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CBRNE Particles – 20th CBRNE Command Training, Iran Nuclear Talks, Ebola Crisis Response

Topics in this issue include the Biodefense Blue Ribbon Study Panel, 20th CBRNE Command training, Iran nuclear talks, and the Ebola responders.

Ebola Fighters Named Time Person of the Year

Time Magazine selected “Ebola fighters” as its 2014 Person of the Year and Soldiers from the 20th CBRNE Command’s 1st Area Medical Laboratory in West Africa are a part of the U.S. effort to contain the most deadly Ebola outbreak in history. 20th CBRNE Command >>

Firefighters Portable Radios May Fail at Elevated Temperatures

New test results from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) confirm that portable radios used by firefighters can fail to operate properly within fifteen minutes when exposed to temperatures that may be encountered during firefighting activities. HSNW >>

HHS Backs 3 Ebola Vaccines with PREP Protections

Health and Human Services today announced a declaration under the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness (PREP) Act to facilitate the development and availability of experimental Ebola vaccines, providing immunity under U.S. law against legal claims related to the manufacturing, testing, development, distribution, and administration of three vaccines for Ebola virus disease. Global Biodefense >>

20th CBRNE Troops Train for Homeland Security Mission

Not only does the 20th CBRNE Command deploy for global military operations but it is also the Defense Department’s only multifunctional command that conducts Defense Support to Civil Law Enforcement Agency missions. These missions range from defusing unexploded military munitions to serving on the Defense CBRNE Response Force. 20th CBRNE Command >>

Iraq War Vet to Take Over HASC Personnel Panel

A leadership round of musical chairs has put an Iraq War veteran in charge of the House Armed Services Committee’s personnel panel for the first time, and South Carolina Rep. Joe Wilson in charge of the intelligence subcommittee. Defense News >>

Next Round of Iran Nuclear Negotiations to Begin Dec. 17, Says Tehran

After the Nov. 24 deadline to reach a comprehensive nuclear agreement with Iran expired, international negotiators vowed to continue the talks for an additional seven months. The next round of Iranian nuclear negotiations will begin Dec. 17, Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator and Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi announced Thursday. UPI >>

US Army Releases RFP for Joint Light Tactical Vehicle

After releasing several draft requests for proposals for the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV), the US Army released a final version on Friday, clearing the way for contenders AM General, Lockheed Martin and Oshkosh Defense to submit proposals. A production award is expected in late fiscal 2015 for approximately 50,000 JLTVs for the Army and another 5,500 for the Marine Corps. Defense News >>

FEMA Has Improved Disaster Aid Verification but Could Act to Further Limit Improper Assistance

As of August 2014, FEMA stated that it had provided over $1.4 billion in Hurricane Sandy assistance through its Individuals and Households Program (IHP)—which provides financial awards for home repairs, rental assistance, and other needs—to almost 183,000 survivors. GAO identified $39 million, or 2.7 percent, that was at risk of being improper or fraudulent, compared to 10–22 percent of similar assistance provided for Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. GAO >>

House Approves 4-Year Extension of Chemical Facility Safety Legislation

On 11 December the House approved a 4-year reauthorization of DHS’s Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards program (CFATS). The program requires industrial facilities with certain levels of use or storage of chemicals to submit information about their chemical holdings to DHS, assess their vulnerabilities, and submit plans to address those vulnerabilities and secure their chemical holdings. HSNW >>

Redundant Backup Systems Are Keeping Nuclear Plants Safe

Taking lessons learned from Fukushima, all U.S. plants are now adding emergency pumps, generators, battery banks, chargers, compressors and hoses off site at various locations near the plants to guard against floods and earthquakes. The equipment is scheduled to be installed by November 2016. After 9/11, razor wire fences, detection systems, more guards were also added to improve security. Emergency Management >>

Ultrasonic Robot Inspects Pipes at Nuclear Power Plant

GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH) the other day announced that its ultrasonic robot, Surveyor, successfully inspected a section of underground pipe at the South Texas Project Electric Generating Station. The inspection at the site of two Westinghouse-built pressurized water reactors near Bay City, Texas, marks the first deployment of the state-of-the-art robot at a nuclear power plant. HSNW >>

Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense

The inaugural meeting of the Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense, a bipartisan panel co-chaired by former Senator Joe Lieberman and former Governor and Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge, took place last week on Dec. 4. Global Biodefense >>

Betting on the Need, Scientists Work on Lighter, Cleaner Nuclear Energy

Now, 60 years after the United States adapted Navy submarine-propulsion technology to build the first civilian nuclear plants, hundreds of scientists and engineers are looking at new kinds of reactors, intended to be safer, cheaper and deployable worldwide. From reactor designs that use sodium instead of water, to those that substantially reduce the waste that lasts thousands of years, the new reactors would represent a significant break from the past. NY Times >>

Russia Says It Has a Right to Put Nuclear Weapons in Crimea

Russia has the right to deploy nuclear weapons in the Crimean peninsula, which it seized from Ukraine in March, a top Russian official said Monday. “Crimea was not a non-nuclear zone in an international law sense but was part of Ukraine, a state which doesn’t possess nuclear arms,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in an interview with Interfax news agency. “Now Crimea has become part of a state which possesses such weapons in accordance with the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. Stars & Stripes >>

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