Pueblo Chemical Depot, JUPITR Biosurveillance, Nuclear Forensics

Topics in this issue include multilateral counterterrorism efforts, use of mustard gas on Kurdish fighters, Pueblo Chemical Depot, JUPITR Biosurveillance system, infrared gas detectors, chemical neutralizing clothing, and nuclear forensics.

Islamic State ‘Used Mustard Gas’ Against Peshmerga

Islamic State (IS) militants fired mortar rounds containing mustard agent at Kurdish peshmerga fighters in northern Iraq, Kurdish officials say. The Ministry of Peshmerga Affairs said blood samples from about 35 fighters revealed traces of sulphur mustard. BBC News >>

Threat Analysis and Multilateral Counterterrorism

Barak Mendelsohn examines the quality of the counterterrorism threat analysis work done by the U.N.’s 1267 Committee, also known as the al-Qaida Sanctions Committee. Formed after the U.S. embassy bombings in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam in August 1998, the Committee was augmented and retooled as the main international instrument for imposing sanctions on al-Qaida and associated terrorist groups, as well as designated terrorists from these jihadi groups. Brookings >>

US Resumes Destroying Chemical Weapons at Colorado Site

The Army has resumed the destruction of chemical weapons at a Colorado facility after crews repaired a small dent in the door of a chamber used to blow up the munitions. Pueblo Chemical Depot says operations resumed Monday. They were suspended Aug. 7 when the dent was discovered. Officials say no chemicals escaped and no one was hurt. Denver Post >>

EDA and TNO Defence Sign Last CBRN Joint Investment Programme Contract

The contract signing paved the way for the RACED project, which aims to improve decontamination (DECON) procedures of material or equipment exposed to chemical or biological warfare agents. Army Technology >>

New Infrared Camera Detects Gas Leaks in Industry

A spin-off of the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (UC3M), Sensia Solutions, has developed a new low-cost infrared camera that makes it possible to quickly and efficiently detect gas leaks that can occur in different industrial facilities. Science Daily >>

Philadelphia Effort to Secure the Pope Reflects Post-1993 Trade Center Bombing Changes

Then a rental truck packed with fertilizer exploded in front of the federal building in Oklahoma City in 1995, killing 168 people. The detonation of a backpack nail bomb a year later inside a public plaza — killing one person in Centennial Olympic Park in downtown Atlanta — was the final straw. Those attacks inspired a new approach for protecting Americans and visiting dignitaries at large events from the growing threat of terrorism and violence on U.S. soil. Emergency Management >>

JUPITR Mobile Biosurveillance Contract Awarded to SRC

SRC’s Aklus Shield chem-bio threat detection system is an automated, mobile, lightweight, battery-operated, networked warning system designed to rapidly detect, sample, and identify biological agents. The system provides near real-time detection of biological events, using commercially available technologies, industry-standard interfaces and a modular open systems approach which allows for easy and rapid reconfiguration and upgrades. Global Biodefense >>

Chemical Security 20 Years after the Oklahoma City Bombing

In 1995, a domestic terrorist killed 168 people and injured hundreds more when he used a fertilizer bomb to blow up a federal building in Oklahoma City. The Department of Homeland Security has since stated that terrorists could target any of the tens of thousands of facilities throughout the United States that house hazardous chemicals—like the ammonium nitrate fertilizer used in that bombing. If stolen or released, these chemicals could inflict mass casualties. GAO Watchblog >>

A Step Toward Clothing That Guards Against Chemical Warfare Agents

Recent reports of chemical weapons attacks in the Middle East underscore the urgent need for new ways to guard against their toxic effects. Toward that end, scientists report a new hydrogel coating that neutralizes both mustard gas and nerve agent VX. It could someday be applied to materials such as clothing and paint. Science Daily >>

Two $25,000 Grants for New Tech and Equipment to be Awarded to Fire Departments

Firefighters put themselves on the front lines everyday — protecting our communities and acting as first responders in emergencies. To support these heroes, Nest and the Leary Firefighters Foundation have teamed up to award two $25,000 grants for new technology and equipment to fire departments in need.  NFPA Today >>

US Drops Below New START Warhead Limit For The First Time

The number of U.S. strategic warheads counted as “deployed” under the New START Treaty has dropped below the treaty’s limit of 1,550 warheads for the first time since the treaty entered into force in February 2011 – a reduction of 263 warheads over four and a half years. Russia, by contrast, has increased its deployed warheads and now has more strategic warheads counted as deployed under the treaty than in 2011 – up 111 warheads. Federation of American Scientists >>

Watts Bar Unit 2, Last Old Reactor of the 20th Century: A Cautionary Tale

While the TVA and the nuclear industry describe Watts Bar 2 as “the first new nuclear generation of the 21st Century,” in fact the TVA resuscitated a demonstrably unsafe 1960s-era ice condenser design that was abandoned decades ago by the rest of the nuclear industry. Mismanagement and construction problems have driven the project’s price tag up with billions of dollars in cost overruns. Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists >>

Angola: Over 300 Explosive Devices Destroyed in Cachingues

More than three hundred explosive devices were destroyed on recently in Cachingues in Angola by the non-governmental organization “APACOMINAS”. Among the devices, there was an anti-personnel landmine, an anti-tank landmine, 17 mortar projectiles 60mm, equal number of mortar 82 millimeters, two gun projectiles 120 mm, 11 RPG7, a rifle grenade, four hand grenades, as well as 330 small-caliber ammunitions. allAfrica >>

Nuclear Forensics Shows Nazis Were Nowhere Near Making Atomic Bomb

Today’s nuclear forensic scientists are typically concerned with detecting radioactive materials being smuggled across borders or tracking down the facilities where those materials originated. But recently, nuclear scientists turned their investigative skills to a nagging question from the annals of science history: During World War II, were the Germans close to achieving a working nuclear reactor? Chemical & Engineering News >>

FBI Helps Foil Several Plots to Sell Nuclear Material in Moldova’s Black Market

Over the past five years, four attempts by Russian gangs in Moldova to sell nuclear material have been thwarted by the FBI and Moldovan authorities. The most recent case was in February when a smuggler, who specifically sought a buyer from Islamic State, offered undercover agents a large amount of radioactive caesium. The would-be smuggler wanted €2.5 million for enough radioactive material to contaminate several city streets. HSNW >>

Towards Smarter Nuclear Export Controls

It is time to review and improve the functioning of nuclear export controls by introducing a risk-based approach and by providing guidance that will help small companies especially understand and deliver on their obligations. Today there are big differences in how countries apply export controls. Some are very efficient in issuing licenses; others impose too many administrative requirements; and others have weak enforcement processes. World Nuclear News >>

What an ISIS Chemical Strike Did to One Syrian Family

Struck from afar by a blister-agent shell, the family would suffer from an agonizing form of violence that since the 1990s, when the Convention on Chemical Weapons took force in much of the world, had seemed to fade into the past, only to be revived by the Islamic State. NY Times >>

No One’s Morale is Dropping Faster Than Homeland Security

Reversing a trend that held steady for several years, federal employees are now happier on the job than they were last year. However, DHS tops the list of five large agencies (those with more than 800 employees) that have seen the biggest drop-offs in satisfaction since 2010. Defense One >>

Preparing for the Next Terrorist Attack in America

Terrorism is a tactic that has survived for thousands of years and seeks to cause fear, panic, and economic damage to a given population in order to exert control or influence political, social, or religious practices through unusual levels of brutality. As technology advances, so too do the tools available to terror organizations and those inspired by them. In Homeland Security >>

U.S. Says Ready to Defend Against North Korean Nuclear Threat

The U.S. government believes North Korea has the capability to launch a nuclear weapon against the U.S. homeland and stands ready to defend against any such attacks, a high-level U.S. military official said on Wednesday. Reuters >>

AP: Nuclear Smugglers Tried Selling Materials to ISIL

In the backwaters of Eastern Europe, authorities working with the FBI have interrupted four attempts in the past five years by gangs with suspected Russian connections that sought to sell radioactive material to Middle Eastern extremists, The Associated Press has learned. USA Today >>

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