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Soldier Chemical Weapon Exposures, Uranium Smuggling, Smallpox Vaccines

Topics in this issue include soldier exposures to chemical weapons in Iraq, smallpox vaccines, armored chemical sniffer vehicles, and uranium smuggling.

In This Article

Smallpox Disease and Smallpox Vaccine

The current smallpox vaccine, ACAM2000, manufactured by Sanofi Pasteur, contains live vaccinia virus derived from the only other smallpox vaccine licensed by the FDA, Dryvax, which is no longer manufactured. About 95% of primary vaccine recipients are protected for 3 to 10 years or more depending on product and exposure. >>

Army Brings Back Sniffer Vehicles for Chemical Weapons Threat

An Army chemical warfare scout unit axed in defense cuts has been rebuilt after the spread of chemical weapons among failed states and terror groups forced a U-turn. The specialist reconnaissance unit of armoured sniffer vehicles is in the final stages of being made ready, five years after it was cut to save money. The Telegraph >>

11 Nuke Facility Workers Checked for Chemical Vapor Exposure

Eleven workers at a nuclear facility who reported headaches were sent for medical evaluations Thursday after working near an area where waste from a leaking tank was being transferred, U.S. Energy Department officials said. The first two workers at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation to be medically evaluated were wearing oxygen respirators. >>

EPE Hits the Road with New Protective Equipment

ADM attended EPE’s 2016 Roadshow at the Sydney International Shooting Centre on Thursday 28 April where a wide array of CBRN, unmanned, ECM, force protection and ISR equipment was displayed. The Qinetiq Unmanned Ground Systemits Small Unmanned Ground Vehicle (SUGV) Dragon Runner 20 (DR-20) was demonstrated in a vehicle bomb inspection scenario, ably assisted by a remote-controlled Bobcat with a Robotic Applique kit. Australia Defence >>

Maintaining Radioactive Material Security Through Rules, Not Orders

Following the Sept. 11 attacks, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission revised their approach to security for certain radioactive materials. The NRC issued new security requirements via “orders” to certain licensees requiring added protective measures when using and transporting certain types and amounts of radioactive material. The new requirements focused on materials the International Atomic Energy Agency designates as Category 1 and 2; which are the two most safety significant quantities. U.S. NRC >>

Update on North Korea’s Nuclear Test Site

Recent commercial satellite imagery from April 28 shows signs of continued low-level activity at the Punggye-ri nuclear test site. Based on available evidence, it is not possible to determine whether these activities are related to continued maintenance or reflect that Pyongyang has completed test preparations and a detonation is imminent. 38 North >>

Spotlight on the Strategic National Stockpile

CDC’s Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) serves as the nation’s repository of medicines and supplies for use if there is a public health emergency, such as a terrorist attack, flu outbreak, or natural disaster, severe enough to cause local supplies to run out. The repository is designed to supplement or re-supply state and local public health agencies when needed. Global Biodefense >>

Lawsuit Seeks Release of CIA Documents on U.S. Soldiers’ Exposure to Iraqi Chemical Weapons

Now that the federal government has acknowledged that Western-built chemical weapons sickened U.S. soldiers in Iraq, The New York Times says the CIA can no longer deny access to records about it. Allgov >>

Texas Firm Bids for Spent Nuclear Fuel Repository

Dallas-based Waste Control Specialists LLC announced April 28 that it has filed an application with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to build and manage a Consolidated Interim Storage Facility (CISF) for used nuclear fuel. The company already operates a facility in Andrews, Texas, that opened in June 2013 for disposal of Class A, B and C Low-level Waste and Mixed Low-level Waste, and it is the only U.S. privately owned and operated facility approved for that purpose. Occupational & Health Safety >>

Uranium Season: 2nd Group of Isotope Smugglers Busted in Georgia in 10 Days

Georgia’s security service says it has detained a group of five Georgian citizens, alleged to have been trying to sell radioactive Uranium for $3 million. The group was caught in possession of Uranium-238 and Uranium-235, Reuters reports. “Officers of Georgia’s State Security Service detained five Georgian citizens, who were trying to sell uranium,” security service investigator Savle Motiashvili said. RT >>

As Chemical Weapons Stockpiles Shrink, OPCW Eyes New Threats

With about 92 percent of the world’s declared chemical weapons stockpiles destroyed, the watchdog agency overseeing the elimination of poison gas and nerve agents is looking now to counter emerging threats from extremist groups while still dealing with unfinished business in Syria. ABC News >>

Russia’s Nuclear Nightmare Flows Down Radioactive River

At first glance, Gilani Dambaev looks like a healthy 60-year-old man and the river flowing past his rural family home appears pristine. But Dambaev is riddled with diseases that his doctors link to a lifetime’s exposure to excessive radiation, and the Geiger counter beeps loudly as a reporter strolls down to the muddy riverbank. Seattle Times >>

Border Security Agents: Build a ‘Virtual Wall,’ Not an Actual One

Donald Trump’s proposed border wall has never been considered the most practical policy option, but according to a new Reuters report, even the border patrol agents on the ground have no desire for one. Instead, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, or CBP, wants to complement border security through a mix of drone patrols, cameras, better radios, sensors and extra fencing in order to create a “virtual wall.” FierceGovernmentIT >>

Corpus Christi, TX, Hazmat Response

Today’s modern Corpus Christi Fire Department is led by Chief Robert Rocha, former senior deputy fire chief for the Kansas City, KS, Fire Department. The Corpus Christi Fire Department operates from 17 fire stations covering an area of 170 square miles. Personnel include 414 firefighters who work 24/48 shifts, 30 administrative workers and seven civilians. The department has an operating budget of more than $47 million and an ISO rating of 2. Firehouse >>

Syria’s Volunteer Sappers Improvise Mine-Clearing Methods

Volunteers in opposition-held areas of Syria are forced to improvise as they carry out one of the world’s most dangerous tasks: dismantling cluster munitions, land mines and explosive booby-traps as they work to make battle-torn areas safe for civilians to return. Seattle Times >>

Assad Uses Chemical Weapons, and Now What?

“We struck a deal where we got 100 percent of the chemical weapons out,” said Secretary of State Kerry about Syria almost two years ago. This was in part a defense of President Obama’s infamous failure to enforce his “red line” against the use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime. Kerry struck a deal with Russia, and proudly claimed that this was a far better approach. No use of military force, better result. Council on Foreign Relations >>

Applying New Tools to Nonproliferation: A Nuclear Detective Story

This report examines how the information revolution, and especially social media, is changing the field of nonproliferation. The availability of these “new tools” is affecting not just how nongovernmental experts study the problem, but how governments behave too, with both experts and the general public participating in the verification of arms control, disarmament and nonproliferation agreements. NTI >>

‘We’ve Had Massacres All Week’: Aleppo On Fire Again as Assad Consigns Ceasefire to History

Since breaking its ceasefire eight days ago, the regime has launched more than 260 airstrikes, 110 artillery strikes and 18 missiles, and has dropped 68 bombs, according to the civil defence organisation in opposition-controlled Syria known as the White Helmets. The Guardian >>

Iran Urges Nuclear Weapon-Free Korean Peninsula

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani on Monday pushed for a Korean peninsula free of nuclear weapons, the official IRNA news agency reported. Rouhani met with visiting South Korean President Park Geun-hye and said Iran seeks a world free of weapons of mass destruction, “especially nuclear” weapons. Washington Post >>

EPA Doles Out Dollars for Toxic Spill

The Environmental Protection Agency is beginning to quietly hand out about $1 million to states, tribes and local governments for the spill it caused in Colorado last year that sullied the waterways of three states. The EPA said the money is going to state governments in Colorado, New Mexico and Utah, as well as Indian tribal governments, counties and towns in the three states. Washington Examiner >>

Watchdog Looks to Counter New Chemical Weapons Threats

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons is marking the April 29, 1997, implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention with a three-day conference starting Monday that will focus on chemical safety and security. With about 92 percent of the world’s declared chemical weapons stockpiles destroyed, the watchdog agency overseeing the elimination of poison gas and nerve agents is looking now to counter emerging threats from extremist groups while still dealing with unfinished business in Syria. Boston Globe >>

Boulder Releases Draft on ‘Resiliency’ Plan to Bolster Preparedness

This decade has seen Boulder and surrounding communities faced with profound dangers posed by wildfire, flood and even a degree of social upheaval as its residents struggle to cope with quality of life factors sometimes not in their control. In response to a range of potential threats, the city of Boulder on Thursday released a draft of its first Resiliency Strategy, promoting a series of 15 steps to be taken with the goal of surmounting challenges such as climate change, social cohesion, disaster recovery and more. Emergency Management >>

The Time Bobby Kennedy Watched the Smallest Nuclear Explosion Ever

Newly released footage shows an atmospheric test of the smallest and lightest nuclear weapon ever deployed by the U.S. The test, code-named Little Feller I, took place on July 17th, 1962, with Attorney General and presidential adviser Robert. F. Kennedy in attendance. Popular Mechanics >>

Carter Blasts Russia for ‘Nuclear Saber Rattling’

Defense Secretary Ashton Carter accused Russia Tuesday of “nuclear saber rattling” and other menacing actions meant to break up the NATO alliance and pledged a vigorous U.S. air, sea and land buildup to counter the threats. “Russia has in recent years appeared intent to erode the principled international order that has served us, our friends and allies, the international community, and Russia itself so well for so long,” Carter said in Stuttgart, Germany, at a NATO and U.S. European Command change of command ceremony. DoD Buzz >>

RE2 Robotics Delivers Highly Dexterous Manipulation System to the U.S. Army

RE2 Robotics announced today that it has delivered a two-arm Highly Dexterous Manipulation System (HDMS) to the U.S. Army’s Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center (ARDEC) under an Army SBIR Phase II extension contract.  In addition to EOD, the HDMS may eventually be used for other missions, such as Combat Engineering and Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, Explosives (CBRNE) operations. Robotics Tomorrow >>

Where Will the Next President Stand on Nuclear Weapons?

A dozen men have been responsible for the decision to use the US nuclear arsenal since 1945, and whoever wins the election in November will inherit the responsibility for approximately 4,670 warheads at a time when relations with Russia (holder of 4,500 warheads) have reached a perilous low, a time when support for arms control is perhaps faltering, and a time when nuclear threats abound from the Middle East to the Korean Peninsula.  Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists >>

‘Fire Protection for a Changing World’ Symposium Presentations Available

The Fire Protection Research Foundation has made nine presentations from its recent “Symposium on Fire Protection for a Changing World” available free online. The foundation hosted the symposium April 18 in Munich, Germany, hosting insurers, fire protection equipment manufacturers, engineers, academics, and fire service representatives to discuss the fire protection challenges of new hazards, big data for fire protection applications, and much more. Occupational Health & Safety >>

New Drug Against Nerve Agents in Sight

The nerve agent sarin causes a deadly overstimulation of the nervous system that can be stopped if treated with an antidote within minutes of poisoning. Today, a ground-breaking study has been published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, which in detail describes how such a drug works. Researchers at the Swedish Defence Research Agency, Umeå University and in Germany are behind the study. Medical News Today >>

Besieged Syrians Live Under Daily Danger of Unexploded Cluster Bombs

Hundreds of unexploded cluster bombs dropped by Syrian government forces in and around Eastern Ghouta since 2012 pose a deadly threat to people in the besieged rebel-held area of northern Damascus. Huffington Post >>

DHS Wants to Test Drive First Responder Tech in NYC

The Homeland Security Department is looking for cutting-edge technology for emergency response, and wants New York City’s first responders to test it out. DHS plans to demonstrate and assess new safety-related products — including systems designed to track and take down drones — in October. Nextgov >>

Welcome to the Third Nuclear Age

It was during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962 that officials in Washington and Moscow realized that nuclear weapons could well bring about the end of the world. The logic of nuclear deterrence began to take shape: there was no gain—however large—an aggressor could hope for that would compensate the immeasurable damage he would suffer from his enemy’s nuclear retaliation. In a nuclear war, there could be no winners, only losers. The National Interest >>

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