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Pilot Protection in Chemical Warfare Environments, Hazmat Response to Uranium Scare

Topics in this issue of CBRNE Particles include an integrated CBRN suit for Air Force pilots, drone delivery of threat agents, investing in disaster resilience.

In This Article

CHEMICAL WEAPONS

Syria Used Chlorine Bombs Systematically in Aleppo, Report Says

Syrian military helicopters systematically dumped canisters of chlorine gas, a banned weapon, on residential areas of Aleppo at least eight times late last year in the final weeks of the battle to retake the city from rebels, Human Rights Watch said in a detailed study released Monday. NY Times >>

With Unconventional Weapons, Drones Hit Their Limits

Could terrorists or other criminals use off-the-shelf drones to launch chemical, biological or radiological attacks? Though the threat of an attack using such weapons could be grave in theory, there are practical constraints that would blunt its impact. By and large, these are the same constraints that would hamper any attempt to use biological, chemical or radiological weapons, regardless of how they are delivered. STRATFOR >>

Syrian Forces Used Chemical Weapons in Final Push for Aleppo: HRW

Syrian government forces carried out at least eight chemical attacks during the final weeks of the battle for Aleppo, killing nine people, among them four children, and injuring hundreds more, Human Rights Watch said Monday. The rights group said it interviewed witnesses, collected photos and reviewed video footage indicating that chlorine bombs were dropped from government helicopters during the offensive from November 17 to December 13. Yahoo News >>

Kim Jong-nam: Malaysia Investigates Apparent Poison Attack

Kim Jong-nam died after an apparent poison attack in the airport in the capital, Kuala Lumpur, on Monday. His body is undergoing an autopsy. Few official details have been released. South Korea’s acting President Hwang Kyo-ahn said if North Korea was found to be responsible, it would show its “brutality and inhumane nature”. BBC News >>

EXPLOSIVE THREATS

Bristol University Student Accidentally Made Explosive

University buildings were evacuated when a student accidentally made the same highly explosive substance that was used in the Paris terror attacks. An investigation by Bristol University has found that triacetone triperoxide (TATP) was “unintentionally formed during a routine procedure”. BBC >>

Apparatus and Method for Improvised Explosive Device (IED) Network Analysis

In this paper, tools and apparatus are presented for identification and analysis of IED networks, including data acquisition tools and techniques providing structured prompting and predefined answers for acquiring structured IED data reports. Naval Postgraduate School >>

Faster Method of Simulating Military Vehicles Exposed to Fragmenting Underbody IED Threats

The ALE method of modeling the effects of buried charges in soil is well known and widely used in blast simulations today Due to high computational costs, inconsistent robustness and long run times, alternate modeling methods such as Smoothed Particle Hydrodynamics (SPH) and DEM are gaining more traction. In all these methods, accuracy of the analysis relies not only on the fidelity of the soil and high explosive models but also on the robustness of fluid-structure interaction. SAE International >>

Air Force, Army Work Together During EOD Training

Explosive ordnance disposal team members, assigned to the Army’s 734th Explosive Ordnance Company at Fort Bliss, Texas, participated in a joint training exercise with the 49th Civil Engineer Squadron EOD flight at Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico, Feb. 14. During the training, the 734th EOD team received a tour of the F-16 Fighting Falcon, a key aircraft supported here. US Air Force >>

HAZMAT

Canada’s Safety Board Seeks Strategies to Reduce Severity of Hazmat Derailments

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) yesterday called for Transport Canada to develop strategies aimed at reducing the severity of derailments involving hazardous materials. The TSB’s action is in response to a February 2015 derailment of a CN crude-oil unit train near Gogama, Ontario. The train was traveling below the 40mph speed limit when 29 tank cars carrying crude oil derailed; 19 of the cars breached, releasing 1.7 million liters of oil, which ignited and caused fires that burned for five days. Progressive Railroading >>

Tour of Mobile Hazmat Unit Shows Disaster Response Capabilities

There are still a lot of questions left to be answered in the investigation of a liquid nitrogen leak at Xytex. On Monday Sheriff Richard Roundtree said deputies didn’t have gear for this type of leak. The Richmond County Fire Department does, however. So we met them for a tour of their mobile Hazmat unit to get a look at their hazmat protocols. WRDW 12 Atlanta >>

Uranium Scare Led to Hazmat Response in Phoenix

HAZMAT teams were called out to a senior living campus in Phoenix Monday night, following a woman’s potentially dangerous discovery that turned out to be much less dangerous than once thought. Fox 10 Fox 10 Phoenix >>

Training and Equipment Improve in Wake of Anhydrous Leak

Stewardson Fire Chief Troy Agney said Jones Trucking Service in Stewardson donated three Level A hazmat suits and four practice hazmat suits to his department in the wake of the accident, which spurred the evacuation of 200 people from their homes and sent 20 to the hospital for treatment. There were no fatalities. Shelbyville Daily Union >>

Philadelphia: Fire Department, Homeland Security Investigating Suspicious White Substance

The Philadelphia Fire Department and Homeland Security are both investigating a suspicious white substance found in a building in the 2900 block of Market Street in University City. That’s near the train station. Fox 29 >>

California: Chemical Spill Leads to Evacuations in National City

A chemical spill at t ProChem Specialty Products in National City Thursday prompted mandatory evacuations for some surrounding businesses and residents, fire officials confirmed. According to NCFD Battalion Chief Sergio Mora, the spill happened as employees at the business performed a routine task that entailed mixing four chemicals to make a product that was later going to be distributed to a water treatment facility. NBC 7 San Diego >>

NUCLEAR-RADIOLOGICAL

Australia to Boycott Global Summit on Treaty to Ban Nuclear Weapons

The global summit, to be held in New York on 27 March, will go ahead with Australia out of the room. As a key plank of foreign policy, Australia has consistently maintained that as long as nuclear weapons exist, it must rely on the protection of the extended deterrent effect of the US’s nuclear arsenal, the second largest in the world. The Guardian >>

U.S. Strategic Nuclear Forces: Background, Developments, and Issues

At the present time, the U.S. land-based ballistic missile force (ICBMs) consists of 414 landbased Minuteman III ICBMs, each deployed with one warhead. The fleet will decline to 400 deployed missiles, while retaining 450 launchers, to meet the terms of the New START Treaty. The Air Force is also modernizing the Minuteman missiles, replacing and upgrading their rocket motors, guidance systems, and other components, so that they can remain in the force through 2030. Congressional Research Service >>

Nuclear Modernization Costs: $400B Over 10 years

The current plan to modernize U.S. nuclear weapons will cost $400 billion from 2017 to 2026, according to a new government estimate. That figure, released Tuesday by the Congressional Budget Office, is 15 percent higher than CBO’s most recent estimate, which pegged the cost for the 2015-2024 period at $348 billion. Both estimates factor inflation into their figures. Defense News >>

Cabinet Oks Bill to Let Tepco Tap State Funds for Decontamination

The Cabinet on late last week approved a bill enabling state funds to be used to decontaminate areas tainted by fallout from the Fukushima disaster. Under the bill, the government hopes to lift evacuation advisories in certain no-go areas within five years and set up special areas to provide accommodations for those who decide to return. The Japan Times >>

PREPAREDNESS

Here is How F-35 Pilots Would Dress in Case of Chemical and Biological War

The chemical/biological ensemble consists of a special CB suit, a Joint Service Aircrew Mask used for the F-35, a pilot-mounted CB air filter, CB socks and gloves double taped at the wrists. The ensemble also features a filtered air blower that protects the pilot from CB contamination while walking to the jet. It provides both breathing air and demist air, which goes to the pilot’s mask and goggles. The Aviationist >>

Big Changes Coming for Hospital Emergency Managers

Emergency management leaders at hospitals and medical centers are grappling with a major rule change from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Officially titled “Emergency Preparedness Requirements for Medicare and Medicaid Participating Providers and Suppliers,” the new regulations must be implemented by November 2017. Emergency Management >>

Sri Lanka: Army CBRN Response Squadron contributes to Course on Chemical Incidents

Members of the Army Chemical Biological Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) Response Squadron took part as resource personnel in the Basic Training Course on Emergency Response at Chemical Incidents, held at Taj Samudra Hotel from February 6 – 10. News.LK >>

Sierra Leone: CBRN Center of Excellence Hosts 1st Stakeholders Meeting

The European Union, Chemical Biological Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) Center of Excellence hosted its first stakeholders meeting at the Ministry of Health and Sanitation in Freetown on 7 Feb. Awareness Times >>

Investing in Disaster Resilience Now ‘Mission Critical’ for Business

In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Gillis, Ellis & Baker, a New Orleans-based insurance company, relocated from the battered, flooded city to nearby Baton Rouge so it could carry on serving its 4,000 clients, who all had at least one claim following the storm. Thomson Reuters Foundation >>

SPECIAL INTEREST

David Tan Named President-Elect of EMS Organization

David K. Tan, MD, an associate professor of emergency medicine at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, has been elected president-elect of the National Association of EMS Physicians (NAEMSP). The organization represents physicians responsible for EMS programs, as well as nonphysicians dedicated to out-of-hospital emergency care. WUSTL >>

Dara McGrath – Project Cleansweep

Looking at the ways that landscapes are psychologically charged by their history, Irish photographer Dara McGrath looks at sites used in the manufacture, storage, and disposal of chemical and biological weapons from World War I to the present day. The Irish Times >>

ORNL Wins Technology Transfer Awards for Mass Spectrometry Innovations

Explosives Threats

Five of the Most Explosive Non-Nuclear Chemicals Ever Made