2016 Nuclear Security Summit, Port Radiation Detection, Boston Marathon Security

CBRNE Particles 4Topics in this issue include radiological detection at ports-of-entry, innovative protective fabrics and nuclear terrorism prevention, and the Fukushima ice wall.

In This Article

Barack Obama at Nuclear Summit: ‘Madmen’ Threaten Global Security

Barack Obama used his final nuclear security summit on Friday to deliver the stark warning that “madmen” could kill and injure hundreds of thousands of innocent people using only plutonium the size of an apple. Isis has used chemical weapons, including mustard gas, in Syria and Iraq, and was discussed in a special session at the summit. The Guardian >>

Is Belgium’s Nuclear Security Up to Scratch?

Belgium’s counter-terrorism efforts are once again being called into question following the recent tragedies in Brussels. The attacks were carried out against soft targets – the public check-in area of Brussels Airport and Maelbeek metro station – but a series of unusual and suspicious occurrences were also reported at nuclear facilities in the country. HSNW >>

A Nuclear Job Half Done

As he ended the Nuclear Security Summit on Friday, President Obama could claim some success in leading the international community to curb the amount of nuclear materials that could fall into terrorists’ hands. Even with considerable progress, Mr. Obama has not fulfilled his goal of securing all nuclear materials in four years; some 1,800 metric tons of nuclear material remain stored in 24 countries, much of it vulnerable to theft. New York Times >>

Road Towards Entry Into Force of Key Nuclear Security Agreement

Montenegro ratified the Amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (CPPNM) today, bringing to just two the number of adherences still required for the entry into force of this legal instrument that will help strengthen nuclear security around the world. IAEA >>

Takeaways from Obama’s last Nuclear Security Summit

The 2016 Nuclear Security Summit (NSS) concluded on April 1—four days shy of the 7th anniversary of President Barack Obama’s Prague speech, in which, among other things, he announced a “new international effort to secure all vulnerable nuclear material around the world within four years.” The 2016 NSS was the fourth and final summit held in its current format. Obama expressed the hope that the 2016 summit would leave behind an enduring international nuclear architecture for securing highly enriched uranium (HEU) and plutonium. Brookings >>

Nuclear Transparency and the Stockpile Stewardship and Management Plan

Why does NNSA continues to overspend and over-commit and create a spending bow wave in 2021-2026 in excess of the President’s budget in exactly the same time period that excessive Air Force and Navy modernization programs are expected to put the greatest pressure on defense spending? Why does a smaller and smaller nuclear weapons stockpile with fewer warhead types appears to be getting more and more expensive to maintain? Federation of American Scientists >>

What’s New About Trump’s Finger on the Nuclear Button?

Donald Trump never really leaves the news these days, but his comments on nuclear weapons in separate interviews with the New York Times, CNN, and MSNBC have generated a wave of sensationalist headlines. But how radical are his nuclear arguments? War on the Rocks >>

U.S. Officials Met with Belgians on Security Concerns Before Attacks

A “foreign fighter surge team” of experts from the F.B.I., the State Department and the Department of Homeland Security met with their Belgian counterparts a month before the Brussels terrorist attacks to try to correct gaps in Belgium’s widely criticized ability to track terrorist plots, American officials said. NY Times >>

Why are Efforts to Counter Al-Shabab Falling So Flat?

Despite internal and external threats to its effective functioning, al-Shabab is on the upswing again. It has carried out dozens of terrorist attacks within Somalia, including against hotels used by government officials as workspaces and housing, and on beaches and in markets throughout the country. It has raised fear among the population and hampers the basic government functionality and civil society mobilization. Brookings >>

Obama Says Nuclear Terrorist Attack Would ‘Change Our World’

Obama sought to use the controversial Iran agreement as an argument for his carrot-and-stick approach to deterring nuclear proliferation as he huddled with other U.N. Security Council members who negotiated the deal along with the U.S. He credited Iran with taking steps to meet its commitments and touted the importance of other countries taking reciprocal steps. “It will take time for Iran to reintegrate in the global economy, but Iran is already beginning to see the benefits of this deal,” Obama said. >>

How Bad Would a Radiological Terror Attack Be?

When it comes to human health, all nuclear scenarios are not created equal. The Chernobyl disaster caused an estimated 16,000 cases of thyroid cancer, while the Fukushima power plant accident barely produced any. A dizzying number of variables go into understanding the damage that a particular nuclear or radiological device might have. But modeling the effects of such devices has become also become easier, and more public, thanks to the Internet. Defense One >>

Could There Be a Terrorist Fukushima?

The attacks in Brussels last month were a stark reminder of the terrorists’ resolve, and of our continued vulnerabilities, including in an area of paramount concern: nuclear security. The attackers struck an airport and the subway, but some Belgian investigators believe they seemed to have fallen back on those targets because they felt the authorities closing in on them, and that their original plan may have been to strike a nuclear plant. NY Times >>

How Bad Would a Radiological Terror Attack Be?

When it comes to human health, all nuclear scenarios are not created equal. The Chernobyl disaster caused an estimated 16,000 cases of thyroid cancer, while the Fukushima power plant accident barely produced any. A dizzying number of variables go into understanding the damage that a particular nuclear or radiological device might have. But modeling the effects of such devices has become also become easier, and more public, thanks to the Internet. Defense One >>

Nuclear Summit to Focus on Dirty Bomb Scenario

President Obama to host world leaders for a Nuclear Security Summit in an effort to stop potential attackers from using radioactive material to outdo the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington. “The key question for this summit is: will leaders take enough action to put the world on a path of continuous improvement and steadily reducing the risk of nuclear terrorism, or will attention turn elsewhere, progress stall, and complacency return?” Emergency Management >>

Half of Local Governments Have Adopted Disaster Sustainability Plans

Forty-eight percent of local governments have implemented disaster mitigation plans as part of their sustainability efforts, according to the first nationwide study to establish benchmarks for sustainability initiatives among US communities. Seventy-six percent of local governments indicated they had responded to a major disaster during the past 15 years. Among those, 53 percent had dealt with a flood, 51percent with a blizzard or ice storm and 24 percent with a hurricane. HS Today >>

National Preparedness Month: Prepare Today for Tomorrow’s Disaster

April is National Preparedness Month, the perfect time for Veterans and their families to plan ahead for what they may need to stay safe, healthy, informed and independent during a natural or man-made disaster. While “April showers, bring May flowers” springtime down pours can cause major flooding in many parts of the country. There is no time better than now, to be prepared. VAntage Point >>

Case Study: National Guard Uses Mobile Field Kit to Secure Boston Marathon

The 1st National Guard Civil Support Team of Massachusetts helps state and local agencies respond to attacks that use weapons of mass destruction, which means being on the ground at the Boston Marathon to keep runners and fans safe. >>

5 Taken to Hospital After Ammonia Leak at Phoenix Dairy

Authorities say five people have been taken to a hospital after an ammonia leak at a west Phoenix dairy. Officials of the Shamrock Farms Dairy say there was a leak in an ammonia holding tank at the company’s processing plant Friday afternoon, but it now has been contained. Food Manufacturing >>

Report Details Cause of 2014 Radiation Leak at National Lab

Compromised equipment caused a radiation leak at the Idaho National Laboratory two years ago and faulty air monitors failed to detect the release that exposed nine workers, a new report says. The 43-page internal report made public last week says radioactive material escaped from a sealed compartment at the research facility and was not discovered by employees until routine testing of air filters about a month later, the Post Register reported Monday. >>

“Command and Control,” Terrifying Soon at a Theater Near You

Like the book that it is based on, Command and Control chronicles the terrifying accident at the Titan II missile site near Damascus, Arkansas in 1980. On a nondescript September day, a nuclear repair team entered the silo to check readings that seemed a bit off. Using the wrong wrench, one team member lost his grip on a socket that fell the full height of the 8-story-tall missile, bounced, and punctured the missile’s fuel tank. Within a few seconds, the United States was on the precipice of the greatest nuclear cataclysm of all time. The Arkansas crew nearly set off a hydrogen bomb, on US soil, through simple human error. BOTAS >>

Radiation-Detecting Clothing May Be Thing of the Present

Clothing that can detect chemical weapons or radiation. Tents that hum with electricity. U.S. Defense officials want to make these ideas and others a reality. The Defense Department announced Friday a new innovation institute that will focus on creating “revolutionary” fibers and textiles, bringing together the best of the private sector, academia and nonprofits to come up with new materials. CNN >>

New Institute Will Accelerate Innovations in Fibers and Fabrics

An independent nonprofit founded by MIT has been selected to run a new, $317 million public-private partnership announced today by Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter. The partnership, named the Advanced Functional Fibers of America (AFFOA) Institute, has won a national competition for federal funding to create the latest Manufacturing Innovation Institute. It is designed to accelerate innovation in high-tech, U.S.-based manufacturing involving fibers and textiles, with potential CBRN and force protection applications. MIT News >>

World Ports ‘Detect Only Fraction’ of Nuclear Material

In 2009, President Barack Obama described the possibility of nuclear weapons falling into the hands of “terrorists” as the most immediate and extreme threat to global security. Since then, the US has been leading global efforts to secure, consolidate and dispose of nuclear material, culminating in this week’s United Nations Nuclear Security Summit in Washington. Emergency Management >>

Global Warming Gives Science Behind Nuclear Winter a New Purpose

In the 1980s, fears took hold that a war-prone world lived in the shadow of catastrophic global cooling, a potential disaster called nuclear winter. Perhaps no one was more effective in warning of the peril than the astronomer and science communicator Carl Sagan, who died in 1996. In 1983, Dr. Sagan and four other scientists published their conclusion that an all-out nuclear war, presumably between the United States and the Soviet Union, could doom humankind. New York Times >>

Ice Wall at Fukushima Plant Switched on, But Will it Work?

The operator of Japan’s destroyed Fukushima nuclear plant switched on a giant refrigeration system on Thursday to create an unprecedented underground ice wall around its damaged reactors. Radioactive water has been flowing from the reactors, and other methods have failed to fully control it. The decontamination and decommissioning of the plant, damaged by a massive earthquake and tsunami in 2011, hinge of the success of the wall. >>

Explosion, Fire Controlled at Pennsylvania Petroleum Plant

A fire at a western Pennsylvania petroleum processing plant is under control, though 911 dispatchers say there’s a report of one injury. Officials at the Sonneborn Corp. plant in Petrolia declined immediate comment. The plant about 45 miles northeast of Pittsburgh makes waxes and other products including petrolatum, which is used in baby oil and petroleum jellies. >>

Suspicious Activity at Yongbyon Radiochemical Laboratory

Recent commercial satellite imagery indicates suspicious activity at the Yongbyon Radiochemical Laboratory complex used to produce plutonium for building nuclear weapons. Whether that activity—exhaust plumes from a steam plant used to heat the main plant—means reprocessing additional plutonium is underway or will be in the near future remains unclear. However, James Clapper, the Director of National Intelligence recently stated that the North Koreans could be ready to do so in weeks or months. 38 North >>

CIA ‘Inadvertently’ Left Explosive Training Material Under School Bus

The CIA has admitted to accidentally leaving “explosive training material” under the hood of a Northern Virginia school bus for more than a week last month, remnants of a training exercise that remained undetected as the bus ferried public school students over a distance of 145 miles over the course of two days. The Guardian >>

DefExpo 2016: Vallon to bring C-IED detector to India

Vallon is bringing its Counter Improvised Explosive Device (C-IED) detector to DefExpo in Goa under the ‘Make in India’ program to support the armed forces and security forces, Cobham announced on 22 March. Shepard >>

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