Bombings in Istanbul, Biodosimetry Improvements, ISIS Drones

Topics in this issue include more claims of chlorine-filled barrel bombs in Aleppo, 38 dead in Istanbul bombing, and improvements in biodosimetry for radiation mass casualty events.

In This Article


Kurdish Militants Claim Responsibility for Istanbul Attack That Killed 38

An offshoot of the militant Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) claimed responsibility on Sunday for twin bombings that killed 38 people and wounded 155 outside an Istanbul soccer stadium, an attack for which the Turkish government vowed vengeance. Reuters >>

UN Envoy Condems Attack in Somali Capital

Condemning – in the strongest possible terms – a terrorist attack outside the seaport in Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for the country said that the bloody act will not stop the momentum of the electoral process. “This latest atrocity by al-Shabaab militants, taking place on a religious holiday, provides fresh evidence of their disregard for the lives and hopes of Somali citizens,” said SRSG Michael Keating. UN News Centre >>

Sensitive Terrorism Data Left Out in the Open at Europol

The EU’s police and cybercrime agency failed to protect sensitive information of terrorism investigations, which was left unprotected and open to the public by a former employee, the agency said today. Politico >>

The Age of Selfie Jihad: How Evolving Media Technology is Changing Terrorism

With the Islamic State losing territory and the al-Qa`ida network increasingly decentralized, individuals and small autonomous cells may increasingly take the initiative in both the murderous and messaging dimensions of terrorism. Combating Terrorism Center at West Point >>

Iraqi Officials Find Strange Collection of Makeshift ISIS Drones

After last December’s discovery that ISIS have started using explosive-carrying drones in Iraq and Syria, more and more attacks have followed. Now, new finds in the battle-torn city of Mosul have revealed even more details about the terrorist group’s attempts to build their own makeshift Air Force. Yahoo Tech >>

Terrorists Today Say They Don’t Want to Blow Themselves Up as Much

The Islamic State had become globally attractive on a scale far beyond that of its earlier, Al Qaeda-affiliated permutation which fought the U.S. military in Iraq in 2006–2007. The Islamic State appealed to a diverse following, with better skills … and the foreign recruits told their terrorist handlers they weren’t as interested in blowing themselves up. War is Boring >>

Facebook and Other Tech Giants are Setting Up a Database for Terrorist Content

Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft and Google’s YouTube say they will set up a shared database to help them track and remove “violent terrorist imagery or terrorist recruitment videos.” The database will contain the digital “fingerprints” of the images and videos, allowing the tech firms to identify potential terrorist content more efficiently, the companies said in a statement. CNN >>

Terror Suspect Arrested in Rotterdam in Possession of Kalashnikov

Police in Rotterdam have arrested a 30-year-old man suspected of preparing an “act of terrorism”, prosecutors say. They found a Kalashnikov with two full magazines, and a painting depicting an Islamic State flag, when they entered his home on Wednesday, according to the prosecutor’s office. BBC News >>


Bill to Improve Rail Hazmat Response Training Clears House

The RESPONSE Act of 2016 (S. 546) modifies the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to create a temporary subcommittee under FEMA’s National Advisory Council. The act aims to improve availability of training to emergency responders, update training content about incidents involving hazardous materials on railroads and develop strategies for using relevant data. Safety + Health >>

House Passes S 546, the RESPONSE Act

On Nov. 29, the House passed S 546, the RESPONSE Act, by a voice vote. There was less than five minutes of debate on the bill; mainly praise for the leadership of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s efforts to refine the provisions of the bill. The bill now goes back to the Senate for action on the amended language. Chem Facility Security News >>

Don’t Let Iran Off the Hook for Chemical/Biological Weapons

The Trump administration will need to be on its toes to enforce the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement—and stop the Islamic Republic’s developing chemical and biological weapons programs. President-elect Donald Trump called the nuclear deal a “lopsided disgrace” and the “worst deal ever negotiated.” Aggressive enforcement of the deal—assuming Trump does not scrap the pact—will need to be a top priority. Take the example of Iran’s violations before the ink was even dry on the deal. Forbes >>

Obama Pick For U.S. Chemical Safety Board Has Strong Industry Ties

Rachel A. Meidl was nominated by President Barack Obama earlier this month to serve on the U.S. Chemical Safety & Hazard Investigation Board (CSB). Meidl is currently deputy associate administrator for policy & programs in the Pipeline & Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHSMA) at the Department of Transportation, a position she has held for a year. C&EN >>


Unintended Lessons: Secondary Explosive Device Detection

A sweep of an intact three-story building with this layout would take an explosive detection canine approximately one hour to complete. When the building was collapsed, the search now took two to three hours, not including the response time of the unit. This now means an increased time ratio of 4:1 should be applied when responding to a collapsed structure that is in need of an explosive detection canine sweep for secondary devises. This will allow for the sweep by the explosives detection canine as well as the restart of the rescue activities to include an updated safety briefing. Fire Engineering >>

FBI Investigates Threat Against L.A. Universal City Metro Station

The FBI is investigating a tip about a possible bomb plot against the Metro Red Line’s Universal City station in Los Angeles, where authorities are ramping up security across its sprawling transit system. An anonymous man warned of a potential attack Tuesday and provided the information on a tip line abroad, according to Deidre Fike, the assistant director in charge of the FBI’s office in Los Angeles. USA Today >>

Man Charged After Pipe-Bomb, Drugs And Weapons Found At Scarborough Home

Police found the pipe bomb — which was initially described as a ‘suspicious item’ — while executing a search warrant for drugs at a home in Scarborough. At some point, investigators received information pertaining to a potential explosive device in the garage and ultimately called in a bomb squad (CBRNE) to tend to the scene. Upon arriving at the scene, members of CBRNE located the pipe bomb inside a children’s toy box, moved it to an undisclosed location and detonated it safely using a robot. CTV Toronto >>


Activists Accuse Syria Regime of Chemical Attack in Aleppo

Syrian activists say chemical gas in the form of chlorine-filled barrel bombs was used in a district in Aleppo and put out video purporting to show children and adults being treated for breathing difficulties. The chemical gas was allegedly used in the al Qasiliah neighbourhood, with nearby Bustan al Qasr also reportedly shelled.  Sky News >>

More Hanford Workers Report Possible Tank Vapors

Three more Hanford workers reported smelling a suspicious, ammonia-like odor Thursday afternoon and received medical evaluations. The workers were outside a facility where full air bottles are picked up and empty bottles dropped off after being used with supplied air respirators. Because workers were not inside the fence line of a tank farm, the respiratory protection was not required there. More than 60 Hanford workers have received medical exams for possible chemical-vapor exposure since spring. Seattle Times >>

Man-in-Simulant Test Methodologies for the Evaluation Chemical Protective Ensembles

The man-in-simulant test (MIST) is one of the most widely used methods for evaluating a chemical protective ensemble’s (CPE’s) ability to resist infiltration of hazardous gases and vapors. Unlike material-level tests that only characterize the ability to resist permeation or penetration directly through the material, MIST provides an assessment of the whole ensemble, including the materials, seams, zippers, closures, and other interfaces. ASTM >>

Chemical Warfare Toxicology: Volume 1: Fundamental Aspects

An overview is provided of the development, historical use and properties of chemical warfare agents from 1914 until the present. The advent of large scale tactical and strategic chemical warfare occurred almost one year into World War I. More than 30 agents were used, the most effective being phosgene and sulfur mustard. Although large stockpiles existed, chemical weapons were not used in Europe in World War II. Royal Society of Chemistry >>

Investigation Continues Into Blast at Kansas Chemical Plant

Officials continue to investigate the cause of an explosion and fire that resulted in the release of chemicals from a chemical plant that was the focus of a 2009 settlement with a competitor over alleged violations of the federal Clean Air Act.  State and federal officials told The Lawrence Journal-World on Friday that they’re investigating the cause of the Tuesday explosion and fire at the Airosol Company chemical plant in Neodesha. >>

Vietnam War Veteran Develops Rare Cancer After Exposure to Agent Orange

A veteran with a rare type of cancer may have developed the condition after being exposed to Agent Orange during the Vietnam War, reveal doctors writing in the journal BMJ Case Reports. The 69-year-old patient was admitted to hospital with a 1-year history of a painful and enlarging mass in his right thigh. Ultrasound and CT scans identified the mass, and a subsequent biopsy confirmed a rare malignant soft issue cancer, known as pleomorphic liposarcoma. Medical News Today >>


Spanish Regulator Approves Post-Fukushima Measures

Spanish nuclear regulators have approved new post-Fukushima design modifications at the country’s nuclear power plants, including final approvals for emergency management centers. Under requirements established by the CSN in 2012 in relation to safety improvements following the Fukushima accident, Spain’s nuclear plants must install new systems for filtered venting of containment, to enable the controlled depressurization of the containment building in the event of a severe accident and reducing the amount of radioactive material that could be released. World Nuclear News >>

Roof Collapses at WIPP Raise New Safety Questions

Experts say the recent roof collapses inside WIPP – which have injured no one, thanks to precautionary closures of troubled areas – call into question the facility’s ability to handle ground control in a contaminated mine. Albuquerque Journal >>

U.S. to Build $1.6B Idaho Facility for Warships’ Nuclear Waste

The Navy and U.S. Department of Energy have announced that they’ll build a $1.65 billion facility at a nuclear site in eastern Idaho that will handle fuel waste from the nation’s fleet of nuclear-powered warships. Navy Times >>

Today in Military Nuclear Waste

Outside the potash hub of Carlsbad, New Mexico lies the Energy Department’s Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP), a deep geological depository for nuclear wastes generated in weapons research and production. WIPP, alas, is troubled, and it has been closed since it suffered two accidents in February 2014. In the first, a fire broke out on a salt truck. In the second, a waste drum exploded because workers had made an error involving kitty litter. Yes, kitty litter. Plutonium traveled through the facility’s ventilation system, coming into contact with workers and leaking into the environment. Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists >>

Opinion: Nuclear Waste at Savannah River Site Has to Go

South Carolina has taken it on the chin from the Obama administration on the nuclear waste front, again putting Savannah River Site in the undesirable role of the national disposal site for high-level radioactive waste. There are at least two openings for the Trump administration to make amends. The next president should revive the suspended Yucca Mountain waste disposal site in Nevada, which was designed as a safe location for high-level nuclear material. Post and Courier >>


US-Russia Rift Threatens Science Ties That Keep Us Safe

Amid increasing tensions between Washington and Moscow over Syria, Ukraine, cyber hacking, and military maneuvers in the Baltics, the Kremlin’s systematic termination of nuclear cooperation with the United States has gone relatively unnoticed. Both countries embraced such cooperation as a shared global responsibility after the end of the Cold War. Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists >>

The Nuclear Threat Environment Facing the Trump Administration

With Donald Trump’s victory in the presidential election, the American people can expect the new administration to author a Nuclear Posture Review that is likely to differ significantly from the Obama administration’s 2010 Nuclear Posture Review. This is primarily because the two men have fundamentally different worldviews. Whatever direction the new administration takes, one thing is certain: The nation’s adversaries pose an increasingly daunting challenge when it comes to nuclear weapons. War on the Rocks >>

US Military Develops ‘Multi-Object Kill Vehicle’ to Blast Enemy Nukes

Defensive weapons that can intercept and destroy enemy missiles before they can harm the United States or its allies have been a key part of military strategy for decades, but the rules of the game are changing. More countries have or are developing long-range missile technology, including systems that can carry multiple warheads, known as Multiple Independently Targetable Re-entry Vehicles (MIRVs) and/or decoys. >>

Donald Trump to Face Questions About Modernizing America’s Nuclear Arsenal

For all the concerns raised in the presidential campaign about Donald Trump’s fitness to command America’s nuclear arsenal, the immediate questions he’s likely to face as president aren’t about launching these weapons, but modernizing them. CBS News >>

C.I.A. Chief Warns Donald Trump Against Tearing Up Iran Nuclear Deal

The director of the C.I.A. has issued a stark warning to President-elect Donald J. Trump: Tearing up the Iran nuclear deal would be “the height of folly” and “disastrous.” But in an interview with the BBC that was published on its website on Wednesday, Mr. Brennan warned that scrapping the nuclear deal would undermine American foreign policy, embolden hard-liners in Iran and threaten to set off an arms race in the Middle East by encouraging other countries to develop nuclear weapons. NY Times >>

IAEA Meets to Strengthen Security as USA Disposes of Plutonium

The USA has asked the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to monitor and verify the disposition of surplus plutonium in South Carolina, US energy secretary Ernest Moniz said on 5 December. Moniz’s announcement was made at an IAEA conference which aims to strengthen global nuclear security. World Nuclear News >>


US Embassy Donates 25M in CBRN Equipment to Jamaica Fire Brigade

The US Embassy, through the Regional Security Office and the Office of Anti-Terrorism Assistance, handed over a mobile trailer on Wednesday containing CBRN response equipment to the Jamaica Fire Brigade. The handover which was held on the embassy compound marks the culmination of a four-week multi-agency training course. Loop Jamaica >>

Source Attribution, Drug Detection, Hazmat and Explosives

Forward-deployed security personnel and warfighters have to quickly and reliably determine various compounds or residues found in the field to differentiate between inert materials and home-made explosive (HME) compounds. Forensic experts require timely data to find those responsible, and contain the propagation of HME attacks. AZO Optics >>

Preparedness and Emergency Response Learning Centers’ Courses and Search Added to TRAIN

Public health preparedness trainings developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)-funded Preparedness and Emergency Response Learning Centers (PERLCs) are now more widely available and easily searchable on the TRAIN Learning Network. Nearly 100 preparedness courses developed by the PERLCs are now available. >>

Dive Team’s New Boat Equipped to Detect Terror Threats

The St. Clair County Sheriff Department Dive Team has a new ride — and it goes by the prosaic name of Dive Boat Three. Wayne Brusate, dive chief, said the boat was purchased with a $323,380 Port Security Grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. It is equipped to detect underwater chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive threats. Detroit Free Press >>

RKhM-6 CBRN Reconnaissance Vehicle, Russia

The RKhM-6 Povozka is a chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) reconnaissance vehicle produced by Arzamas Machinery Plant of Military Industrial Company (VPK), for the Russian Army. It is an advanced variant of the RKhM-4-01 CBRN vehicle. Army Technology >>

Before EMTs Arrive: Training Civilians to Treat Injuries After Mass Attacks

A new federal initiative seeks to train civilians at schools and other public places — custodians, security guards and administrators — on how to treat gunshots, gashes, and other injuries until actual EMTs can get to the scene. “Take yesterday at Ohio State, someone is hiding out and if they are hemorrhaging, what do they have available? Do they have shoe strings on? Do they have a tie on? Can they make a tourniquet?”. STAT News >>


Advances in Radiation Biodosimetry for Radiation Mass Casualty Events

To respond to large-scale population exposures from a nuclear event or radiation dispersal device (RDD), new methods for determining received dose using biological modeling became necessary. The field of biodosimetry has advanced significantly beyond this original initiative, with expansion into the fields of genomics, proteomics, metabolomics and transcriptomics. Studies are ongoing to evaluate the use of lymphocyte kinetics for dose assessment, as well as the development of field-deployable EPR technology. BioOne >>

Cutaneous Manifestations of Potential Chemical, Biological, and Radiological Agents and Their Clinical Management

The level of terrorist threats using chemical, biological, and radiological agents has been continuously increasing, and it is an undeniable truth that these agents are actually in use today. The fact that most chemical, biological, and radiological agents cause skin-related symptoms, and that the skin symptoms are observed at a relatively early stage of the condition, leads to the conclusion that dermatologists could be the first point of contact for potential victims of these agents. Korea Med >>

Local Exposure of Skin on Hands of Nuclear Medicine Workers Handling 18f-Labelled Radiopharmaceuticals

The article summarizes some preliminary results of the assessment of the exposure of hands of workers manipulating 18F-labelled radiopharmaceuticals based on personal monitoring at two nuclear medicine clinics in the Czech Republic. In ∼10 % cases of workers, the relevant dose limit may be exceeded. Radiation Protection Dosimetry >>

Atmospheric Aerosol Chemistry: Spectroscopic and Microscopic Advances

Despite their global-scale impacts, understanding the molecular composition, surface chemistry, heterogeneous reactivity, and optical properties of aerosols (across 5 orders of magnitude in size) remains an analytical challenge that has motivated numerous recent instrumental and methodological developments. This review focuses on advances in aerosol measurements over the past 5 years, specifically spectroscopic, microscopic and coupled methods. Analytical Chemistry >>

Phosphate-Induced Immobilization of Uranium in Hanford Sediments

Phosphate can be added to subsurface environments to immobilize U(VI) contamination. The efficacy of immobilization depends on the site-specific groundwater chemistry and aquifer sediment properties. Batch and column experiments were performed with sediments from the Hanford 300 Area in Washington State and artificial groundwater prepared to emulate the conditions at the site. Environmental Science & Technology >>

Occupational Radiation Protection New Dose Limit for the Lens of the Eye

ICRP revised downwards its recommended dose limit for the lens of the eye, in its statement on tissue reactions on 21 April 2011, based on new epidemiological data about the radiosensitivity of the eye.  Meanwhile, new impulse was given in the eye lens monitoring and radiation protection with many studies trying to give light to the various aspects of the implications of the new limit such as calibration issues, workers concerned, necessity and design of protective means, monitoring programmes, dose calculations, etc. Radiation Protection Dosimetry >>


Able Archer 83: What Were the Soviets Thinking?

Over the past 30 years, there has been much debate over how close the world came to nuclear war in 1983, as US–Soviet relations became increasingly fraught. Were we at the brink of Armageddon and, if so, why? Or was the so-called war scare part of a Soviet propaganda campaign to thwart the deployment of cruise and Pershing II missiles to Western Europe, throwing the NATO alliance into disarray? Survival – Global Politics and Strategy >>

The Third Reich’s Nuclear Program: Churchill’s Greatest Wartime Fear

In the spring of 1940, as Britain reeled from defeats on all fronts and America seemed frozen in isolation, one fear, says writer Damien Lewis, united the British and American leaders like no other: that Hitler’s Germany might win the race to build the world’s first atom bomb. So began the secret hunt for the führer’s nuclear weapons. History Extra >>

This Russian Nuclear Submarine Has a Very Special Mission: Kill American Aircraft Carriers

Russia’s enormous Oscar-class nuclear attack submarines, known as the Project 949A, were designed during the Cold War with a specific mission in mind: to go hunting for American aircraft carriers, the pride of American naval power. Because each U.S. flattop is protected by its own little fleet of escorting warships—many of them specialized in antisubmarine warfare—the Oscar’s primary game plane isn’t to creep up close for a torpedo attack. National Interest >>

Upcoming Events

Decon Line at Next Generation Chemical Detector System Field Testing

Next Generation Chemical Detector Tested During Joint Services Training

EOD Tech Manipulates Robot to Disable Bomb Threat in Vehicle

Air Force EOD, Security Forces, Firefighters Train Together While Deployed