Facebook and Disaster Response, High Radiation Levels at Fukushima

Topics in this issue of CBRNE Particles include Facebook’s role in disaster response, radiation readings at Fukushima, and FirstNet issues for congress.

In This Article


3D Printing as an Emerging Homeland Security Risk

Because CAD files of weapon designs and the 3D printers used to make them are unregulated and widespread, 3D printed weapons are becoming more available to the public. As unregulated access to 3D printers, materials and digital files grow, “homemade” 3D weapons will likely proliferate. Because of these factors, 3D printed weapons will likely create new challenges in countering domestic terrorism, as any motivated individual in possession of a 3D printer could create a weapon capable of doing significant damage. HDIAC >>

Fish Scales Inspire Protective Wear

For several years, researchers have been trying to replicate the kind of protection combined with flexibility offered by certain kinds of animal scales. Their goal is to create protective gloves that are both resistant to piercing and still flexible enough. Homeland Security News Wire >>

Engineers Create Artificial Skin That ‘Feels’ Temperature Changes

The ‘skin’ is capable of detecting temperature changes using a mechanism similar to the one used by the organ that allows pit vipers to sense their prey. The material could be grafted onto prosthetic limbs to restore temperature sensing in amputees. It could also be applied to first-aid bandages to alert health professionals of a temperature increase—a sign of infection—in wounds. Tech Xplore >>


Defining Resilience: If I Were FEMA Administrator

In emergency management terms, many think of resilience as something that kicks in during a post-disaster recovery effort. A community that is resilient is one that rapidly recovers from a disaster. The fact of the matter is that resilience is more than disaster recovery. It is an overarching quality to our function as emergency managers and emergency management as a discipline. Emergency Management >>

Supporting Training for Emergency Response to CBRN Incidents

In 2011, an earthquake and tsunami brought unimaginable destruction to Japan. These natural disasters were made more catastrophic by their impact on nuclear reactors at Fukushima. Though almost six years have passed, the life-threatening and massively destructive effects of this disaster remain a vivid reminder of the critical importance of national preparedness for chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear incidents. DipNote >>

Civilian/Military Collaboration for Domestic Response

The successfully collaborative practices of the PATRIOT Exercise Program, which is supported by and compliant with the National Incident Management System (NIMS) and Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program, leverage existing processes that institutionalize NIMS concepts and principles such as the Incident Command System, interoperable communications, and resource management. Domestic Preparedness >>

Facebook is Poised to Become a Major Player in Disaster Response

It’s been more than two years since Facebook introduced “safety check,” a tool that lets users mark themselves as “safe” after a natural disaster or other crisis. For its next act of corporate do-goodery, the social network is building that feature out with real-world logistical support. Quartz >> and Vocativ >>

Nuclear or Radiological Emergency Response Guidelines

The objective of this publication is to provide guidelines to Member States and relevant international organizations on processes and arrangements that may be implemented as part of emergency preparedness and response (EPR) arrangements to assist in harmonizing national EPR capabilities, and international assistance when this is requested, so that the products of their response operations are comparable and compatible. IAEA >>


FirstNet and Next-Generation Communications for Public Safety: Issues for Congress

On November 21, 2016, one of the FirstNet bidders eliminated from consideration, Rivada Mercury, filed a lawsuit in the U.S. Court of Appeals of Federal Claims over what Rivada says is the illegal and wrongful exclusion of the consortium from the FirstNet procurement process. The lawsuit is expected to delay the contract award until March 1, 2017, at the earliest, although further delays are possible depending on the resolution of the lawsuit. Congressional Research Service >>

National Special Security Events: Fact Sheet

Major federal government or public events that are considered to be nationally significant may be designated by the President—or his representative, the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)—as National Special Security Events (NSSE). P.L. 106-544 designated the U.S. Secret Service as the lead federal agency responsible for coordinating, planning, exercising, and implementing security for National Special Security Events. Congressional Research Service >>

Barriers Along the U.S. Borders: Key Authorities and Requirements

This report discusses the statutory framework governing the deployment of fencing and other barriers along the U.S. international borders. Until recently, interest in the framework governing the deployment of barriers along the international border typically focused on the stringency of the statutory mandate to deploy fencing along at least 700 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border. But attention has now shifted to those provisions of law that permit deployment of fencing or other physical barriers along additional mileage. Congressional Research Service >>


Iraq Forces Ask for Help Fighting ISIS’ Bomb-Dropping Drones

A few weeks ago, the terror group released a video, showing its militants using attack drones to carry and drop bombs on Iraqi troops fighting in Mosul, but it was unclear to what extent the claims were propaganda. Over the weekend, the terror group’s media released nine official reports claiming the use of explosives-equipped unmanned aerial vehicles against enemies around Mosul and Salah e-Din in northern Iraq and Dir e-Zour in eastern Syria. Vocativ >>

Mosul Mine, Explosives Removal Could Cost $50 Million – U.N.

A program to remove mines, explosives and booby traps left by Islamic State forces in and around the Iraqi city of Mosul could cost $50 million. “Clearing IEDs and building clearances is a lot more dangerous than minefields. You need a higher level of technical skill and complex equipment and it’s slower. As areas are liberated, you get a better idea of the level of contamination.” Reuters >>

A Novel Method for Remotely Detecting Trace Explosives

In numerous situations when explosive devices are prepared, transported, or otherwise handled, quantifiable amounts of the explosive material end up on surfaces. Rapid detection of these chemical residues in a noninvasive standoff manner would serve as an indicator for attempts at concealed assembly or transport of explosive materials and devices. Researchers report on their work with the use of a fluorescence-based technique to achieve the necessary detection sensitivity. MIT Lincoln Laboratory >>

Need for Clearance of Landmines and Other Explosive Hazards Remains Acute

The United Nations Mine Action Service is appealing for more than half-a-billion dollars, a 50 percent increase from last year’s appeal, to clear landmines and other explosive hazards in 22 countries and territories. Voice of America >>


Allegation of Chemical Warfare in Darfur

Last September Amnesty International (AI) issued a 105-page report entitled Scorched Earth, Poisoned Air alleging the use of chemical weapons (CW) among other atrocities committed by Sudanese forces in the Darfur region. The chemical warfare section contains numerous images of civilian victims with horrifying skin lesions. It suggests that these are the consequence of exposure to a vesicant, possibly a mustard agent. The Trench >>

CSB Investigators Deploying to Explosion at Packaging Corporation of America plant in DeRidder, Louisiana

A three-person investigative team from the U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) is deploying to the scene of an incident that killed three workers and reportedly injured seven on Wednesday, February 8 at the Packaging Corporation of America (PCA) plant in DeRidder, Louisiana. Chemical Safety Board >>

Chemical Weapons Found in Mosul in ISIS Lab, Say Iraqi Forces

Iraqi forces have said they have discovered a mustard chemical warfare agent in eastern Mosul alongside a cache of Russian surface-to-surface missiles. Iraqi and US officials have repeatedly warned of efforts by Isis to develop chemical weapons. When Iraqi forces retook Mosul University this month, they found chemistry labs they believed had been converted into makeshift weapons labs. The Guardian >>

HAZMAT Crews Decontaminate Patients at Westmead Hospital

Specialist fire crews have been called to Westmead Hospital in Sydney’s west after six men were possibly exposed to “hazardous material”. The men were contaminated at a building site and made their own way to the hospital, where staff contacted emergency services. Brisbane Times >>

EPA Proposes Three New Chemical Rules

According to a report, the EPA has proposed three new rules that will create a new process of prioritizing and evaluating chemicals under the new Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). The new law requires the agency to evaluate chemicals grandfathered into the TSCA. Occupational Health & Safety >>


SRNL Shares Radiation Detection Technology with Law Enforcement

The Savannah River National Laboratory recently hosted police departments and government agencies from five states to test vehicles outfitted with radiological and nuclear detection equipment. Aiken Standard >>

How to Reform Transatlantic Counter-Terrorism

As we have seen from Mumbai to San Bernardino to Paris, terrorist groups are now carrying out attacks with small, overlapping and informal networks of extremists capable of conducting both sophisticated and crude attacks. Plots are increasingly smaller in scale, simpler in their methods, and often launched by terrorists in their own cities. War on the Rocks >>


Fukushima Nuclear Reactor Radiation at Highest Level Since 2011 Meltdown

Radiation levels inside a damaged reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station are at their highest since the plant suffered a triple meltdown almost six years ago. The extraordinary radiation readings highlight the scale of the task confronting thousands of workers, as pressure builds on Tepco to begin decommissioning the plant – a process that is expected to take about four decades. The Guardian >>

Scientists Measure Highest Radiation Levels Yet Inside Fukushima’s Damaged Reactors

Tepco, the owner of the power plant spearheading efforts to decommission the radioactive site, used a camera on a telescopic arm to look inside reactor No 2 last week. They found that the material housed inside the pressure vessel—the metal capsule used to hold the nuclear material within the containment unit—had likely melted through the receptacle’s bottom and created a three-foot hole in the grating that lies underneath. Images also show black debris that may be some of the melted nuclear fuel, which would be the first material located by Tepco since the disaster. Smithsonian >>

A Nuclear Waste: Why Congress Shouldn’t Bother Reviving Yucca Mountain

The Trump administration and Congress seem to be trying to raise Yucca Mountain from the dead. Yucca Mountain is the site of a proposed high-level nuclear waste repository in Nevada that was halted in 2010. The site has always been political, from its initial choice to its recent death. Forbes >>


ACT Now to Prevent Firefighter Suicides

The risk of firefighter suicide is a growing concern within the fire service. More research has become a priority to better understand the issue and assist in developing interventions. A recent study of 893 firefighters by Florida State University and published in the latest issue of the Journal of Psychiatric Research shows a strong relationship between post-traumatic stress symptoms (PTSS) and suicidal thoughts and attempts among firefighters. Everyone Goes Home >>

Florida: Bill Would Cover PTSD For First Responders

First responders who get post-traumatic stress disorder on the job soon may be eligible for more workers’ compensation benefits. Gainesville Republican Senator Keith Perry filed a bill that would allow coverage for PTSD with a psychiatrist’s diagnosis, which staffers said would give them the ability to claim lost wages. Health News Florida >>

Cancer Risk: An International Look at Firefighter Toxic Exposures

“We don’t have a database, nationally,” said Dr. Gavin Horn, research program director for the Illinois Fire Service Institute. What is known is “staggering,” he said, adding that the cancer rate among firefighters is 37 percent, while it is 23 percent in the general population. Some types of cancers, like Mesothelioma, have a rate that is double among firefighters. Firehouse Leadership >>

Improvised Nuclear Devices: DHS Publishes Guide for Protecting First Responders

In December 2016, the Department of Homeland Security published a new guide to assist in the protection of first responders in the event of improvised nuclear device (IND) explosion. The intent of the guide is to help ensure the immediate health and safety of first responders for the first 24-72 hours following a blast. EDM Digest >>


The American Response to Pakistani And Iranian Nuclear Proliferation: A Study in Paradox

This article explores the paradox in the reaction of the U.S. to the two different proliferation cases: Pakistan’s proliferation and Iran’s weaponization effort. Taylor & Francis >>

The Worst-Kept Military Secret Ever: Israel Has Nuclear Weapons (But Does It Need Them?)

Israel started research into nuclear weapons in the late 1940s, under the belief that only a nuclear deterrent could prevent national destruction. Israel was hardly alone in this conviction; at the time, many analysts expected the wide proliferation of nuclear weapons technology. National Interest >>

Trump’s Nuclear Options: Upcoming Review Casts a Wide Net

In an executive order signed at the Pentagon, Trump directed Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis to “initiate a new Nuclear Posture Review [NPR] to ensure that the United States nuclear deterrent is modern, robust, flexible, resilient, ready, and appropriately tailored to deter 21st-century threats and reassure our allies.” Defense News >>

Opinion: The Finger on the Nuclear Button

Scientists who study the risk of nuclear war recently moved the hands of the symbolic Doomsday Clock to 2½ minutes before midnight — meaning they believe that the world is closer to nuclear catastrophe than it has been since 1953 after the United States and Soviet Union tested hydrogen bombs. New York Times >>

Paul Ryan: Iran Deal Will Likely Stay in Place

Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) says the Iran deal negotiated by the Obama administration is likely to remain in place. “A lot of that toothpaste is already out of the tube. I never supported the deal in the first place. I thought it was a huge mistake, but the multilateral sanctions are done,” Ryan said in an interview with NBC’s “Meet the Press” airing Sunday. The Hill >>

U.S. Imposing New Sanctions on Iran Over Missile Test

The Trump administration on Friday will designate 25 individuals and entities associated “with Iran’s ballistic missile program,” including the Revolutionary Guards Corps, in response to the missile test last weekend, according to a senior administration official. NY Times >>


Judge Dismisses $100M Claim in State MOX Plutonium Lawsuit

“Attorneys primarily responsible for handling the trial, parties and/or insurer representatives with full settlement authority are ordered to be present in person, and will only be excused for good cause shown,” Child’s wrote in the mediation document. Post and Courier >>

First Nuclear Explosion Helps Test Theory of Moon’s Formation

Decades-old radioactive glass found blanketing the ground after the first nuclear test bomb explosion is being used by scientists to examine theories about the Moon’s formation some 4.5 billion years ago.  Science Daily >>

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