Hanford Chemical Exposures, Dual Arm HDMS Technology, Nuclear Weapons in South Asia

Topics in this issue include ISIL’s chemical weapons, dual-arm HDMS technology, Hanford evacuation, and the South Asia nuclear weapons posture.

The US Just Told Assad He Needs to Start Giving Up Power in Syria by August — Or Else

Secretary of State John Kerry imposed an August deadline for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to transition out of power, warning the Damascus-based government and its Russian and Iranian backers that non-adherence to the ultimatum will prompt a new US approach to ending the five-year-old war. VICE News >>

Syria Hasn’t Degraded Deterrence and Nonproliferation Regimes

The Syrian military’s employment of chemical weapons in 2012 and 2013 against insurgents within its borders led to a significant international intervention that ultimately resulted in the destruction of 1,380 metric tons of chemicals and Syria’s declared chemical production and storage facilities. War on the Rocks >>

Nuclear Security: From Summits to Mechanisms

The idea behind the Nuclear Security Summits was to prevent terrorist groups such as the Islamic State from gaining access to nuclear weapons, fissile materials, and nuclear facilities. But nuclear security is never “done”—not as long as fissile and radiological materials exist—so even now, with the summit process complete, the threat of nuclear terrorism is not necessarily diminishing. Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists >>

US Army Takes Delivery of RE2 Robotics’ Dual-Arm HDMS

The US Army’s Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center (ARDEC) has taken delivery of a two-arm highly dexterous manipulation system (HDMS) from RE2 Robotics. The HDMS has been supplied as part of an Army Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II extension contract. The dual-arm HDMS technology can be used for explosive ordnance disposal, as well as combat engineering and CBRNE operations. Army Technology >>

What a “Defective” Radiation-Risk Standard Teaches Us About Improving Chem Risk Assessments

Wall Street Journal editorial board member Holman W. Jenkins, Jr. seems to have a knack for battling bad science – especially what he perceives to be misguided reporting and alarmist stories about climate change. In his most recent piece, Jenkins laments the fact that some activists have used faulty research to overstate the risks associated with developing potentially transformative alternative energy technologies. He cites nuclear as a prime example. >>

Virginia Company Wants to Create Laser Gun to Detect Dangerous Chemicals

LGS Innovations wants to make detecting hazardous materials safer and easier, and is right now working to develop a laser gun that can do the job. This is under an $11.2 million contract with the U.S. Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) in support of a program the company announced in mid-April called SILMARILS — Standoff Illuminator for Measuring Absorbance and Reflective Infrared Light Signatures. Washington Business Journal >>

ISIL Manufacturing its Own Chemical Weapons, Warns Watchdog Chief

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) is believed to have set up a special unit for chemical weapons research made up of Iraqi scientists who worked on weapons programs under Saddam Hussein, as well as foreign experts. Leaked Isil files seen by the Telegraph showed a number of senior foreign fighters with chemical engineering degrees and some with lengthy experience in the field back home. The Telegraph >>

Nuclear Battles in South Asia

The armies of Pakistan and India are practicing for nuclear war on the battlefield: Pakistan is rehearsing the use of nuclear weapons, while India trains to fight on despite such use and subsequently escalate. What were once mere ideas and scenarios dreamed up by hawkish military planners and nuclear strategists have become starkly visible capabilities and commitments. When the time comes, policy makers and people on both sides will expect—and perhaps demand—that the Bomb be used. Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists >>

Continuation of the National Emergency with Respect to Actions of the Government of Syria

On May 11, 2004, pursuant to his authority under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, 50 U.S.C. 1701-1706, and the Syria Accountability and Lebanese Sovereignty Restoration Act of 2003, Public Law 108-175, the President issued Executive Order (E.O.) 13338, in which he declared a national emergency with respect to the actions of the Government of Syria. Federal Register >>

Hope for Offerors Who Win a Multiple-Award IDIQ Contract and Want to Protest an Improper Award

You just learned your company is one of several winners of a multiple-award IDIQ contract.  You also learned one of your competitors, which should have been ineligible, is also an awardee.  So, as things stand, you’ll have to split the contract — and compete for orders — with that competitor.  Can you file a protest challenging the improper award to your competitor?  Until last week, the answer was “no.” Inside Government Contracts >>

The Bomb Damage Maps of 1940s London

May 21 will mark 75 years since the end of the Blitz, nine infamous months of devastating bombing across the U.K. by Nazi Germany during World War II. But the bombardment did not stop then, particularly for London. Between 1939 and 1945, air raids and rocket attacks reduced 250 acres of buildings to dust and rubble citywide. CityLab >>

Never-Completed TVA Nuclear Plant That Cost $4B for Sale

The nation’s largest public utility is selling a never-completed nuclear plant that has cost more than $4 billion dollars over the past four decades. The Tennessee Valley Authority board voted Thursday to declare the Bellefonte nuclear plant near Hollywood, Alabama, surplus. The site includes two partially finished nuclear reactors, office buildings, warehouses, parking areas, railroad spurs and a helicopter pad. Seattle Times >>

Total of 42 Hanford Workers Evaluated for Chemical Exposure

Officials say the number of workers at Hanford Nuclear Reservation evaluated for chemical vapor exposure has climbed to 42, following reports last month that a tank had leaked several thousand gallons of radioactive waste. The odors are suspected to have come from the transfer of that waste. >>

Upcoming Events

Pueblo Chemical Depot and Boone Firefighters

Safety Lessons Learned from a Pueblo Plant Technician

U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission Logo

Agreement Reached on Cleanup of Radioactive Material on Military Bases