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High Containment Ambulances, Chemical Regulation Revamp, UXO in Vietnam

Topics in this issue include overhauling chemical regulations, high-containment ambulances, Vietnam war UXO clearance, and the days of assembling atomic bombs by hand.

Nuclear Family: Sandia Labs Field Testers Tell the Story of ‘Cold War Warriors’

“Cold War Warriors” traces U.S. nuclear weapons testing from the first nuclear detonation in southern New Mexico in 1945 to the final test in September 1992. Buteau narrates, but the story is told largely by 44 Sandia field testers, the people she calls “game changers in the evolution of nuclear weapons testing.” Albuquerque Journal >>

Chicago Fire Department Unveils Ebola Ambulance

The Chicago Fire Department on Friday rolled out its first ambulance outfitted to transport patients suffering from an infectious disease. The new equipment is a direct result of the city’s reaction to the worldwide Ebola scare of 2014. The ambulance features a pressurized plastic tent and an air filtration system powered by a battery with a three-hour charge. JEMS >>

BARDA Seeks Next-Generation Anthrax Vaccine

The U.S. government is seeking a next-generation anthrax vaccine capable of reducing the number of doses needed to confer protection as a post-exposure countermeasure. Desired characteristics of vaccines for development under the effort include rapid onset of protective immunity in one or two doses, no interference when used in combination with antibiotics after exposure, and a 4-year shelf-life. Global Biodefense >>

Obama’s Asian Nuclear Nightmare

President Barack Obama’s trip to Asia next week will be anchored by a stop in Hiroshima, where he will focus on its dark nuclear past. But Obama’s visit comes at a moment when U.S. and Asian officials fear the region is entering a newly dangerous atomic future, threatening Obama’s vow to roll back the spread of nuclear arms and possibly touching off an Asian nuclear arms race. Politico >>

White House Backs Bill to Overhaul Chemical Regulation

The White House and top House Democrats said Monday they will support a bipartisan bill to overhaul regulation of asbestos and other dangerous chemicals, clearing the way for the bill’s passage in Congress and signature by President Barack Obama. Seattle Times >>

START Participates in DHS S&T Center of Excellence Technology Showcase

Amy Pate, START’s research director and Sarah Fishering, START’s research transition manager, recently participated in the Department of Homeland Security Center of Excellence (COE) Technology Showcase at the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington, DC. The event was designed to allow START and other COEs demonstrate some of the tools and technologies offered through their centers to the Homeland Security Enterprise and other interested parties.  START >>

The NIH Needs to Increase Efforts to Fight Drug Resistant Bacteria

While the emergence of bacteria that are resistant to current antibiotics has long been a topic of discussion, a new report from the UK has heightened concerns. The “Review on Antimicrobial Resistance” resulted from a project initiated by UK Prime Minister David Cameron and financed by the Wellcome Trust. As summarized by Maryn McKenna in her “Germination” blog, the review provides pretty alarming statistics. The global toll due to resistance is roughly 700,000 deaths per year. Even worse, this is projected to grow to 10 MILLION deaths per year if nothing is done to reverse this trend. Forbes >>

When Atomic Bombs Were Assembled by Hand

Louis Slotin sealed his fate just over 70 years ago. The Canadian physicist, working on the Manhattan Project in Los Alamos, New Mexico, was conducting an experiment by hand on the core of an atom bomb on May 21st, 1946. He was dead by May 30th. Alex Wellerstein describes Slotin’s work with, and demise at the hands of, a chunk of plutonium dubbed the “demon core”. Popular Science >>

How Chemical Agent Disclosure Spray in Revolutionizing the Decontamination

Fido C2 is the key component of the Contamination Indicator Decontamination Assurance System (CIDAS) an US acquisition program in excess of 50M. CIDAS itself is part of the US Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical and Biological Defense (JPEO CBD) Decontamination Family of Systems (DFoS) program. CBRNe Portal >>

Speedy Terahertz-Based System Could Detect Explosives

Terahertz spectroscopy, which uses the band of electromagnetic radiation between microwaves and infrared light, is a promising security technology because it can extract the spectroscopic “fingerprints” of a wide range of materials, including chemicals used in explosives. Spectroscopic system with chip-scale lasers cuts detection time from minutes to microseconds. HSNW >>

Let Hiroshima Guide Us Back to Nuclear Basics

It’s tempting to say that the problem of nuclear weapons calls for fresh thinking, but in fact, some very useful ideas have been on the table—in some cases, unheeded—since the summer the United States dropped Little Boy and Fat Man, killing tens of thousands of women, men, and children in a flash. Even back then, Manhattan Project scientists were beginning to understand the enormous consequences of the new weapons and the challenges of managing their spread. Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists >>

From Uranium Mine to Fishing Lake: Environmental Remediation in France’s Limousin Region

Artificial lakes, fishing spots and solar farms dot the landscape in France’s Limousin region, where uranium operations have gradually come to an end. The Institute for Radiological Protection and Nuclear Safety and the National Institute for the Industrial Environment and Hazards provided guidance and support in the remediation work. International experts from the IAEA, Belgium, Israel, Luxembourg, Switzerland and the United Kingdom were also consulted. IAEA >>

Stimson Center Offers A-bomb Damage Assessment Photos to Hiroshima Museum

A set of photo panels used to brief American leaders on the impact of the 1945 atomic bombings of Japan might be donated to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. The images are in the collection of the Stimson Center in Washington, a think tank. Japan Times >>

Grades on Global Issue

Explore the Council of Councils 2016 Report Card on International Cooperation for current global rankings on reduction in uranium stockpiles, states with weapons-usable materials, states outside the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, and the current number of nuclear weapons worldwide. Council on Foreign Relations >>

The Old Arguments About US Nukes in Europe Aren’t Working. Here’s A New Approach

Stressing the humanitarian dimensions of the debate over tactical nukes may break a long stalemate. Opponents of the U.S. nuclear arsenal in Europe—currently some 200 tactical weapons—have long argued that it has outlived its Cold War utility and become an invitation to nuclear proliferation, a drain on tight budgets, and a pathway to conflict escalation. Defense One >>

Declassified U.S. Cables Reveal Lead-Up to Hiroshima A-Bomb Decision

On Aug. 6, 1945, Maj. Gen. Leslie Groves sent a top secret cable to his superiors in Washington, D.C. In the now declassified cable, Groves, who was in charge of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, described what had happened. Japan Times >>

TSA Head: Expect More Airport Security Delays Despite Funds

The head of the Transportation Security Administration warned travelers Friday to expect long airport security lines to continue during the peak summer travel season despite Congress’ shifting of $34 million to the agency. Seattle Times >>

The Vietnam War Is Still Killing People

Ngo Thien Khiet, who died at the age of forty-five, and who leaves behind a wife and two sons, was an expert on the unexploded ordnance, or U.X.O., left over from the Vietnam War. He was particularly skilled at locating, removing, and safely destroying cluster bombs found in the farm fields of Quang Tri, an impoverished agricultural province that straddles the old Demilitarized Zone, or D.M.Z., which once divided North and South Vietnam. The New Yorker >>

The Middle East: Culprit for My Nuclear Security Insomnia

What keeps me up at night—US East Coast time—is reading Turkey’s morning news concerning Syria and Iraq. The insomnia is especially severe when my thoughts turn to nuclear security not just in Syria and Iraq but in countries throughout the Middle East. Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists >>

Routine Trace Explosive Detection for Enhanced Public Security

No terrorist event occurs in a vacuum. When explosives are used, there is a series of planning, procuring, and assembling events that require large quantities of explosives to be transported and deployed. Furthermore, the people transporting and handling explosives become contaminated and emit discernible chemical signatures around them. These invisible plumes could announce to the world that their bearers are up to no good if devices with enough sensitivity are in place to detect the distinct signatures. CBRNe Portal >>

CDC MicrobeNet Teams with Bruker for Rare Pathogens Module

MicrobeNet, an innovative online tool designed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), provides laboratorians with unprecedented access to CDC’s virtual microbe library of more than 2,400 rare and emerging infectious bacteria and fungi at no cost. Global Biodefense >>

On the Regulation of Dual-Use Nuclear Technology

When General Electric acquired the rights to Silex laser enrichment technology in 2006, few people, even within the nuclear industry, took much notice. After decades of research, laser-based technologies appeared to be yet another in a long list of enrichment processes that were not commercially viable. Carnegie Endowment >>

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