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Nuclear Deterrence Enterprise, Bombing Forensics, Radioactive Wastewater

Topics in this issue include rebuilding the nuclear deterrence enterprise, NYC bombing forensic investigation, and radioactive wastewater in the Florida aquifer.

Push to Sanction Syria for Using Chemical Weapons Hits Russian Resistance

The United States, Britain, and France want to punish Assad’s use of chemical weapons. But Moscow won’t play ball. Russian airstrikes helped scupper the cease-fire in Syria. Now, Russian foot-dragging threatens to derail another diplomatic effort by the United States and its allies: sanctioning Damascus for using chemical weapons against its own people. Foreign Policy >>

A Look at the Explosives Used in the New York Bombing

Initial reports about a device used in Saturday’s bombing in New York City suggested the explosive could have been a commercially available material called Tannerite. Stories from the Associated Press and New York Times reported the claim, citing anonymous officials involved in the investigation of the attack that injured 31. C&EN >>

Study Reveals How Ionizing Radiation Damages DNA and Causes Cancer

For the first time, researchers from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and their collaborators have been able to identify in human cancers two characteristic patterns of DNA damage caused by ionizing radiation. These fingerprint patterns may now enable doctors to identify which tumors have been caused by radiation, and investigate if they should be treated differently. MDT >>

Tactical EMS Delve Into Dangerous Situations

Protocols for handling emergency situations, such as active shooter scenarios, have changed over the last few years. Part of that change deals with the addition of the tactical EMS training. Tactical medicine is a specialized and highly discriminating endeavor that requires intensive training, discipline and a unique relationship with law enforcement. Emergency Management >>

Here are the Names the U.S. Air Force Didn’t Pick for the B-21 Raider

The Air Force made the unusual decision to let service members submit possible monikers for the bomber over the Internet. Officials ultimately chose Raider from more than 4,600 submissions in total, with more than 2,100 being unique at least in structure and spelling. National Interest >>

University of Hawaii Fined $115,500 for Lab Explosion

The University of Hawaii faces a total $115,500 fine for 15 workplace safety violations after a laboratory explosion in March on the university’s Manoa campus. Postdoctoral researcher Thea Ekins-Coward, who worked for the Hawaii Natural Energy Institute, lost one of her arms in the explosion. Ekins-Coward was preparing a gas mixture of 55% hydrogen, 38% oxygen, and 7% carbon dioxide when an electrostatic discharge likely ignited the mixture, according to an investigation report. C&EN >>

A Mustard Gas Attack on U.S. Troops

A top U.S. military official confirmed to a Senate committee late Thursday that the Islamic State used a rocket containing mustard gas against U.S. troops in Iraq. The news came as members of the Senate Armed Services Committee questioned Marine General Joseph Dunford about an attack Tuesday on a military base near Mosul, in the country’s north. The Atlantic >>

What’s the Deal with Senate Republicans and the Test Ban Treaty?

Things get weird on Capitol Hill. Just look at how Republican senators acted last week on the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). They congratulated themselves on stopping the Obama administration from doing something that it did not intend to do in the first place. In the process, senators threatened to defund the CTBT’s international monitoring system. That’s the system that has detected and promptly reported all North Korean nuclear tests. Brookings >>

Radioactive Wastewater Enters Florida Major Aquifer

At least 980 million liters of highly contaminated water — including radioactive substances – has leaked into one of Florida’s largest sources of drinking water. Forbes reports that the leak was caused by a huge sinkhole which opened up beneath a fertilizer plant near Tampa. The sinkhole caused highly contaminated waste water to pass into an aquifer which supplies much of the state. HSNW >>

Unmanned Nuclear Defence and Attack

Unmanned vehicles and nuclear power plants have had a contentious relationship, both positive and negative. The positive side was highlighted by the response to the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan that was severely damaged by a devastating earthquake in 2011. CBRNe Portal >>

Islamic State ‘Dead Set’ on Using Chemical Weapons

Part of the Islamic State terror group’s plan to turn the northern Iraqi city of Mosul into “hell on earth” could well include a barrage of homemade chemical weapons. U.S. military officials fully expect IS militants to unleash their chemical weapons arsenal as Iraqi and Kurdish forces advance on the self-declared caliphate’s Iraqi capital. Voice of America >>

Enhancing Emergency Preparedness and Response Through Effective Cooperation and Information Exchange

Standardizing information exchanged during nuclear or radiological emergencies is an important step towards reinforcing global preparedness. Experts from the IAEA recently showcased the Unified System for Information Exchange in Incidents and Emergencies (USIE), a secure web-based platform for communicating information related to nuclear or radiological emergencies, and the recently-launched International Radiation Monitoring Information System (IRMIS), which collects and displays radiation monitoring data. IAEA >>

Could This Scanner Take the Hell Out of Airport Security Checks?

At a Danish airfield, the tech company Exruptive is testing out a new invention that could save us from how bad we all seem to be at navigating airport security screening. Working with researchers at the Technical University of Denmark, they’ve created a trolley that can be fed into a scanner without being unloaded—meaning passengers wouldn’t have to trip over each other reaching for plastic bins to hold those tiny bottles of shampoo. CityLab >>

US Air Force Set to Replace Intercontinental Nuke Arsenal

Hidden underground in steel-and-concrete silos across rural America, more than 400 intercontinental ballistic missiles point to the skies, poised for launch — and ready to obliterate cities across the world. First designed in the 1960s at the height of the Cold War, the Minuteman nuclear weapons are starting to show their age, and replacement parts are difficult to find for the weapons designed in an analog age. >>

Risk of Nuclear Attack Rises

President Obama’s nuclear strategy states that while the threat of all-out nuclear war is remote the risk of a nuclear attack somewhere in the world has actually increased.  When that was written three years ago the risk came from a rogue nation like North Korea. Back then the U.S. and Russia were said to be partners but that was before Russia invaded Crimea, using military force to change the borders of Europe. And before its president, Vladimir Putin, and his generals began talking about nuclear weapons. CBS News >>

Radium: Opening Pandora’s Box

When Marie and Pierre Curie discovered Radium-226 in 1898, it opened up the atom’s secrets and offered hope that its mysterious radioactive rays were a miracle cure. Sobering reality replaced euphoria as radium factory workers began to die. U.S. NRC >>

Carter: DoD Will Rebuild, Sustain its Nuclear Deterrence Enterprise

Defense Secretary Ash Carter kicked off a visit to DoD’s nuclear deterrence enterprise, telling airmen at Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota, that DoD will invest, innovate and sustain to rebuild that enterprise’s capabilities that remain the bedrock of U.S. defense strategy. DoD News >>

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