after Joshua Stephany and his staff carried dozens of bodies in bags out of the Pulse nightclub in Orlando.  The Orange County chief medical examiner thought he was ready to return to normal life, to socialize, to have dinner in public for the first time since the June 12 rampage that left 49 victims and the shooter dead. But when he met his friends, the restaurant’s lights and sounds brought back images of the carnage at Pulse — traumatic scenes even for a man who constantly works around death. Seattle Times >>

Nuclear Warfare

How to Prevent Theater Nuclear Warfare

Proliferators’ motivations to proliferate deserve more attention than they usually receive. Among the 31 countries that possess ballistic missiles, nine are nuclear-armed nations that continue to strengthen their missile capabilities as an element of their nuclear arsenals. The other 22 either possess ballistic missiles as a legacy of the Cold War—or are involved in extreme regional tensions that involve at least one nuclear-armed state. Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists >>

Emergency Preparedness

NATO and Serbia Foster Security-Related Scientific Cooperation

One of the successful multi-year projects discussed is a collaboration between Serbia and Germany where scientists and experts are working on ‘T-Whex: A Robust Robot with Physically Tunable Whegs’. Initiated in 2014, this project aims to extend the ability of robots to operate in security-relevant scenarios, including building reconnaissance, explosive ordnance disposal and demining, and CBRN detection and mitigation. NATO >>

Liberia’s CBRN Team Ends Technical Workshop on Disaster and Risk Management

Conducted by European Union CBRN SMEs, the four-day exercise brought together stakeholders from the Armed Forces of Liberia, Liberia National Police, National Fire Service, Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization, the Executive Protection Service, and others. TLC Africa >>

Upcoming Events

CHEMM Chemical Hazard Emergency Medical Management

Chemical Hazards Emergency Medical Management

Chemical Weapons Detection and Forensics

New Method Can Identify Chemical Warfare Agents More Easily