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SPECIAL REPORT: CBRN SOLUTIONS TESTING FOR MILITARY OPERATIONS

Confronting Chemical and Biological Weapons in Use Don McBarnet, Deputy Editor

Chemical and biological weapons are usually delivered into the air, as a smoke, gas or mist and they contaminate the environment in which people are present

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IOLOGICAL AND chemical weapons are not simple to decontaminate and destroy. Their use in conflict, makes the circumstances of their use and identification an additional factor. However, their application in a civilian context, for example, where sarin was released in an underground train in Tokyo in 1995, is no easier. The reason is that chemical and biological weapons are usually delivered into the air, as a smoke, gas or mist and they contaminate the environment in which people are present. This contamination can, and often does persist. This environmental presence means they can wreak as much damage on the delivering forces as the people who they are intended to harm.

A Variety of Decontamination Processes There is an intense and active scientific debate to optimise the outcome of the decontamination process after the use of biological and chemical weapons. There are physical and chemical processes. Chemical processes involve the use of reactive or catalytic chemicals (sorbents) to neutralize the contaminants.13 There is also the application of enzymes for protection against organophosphate poisoning. This is a concept seen to have exciting potential in the treatment of people exposed to both pesticide and chemical warfare agents (CWA). There are thermal processes like the Karcher field laundry. There are also dry techniques, which include scraping and sorption. Wet techniques include, using specialist equipment like adapted shower systems utilising hose reels, fog nozzles or the rinse/wipe/rinse method. There is a wide range of products on the market which specialist institutes are testing and using in specific cases.

Decontamination and Destruction in Action in Syria Removing the chemical and biological weapon stockpile in Syria is an active and apposite example of the difficulties involved. The New York Times in one paragraph summarises the level of international pressure that had to be applied to even start the process. The Syrian government 10 | WWW.DEFENCEINDUSTRYREPORTS.COM

agreed to renounce its chemical weapons program only after facing worldwide outrage over an August 21 chemical weapons attack in a Damascus suburb, in which each side in the civil war blamed the other. The United States threatened to hit Syrian military installations with missile strikes in response, but dropped the threat when Russia brokered a diplomatic agreement to eliminate the weapons, which led to the Security Council resolution on September 27 2013.14 In October 2013, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons released an announcement that it had begun the process of destroying Syrian chemical weapons. Under the supervision of experts from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, supported by the United Nations, Syrian personnel used cutting torches and angle grinders to destroy or disable a range of items. This included missile warheads, aerial bombs and mixing and filling equipment. The process will continue in the coming days. International inspectors from the OPCW supported by a team from the UN are monitoring, verifying and reporting on Syria’s compliance with international demands to destroy chemical weapons stockpiles and production facilities.15

Progress in Removing Syria’s Chemical Weapons Nearly half of Syria’s chemical stockpile for weapons use has now been removed from the war-ravaged country. The OPCW is helping to oversee the elimination of the deadly arsenal. The organization said in a statement that two shipments, including some of the most lethal chemicals from the stockpile, were delivered on March 14 and 17 to the Syrian port of Latakia, where they were transferred to cargo ships, making a total of 10 exported shipments so far. “The latest movements increased the portion of chemicals that have now been removed from Syria for destruction outside the country to more than 45 per cent,” said the statement, issued by the Organization for the Prohibition

Special Report – CBRN Solutions Testing for Military Operations NINCB  

Defence Industry – Special Report on CBRN Solutions Testing for Military Operations

Special Report – CBRN Solutions Testing for Military Operations NINCB  

Defence Industry – Special Report on CBRN Solutions Testing for Military Operations