War on Terrorism

Monday, September 14, 2009

CBR Weapons and WMD Terrorism News, September 14, 2009

Health department to receive money through grants [OH]
"State Representative Jay Goyal of Mansfield says the Mansfield, Ontario, Richland County Health Department will receive $543,371 through three grant programs through the Ohio Department of Health. The Public Health Emergency Preparedness Program will receive nearly $304,000 to ensure the preparedness of the Public Health Systems infrastructure in case of bioterrorism, outbreaks of infectious disease and other public health threats and emergencies at the Richland County and Regional Public Health Level. Child and Family Services will receive nearly $197,000 to address the health needs of women and children. And, women's health services will be getting nearly $43,000 to provide health services to women." (WMFD; 14Sep09)

Tests find no infections in Xinjiang needle attack victims
"Qian Jun, head of the disease control and biological security office with China's Academy of Military Medical Sciences, said the academy's Beijing lab found no needle injury samples were tainted with radioactive substances, toxic chemicals or HIV virus. The samples were not contaminated with other dangerous viruses or substances either, such as anthrax bacillus, yersinia pestis, francisella tularensis, brucella and botulinum toxin, Qian told a press briefing. Local and military medical experts have rechecked about 250 victims and found no clearly worsening wounds or serious illnesses, he noted. [...] Wang Wenxian, deputy director of the Urumqi municipal public security bureau, said the needle stabbings did not cause serious damages to the victims' health, but they caused public panic and disturbed social order." (People's Daily; 14Sep09) http://english.people.com.cn/90001/90776/90882/6756152.html

PHCs [Primary Health Centers] directed to stock up on protective gear
"South Goa collector GP Naik has directed all primary health centers in the district to stock adequate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) 'as part of preparedness activities for management of biological disasters.' The directions, issued at a recent meeting with health authorities, are a sequel to those issued to the chief secretary by the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA). [...] The meeting chaired by Naik, saw health officers ideate a plan of action to tackle nuclear, biological and chemical (NBC) disasters. The collector also instructed the officers to prepare a report on the various PPE requirements so that adequate funds could be sourced from the NDMA for their procurement. PPEs are worn or used by workers to protect themselves from exposure to hazardous materials or conditions. Respirators, eye and ear protection gear, gloves, safety hats and protective suits are the major types of PPEs. NDMA guidelines seek to alert state authorities with regards to the threat perception towards biological disasters. [...] 'Bioterrorism, rather than biological warfare, has now been perceived to be more relevant. Likewise, in agriculture, the inadvertent introductions of exotic species have had far-reaching consequences. Rapid advances in biotechnology and aggressive deliberate designs could open up opportunities for the hostile use of biological resources,' the guidelines warn." (Times of India; 12Sep09) http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/news/city/goa/PHCs-directed-to-stock-up-on-protective-gear/articleshow/5001523.cms

Plans being made for [Umatilla] chemical depot's future [Hermiston, OR]
"Officials are ready to start showing off the Umatilla Chemical Depot to prospective buyers. [...] The Umatilla Army Depot Re-Use Authority, which [Umatilla County Commissioner Bill] Hansell chairs, is working with the Army to develop a land use, economic and environmental protection plan for the depot acreage. The plan will consider possible property available for redevelopment once weapons destruction and cleanup are done. While the Army will consider selling surplus buildings and property, it also will consider proposals to benefit the public good. [...] the reuse authority has hired the team of Dana Engineering and MSE [Technology Applications, Inc.] in the Tri-Cities to evaluate base properties and buildings and help prepare a proposal. The federal Base Realignment and Closure process requires that a plan be developed that considers all of the assets and infrastructure on the land before a property transfer can happen. Already federal agencies have been notified that the 19,728 acres that lie in Umatilla and Morrow counties will be available for reuse, but no agency has indicated interest, said Brian Cole, executive director of the Dana Mission Support Team. Leaders of public agencies are invited to tour the depot Sept. 22 to learn about the closing of the base and how to submit a Notice of Interest to acquire property." (Tri-City Herald; 13Sep09; Annette Cary) http://www.tri-cityherald.com/yahoonews/story/715165.html

CDC awards $5 million to support State biomonitoring programs
"The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) today awarded $5 million to the states of California, New York and Washington to assess residents' exposure to chemicals. Using a technique known as biomonitoring, the states will determine which environmental chemicals people have been exposed to and how much of those chemicals are in their bodies. Throughout the world, biomonitoring is the standard for assessing people's exposure to chemicals and toxic substances, such as lead and pesticides. Biomonitoring also provides critical information for responding to public health problems involving chemicals. [...] Specifically, states can conduct targeted exposure investigations in communities; assess over time the effectiveness of state public health actions to reduce exposures to specific chemicals of concern; and enhance existing biomonitoring projects. [...] The states' individual funding awards are: California, $2,652,487; New York, $1,000,000; Washington, $1,347,513." (CDC; 09Sep09) http://www.cdc.gov/media/pressrel/2009/r090909.htm

Emergency personnel practice [for chemical weapons spills]
"The parking lot of First Baptist Church on the Eastern Bypass [was] where Madison County emergency personnel practiced their response to a chemical weapons spill. Six evaluators from the Federal Emergency Management Agency [FEMA] were on hand to assess the operation. [...] Dummies first were taken to an improvised shower created from a firefighting ladder truck. The ladder was extended parallel to the ground, and a large blue tarp was draped across it in tent-like fashion. A fine, steady downpour from the nozzle at the ladder's end drenched the 'victims' and the first responders in their chemical-resistant suits. [...] After coming out of the scrub tent, the responders used chemical detectors to check the victims' bodies for chemical agent residue. Then they were turned over to emergency medical services personnel who checked them again for chemical agent. [...] Federal officials lavished praise on the effort, said Carl Richards, director of the county's emergency management agency. 'After observing the exercise, a FEMA evaluator from another state (with a chemical weapons stockpile) said he would feel safe living in Madison County,' Richards said. [...] The safety mentality of the workers, for themselves and the community as well as for the victims, received some of the evaluators' highest marks, Richards said. [...] Late next month, when another drill is planned, the EOC will be activated, live practice victims will be used. Some of them will be taken to hospital emergency rooms after being decontaminated in the field." (Richmond Register; 11Sep09; Bill Robinson) http://www.richmondregister.com/localnews/local_story_254222351.html

NNSA [National Nuclear Security Administration] official testifies before house homeland security subcommittee on emerging radiological threats
"Ken Sheely, Associate Assistant Deputy Administrator for Global Threat Reduction at the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) today testified before the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Emerging Threats during a field hearing in Brooklyn, NY. Sheely highlighted the role that NNSA's Global Threat Reduction Initiative (GTRI) plays in further improving the security on high-risk radioactive sources. NNSA's 'GTRI works very closely with its federal partners, each of which has a unique role ensuring a comprehensive system of oversight, prevention, and protection of civilian radiological sources,' said Sheely. Sheely noted that NNSA has initiated a number of voluntary security efforts to further mitigate potential threats. 'These include eliminating unwanted sources, hardening kits for specific irradiators, facility wide voluntary security enhancements, specialized training courses for security and law enforcement personnel, and table top exercises for first responders.'" (NNSA; 14Sep09)

[International Atomic Energy] Agency rescues dirty bomb material [from Lebanon]
"International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has repatriated dozens of Russian-made, highly radioactive sources that had been languishing unused in a Lebanese research institute for more than a decade. The effort forms part of a wider IAEA initiative to secure radioactive materials used in scientific research, medicine and industry, which could potentially be used by terrorists to make a [...] dirty bomb. IAEA officials identified possible security issues with the radioactive material at an unspecified agricultural institute in Lebanon. [...] They were concerned to find that a cobalt-60 irradiator, originally used for a biological pest control project, had been lying dormant since 1996. The sealed unit still contained 36 individual sources with a combined activity of 3,500 Curies, making it the most powerful source of radioactivity in Lebanon. [...] All the staff members who knew how to look after the radioactive equipment subsequently left the institute, leaving the cobalt-60 sources potentially insecure. The sources were fully shielded, so there was no risk to research staff entering the room where the irradiator was stored. 'We were worried about the risk of theft, either for the value of the irradiator or particularly for malicious purposes,' said Robin Heard, an IAEA radioactive source specialist who oversaw the mission." (Nature News; 11Sep09; Paula Gould) http://www.nature.com/news/2009/090911/full/news.2009.906.html

Brit[ish] scientists develop revolutionary method to treat dirty bomb victims
"Brit[ish] scientists have developed a cutting-edge method to treat victims of radiation contamination in [the] event of [a] dirty bomb explosion. [...] Trials of this [...] would help doctors scan hundreds of potential victims at an incident within hours, will be announced this week. Current methods of detecting such patients are complicated, and involve scientists taking blood samples which then undergo a complex battery of tests. [...] The new equipment will assess the total body dose of radiation by detecting the damage to proteins in the nucleus of cells. Each machine will be capable of processing 30 samples per hour." (Yahoo News; 13Sep09; Source: ANI, India) http://in.news.yahoo.com/139/20090913/882/twl-brit-scientists-develop-revolutionar.html

WMD exercise scheduled this week [Kauai, HI]
"Starting Monday, the Kauai Civil Defense Agency will be hosting the annual, week-long Weapons of Mass Destruction exercise in conjunction with the Hawaii National Guard 93rd Civil Support Team. The goal of the exercise is to ensure that Kauai's first responders are prepared in the unlikely event of a terrorist attack on the Garden Isle, a county news release says. [...] Representatives of several state and federal agencies, along with private industry will [...] take part in the exercise. Monday through Wednesday will entail classroom training. Field exercises will take place on Thursday around Nawiliwili Harbor as well as at the Pacific Missile Range Facility. [...] Mark Marshall, administrator of the Kaua'i Civil Defense Agency, [...] advised residents not to be alarmed if they notice a number of emergency vehicles along with National Guard troops moving about the island this week." (Garden Island Press; 14Sep09) http://www.kauaiworld.com/articles/2009/09/14/news/kauai_news/doc4aade6367889d135211759.txt

Nevada Test Site getting new life, center will turn attention to nonproliferation efforts
"The Nevada Test Site, [...] 65 miles northwest of Las Vegas, will become home this fall to a new National Center for Nuclear Security, where experts on treaty verification, counterterrorism and nonproliferation will huddle to chart the nation's course for achieving national goals. The center 'will probably be the biggest thing at the site in many decades,' said Stephen M. Younger, president of National Security Technologies, NSTec, the managing and operating contractor at the Nevada Test Site. [...] Younger said the center's headquarters will be housed in existing facilities at the government town of Mercury. It will augment the test site's long-standing mission to check and certify that the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile is safe and reliable. [...] Among the chores scientists will tackle is developing countermeasures for nuclear terrorism. They'll also be engaged in helping the Pentagon's effort to detect roadside bombs, and some other classified projects.'We have a long history of being able to develop detectors and sensors. Other organizations develop them and bring them here to verify they work,' said Darwin Morgan, spokesman for the National Center for Nuclear Security. These include detectors designed to expose nuclear materials coming into the country from seaports, airports and border crossings." (Las Vegas Review-Journal; 14Sep09; Keith Rogers)

[Orange] County rig's ready in case of disaster, serves as mobile contact center [CA]
"It's 36 feet long, it has two digital video cameras on its roof - and when deployed to a disaster, a team of dispatchers field calls inside and help cops, firefighters and medical workers talk to each other from various locations. It's Orange County's Mobile Communications Center - a $276,000, rolling testament to the government money that has poured into states and localities for emergency preparation. [...] Orange County bought its giant rig in 2006 with a $400,000 grant from the federal Department of Homeland Security - money awarded to help the county respond to incidents involving terrorism and weapons of mass destruction. [...] But in the absence of something like an anthrax [spore] attack, the vehicle, in practice, serves two purposes: to facilitate communication at large, prolonged fires, chemical spills and other public-safety emergencies; and to help first responders drill for such incidents. [...] 'If the incident commander needs it, it goes out the door,' said Seamus Leary, the deputy commissioner who leads the county Division of Emergency Management. Thus far [...] the vehicle has been used for a handful of drills, including a simulated plane crash at Stewart International Airport. [...] The inside of Orange County's rig is fairly spar[se]. Behind the driver's area are desks where dispatchers sit with laptops and direct communications; in the rear is a seating area with a video monitor and interactive computer screen for emergency officials." (Times Herald-Record; 13Sep09; Chris McKenna)

Personal Protective Equipment conference set for November 17-19 in Fort Lauderdale [FL]
"Personal Protective Equipment Conference 2009 (PPE 2009), which will be held at the Marriott Harbor Beach Hotel in Fort Lauderdale, FL, November 17 - 19, 2009, has been created as a professional development, education and networking resource for firefighters, law enforcement officers, military personnel, special weapons and tactics operators, bomb technicians, hazardous materials technicians, veterinary specialists, rescue team members, and other first responders. [...] PPE 2009 will highlight emerging technologies in the area of personal protective equipment. The event will consist of an exhibition of new technologies, briefings on emerging equipment and systems capabilities, a seminar series on standards and next-generation tools, as well as other training events and sessions. The conference will be hosted by the Department of Defense Combating Terrorism Technical Support Office's Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear Countermeasures subgroup. [...] The event will be three intensive days of professional development, with opportunities to increase awareness of personal protective equipment modernization and refinement. It will also provide networking opportunities with many of the world's foremost authorities on the development and employment of personal protective equipment for the broadest range of hazardous situations." (Reuters; 14Sep09)

CombiMatrix Gets $1.5M Contract [to develop biological and chemical defense tools]
"CombiMatrix, the Mukilteo, WA-based maker of genetic analysis tools, said today it has received a $1.5 million contract from the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory. The company is being asked to develop semiconductor automated tools that detect biological, chemical, and environmental hazards that may affect the health of soldiers." (Seattle Post Intelligencer; 14Sep09; Luke Timmerman) http://www.seattlepi.com/xconomy/410134_xconomy41448.html

U.S. and China strengthen partnership to prevent illicit WMD-related trade
"The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) and China's General Administration of Customs (GAC), in cooperation with the China Arms Control and Disarmament Association (CACDA) and the University of Georgia Center for International Trade and Security, today announced the successful conclusion of a workshop on Weapons of Mass Destruction Commodity Identification Training (WMD-CIT) in Shanghai, China. The workshop [...] focused on effective means and ways to recognize and inspect WMD-related goods. The workshop was followed by discussions for a Chinese-based curriculum at the Shanghai Customs College. [...] Said NNSA Administrator Thomas D'Agostino, 'This partnership will improve regional information sharing and efforts to detect illicit materials - two critical elements in combating illicit transfers of WMD-related commodities.' The WMD-CIT curriculum is developed and delivered by NNSA's International Nonproliferation Export Control Program (INECP), which has helped more than 60 countries strengthen implementation of WMD-related export controls. CIT training emphasizes and enhances Customs officials'
recognition of unique markers and red flags for illicit WMD-related items, such as appearance, weight and typical packaging." (NNSA; 11Sep09) http://nnsa.energy.gov/news/2529.htm

IAEA begins 53rd annual meeting
"The week-long conference will discuss major issues facing the Agency, and approve its program and budget for the coming year. [...] Issues including measures to reinvigorate international cooperation on nuclear energy, nuclear safety, measures to guard against nuclear terrorism, strengthening the joint technical activities of the Agency, consolidating the scientific, technical and functional activities of the IAEA, implementation of NPT [Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty] security pact between IAEA and North Korea, etc. will be studied during the meeting. [...] The member states formally appointed Yukiya Amano of Japan as its new director general from December 1. [...] El Baradei is stepping down at the end of November after 12 years in office." (Fars News Agency; 14Sep09)

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