Tuesday, January 08, 2008

CBR Weapons and WMD Terrorism News- January 7, 2008

Smallpox vaccine alternative identified
“University of California, Irvine, infectious disease researchers have shown the effectiveness of a potential alternative to the existing smallpox vaccine that can replace the current biodefense stockpile for this lethal virus. Philip Felgner and Huw Davies with the Department of Medicine found that the modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA) produced the same antiviral response in human and animal studies as the current smallpox vaccine, Dryvax. The study is part of a national effort to develop a replacement for the Dryvax vaccine, which causes serious complications in some people. The results are published in the Journal of Virology.” (Physorg.com, 07Jan08, UC Irvine) http://www.physorg.com/news118922860.html

Firefighters Contain Biolab Fire
firefighters easily contained a small fire at a controversial research laboratory under construction that is being designed to study some of the world's most dangerous germs and viruses. The small fire inside a construction waste cart on the fifth floor of Boston University's National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratories on Saturday afternoon was probably caused by careless disposal of a cigarette, fire department spokesman Steve MacDonald said.” (TheBostonChannel.com, 05Jan08, AP) http://www.thebostonchannel.com/news/14987099/detail.html

El Pasoans Could Wait Weeks For Medicine In Bioterrorism Attack
“If something like an anthrax attack or the [p]andemic flu hits El Paso [Texas], El Paso’s
Bioterrorism Pandemic Flu Preparedness Program said it will be mass chaos. The city's department of health will have enough medicine to treat people, but the department said it needs more than 2,000 extra volunteers to give out medicine. As of now the department has about 450 volunteers. At that rate people will be waiting for a long time to get medicine they need.” (KFOXtv.com, 04Jan08) http://www.kfoxtv.com/news/14981114/detail.html

Arsenal destroys 10,000th nerve-agent rocket
“Pine Bluff Arsenal [Arkansas] officials announced Friday that the facility has destroyed the 10,000th rocket filled with nerve gas that had been stored at the chemical weapons depot. The milestone, reached Thursday evening, came a day after the facility moved beyond the 50 percent mark in its disposal of VX nerve-agent filled rockets.” (Arkansas Democrat Gazette, 05Jan08, AP) http://www.nwanews.com/adg/News/212760/

Army: More chemical weapons destroyed
Army says its making progress in destroying thousands of chemical weapons stored at the Anniston Army Depot [Alabama]. Since December 26th, workers have incinerated 3,846 VX-filled 155 millimeter artillery shells and 2,454 gallons of liquid VX. More than 76,000 of the shells and almost 47,000 gallons of the nerve agent have been destroyed since June. Officials say that all munitions filled with nerve agent GB have been eliminated.” (al.com, 03Jan08, AP) http://www.al.com/newsflash/regional/index.ssf?/base/news-33/1199368793270280.xml&storylist=alabamanews

Agent spill under control
“There have not been any repercussions from the state and federal governments as of yet concerning a one-gallon spill of chemical nerve agent GB, or ‘sarin’ that occurred at the Blue Grass
Army Depot [Kentucky] in August of last year. Mere vapors were detected Aug. 27, when Dick Sloan, public affairs for the Blue Grass Chemical Activity, issued a press release. However, it was not until the next day that the spill was located, Sloan said. Since the incident, the Kentucky Division of Waste Management has been spending most of their efforts on working with the Army to make sure the agent release was not harmful to people off post. The Army has presented the Division of Waste Management with a ‘real time’ model that tracks the potential travel path of nerve agent vapors based on numbers from actual monitor readings, including the vapor’s concentration and the current wind direction.” (Richmond Register, 05Jan08, Ronica Shannon)

Baltic Sea pipeline consortium confident of Swedish approval
“A consortium that plans to build an underwater Baltic Sea gas pipeline from Russia to Germany was confident it would get approval from Sweden, the group said Monday. Nord Stream, the Russian-German joint venture, in December submitted an application for the construction of the pipeline as well as an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report. […] Critics have cited potential hazards posed by chemical weapons dumped in the sea after
World War II, but […] surveys of the sea bottom along the planned route suggested fewer finds of ammunition ‘likely due to trawling in the past.’”
(Earthtimes.org, 07Jan08, DPA)

Policy Changes In Budget Bill
“When President George W. Bush signed the huge 2008 omnibus federal spending bill late last month, it included several non-budget-related provisions that will impact the chemical enterprise. The last-minute appropriations measure gave members of Congress the opportunity to insert many unrelated measures into the law, including chemical plant security rules, restrictions on chemical fertilizers, and mandatory access to NIH [national Institutes of Health] research results. […] To allay concerns about chemical plant
security regulations, a provision authored by Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg (D-N.J.) was included in the bill that stops the federal government from preempting state laws on chemical security if they are stricter than the federal rules. This has been sought by many state governments but opposed by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the chemical industry, which view it as unnecessary.” (Chemical & Engineering News; 07Jan08; David Hanson, Glenn Hess, Cheryl Hogue, and Susan Morrissey) http://pubs.acs.org/cen/news/86/i01/8601notw4.html

Iran museum on war horrors to project need for peace
“In the soil of an Islamic state long defined by war and martyrdom, some Iranians are planting a new seed of peace, by opening a museum that showcases the horrors of war. In Iran, countless acres are dedicated to cemeteries for soldiers killed in the 1980s Iran-Iraq war. Tehran's Peace Museum, dedicated in June and set to open soon, aims to adjust a mindset that has prevailed since the 1979 Islamic revolution. […] The Peace Museum's volunteers are hardly typical peaceniks. They are former soldiers who have been subjected to Iraqi chemical weapons attack, and many remain as committed as ever to the defence of their homeland. They are building an interactive museum with workshops for children, students, and the public to learn about the suffering caused by war and chemical weapons.” (Gulf News; 04Jan08; Scott Peterson, The Christian Science Monitor) http://archive.gulfnews.com/articles/08/01/05/10179507.html

Subregional Workshop on Assistance and Protection against Chemical Weapons Held in Malaysia
“A subregional workshop on assistance and protection against chemical weapons for the Member States of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in Southeast Asia was held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, from 3 to 5 December 2007. This workshop was jointly organised by the Government of Malaysia and the OPCW. Seventy-five representatives from the following 10 States Parties participated: Brunei Darussalam, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Palau, Philippines, South Korea, Thailand, and Viet Nam. The aim of this workshop was to provide information to managers and planners who are involved in the protection of their civilian populations against chemical weapons, or who would be responsible for the provision of emergency assistance under Article X of the Chemical Weapons Convention. During this meeting, participants discussed a subregional plan for assistance and protection in the event of an emergency caused by the use of chemical weapons. In addition, during the workshop, an exhibition was held on assistance and protection against chemical weapons.” (Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, 07Jan08)

Inquiry spurs changes in way nuke regulator tracks devices
“Canada’s nuclear regulator is changing the way it tracks lost, stolen and missing nuclear devices following a pointed inquiry about inconsistent reporting from the International Atomic Energy Agency. Newly disclosed internal e-mails show the Vienna-based agency contacted officials in Ottawa after a Canadian Press investigation raised serious questions in July about how closely the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission monitors devices that could be used in a crude ‘dirty bomb.’” (The Chronicle Herald, 07Jan08, The Canadian Press) http://thechronicleherald.ca/Canada/1002130.html

How the U.S. seeks to avert nuclear
“About every three days, unknown to most Americans, an elite team of federal scientists hits the streets in the fight against nuclear
terrorism. The deployments are part of an effort since 2001 to ratchet up the nation's defenses. More than two dozen specialized teams have been positioned across the nation to respond to threats of nuclear terrorism, and as many 2,000 scientists and bomb experts participate in the effort. Spending on the program has more than doubled since it was launched. And an evolving national policy aims to create a system of nuclear forensics, in which scientific analysis could quickly identify the source of a nuclear attack or attempted attack. A key report on nuclear forensics is due next month.” (Los Angeles Times, 06Jan08, Ralph Vartabedian) http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-nuke6jan06,0,4219937.story?coll=la-home-center

Terrorism News is prepared by the Chemical and Biological Weapons Nonproliferation Program of the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Monterey Institute of International Studies in order to bring timely and focused information to researchers and policymakers interested in the fields of chemical, biological, and radiological weapons nonproliferation and WMD terrorism.

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