CBNW – Chemical, Biological & Nuclear Warfare
PREPARE PREVENT PROTECT
2019 | 01
2019 | 01
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Foreword Andy Oppenheimer assesses the aftermath of CBRN attacks.
Events & Advertisers
Novel agents Andy Oppenheimer explains how CBRN became the assassin’s weapon of choice.
Pass the remote Peter Lashbrook describes ways to improve remote scene assessment.
SPECIAL REPORT Where next? Col Hamish de Bretton Gordon assesses the CW threat beyond Syria and Salisbury.
The genie is out of the lamp Zyg Dembek asks if synthetic biology will be a curse.
Time Martin Valovsky is pitted against the toughest enemy in response.
Toxic lance David Oliver goes out on European CBRN exercises.
One Bomb or Two? Dai Williams invites us to think outside the box.
GAS! GAS! GAS! Ian Foulkes relates his veteran experience of live CWA testing.
One solution Kim Godfrey proposes new contamination for acid attacks. SPECIAL FEATURE: To boldly go Dr David Cullin sends in the drones.
RIID between the lines Dr Arnab Basu MBE rolls out next-generation radiation detectors.
A LCAD sensor is applied against a surface.
Platinum 10 minutes Thilo Schuppler outlines the German military’s role in CBRN response.
ON THE COVER
Scorched earth, toxic legacy Andy Oppenheimer describes the challenges of Daesh chemical IEDs.
As the dust settles Frank G. Rando analyses the public health implications of 9/11.
What’s in your backyard? Dee Ruelas examines the legacy of hazmat waste.
COUNTRY FOCUS: Art of the deal Col H R Naidu Gade asks if the Iran nuclear deal will hold out.
TERRIFFIC! Rob Munro introduces a new way to improve RNe response.
Go with the flow Michel Philips & Claude Lefebvre describe decontamination for French hospitals.
Expanding Europe’s reach David Oliver rounds up EU initiatives for CBRN disaster response.
CBNW is published by React Media Publishing, 50 Summit Way, Southgate, London N14 7NP. Telephone: + 44 7411 559550 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org www.cbnw.co.uk
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CBNW 2019/01 03
Project funded by the European Union
A contract for the Provision of specialized CBRN equipment for the training of personnel in charge of border control in North Africa and Sahel has been awarded by the European Commission to Paul Boyé Technologies
P R E PA R E D N E S S A G A I N S T C B R N T H R E AT S I N A F R I C A
Photos : © Paul Boyé Technologies
ince September 2015 Paul Boyé Technologies country. Main objective was to train the users coming has been managing the contract “Provision from different authorities (civil protection, firefighters, of specialized CBRN equipment for training first police, customs, special forces, emergency medical responders” in the scope of CoE project 50 to enhance services) on how to operate the equipment and perCBRN preparedness and response capabilities of form its maintenance. The training included both theodifferent countries of the African Atlantic Façade and retical and practical sessions, featured demonstraEastern and Central Africa (Burundi, Democratic tions of the equipment as well as outdoors exercises Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Kenya, Mauritania, and simulations. The last part of the project will be the maintenance and calibration Morocco, Senegal and Uganda) of the equipment, to allow contiwith the support of the European // WITH THESE TWO nuous operational capability. Commission (DG DEVCO), EU CONTRACTS, 13 AFRICAN Delegation and the National Focal Following this first contract, Paul Points based in each country. COUNTRIES WILL BE FULLY Boyé Technologies has just been TRAINED WITH CBRN First part of this project (2016) awarded a new contract by the EQUIPMENT PROVIDED BY was dedicated to the delivery of European Commission for the ProCBRN equipment to each country PAUL BOYÉ TECHNOLOGIES vision of specialized CBRN equipincluding individual protective ment for the training of personnel equipment, chemical, biological in charge of border control in and radiological detectors, sampling and deconta- North Africa and Sahel (Algeria, Burkina Faso, Mali, mination equipment together with consumables and Mauritania, Morocco, Niger and Tunisia). With this spare parts to cover CBRN missions over 3 years. contract, 13 African countries will have been equipSecond part of the project (2016 and 2017) in- ped and trained with CBRN equipment provided by cluded national training sessions held in each partner Paul Boyé Technologies. n
ASSESSING THE AFTERMATH
uch of our attention in CBRNE – quite rightly – is on prevention, protection, and pre-emption. However, even in a small-scale attack or dispersal of a CBR material – whether in a detonated device or other form of release – the aftermath, decontamination aside, usually has extensive effects on civilians, responders, property and local economies. In this edition we therefore devote space to the aftermath of CBRN activities and how far medical monitoring, healthcare, and environmental clean-up has succeeded, or failed: the environmental and public health implications on thousands of responders subjected to the catastrophic fall-out of toxicant vapours and fumes after the 9/11 attacks; the many sites rendered unusable by decades of contamination by hazardous substances generated by CBRN programmes, and one veteran’s experience of the effects on British Army soldiers of Porton Down’s live agent testing with sarin in the 1950s. All these accounts point to the variable and often lifelong health effects of CBRN exposure. The physical injury suffered by individuals, and hence their families and others, and possibly whole communities from, say, a chemical release may be difficult to calculate and take a long time, and expense, to treat. And this does not even include the psychological effects: much is said about how chemical and even radiological weapons are primarily weapons of terror over and above the actual fatality toll they achieve. Added to accounts of PTSD suffered by veterans and firstresponders carrying out their vital duties in service are effects on mental
health from exposure or even proximity to CBR, which are still to be fully assessed and quantified. If we look at our most recent example, the March and June 2018 Novichok releases in Salisbury: the physical and mental effects on the injured victims – just one, Sergei Skripal, the actual target of the would-be assassins – are just beginning to be realised. To focus on one victim, DS Nick Bailey, who became critically ill after a police search on the Skripal home on the night of the attack on 4 March, has said in media reports and the BBC Panorama programme that, while he had made a physical recovery, the psychological impact had been serious. To quote from a statement to The Guardian on 22 November: “Physically, I think I bounced back pretty well,” but as to his mental state: “That’s a different kettle of fish. That’s taken longer. I describe it as emotional battering and psychological impact. It’s taken longer to deal with just because of everything that has happened to us.” Not least, that since the incident, he and his family had had to abandon their home and everything in it. It may be said that DS Bailey and others were insufficiently protected – they went in dressed in basic PPE to search the Skripal house a few hours after the Russian and his daughter collapsed in Salisbury city centre. “I was the first person into the house… We had to make sure that there were no other casualties… It just looked normal. There was nothing untoward.” But this is perfectly understandable given the rarity of CBR events, and the increasing pressure on our police to respond to an expanding variety and number of crime scenes. We often can only go on ‘lessons learned’ – or, fighting the last war – from very few events, such as the Litvinenko radiological poisoning in London, to have any real precedent to dealing not just with the aftermath in terms of clean-up of premises, but with the many and varied after-effects on people. Cuts to health and other resources have only compounded the problem. To minimize the effects of a CBR attack on emergency responders, adequate PPE and personal exposure monitoring devices must be accompanied by occupational safety and health standards, and for victims, it is vital that medical monitoring and suitable aftercare is continued, assuming that we cannot prevent every attack, and once one occurs, the toll in physical and mental injury will need every attention. In war zones like Syria and Iraq, this may be nigh on impossible. But in countries where help is at hand, the aftermath can be dealt with better. ❚❙
In this edition, Peter Lashbrook explains how to improve remote scene assessment; Hamish de Bretton Gordon looks at the CW threat to megacities; Kim Godfrey presents a new way to respond to acid attacks; Andy Oppenheimer examines Daesh chemical IEDs, and CBRN for assassins; Ian Foulkes remembers live-testing at Porton Down, Martin Valovsky is in a race against time, Thilo Schuppler explains the German military’s CBRN role, Dr David Cullin flies drones for sensing, Zyg Dembek warns of synthetic biology’s dark side, Frank G. Rando analyses health effects of 9/11 and Dee Ruelas, pollution from CBRN programmes. And as ever, we at CBNW extend our thanks to all of you who help keep us safe.
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EVENTS & INDEX EVENTS 2019
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Joint Civil & DoD CBRN Symposium Alexandria, VA, USA www.dsigroup.org
CBRNe Summit Birmingham, UK www.intelligence-sec.com
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NCT Europe Vienna, Austria www.nct-europe.com
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13th CBRNe Protection Symposium Malmo, Sweden www.cbw.se
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NOVEL AGENTS ➊
Andy Oppenheimer looks at how CBRN materials have become the assassin’s weapon of choice
©Protein Data Bank Structure 2WFZ
©Science Photo Library ©Counter Terrorism Policing
Before and after the world’s worst terrorist atrocity in September 2001, the threat of CBRN use centred on mass-casualty events by nation states or terrorists. In reviewing the application of nonconventional weapons in recent years, however, small amounts of novel substances have been used, causing major incidents that required extensive investigation and clean-up. And they have been for one specific purpose: assassination.
Salisbury’s beautiful Cathedral, whose 123-m spire was claimed as the reason for visiting the city by the two accused of the Novichok poisonings. ©Wikipedia/Bellminsterboy
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Ricin is now used mainly in threat mailings. A ricin scare was sparked by the discovery of castor beans sent in an envelope to the White House last October. Depiction of the soman conjugate of acetylcholinesterase: this and other nerve agents like sarin and Novichok inhibit the normal actions of this enzyme. The perfume bottle containing Novichok which killed Dawn Sturgess and sickened Charlie Rowley in June 2018 had been discarded in a small park in Salisbury. Polonium-210 is a very strong alpha particle emitter which requires detection at very short range.
orking front to back: the use of the most powerful nerve agent series known to have been developed – Novichok – in Salisbury, Wiltshire, on a front door and discarded in a perfume bottle, resulting in one death and four seriously injured, in March and June 2018; the killing of one individual with VX nerve agent in Kuala Lumpur airport, in February 2017; the lethal poisoning in a cup of tea of one individual with one of the rarest radioisotopes known, polonium-210, in December 2006; the stabbing of one person in London, using ricin in an umbrella tip, in September 1978. The victims also form a pattern: Sergei Skripal was a former Russian spy. Alexander Litvinenko was a known Russian dissident with an espionage history, as did Markov, and the VX victim was the estranged half-brother of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un. And as ‘collateral’, Skripal’s daughter, Yulia, and a police officer, Dt Sgt Nick Bailey, were made critically ill but thanks to excellent
medical care, recovered – but probably with lifetime effects. As shown in the 22 November BBC Panorama programme on the Salisbury incidents, Dt Sgt Bailey’s home and contents had to be abandoned. The fatality from the second incident, Dawn Sturgess – and her injured partner, Charlie Rowley – were apparently not intended targets, but all became victims of the UK’s second CW attack nevertheless.
As has been widely reported, Russia – specifically, its military intelligence agency, the GRU – is implicated in both Salisbury incidents, with a torrent of revelations emerging about the specific miscreants. In all the above cases, not terrorist groups, but a nation state is likely responsible. Identifying the Salisbury attackers and those implicated in the November 2006 death of the Russian dissident Alexander Litvinenko has not led to any being brought to face trial. Many commentators agreed that, in particular in the Salisbury cases the unravelling of the apparent ineptitude of the suspects’ M.O. (in the June attack the variant A-234 of Novichok was traced in a bottle disguised as perfume inside a sealed box, discarded in a small park) and their subsequent movements and behaviour – was for the Russians, specifically, their President, Vladimir Putin, to signal to the world that they can exact revenge, albeit somewhat hamfisted, on their opponents with impunity. And that this can be accomplished with very rare and difficult substances to trace and track, and producing widespread consequences. The likely perpetrators were well on their way long before the causative agent had been identified, in both the Salisbury and Litvinenko incidents. One of the two accused in the latter, former KGB officer Andrei
Lugovoi, conveniently became a deputy in Russia’s state Duma and cannot be extradited.
Yet it was easy to establish, once they had been identified, where the substances were made – again, leaving little doubt who was responsible. The materials used in the Skripal and Litvinenko attacks could only have been made in a nationstate with CW and nuclear capabilities, in just one military laboratory in each case. The Novichok nerve agent series was developed as a CW in the 1970s and 1980s by the Soviet Union at the ultra-secret Central Russian Shikhany military facility – chiefly to overpower NATO PPE and evade detection. The facility has since been bulldozed. The polonium-210 used to kill Alexander Litvinenko in the heart of London was made in the world’s only commercial producer, the state-run Avangard plant in Arzamas-16 in the closed Russian city of Sarov. Polonium-210 was used as a trigger in early nuclear weapons and little else. Novichok is purely a CW intended for battlefield use. The potential terror provided by deploying these agents beefs up any regime’s already dread reputation. Kim Jong Nam must have suspected how he could be attacked as his travel bag contained bottles of atropine. His murder by two stooge females, apparently hired by the North Korean regime to smear VX liquid on his face, was committed in broad daylight in an airport terminal, the shot of the incident televised worldwide.
Why choose CBRN?
Using small amounts of exotic, highly lethal substances to kill (and injure) rather than common means of assassination – the bullet, knife, bomb and more common poisons – has become almost a pattern in these events. The CBRN materials chosen so far are difficult to attribute. The Russians are showing off these capabilities – and leaving
CBNW 2019/01 09
ASSASSINATION Left: The Defence Science and Technology Laboratory at Porton Down, Wiltshire, had its identification of Novichok in both incidents confirmed by the OPCW. Below: Potentially decontaminated items were put into shipping containers at each affected site in Salisbury to be removed and safely disposed of.
trails adds to the notion that the assassinations and attempts are warning shots to Putin’s enemies, regardless of where they live and which country has to deal with them. And it started early, long before ‘CBRN’ was thus named and when nuclear war was a prime fear in the wider consciousness. Ricin attacks – since used in mailings, to frighten or threaten, and in the film Breaking Bad – were virtually unknown until on 11 September 1978, in the midst of the Cold War, Bulgarian dissident Georgi Markov was poisoned on Waterloo Bridge by a 1.7 mm-wide pellet of it, housed in a specially adapted umbrella. He died three days later; the ricin pellet was found in his skin, his unknown assassin believed to have been in the Soviet-led Bulgarian secret services. However, while their high lethality makes them useful for assassination, the survival of the Skripals showed that novel agents aren’t guaranteed to work, especially if the compounds are untested.
The planners of such lethal oddities know that CBRN – even in a limited release – is a force multiplier. It often involves multiple locations, which do
not become apparent at first, potentially risking the lives and health of civilians in prime locations going about their business, as well as their intended targets. The clean-ups are expensive, inconvenient, and arguably, cause fear in local populations and can put others off visiting them. Fears abounded that there could be more Novichok in Wiltshire. Decontamination of the Skripal house began last September. Multi-agency remediation work began with ground preparation; then items were removed from the property into a container in the road. After decon, further sampling was carried out to ensure the site is safe to be released. Deploying the A-234 Novichok in liquid form will have increased the risk of spread from one site to another. Nerve agents are easily soluble in paint, plastics
and rubber, all of which renders decontamination more difficult.
Some 200 counter terrorism officers worked on the Salisbury cases, examining 5,000 hours of CCTV footage and 1,350 seized items. A normally peaceful town witnessed a scenario of CBRN equipment and response, involving 180 British Army, Royal Marines and RAF personnel, Fuchs decon vehicles to tow away cars and ambulances, and instructors from the Defence CBRN Centre and the 29 Explosive Ordnance Group. Following the Litvinenko murder over 20 sites were affected and either had to be decontaminated in full or cleaned with items removed. It took 19 days to clean up the Millennium Hotel, the prime London location where the polonium was administered to the victim. A public enquiry also ensued, and as with Salisbury, several official bodies were involved in the months-long remediation. While not on the same level as a RDD bombing or release from a nuclear power plant, or similar mass-casualty event, the Novichok and polonium incidents showed the level of response needed to deal with specifically targeted CBRN – and how unpredictable and unquantifiable they can be. zy It was a week before the terminal building at Kuala Lumpur airport was decontaminated following the assassination of Kim Jong-nam with VX on 17 February 2017.
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Peter Lashbrook looks at the need to improve remote scene assessment for CBRN incidents
Pass the REMOTE ©WikiMedia/Lance Cpl Tyler Ngiraswei
The first combined exercise
Some 20 years ago, the UK’s first combined large-scale military and emergency services exercise took place. The purpose was to test response and identify the gaps in existing training and capability. British Army experts had carried out similar previous exercises and this was the first ‘real-time’ scenario exercise open to the civilian authorities. The 1998 scenario included a dead terrorist within the London Underground network along with an unexploded 12 CBNW 2019/01
device, possibly CBRN in nature. The Fire Service responded but was deemed, by the umpire, to have perished due to the radiation given off by the (training) device. The Fire Service personnel were not able to correctly identify the risks and react appropriately due to a lack of live data, and therefore they failed to equip and direct their hot-zone resources and operators correctly. During the exercise it was a further four hours beyond the identified failure of the Fire Service
before Army CBRN specialists then arrived on scene – and the scene was finally contained.
Reviews of response
In subsequent years, successive governments have had various reviews and policy changes, with the Home Office often publishing documents as subjects are explored. Recently, Joint Emergency Services Interoperability Principles (JESIP) has set out the standard operating procedure for emergency services across
Although our emergency services deal with many incidents deemed ‘hazardous’ or CBRN, most are accidental and not the actions of terrorists. But 2018 saw an alarming rise in the number of incidents involving CBRN substances. In the UK, two of the most internationally recognized CBRN incidents for decades occurred – the poisonings in Salisbury by Novichok nerve agent of Sergei and Yulia Skripal in March, and Charlie Rowley and Dawn Sturgess in June
all of their work and especially with the how, when and why to declare a CBRN incident. The Model Response to CBRN Events (2006) sought to address response, procedure and agency interaction. This has since been superseded by the 2016 JESIP publication Responding to a CBRN(e) Event, which focuses on how agencies should cooperate and the manner in which they should behave. The UK has improved PPE and training across the emergency services, with specialist teams in all three blue-light services (location dependent), a dedicated JESIP doctrine, and closer relations between the British Army and our emergency services. They have also conducted large-scale exercises to simulate a CBRN attack in urban environments and mass-casualty situations.
For example, the current guidance still recommends a phone call to the Met Office for weather data – which could easily and accurately be obtained on-scene given the wide availability of meteorological sensors on the market. This lack of focus on the initial steps following a potential CBRN incident means that the first responders and the
Room for improvement
However, despite the many reviews of how the agencies involved should work together, there still remains no in-depth review of scene assessment, remote monitoring or initial validation of the threat. ©MOD
Top Right: A LCAD (lightweight chemical agent detector) sensor is carried in body-worn format. Far Left: A LCAD sensor is applied against a surface. Left (inset): A CAM (chemical agent monitor) sensor monitors personnel and equipment entering COLPRO facilities. Bottom Left: The Leopardo 2 UGV is produced by Eurolink Systems. Bottom Right: Operators in PPE approach a suspect property.
©WikiMedia/Lance Cpl Anne Henry
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RESPONSE public are left exposed to unacceptable risk. In 1994, Aum Shinriyo used Sarin in Matsumoto and Tokyo, Japan, to injure over 6,000 people, claiming the lives of 19. In this incident, healthcare workers in both exposures suffered secondary contamination – 18 in Matsumoto and 245 in Tokyo. This was considered to be caused by the delay in identification of the chemical agent used. In fact, initially the authorities did not believe it to be an instance of chemical weapons use. Medical staff and responders were not aware of the appropriate PPE (personal protective equipment) to use due to the lack of identification and were therefore placed at greater risk of exposure. In 2009, the UK Government identified that most traditional and contemporary terror groups of the time
Top Right: A PELAmesh Commander uses this rugged laptop to demonstrate an external display option.
the scene assessment, containment and clean up was significant. The current cost reported by Wiltshire Council is running at £7.5 million, with £4,000 alone being attributed to dry-cleaning and disposal of clothing for the general population. The cost in emergency vehicles recovered and destroyed is as yet undisclosed.
Right: The MCAD chemical agent detector is M for manportable.
aspired to obtain and use CBRN weapons. This was partly due to the effectiveness of CBRN devices as a weapons platform for creating casualties – but perhaps more importantly to terrorists, CBRN weapons were an efficient and effective method of creating fear. CBRN terrorism was therefore given recognition for the increasing threat it posed, both in the UK and internationally. And in the UK in 2018, this threat was realised.
The Salisbury incidents
In March 2018, Salisbury experienced a CBRN incident with the exposure of a number of people to Novichok nerve agent. Initially this was not identified or treated as a CBRN incident because the SOP does not allow for this to be the first conclusion – first responders just did not consider the possibility. The casualties, including a police officer who visited the Skripals’ residence, were all conveyed to Salisbury District Hospital (SDH) and it was initially reported in the media that the incident was a suspected drug overdose. Due to the location of SDH there is a close link to Porton Down, with SDH also having fully trained staff and the appropriate equipment for any incident which may occur at Porton Down requiring medical treatment. It is widely considered that the location of the Skripal incident being so close to SDH enabled medical personnel to assess and 14 CBNW 2019/01
The technology exists ©MOD (OGL)
treat those infected so quickly. This may not be the case in many other towns and many other hospitals.
Identifying the agent
Unfortunately, the initial responders were not aware of the nerve agent and this was not treated as a CBRN incident until after all three initial casualties were conveyed to SDH and assessed by medical staff. This resulted in first responders, vehicles and equipment being exposed to the substance, with ambulances used to convey casualties continuing to treat patients for a further 24 hours before being isolated. Novichok was designed to be difficult to detect and the substance still requires samples to be sent to a laboratory, limiting on-scene detection capability. However, the manpower involved in
The Police in the UK routinely deploy UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) for Search & Rescue, evidence gathering and intelligence. The British Army is well equipped with UGVs (unmanned ground vehicles) routinely used by EOD teams for investigation and disposal work. This is to remotely assess the device and remove the operator from unnecessary harm. We should be adopting similar tactics for CBRN operations – using unmanned or remote devices to protect the operator. The technology exists and can be used in domestic and international incidents by multiple agencies. We have a duty to protect the people who commit to responding to and fighting against those who use CBRN weapons – but as long as we continue to approach these incidents with procedures over technology, those who seek to terrorize and harm will advance their tactics beyond our well-documented procedures. The technology exists and the technology can save lives. zy
Peter Lashbrook is the founder of PELA Systems and designer of the Patented PELAmesh range. PELA Systems design and manufacture remote scene assessment and sensor integration platforms for field deployment and infrastructure applications worldwide.
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After Syria and Salisbury:
Col Hamish de Bretton Gordon warns that the use of chemical weapons poses a big threat to NATO and to megacities like London and New York
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ÂŠHamish de Bretton Gordon
1 2 3 4 5
The media gather outside the house of Dawn Sturgess, who was lethally poisoned by Novichok last June. Two separate incidents involving Novichoks were investigated in Salisbury. Items are removed for decontamination. All are prepared for a team effort. Virtually all military capability was deployed in support of response to the first Salisbury attack.
s we approach the seventh year of this shockingly violent conflict, the Syrian Civil War has become synonymous with two distinct and irrefutable crimes against humanity: the use of CW and the direct targeting of hospitals and medical personnel. In this seven-year period there have been over 100 documented uses of CW by the regime and Daesh.
Delay in attribution
The UN’s inspectors from the OPCW (Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons) were called to investigate some attacks, but the Russians have vetoed their activities ten times up until late 2018. Despite Russia’s best efforts to stall the OPCW and clean up the Douma site, the OPCW did get in on the ground and confirmed this was a chemical attack. I have also investigated a number of attacks, and on 29 April 2014 published the results of our investigation into the attacks on Kafr Zita and Talemenes a few days before, in The Telegraph. This unequivocally showed chlorine was used and that the regime was responsible. With the same information the OPCW agreed with this assertion six months later. Surely this can’t be the best we can do, given the instant real-time news available across social media?
The remaining rebels and some four million civilians are now corralled and trapped in Idlib province in Northwest Syria. This is likely to be the next bloodbath and site for further CW usage unless the West warnings of further strikes are heeded by Syrian President Bashir al-Assad and Russian President Vladimir Putin. There are also worrying stories of Syrian soldiers using sarin in hand grenades to kill people sheltering in tunnels and bunkers, emboldened no doubt by the lack of response to ‘red lines’ and CW usage. This low-level use of CW is something I expect was never envisaged by the UK and other NATO armies – and is now a tactic we must be able to counter.
Salisbury: attribution known
➎ The nerve agent attack in Salisbury in March 2018 brought chemical weapons to the UK for the first time and there have been at least eight documented CW attacks in Ghouta and Idlib province by the Syrian regime in the last 12 months. And of course, most recently, the devastating chemical attack on Douma which killed at least 70 people. This at least led to a coalition of the US, UK and France to strike at the heart of Assad’s CW programme. This in some small way should re-draw the thin ‘Red Line’ on CW use
We now know that in both incidents in Salisbury the ultrasecret and very deadly nerve agent Novichok was used. The two Russian suspects from the first attack which targeted Sergei Skripal (and rendering seriously ill his daughter Julia and Police Sgt Nick Bailey), we know are Military Intelligence Officers from the Russian foreign-intelligence service, the GRU. We also know they brought the Novichok with them into the UK from Russia two days before the attack. The Novichok series was developed in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s by Russia at the Central Russian military establishment at Shikhany, to over-match NATO’s chemical defence capabilities and avoid detection. It is thought to be ten times more toxic than VX and very persistent. Probably less than half an eggcup-full of agent filled the world’s headlines for seven months and counting, and greatly increased the tensions between the West and Russia. The OPCW was called in to verify the results and produce a report for the consideration of the UN Security Council, which once done, confirms the findings of scientists from the defence research facility at nearby Porton Down.
The effect on a megacity
What if the Salisbury attack had taken place in a megacity like London or New York? Let’s say that for example the NYC Central Business District or City of London is cordoned and unusable for six months. Millions, including tourists, are terrified to go CBNW 2019/01 17
The author is interviewed by the BBC about the Skripal attack in June.
©Hamish de Bretton Gordon
into the city and there is a 35% reduction in business takings. The World Heritage Stonehenge site is just a few miles from Salisbury and visited by millions each year, but most have been avoiding Salisbury. For Stonehenge, can we dare to read Buckingham Palace or the Empire State Building? Sydney, another megacity, very nearly saw a chemical attack last year when UK and Australian Security Services interdicted a group of jihadists attempting to use hydrogen sulphide as a weapon against crowds and on jet aircraft. Al-Qaeda’s CW expert and then M16 agent Aimen Dean confided to me that the Sydney device was derived from work he did in the 1990s in Afghanistan.
The bench in Salisbury where the Skripals were found collapsed.
it has this most deadly of WMD is of great concern to NATO and the UK – especially as Novichoks currently appear to over-match our chemical defensive capabilities. In the new ‘Cold War’ with Russia, NATO must be prepared for CW use. All have seen how effective they have been in Syria and Iraq, especially in fighting in built-up areas, and if there is conflict between East and West we must now assume that they will be used. This sadly being the case, quite apart from the very real threat of terrorist use anywhere, anytime – NATO, including the UK, needs to re-invest in its chemical defence capabilities and be prepared to fight in this ‘dirty’ environment. If not, we could be quickly rolled over by a concerted attack from the East. The Salisbury attack has been a massive neon advertisement to terror groups proclaiming the effectiveness of very small amounts of chemical agents in cities to disrupt and terrorize the population – and we must ensure we are up to this emerging challenge to protect the likes of London, New York and Sydney. ❚❙
But even more worrying is if Russia intends to use CW as a WMD, which currently the West cannot match or defend against. Russia is vastly overmatched conventionally by the US and NATO, so must we assume they will? Most NATO countries, including the UK, have paid lip service to the chemical threat since the end of the Cold War until recently, because they believed it had disappeared, and in military parlance have taken a ‘capability holiday’ with CW defence. This all changed with the Salisbury nerve agent attack. While the Russians continue to deny the use of CW in Syria in the face of overwhelming evidence, and have actively prevented the UN investigating such allegations, I do not believe they are directly involved in the Syrian attacks but must be aware of them. The Syrian jets which dropped the nerve agent on Kan Sheikun on 4 April 2017 took off from a Russian air base. Even the most casual observer would have noticed suited and masked soldiers loading these bombs. What the UK nerve agent attack confirmed was that Russia had only destroyed its ‘declared’ CW stockpile by 2017 but not its undeclared stockpile of Novichoks. It is not anticipated that Russia has thousands of tonnes of these nerve agents, but that Col. Hamish de Bretton Gordon is a Chemical Weapons Expert and Advisor to NGOs in Syria & Iraq. 18 CBNW 2019/01
©Hamish de Bretton Gordon
Thilo Schuppler explains how, and how far, the military could respond to a CBRN incident in Germany In CBRNe emergency preparedness and response planning the German approach goes under the generic term of “special situations.” Government authorities have developed comprehensive concepts for high-visibility events and the Bundeswehr has significantly increased its capability for personnel and casualty decontamination. Our specialized defence industry offers a wide range of equipment, from portable decontamination kits to comprehensive deployable systems
he extraordinary effect on society caused even by a singular incident – witnessed by the Salisbury poisonings – forces us to increase our preparedness even if the probability is low. In all civil major incidents different organizations have to work together to minimize the impact. In terrorist and other attacks cooperation, communication and leadership between the armed units (police, SWAT, military) and non-armed units (fire brigades, paramedical services, civil 20 CBNW 2019/01
authorities) – is essential to manage the situation. Germany also has the special challenge of federalism, which complicates responsibilities and response.
Surveillance, detection, analysis
First, establishing the incident is CBRNe with a risk and safety assessment is vital to minimize victim numbers. As detection of conventional explosives and narcotics is the usual focus, in which police and security staff has more experience, CBRNe material may be overlooked. Second, to keep victim numbers low,
Left & Below: Pictures are taken at a CBRN exercise in preparation for a high-visibility event.
Left: The Mass Personnel and Casualty Decontamination System PDU120/15 are made by OWR GmbH.
All photos ÂŠOWR
Above: This multinational exercise of the Bundeswehr CBRN Command was conducted in 2018. Left: This new equipment is in service with the Bundeswehr Medical Service: Casualty Decontamination System supplied by OWR GmbH. Right: The alldecontMED skin decontamination spray can be used at EDPs.
CBNW 2019/01 21
RESPONSE Dedicated decon foam is applied by a helper at a Decon Station (DS).
well-prepared and equipped action forces are needed as, sadly, first responders are often the first victims. First-priority action is to bring civilians and casualties out from the danger (hot) zone. Depending on the situation armed police forces or CBRN-protected forces of the fire brigade do this job. Emergency medical services personnel are often not trained or equipped with PPE to act in a hot zone and this may be further complicated by an ongoing combat operation.
Emergency decontamination places (EDPs) between the incident area and assembly points for civilians reduces the effects of CBRN agents – and hence, increases survival rates. The EDPs must be installed rapidly to reduce these effects. Dedicated CBRN-protected personnel should stop a potentially contaminated crowd spreading out and ending up in local hospital emergency rooms. When this happens the situation is out of control.
Portable decon foam device for the decontamination of personnel and casualties. ■
Removal of outerwear removes most contamination. Protection with activated-carbon layer respirators, prompt decontamination by rinsing with water, soap or bleach can be done using the usual firefighting equipment, applying parallel treatment to as many casualties as possible. Antidotes, oxygen or dedicated decon agents would be administered immediately. Stopping serious bleeding from gunshot and shrapnel wounds and hypothermia requires different skills to common
injury emergency treatment. Most civil paramedics in Germany had (luckily) no experience with such military-type injuries but since the Bataclan attack in Paris in November 2015 these skills have been enhanced. Casualties have to be differentiated between those actually affected and those who ‘feel affected’ – known as the ‘worried well’ – to estimate the real number of victims for further treatment. Terrorists could also be hidden among the casualties. In a mass casualty incident (MCI), especially a CBRN-MCI, emergency intensive care for individual victims cannot be sustained. Here, the algorithms of combat or disaster medicine kick in: triage is applied to save as many lives as possible – but often not all – with available resources. In trauma surgery it is called the crucial Golden Hour: in CBRN we talk about the ‘Platinum-10 Minutes.’
Dedicated decon stations
Dedicated decontamination stations (DPS) are the second stage for contaminated casualties, including the injured on stretchers. DPS should be ready to operate as they form the ‘bottleneck’ in the chain of survival and resources must be used carefully. The objective: a dynamic triage.
This CBRN response vehicle in service with the South Korean fire service was supplied by OWR GmbH.
Inside the CBRN response vehicle of the South Korean fire service supplied by OWR GmbH.
Incident command has to consider if the DS will be located close to the incident or to the medical facility. Rapid transport of casualties – some still contaminated – and moving already decontaminated casualties each pose big challenges. Fast treatment is vital to increase survival rates. Any contamination of medical facilities will paralyse them and their high-value emergency physicians and surgeons, so must be avoided in all 22 CBNW 2019/01
circumstances. In Syria we have seen the consequences of contaminated victims reaching already beleaguered hospitals.
MCI and CBRN must be implemented in the preparedness and response planning of hospitals. Clinical staff must be trained in how to cooperate with firefighters and civilians helping out in an incident. In hospitals in Israel the ‘concept of coloured lines and vests’ means a hospital can switch to ‘MCI mode’ or ‘CBRN mode’ within minutes. Important routes are marked with coloured lines that every helper can follow even under stress. Key personnel are marked with standardized coloured vests. This level of preparedness, however, is not possible where there are cuts in health funding and hospital staff. The application of antidotes must be clearly regulated and indicated for CBRN incidents, and there will not normally be enough physicians to exclusively do this job. Access, stopping places and departure roads must be clearly marked and stewarded, or the hospital entry will be blocked up before the first batch of serious casualties get there. Logistics for water, decon agents, antidotes and PPE must be in place allowing for a sustainable operation at night and in poor weather. Exterior
security is vital – as a hospital could be a secondary soft target.
Preparedness for a vehicle accident involving a chemical release or a terror attack using military devices and tactics should also shift preparedness planning onto a more military mindset. These considerations must be discussed before – not during – an incident. The Bundeswehr is improving skills to deal with casualties of military injuries as well as CBRN contamination. New equipment is in place and further training of the Bundeswehr CBRN Forces and Medical Service are ongoing. Most civil organizations still have a long way to go in this field but could benefit from the Bundeswehr experience.
Decontaminating response forces
All first responders around the hot zone must be protected. Realize the threat, rescue civilians while protected, call in specialist forces is the basic SOP for German first responders. These organizations also have totally different equipment, training and procedures, and in Germany most fire brigades (which are mainly dealing with hazmat) have in total around one million voluntary firefighters compared to 30,000 professional firefighters, stationed mainly in the cities. Seven Analytical Task Forces (ATFs) – the highest competence level of preparedness for CBRN incidents – are initiated by the German Federal Office for Civil Protection and Disaster Assistance, part of the Federal Ministry of Interior.
Left: German firefighters perform casualty decontamination. Right: These two responders are part of a one-million-strong voluntary firefighter force set up to respond to CBRN incidents in Germany.
The Bundeswehr has one of Europe’s largest and best-equipped CBRN forces. A CBRN command with two battalions and the CBRN School has at least 2,000 soldiers and professional civil staff. Additionally, every regiment of the Medical Service has a specialized casualty decontamination unit. However, administrative obstacles to deploy military forces in a civil incident in Germany are quite high and the lead time will probably exceed the Golden Hour. Protected action forces should only move into the hot zone when the DS (decon station) is ready to operate. If not possible, an EDP must be installed as soon as the DS is ready. Unprotected first responders must be decontaminated and treated – most notably, the first unit that reaches the incident site. Sustainability of the DS must be considered in the plan. Regardless of its low probability the high impact and consequences of CBRN MCI require sophisticated preparedness planning, frequent communication between all involved parties, and wide-ranging exercises. It isn’t just in Germany that a mass, and often a mess, of organizations are involved in responding to CBRN. zy
Thilo Schuppler is CTO and Head of R&D at OWR GmbH. A chemist and CBRN staff officer (res.) with more than 20 years’ experience in CBRN defence, he is an appointed civil NATO expert and member of the German Society for Disaster Medicine. CBNW 2019/01 23
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AFTERMATH The September 11, 2001 attacks were not only the worst terrorist attack on American soil, but generated a toxic legacy that has been named the most serious environmental disaster in New York City history
any poignant examples of war and terrorism have produced both ecological harm and adverse human health effects. Mass illnesses and injuries on exposed populations have scarred both ecosystems and warriors in several ways. The Vietnam War resulted in utter destruction of a tropical jungle environment by an herbicide tainted with one of the deadliest synthetic compounds on earth: dioxin (TCDD). ‘Agent Orange’ entered the food chain, contaminating rice paddies, waterways, fish and seafood consumed by local indigenous populations, and concentrated in the organ systems of servicemen and women causing soft tissue sarcomas and other cancers years after exposure. Following 9/11, the October 2001 dissemination of militarygrade anthrax spores through the US mail caused environmental contamination and human illness resulting in five deaths. This act of bioterrorism required decontamination of people, office
spaces and equipment – and also involved the use of chlorine dioxide, a highly toxic gas.
A living laboratory
New York City is a living laboratory for complex incidents and emergencies, including environmental and public health-related events. These include everything from petroleum, chemical and medical radionuclide spills to steam line explosions that spew asbestos into the air and into city streets – to occasional cases of bubonic plague! Added to which, biomedical wastes appear on sandy beach shores and there are several abandoned and leaking hazardous waste sites and landfills. Also, two of the most grossly polluted waterways in the nation are deemed to be worthy of the US Environmental Protection Agency’s Superfund clean-up and remediation programme.
September 28, 2001: a firefighter watches debris removal at the WTC from a nearby roof.
Frank G. Rando analyzes the environmental and public health implications of the World Trade Center attacks
26 CBNW 2019/01
New York City has elaborate and sophisticated public safety, environmental and public health response capabilities and capacity. However, on that fateful day of September 11, 2001 and for several weeks after, the Big Apple’s resources were severely overtaxed and constrained – while confusion abounded over the safety of the air, water, and even local restaurant food supplies.
These exposed emergency responders, various workers, commuters, residents, schoolchildren and staff nearby, visitors, and others to a myriad airborne toxicants and re-suspended dust. Many on-site fires burned for months and smouldering debris generated a plethora of toxicant vapours and fumes for weeks on end. The collapses of the WTC towers created a huge, dense dust cloud that radiated from its epicentre at extremely high velocity. This allowed the creation of pockets of settled dust deposits, including deposition in the air ducts, exteriors and interiors of buildings, streets and other areas throughout Lower Manhattan.
Soaring dioxin levels
As of 11 August 2018, of over 1,700 responders exposed to WTC -generated dust and toxicants, 420 have developed cancers. The federal WTC Health Program has counted 9,795 first responders, downtown workers, residents, and students from the WTC area with WTC-related diseases. Dr. Michael Crane, Medical Director of the programme at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, reports that he receives oncology referrals “15-20 times a week.”
As a result of two fuel-laden jet liners crashing into both the North and South towers, and the subsequent structural collapse of the towers, destruction-related chemicals and particulate matter (PM) were released into the ambient environment and ground levels on and in the periphery of the WTC site.
Dust samples collected and sampled in the first week post-attack period showed asbestos levels above the 1% threshold that indicates ‘significant risk’, according to the EPA (Environmental Protection
©US Navy/2nd Class Jim Watson
“Show me a handful of dust, and I will show you true fear.” T.S. ELIOT
A New York City firefighter looks up at what remains of the WTC after its collapse.
Eight days after the attacks, two members of the National Guard stand beneath one of hundreds of American flags hoisted or worn by rescue workers at the site of the WTC.
CBNW 2019/01 27
AFTERMATH ©DHD Multimedia Gallery
These environmental toxicants were among many also found in the toxic plume and particulate matter and in the vicinity of the attacks:
Top Left: Map showing the attacks on the World Trade Center with the attacking planes not drawn to scale. Top Right: The collapsing WTC towers created a dense dust cloud that radiated from its epicentre at extremely high velocity.
Agency). This was despite the reassuring, although sadly mistaken and misleading comments of the then US Environmental Protection Agency administrator and former New Jersey governor, Christie Whitman, regarding the safety of air quality in the environs surrounding the WTC collapse site. The levels of dioxin measured in the air near the smoldering pile “were the highest ambient measurements of dioxin ever recorded anywhere in the world” (author’s italics). Levels were at least 100 times higher than those found downwind of a garbage incinerator, according to an analysis published by EPA scientists in 2007. While asbestos fibres and dioxin compounds were significant components of the WTC toxic dust, and are both known as carcinogens, the post-collapse atmospheric and dust samples were also found to contain high levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) such as benzopyrene – a known animal and human carcinogen usually associated with tobacco use. PAHs can form DNA adducts, which can lead to changes in cellular function and growth and results in aberrant cellular reproduction, growth and proliferation – that is, cancer.
Exposure to responders
PAHs are also compounds associated with combustion by-products of structural fires and petroleum-based fires from burning jet fuel, and are a major exposure risk to first responders and other exposed individuals. Due to the high pulverized cement content of the dust, respirable and non-respirable particles were highly alkaline, with a pH of 9 to 11 making it as caustic as sodium hydroxide (lye) causing significant airway and ocular injury. In the post-attack environment, toxic combustion by-products were generated for months and toxic dust was readily re-suspended by physical disturbance and low-velocity airflows during rescue, recovery and clean-up operations. The collapses, fires, and associated conditions led to inhalation exposures of an unprecedented nature, as well as skin and ocular exposures. And aerosolized bodily fluids and human remains added to the exposures as biohazardous materials. 28 CBNW 2019/01
Below: A “bucket brigade” works to clear rubble and debris, hoping to find survivors in the WTC. ©US Navy/2nd Class Jim Watson
Polychlorinated biphenyls Organochlorine pesticides Hydrochloric acid Lead Cadmium Mercury Fibreglass fibres Furans Radionuclides (e.g. americium) Titanium Phthalate esters Silica Sulphur dioxide Freon refrigerant
AFTERMATH ©Mesothelioma Center
Responding occupational, environmental protection and public health assets charged with risk assessment and risk management were unprepared to provide adequate public health protection due to several factors, including: 1.à Limited abilities to assess the nature and magnitudes of the risks. 2.à Inadequacies in providing recommendations for monitoring subsequent exposure. 3.à Limited abilities to prescribe effective means of minimizing exposures. In addition, in the hazardous atmosphere of Ground Zero, 93% of responders with respiratory symptomatology reported that they used respirators “rarely or not at all” on day one, 85% on ©EPAtwo, and 76% days three to seven. day Many responders and workers had inadequate PPE and several groups
Top Left: The vast plume emitted from the WTC on September 11 as seen from space.
were non-compliant due to discomfort, poor fit, clogging of respiratory cartridges with particulate matter, and inadequate access to or re-supply of filters.
Bottom Left: An EPA employee checks one of the many air sampling locations set up around the World Trade Center site.
The toxic exposures sustained in the aftermath of the WTC attacks have resulted in severe disabilities and death of many responders and citizens. Severe respiratory diseases, such as pulmonary fibrosis, lung cancer and chronic respiratory dysfunction due to inflammatory airway injury abound some 17 years after the tragic attacks. Gastroesophageal reflux disease and obstructive sleep apnoea are also very common in exposed survivors of the WTC attacks. Moreover, several types of cancer, including multiple myeloma, likely due to benzene and other incorporated hydrocarbons, have afflicted several exposed survivors. The impact of respirable particulate matter on cardiovascular function is implicated due to inflammatory responses and increased blood viscosity. PTSD and other behavioral health issues are also a huge component of the public health aspects of the post-9/11 milieu.
Toxic exposures: the toll
The World Trade Center Health Registry was set up to provide initial and continued medical monitoring and healthcare to thousands of exposed individuals, and continues to serve them and generate vital epidemiological and medical data. The lessons learned from the WTC and related 9/11 attacks are many, and sobering. The list is long. Emergency responders, support workers and volunteers must be provided with adequate PPE and personal exposure-monitoring devices. Occupational safety and health standards must be enforced in disaster environments and post-event medical monitoring, surveillance and healthcare established. Behavioral health needs must be addressed and expert exposure assessments provided. Nothing can make up for all the suffering and lives lost, but perhaps these and other lessons derived from the tragedies of war and terrorism can help save lives in the future. zy Frank G. Rando is a national SME, trainer, and first responder with over 30 years’ experience in emergency management, tactical, disaster and special operations medicine, environmental health and safety, public safety, and counterterrorism. CBNW 2019/01 29
A VETERAN’S STORY
GAS! GAS! GAS! Ian Foulkes relates one Porton Down veteran’s experience of live agent testing of sarin
All images ©the author
Much has been written about the human volunteer programme at Porton Down and the ethics involved. But nothing has been written about the experiences of those involved. With this article I will put that right
and relate to you my experience. But please note my story is just one of many thousands of those involved
orton Down is now well known for its research into chemical and biological weaponry, so I’m not going to rehash it here! Prior to the end of World War II, the research was focused mainly around vesicants (blister agents or mustard gas) and those agents attacking the respiratory system (choking agents). The end of the war revealed German research into new agents that affected the nervous system. It’s not surprising, therefore, that much effort was put into the R&D of countermeasures to these agents. This development naturally required research. It is estimated that 14,727 experimentees have passed through Porton since 1945. The records prior to this are sketchy at best, but the total is possibly 30,000 since 1916. However, not all veterans were exposed to noxious substances.
to learn more from the horse’s mouth. On Friday 25 November 1983, I caught a flight out of RAF Wildenrath to Luton and reported to Porton on the 27th. I was met in at the gate and shown to my accommodation (I had a room to myself – luxury!). The following morning we (there were three others) were marched in front of a Colonel who welcomed us and explained the importance of what we were here to do. Next it was down
to the medical centre for an assessment. We had the normal blood and urine tests. Our reflexes were tested and our medical history checked. What sports did we like? In my case I swam and played water polo for the Regiment, so I was quite fit.
After lunch, it was explained to us which tests they wanted to use us for. I ‘struck the jackpot’ with sarin.
The British army placed great emphasis on NBC training, especially in Germany. The number of hours I spent in our ‘Noddy suits’, as we called them, being tested and on exercise – I dread to think. It was against this background that I volunteered for Porton. From the first day of our NBC phase of training, I had found NBC fascinating and this was a chance 30 CBNW 2019/01
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A VETERAN’S STORY
Because of all the NBC training, the words ‘nerve agent’ made me cautious. Having been told how lethal it is, I asked questions. To answer them I was introduced to a scientist who would answer them. The important one was: “what were the long-term health implications” of taking part. I was told that there were
“none, we’ve never had a problem.” Nothing was said about the young airman, Ronald Maddison, who died in May 1953. If I had been told about Maddison, I would not have taken part. Documentation provided to me by Porton shows that I was unhappy and had asked questions, but they never recorded what those questions were – against their own protocols.
INTO THE GAS CHAMBER
Body function tests
On 5 December I was taken to the gas chamber. I was exposed to sarin in vapour form. I had to walk to the beat of a metronome in a circle, changing direction every five minutes. I was in there for half an hour. Within the first few minutes the symptoms were starting. What the manuals describe as a “tightness of chest” felt to me as if my windpipe had reduced to the size of a drinking straw. My “dimness of vision” did not start until after I left the chamber, but when it did, I was effectively blind. Experience told you what items were, such as chairs and tables, but it would have been impossible to do anything requiring attention to detail, such as cleaning a rifle or operating a radar set. With the miosis setting in I was taken off for the flash photography treatment. I also had a very bad headache – I now suffer from migraine headaches. I was profusely sweating and salivating, having to spit and swallow excessively. 32 CBNW 2019/01
The rest of the week was taken up with getting a ‘baseline’ reading of what my body was doing. This involved having special breakfasts on certain days because of blood samples. Urine samples were taken, EEG (electroencephalogram) and ECG (electrocardiogram) conducted.
Top Far Left: The NAID access panel shows the instructions on the interior face. Top Left; The interior of the NAIAD shows its workings. Top Right: NAIAD (Nerve Agent Immobiliser and Agent Detector) is shown in a specially designed carrying Bergan. Note remote alarm. In the 1st Gulf War evidence suggests that nerve agents were used against Coalition forces, but while the concentration failed to cause casualties, the NAIAD still alarmed.
One particularly uncomfortable test was to have an electrode inserted into a synapse in my forearm and the electrical flow measured. The involved multiple insertions and after an hour the pain was incredible. My pupil dilation was also measured. I was stuck in a completely light-free room
A VETERAN’S STORY I would like to see all the veterans awarded a special medal. According to the Government’s argument, we knowingly put ourselves in harm’s way to protect others. I joined the Porton Down Veterans Support Group (PDVSG) to help bring this story to the public’s attention. We managed to achieve a re-opening into the Maddison inquest and raised enough money to have a tree and bench dedicated at the National Arboretum.
The author (right) with the late Ken Earl, spokesman for the PDVSG (Porton Down Veterans Support Group) at the dedication of a tree, plaque and commemorative bench at the National Arboretum from funds raised by the veterans.
RVD internal contents left to right: air sampling ‘tickets’ with droplet bottles used in the detection of agents: NA1 and NA2 for Nerve, H1 and H2 for detection of Blister. The hand pump was for drawing air over the tickets with finally instructions in the storage pocket.
for an hour, then had my head secured in a brace and a flash photograph taken of my eyes. All these tests were repeated multiple times in the first week.
All the previous tests were repeated, but the most intensive were the first 24 hours after exposure. The first night I was sufficiently ill to be taken to the medical centre, where a doctor was summoned to assess me. He must have been a used car salesman at one point because he persuaded me to carry on without any treatment. By the end of the week, I felt worn
out. My eyes and brain were adjusting to the miosis, my breathing had eased. On my way home I had to pass through King’s Cross station. I was accosted by a policeman who thought that I was on drugs. I gave him a slip of paper I had been given by Porton and one phone call later they released me. When I got home, my mother was so concerned about how ill I looked she wanted to take me to the local A&E, but I refused, scared of breaking the Official Secrets Act. For many months afterwards, my eyes clearly had miosis. I also became very prone to chest infections, a few years later developing bronchial pneumonia while on exercise. Migraines also increased in frequency over the following years.
Were the tests necessary?
The RVD (Residual Vapour Detector – top) with its predecessor the KVD (Kit Vapour Detector) was prevalent in all my training in BAOR (82 88) – the final stage before the ‘sniff test,’ which would be carried out up wind of the section.
Many people have asked me what I think of the tests and those conducting them. Were the tests necessary? Well yes, I think that they were. It was the ethical manner in which those tests were carried out that is the issue. The Government and MOD have always denied that the common cold research was used to entice volunteers to Porton; that the volunteers WERE told what they would be exposed to. I doubt any veteran would support that! ❚❙ The KVD’s internal components top to bottom: bottles for holding of detection ‘tickets’, with hand pump (right) droplet bottle and instructions/Idiots Guide.
Ian Foulkes joined the Army aged 16 in 1980. Graduating in 1982 from the Army Apprentices College, Harrogate and attending Porton Down as a ‘Human Observer’ (the official name for the veterans), he qualified as an NBC(I) in 1995 – determined to prevent as many people as possible from suffering the way he did. His service of 19 years ended in 1999 for health reasons, having reached the rank of Sergeant. He gives talks on the Cold War and demonstrations of NBC equipment as well as trying to raise awareness of the Porton Down veterans and their unique story. CBNW 2019/01 33
with one solution Kim Godfrey proposes a new product to mitigate chemical contamination – including in acid attacks
With state sponsored attacks becoming a reality and acid attacks on the rise, the chemical threat is more tangible than ever before
ince the use of choking gas in World War I, chemical warfare has been part of military’s arsenals worldwide and terrorist groups are known to be trained in their use. 2018 saw an attack on British soil using the deadly nerve agent Novichok, with a total of five victims being exposed to this chemical warfare agent (CWA), with one dying. The first responders and the emergency services are dealing with chemical attacks on a routine basis, with very limited equipment to counter the threat effectively and safely. Criminals have also started using corrosive substances as a tool for shock and awe, with possession being harder to monitor and strong acids and alkaline being the weapons of choice over knives. In the UK, from 2016 to 2018 there have been over 2,000 incidents where a corrosive or toxic material has been used in an attack, and it is likely the rate of these will rise. 34 CBNW 2019/01
Some of the deadliest chemicals known to man have been created in the pursuit of developing CWAs. Well-known warfare agents include VX, sarin and mustard gas and are classed as a WMD. They attack the body in a range of different ways, as blistering agents, nerve agents, blood agents and choking agents. Despite nearly universal agreements in place to destroy current inventories and cessation of manufacture, along with the historical prohibition of their use and production, numerous stockpiles still exist. During the recent Syrian conflict there has been an estimated 390 chemical attacks since 2014 using chlorine and sarin. Nefarious organizations are also known to manufacture and train with the use of chemical agents for use in criminal and terrorist attacks.
The current advice to mitigate these attacks is to treat with copious amounts
of water to dilute it. However, adding water to a strong acid triggers an exothermic reaction causing more discomfort to the victim and can also force the acid deeper into the skin via osmotic pressure through the “wash-in effect.” There appears to be many solutions from abundant water, to substances that simply absorb the chemicals without neutralising them, to complex compounds designed to counter specific chemicals. The majority leave a hazardous waste or residue that also needs to be safely managed.
During a chemical attack, the victims or first responders (be they military, blue light services, members of the public) are not normally able to immediately identify the substance used in the attack. First Applied Sorbent Treatment Against Chemical Threats (FAST-ACT) is a broad-spectrum chemical neutralizing
DECONTAMINATION Crown copyright 2000
The Joint NBC Unit decontaminates a vehicle with high-pressure water during Exercise Iron Man.
A NATO-coded decontamination mitt is pictured in use.
ACID ATTACKS A chemical attack is where any substance is used with the aim of killing, maiming or harming a victim. The most common are corrosive substances due to their relative abundance, ease of procurement and devastating effect. Acid will rapidly dissolve the skin, the fat below the skin and, if left untreated, the bone. Attacks are usually targeted at the face, sometimes leaving victims blind and deaf, often with other severe facial disfigurement. Nowadays the threats are non-linear and growth in the use of chemicals to hurt and terrorise individuals not only endangers the direct victims, but the first responders, the emergency services and the public.
FAST-ACT is shown being deployed from a pressurized cylinder in a HAZMAT scenario. ©Timilon
agent formed of nanoporous earth minerals able to rapidly and effectively decontaminate and contain chemical threats. After neutralization FAST-ACT leaves a non-toxic residue as it converts the toxic chemical into inert metallic oxides and water. A wide range of applicators and delivery systems can be deployed to neutralize not only liquid threats, but also vapour and powder threats on people, equipment and other contaminated surfaces. Due to its broad efficacy, prior knowledge of the attack (or spilled) substance is not required. FAST-ACT is a patented combination of magnesium oxide (MgO) and titanium dioxide (TiO2) with a unique particle morphology that allows for a large CBNW 2019/01 35
DECONTAMINATION surface area and porosity which greatly increases the chemical neutralization sites. It initially acts as a solid adsorbent binding a chemical to its surface then rendering it harmless through irreversible chemical reactions.
One solution – for humans
With no detrimental effects to human health, it makes it ideal to be applied directly to a casualty immediately, as it adsorbs the chemical away from the skin before neutralizing. When treated with water, acid on a victim’s face can be pushed inside the cells by osmotic pressure, causing yet more damage. Being able to neutralise substances such as acids, FAST-ACT negates the wash-in effect. The wide-ranging capabilities of FAST-ACT enable it to be applied to almost any chemical threat, including CWAs. In fact, FAST-ACT was developed for the US military as a decontamination agent for their neutralization.
Chemical Biological Command, Coal Mines Technical Services and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) for its chemical breakdown and rapid neutralization applications. It is a highly stable material and has a five-year shelf life. It is now widely used throughout the USA by both emergency services (Boston Fire Service) and law enforcement agencies (NYPD, FBI and CIA) to counter chemical agents including the rapidly rising hazard of opioid contamination, particularly fentanyl and its derivatives. For these organizations FAST-ACT is the ‘go-to’ agent for the first responders, investigation and forensic personnel protection. FAST-ACT is registered and used as a NATO product and has been used by the OPCW in the Syrian conflict.
One solution – for equipment
FAST-ACT is not only capable of making safe a chemical attack or spill in the civilian world and a theatre of war, it is also designed for rapid decontamination of equipment, be that a vehicle, weapon
US responder use
The technology has been tested by Battelle Memorial Institute, Edgewood
Left: How FAST-ACT neutralizes HF and VX.
Bottom Right: British soldiers and the MR Trigat medium-range anti-tank missile system operate in a chemical threat.
4 H+ + 4e- + O2
Bottom Left: The FAST-ACT family of products has been tested by Battelle Memorial Institute, Edgewood Chemical Biological Command, Coal Mines Technical Services and the OPCW.
FAST-ACT Interacting with HF Mechanism 2F + Mg
or clothing. It is an effective chemical clean up tool, being used in a wide range of chemical spills or attacks, containing and neutralizing a threat so it can be easily and safely removed. With its large efficacy range, it can be applied universally to a spill or incident, removing the time needed to determine what the toxic chemical was and hence reducing the period that the toxic agent can have a negative effect. FAST-ACT is quickly deployable using an extinguisher, bucket, decontamination mitt, microfibre towels, wet wipes, liquid and personal powder bottle. It can be safely applied to any liquid spill, vapour or powder release, enabling Emergency, HAZMAT and CBRN responders to utilize one technology when faced with a wide variety of known, or a single unknown, chemical hazard. As well as for CBRN neutralization, FAST-ACT’s flexibility and effectiveness allows it to be incorporated into systems for removing hazards in HAZMAT incidents, vehicle accidents, drug laboratories, forensics, oil and gas facilities, possible mass casualty scenarios, release of toxic gases, deodorizers (e.g.; cadavers, pet odours, laundry). As a non-toxic, easily used, lightweight neutralizing agent it is the ideal solution for protecting lives. ❚❙
Crown copyright 2003
Kim Godfrey spent over 20 years as a Royal Navy Mine Clearance Diving Officer operationally deployed on land and maritime UXO, CMD, and IED in the UK and worldwide. Latterly he has worked as a risk management and emergency response consultant in the oil and gas and renewable energy industries before joining Specialist Response Solutions Ltd as a Director. 36 CBNW 2019/01
COMPREHENSIVE SOLUTIONS FOR CBRN THREAT DETECTION
GAS CLOUD DETECTION
BIOLOGICAL AIR SAMPLING
DRONES & ROBOTS
TO BOLDLY SPECIAL FEATURE
From serious toys to serious business: Dr David Cullin sends in the robots and the drones
To those of us familiar with Star Trek, the most intriguing character was Mr Spock, the Science Officer. Supporting his world of logic was a vast array of technologies to inform his conclusions and resultant actions. Perhaps the most famous of those technologies was his tricorder. With that one tool, Spock was able to determine if a world was inhabitable or whether some constituent in the environment was responsible for the strange behaviour of Captain Kirk. Clearly, the tricorder was an exceptionally flexible and useful tool
t is not surprising that the image or vision of this device has found its way into descriptions of what operators across professions need or want. Certainly, this is the case for users responsible for response or operations associated with CBRNE environments. As a vision, a device like the tricorder for all CBRNE threats and environments is fantastic. But the reality is that a single device capable of such a breadth of capability, that provides both stand-off detection and identification, will likely never be achievable. For example, if someone is interested in identifying chemical and biological targets from an environment, a sample needs to be analyzed by an Ion Mobility Spectrometer (IMS), Gas Chromatograph Mass Spectrometer (GC-MS), some other gas sensor, or even a combination of technologies to arrive at a confident result. Furthermore, in most cases, operators need to put themselves into protective posture, which drastically impacts dexterity and performance (not to mention basic comfort). Clearly, this is a ripe area for innovations which can lead to keeping our operators out of harm’s way, and out of protective posture, so they can execute their primary missions in a more effective way.
Looking back at sensors
For years, much effort (and funding) has been directed towards developing the next generation of stand-off sensors. These come in multiple varieties, typically either passive or active in nature. Active systems are typically light detection and ranging (LIDAR) sensors that utilize 38 CBNW 2019/01
light scattering and, in some cases, fluorescence in an attempt to determine whether an environment is contaminated and if a plume of chemicals or biological aerosols is present. While these systems do provide some capability, such as an indication that ‘something’ is present in the environment, the systems do not provide enough fidelity to determine if the ‘something’ is normal – or if it is a specific threat or dangerous material that needs to be responded to in kind.
Specific and sensitive
While these devices provide useful information as an indicator, more specific and sensitive point sensors are required to get the highconfidence answers required. On the passive side of the investment, infrared (IR) spectroscopy has been the measurement of choice. Products ranging from single pixel Fourier transform infrared spectrometers (FTIR) systems to newer hyperspectral technologies that operate across the infrared spectrum have been the
DRONES & ROBOTS
All photos ©2018 FLIR Systems, Inc. All rights reserved.
FLIR Black Hornet 3 nano-UAV enables the warfighter to maintain situational awareness, threat detection, and surveillance no matter where the mission takes them.
Spock imagek: ©Wikimedia ‘Warp-speed-in-space’ background image: Melmak/pixabay
For instance, FLIR has developed and taken to market the Black Hornet Personal Reconnaissance System (PRS) and Black Hornet 3 nano-UAV that fit in the palm of your hand. Due to its size and stealth, it enables operators to maintain situational awareness, threat detection, and surveillance through the integration of small, light but very capable EO/IR cameras. This is a tremendously useful capability for battlefield and other reconnaissance operations.
CBNW 2019/01 39
DRONES & ROBOTS technologies most pursued. Although these technologies tend to provide more specific information about the nature of materials in the ‘plume’, their success is challenged by both the needed sensitivity and the changing environments they operate in. Night-time, daytime, humidity, temperature, and varying backgrounds create a grand challenge. As with the LIDAR sensors, they are a useful piece of the puzzle but provide only a piece of the understanding needed and, in the end, point sensors are still required to complete the picture. The challenge, again, is – how do we keep our operators safe and effective?
For well over a decade, innovative organizations have pioneered and experimented with the idea of ‘taking the sensor to the source,’ including the use of the earliest generations of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and robots. While these concepts were determined to have merit, the cost, complexity, and ruggedness of the first generations of UAVs and robotics rendered these solutions to be niche solutions at best. As time goes on, the explosion of commercially available UAVs has opened a new world to be exploited for sensor-based applications. To date, innovators have been focused mostly on equipping UAVs with various camera systems that are of interest to commercial customers. But in recent years, innovators have moved into helping the responder communities. Early investments were made in unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs) used for the detection of IEDs and other threat detection operations. These UGVs provided new opportunities for robotic applications. Over time, technologies have advanced to unmanned aerial applications, and a variety of platforms have started to proliferate in the market.
Putting sensors on UAVs
For CBRNE sensor innovators like FLIR, it pushes design teams further into the world of sensor integration – where the mission is to purposefully outfit UAVs with an array of CBRNE sensors specifically tailored to meet customer needs to help them understand a potentially harmful environment. The available variety of drones and robotics makes it possible to consider solutions that can carry the requisite payload – while maintaining
enough operational dwell time to be truly useful. As technologies continue to merge and evolve, we turn attention to matching sensing technologies to unmanned capabilities. For instance, if the operational need is to determine if an unknown package or piece of cargo contains a bomb or some type of radiological material, one could envision explosives trace detectors or radiation detecting sensors being integrated with UGV and UAV platforms.
In military applications of gas detection, it is now possible to take the useful, but incomplete, information that stand-off detectors provide to autonomously launch chemical sensing-enabled drones and UAVs that can more specifically interrogate a suspect environment. This capability will provide a faster flow of information, resulting in greater operational speed that keeps our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines out of harm’s way and out of Mission Oriented Protective Posture (MOPP). TIC/TIM gas sensing-enabled drones are already in the hands of first and second responders, allowing them to assess and act at the site of a Hazmat situation from a distance, rather than encased in PPE. Both technical and operational challenges will need to be
In June 2018 FLIR announced its Black Hornet 3 nano-drone, which gives operators the ability to navigate in GPS-denied environments. ‘Wormhole’ image: Genty/pixabay
The FLIR X-Sorber chemical sampler is carried by VT Group’s Vortex VTOL UAV to the area of interest. Programmable sample collection methods run and the UAV returns to a designated landing zone where the sample is retrieved and analysed by GC-MS.
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ROBOTS Below: The FLIR Fido explosives trace detector (ETD) integrated with an iRobot Packbot investigates an abandoned car suspected to contain explosives. Right: Packbot after IED explosion. The Fido ETD made it through the blast. The robot was dead, but it saved lives.
iRobot intelligence software on the laptop operator control unit (OCU) provides the operator with device information and an up-close view of the scenario from a safe distance.
overcome. On the technical side, sensors that have previously been developed for hand-held or desktop applications may need new form factors for use in unmanned applications.
Small size, weight, and power (SWAP) solutions will be valued as never before. Low SWAP will offer increased dwell time and longer operational use time. There may, in fact, be more operational or concept-of-operation issues to overcome than technical issues. While it is possible to develop greater ‘user assist’ capabilities, there is still a need to ‘drive’ the system. Focused energy will be spent on making the systems easy to implement and use without having to train a new generation of pilots. In addition, we will have to work to understand how to manage contamination. Through the merging of unmanned technology and 42 CBNW 2019/01
CBRNE sensors, the industry can reduce the need for military and first responders to ‘Boldly Go Where No Man Has Gone Before’ (especially if that destination is contaminated and dangerous), thus truly protecting our most important assets – lives and livelihoods. ❚❙ Dr. David Cullin is the FLIR Detection V.P. for Business and Program Development. He is completing his 13th year with FLIR after a 15-year career with the US DOD, mostly in the development and acquisition of Chemical and Biological Defense Systems. He also currently serves as the Industry Chairman of the Chemical and Biological Defense Acquisition Initiatives Forum.
CBRNE NANTES FRANCE May 20th- 23rd 2019 Research Innovation DETECTION – IDENTIFICATION Home-made explosives (HME) Improvised Explosive Device (IED) Field sampling & analysis Bioindicators & sensors
PROTECTION – DECONTAMINATION Human & environmental Infrastructure Smart surface & textiles Skin, wounds, hair & eyes MEDICAL COUNTERMEASURES Epidemiology Health surveillance Drug development Comprehensive approaches Diagnosis RISKS & CRISIS MANAGEMENT
La cité des congrès, Nantes
SAVE THE DATE Opening of registrations :1st of September 2018 Deadline abstract submission : 31st of January 2019
A D3S user studies the app on his mobile phone to see if there are any alerts.
The D3S and smartphone are wearable and simple to use for first responders and other key services.
Dr Arnab Basu MBE explains how the next generation of radiation detectors is designed to combat a serious terror threat Just a handful of nations have the capability to make a nuclear weapon, but the components for a much simpler radiological device, often dubbed a ‘dirty bomb’, can be found almost anywhere. In response, a new generation of hand-held radiation detectors has been developed to protect cities from a catastrophic terrorist detonation. 44 CBNW 2019/01
irty bombs are a terrorist’s dream and the security services’ nightmare. They do not need sophisticated handling and can be assembled relatively simply using nuclear materials packed with conventional explosives. If detonated, a radiological dispersal device (RDD) might not cause extensive damage to buildings or widespread loss of life, but it could potentially contaminate an area for years, leaving affected parts of cities uninhabitable and putting people exposed to radiation
at risk of serious illness. The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission states: “A dirty bomb is not a weapon of mass destruction but a weapon of mass disruption where contamination and anxiety are the terrorists’ major objectives.” It warns an RDD could “create fear and panic, contaminate property and require potentially costly clean-up.”
Not if… when
In addition to military weapons, radioactive materials are widely used in medicine, research and industry. A huge number of radioactive sources worldwide
“Russia doesn’t pose the No. 1 national security threat to the United States. I continue to be much more concerned when it comes to our security with the prospect of a nuclear weapon going off in Manhattan.” US PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA, THE HAGUE, MARCH 2014
A police officer carries the radiation detection device on his uniform during President Trump’s visit to Brussels.
CBNW 2019/01 45
Roman Koester on Unsplash
Top Left: The control screen maps radiation sources across a city so that the user can distinguish between the benign and the sinister.
Top Right: D3S has been designed for use by front line services to protect cities and key infrastructure. Right: The D3S device is linked to a smartphone via Bluetooth to show alerts. Below: An event case containing D3S devices ensures rapid deployment during an emergency.
go missing every year and there have been several cases where terrorist groups have attempted to secure radiological materials on the black market, including incidents of Chechen rebels making devices that thankfully were not used. However, arrests have been made, mainly in the FSU, where radiological materials were being trafficked or ‘sting’ operations successfully conducted. Given that the human and economic consequences of an attack are potentially dreadful, governments across the globe 46 CBNW 2019/01
are increasingly taking the threat seriously. But whereas nuclear security in the past focused on protecting ports and airports to prevent dangerous material being moved across borders, there is recognition that simply guarding entry and exit points is no longer enough to combat a constantly evolving threat. So far, conventional radioisotope identification devices (RIIDs) have kept us one step ahead of the terrorists, but the equipment can be bulky and expensive and requires the use of experts to interpret the readings and assess whether there is a threat.
The latest weapon in the fight against radiological attacks is a wearable RIID that can provide early warning against the movement or use of dangerous materials and devices. At Kromek, we have worked closely with the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) on its SIGMA programme that was set up “to revolutionize detection and deterrent capabili-
ties for countering nuclear terrorism.” One of the products we have developed is the D3S (discreet dual detector) – a lightweight RIID that is smaller than the average smartphone, but offers the performance and high sensitivity of a conventional detection device. The pocket-sized gamma and neutron detector, using scintillator technology, is paired via Bluetooth with an Android phone on which an app can provide radio isotope identification within seconds, categorizing sources as naturally occurring, industrial, medical or suspect.
Speed and flexibility
Easy to use, the D3S requires little or no training, and is worn discreetly by staff during their duties, carried in a pocket or on a belt holster. The D3S NET version acts as a networked detector, linking hundreds or thousands of devices to a central control point. A remotely hosted server aggregates the data and creates a two-dimensional heat map that shows
DETECTION National Standards Institute standard.
Civil and military use
D3S has been designed for use by a wide range of professionals, including CBRNE teams, police, border patrols, emergency responders, airport and seaport security and the military. The D3S can be carried by officers or installed on vehicles to protect civilians and key infrastructure. In 2016, DARPA took delivery of 10,000 D3S detectors and among those deploying the devices was the New Jersey Port Authority. They were also field-tested in Washington DC during President Donald J. Trump’s inauguration and have since been deployed by authorities in Belgium during his visit to Brussels in 2017 and during security sweeps conducted before and during his visit to the city for the July 2018 NATO summit. There are obvious military benefits for lightweight wearable detectors and in
County Durham. The company supplies cutting-edge radiation detection components and devices for the CBRNE, civil nuclear, security and medical imaging markets. In addition to the HQ at Sedgefield, where the D3S is made, there is also a UK laboratory at the University of Huddersfield’s 3M Buckley Innovation Centre, where a specialist team of neutron and gamma-ray researchers are looking at new detector technology, ASICS and electronics for use in homeland security, the nuclear industry, emergency response and environmental monitoring. In summer 2018, Kromek USA moved to a new purpose-built factory in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, which will play a crucial role in the expansion of our medical imaging and homeland security businesses. Kromek is one of the leading developers of high-performance radiation Left: An emergency vehicle during a test deployment to map radiation levels in the US capital.
detection devices using cadmium zinc telluride (CZT) as a semiconductor. It produces high-resolution images and is now widely used in the early diagnosis of conditions such as osteoporosis.
the natural background radiation and can pinpoint a suspect source and track its course through a city. Large-scale deployment can protect whole cities, borders and large events, where the user does not need to be trained and a central controller picks up the alerts and issue instructions to the wearers. The D3S ID version is used as a stand-alone device for people trained to respond to nuclear incidents, sending out an alarm when a potential threat is detected. At just 12.5 cm (5 in) high, D3S allows a 100-fold increase in the ability to locate and identify sources of radiation at a tenth of the cost and is ten times faster than conventional sensors. It can identify 42 isotopes, 22 more than the American
2018 Kromek was named as a qualified contractor under the $8.2 billion US Department of Defense IDIQ (indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity) for the Joint Enterprise Research, Development, Acquisitions and Production and Procurement contract vehicle. Under a contract awarded by the US Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) in September 2018 to develop a RIID device for future military operational challenges, Kromek is working on a ruggedized version of the D3S to identify radioactive threats in a combat situation.
Originally a spinout from Durham University, Kromek is now based at the NETPark science park in Sedgefield,
In security, we have a system in operation at more than 50 airports which uses CZT in conjunction with a liquid detection algorithm to scan bottles and determine whether the contents are benign or potentially dangerous. Although each of our markets is discrete, the common bond is constant innovation to meet demand for fast, accurate and cost-effective equipment. Homeland security is not immune to the budget constraints affecting other areas of public spending, but the threat of terrorists securing a supply of material for an RDD is a very real one.The availability of wearable radiation detectors provides another weapon in the fight against terrorism by combating nuclear smuggling and constant monitoring of and vigilance against a potential detonation. zy Dr Arnab Basu is CEO of Kromek Group plc. He has a PhD in Physics from Durham University, specializing in semiconducting sensor materials. In 2014 he received an MBE for services to regional development and international trade. CBNW 2019/01 47
IMPROVISED CHEMICAL DEVICES
SCORCHED earth, Andy Oppenheimer looks at the extent of Daesh’s deployment of chemical IEDs and the challenges faced in reclaiming territories tainted by them As well as the widespread planting of hundreds of IEDs by Daesh in areas the terrorist group occupied in Iraq and Syria, a massive challenge is posed by improvised chemical devices. Daesh has been held responsible for a number of attacks, mainly on the Peshmerga and Iraqi troops, incorporating chemical warfare agents (CWAs) – most notably, chlorine and mustard agent in IEDs and mortars
©Jason the Nameless/via Twitter
Far Left: The main charge of this Daesh-laid IED is seen within a plastic container. Left: Reported ISIS chemical weapons cache found in Mosul with lettering on one munition translated as Russian for ‘training.’
48 CBNW 2019/01
IMPROVISED CHEMICAL DEVICES
TOXIC legacy D aesh has used mustard agent – either purloined from old Iraqi stock or homemade – and chlorine in dozens of booby-trapped IEDs left in formerly occupied areas, and have used mortars and vehicle IEDs mainly against Iraqi and Peshmerga troops. Conventional IEDs combined with highly toxic chemicals (also known as Ch-IED) are designed to amplify the devastating effect of a classic IED, dispersing lethal and injurious materials that cause more deaths and cause terror among victims –both military and civilian – and affected populations. The devices may be deployed through mines, on the belts or vehicles of suicide bombers, and on mortars and shells. An emergent threat is drone-dropped devices carrying chemicals. Daesh has already used drones for propaganda filming and intelligence and to drop ordnance on Peshmerga troops. As well as ields and streets, Daesh improvised landmines (ILMs) and IEDs have been laid in houses, kitchens, refrigerators – the list goes on.
Chlorine and mustard A US Army M109A6 Paladin howitzer conducts a fire mission at Qayyarah West Airfield, Iraq, in support of the Iraqi forces’ push toward Mosul in October 2016.
Daesh had set up a ‘special operations’ unit known as Jaysh al-Khalifa or Jaysh Dabiq, responsible for all CW deployments in Syria and
Iraq. In utilizing two basic classes of agents – weaponized toxic industrial chemicals (TICs) and CWAs – chlorine use predominated and illustrated Daesh’s capacity to effectively adapt resources. They used their occupation of Mosul University’s laboratories to make some of these weapons. There are also recorded examples of chlorine grenades and other smallscale delivery methods used to defend Mosul and other sites in north-central Iraq they had occupied. Moving up a step, they deployed sulphur mustard – which they actually produced – first in August and September 2015, then in February and March 2016. Also allegedly used was an organophosphorus compound, phosphine – an agricultural fumigant – in attacks around Hasakah, Syria, in June 2015, and vinyltrichlorosilane, a compound used to produce plastic and rubber products.
CW as Daesh doctrine
In March 2016, Daesh launched attacks with chlorine and mustard agent mixed in with artillery barrages, targeting Taza Khurmatu, Iraq, just beyond the actual battlefield. This was intended to generate
©US Army photo/Spc. Christopher Brecht
Right: In May 2017 Syrian authorities uncovered a Daesh workshop for manufacturing IEDs and shells in a building in Homs, Syria.
Far Right: Parallel rows of IEDs are buried around Fallujah.
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IMPROVISED CHEMICAL DEVICES
Dealing with ICDs
Adding chemical components makes an already difficult range of devices to dismantle, blow in place or remove even more difficult. They require a more complex response which requires speedy detection of the agent within the device – and once it has detonated – is an urgent priority and extra protection is also needed. UGVs (unmanned ground vehicles – robots) for EOD have advanced CBRN detection and sampling but may not be available to the organizations and home EOD squads operating in these areas. Many governments are not fully prepared for the response to the threat of ICDs. Whereas these procedures are well-developed for classical IEDs, this is not always the case for Ch-IEDs, which require a very specific approach, especially in procedures for recognition, and disposal and neutralization of such devices. As such, there is a real need to train a maximum number of international and national experts in this field.
Dealing with the devices
How will a limited number of IEDD personnel and other agencies be able to deal with this deadly legacy? Many areas liberated from ISIS control were exposed to severe chemical contamination, creating a large public health crisis. A multifaceted effort is under way to train and equip Iraqi first responders to detect and respond to ICDs and the hazards in and around the labs used to produce them. Training of Iraqi security forces, including the military and civil defence, also includes response to chemical attacks and incidents as well
as the multifaceted skills of EOD. ICDs in significant numbers have been laid in Mosul and areas near Daesh’s CW labs and munition factories may have been contaminated with toxic chemicals or even the CWAs themselves. Since the terrorist facilities were not subject to rigorous safeguards in the safe handling of materials and chemical waste, these facilities pose serious contamination risks to returning communities and teams tasked with EOD and remediation. Iraqi and Peshmerga security forces worked to reclaim these villages and towns and face extra hurdles over and above the varied dangers involved with disposal of munitions and concealed IEDs. This will require expansive containment and some decontamination depending on the nature of the chemical and if groundwater has been affected. These measures will require specialized training and equipment. Because of the wide range of potential contaminants, significant expertise will be needed to complete the clean-up in areas already in varying states of destruction. This has to be followed by testing and monitoring exposed territory to ensure it is safe for re-occupation and renewed farming.
A moving menace
ICDs laid by ISIS and contaminated sites are likely to be present in reclaimed territories in Syria, including the relocation of its CW production effort to Raqqa after the terrorists had been driven out of much of its Iraqi-held territory. And with so many adherents either returning to
panic amongst local exposed civilians and combatants in rear areas and along supply routes. This reflected the group’s combining psychological warfare and terrorism with tactical combat as a basic tenet of their operational doctrine. It also added to the already all-pervading menace of CW attacks by Syrian state forces on opposition forces and civilians.
Circuits shown in a Daesh IED found in Libya.
their home countries or already homegrown, the possible use of CW by jihadist terrorists – and they include al-Qaeda and others – in the West is a threat that cannot be ignored. As with all matters pertaining to CBRN, a cross-sector approach involving local government agencies, scientific communities, and law enforcement working with private sector demining companies, NGO partners, and other stakeholders will be needed to identify contaminated areas and carry out environmental testing and remediation to restore so many of these blighted areas to something resembling normality, public safety and security. ❚❙
Left: Alleged chemical IED found in Damascus in 2013 and its measurements.
Right: Peshmerga special forces gather near Syria in June 2014. The Peshmerga were specifically targeted by Daesh’s ICDs. ©Enno Lenze/Wikipedia
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A digitally colorized scanning electron micrograph depicts numerous filamentous Ebola virus particles in green, budding from a chronically infected VERO E6 cell in orange at 25,000 x magnification.
Zyg Dembek asks if advances in synthetic biology will be a blessing – or a curse
The genie is out The buzz about synthetic biology has stirred concerns among scientists and government policymakers for national health security. ‘Synthetic biology’ has become an all-encompassing term, and refers to biotechnology concepts, approaches, and tools that enable the creation or modification of biological organisms. Pandora’s box has been opened
A Gorgas Institute biologist holds up a bat in Meteti, Panama during field studies of virus-carrying wildlife and insects as part of Exercise New Horizons joint medical services training held in June 2018.
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©USAF/Sen. Airman Dustin Mullen
Colorized transmission electron micrograph showing some of the morphology displayed by the Ebola virus. The exact origin, locations and natural reservoir of Ebola virus remain unknown.
of the lamp S ynthetic biology could describe the development of customized genes via DNA synthesis, transforming cells with new DNA, creating an engineered organism capable of being used as a biosensor, designing proteins or nucleic acids systems, creating synthetic genetic pathways and novel bacteria, and many other genetic manipulations, which are possible by novel biological research applications. This explosion in synthetic biology research has been made possible by the infusion of knowledge from combining interdisciplinary principles from molecular biology and genetic engineering with expertise from other biological, chemical and physical sciences.
Biosecurity and bioethics
While new developments from synthetic biology hold great promise for beneficial advances in drug development and disease intervention, bioethics and biosecurity issues surrounding synthetic biology abound. For example, synthetic biology could theoretically be used by those with nefarious intent to create a previously-inaccessible pathogen, such as smallpox virus, by recreating its genome and generating virus to infect millions of people. Or perhaps to modify
an existing bacteria or virus so that conventional antibiotics or vaccines won’t work to protect against an infection – or even discovering how to use a novel artificial metabolic pathway to modify a chemical agent.
If you think that such genetic manipulations can’t be done, researchers at the University of Alberta recently revealed that they had synthesized the previously extinct horsepox virus, related to the smallpox virus, from mail-order genetic material! These Canadian researchers provide a constructive rationale for reconstituting the horsepox virus, stating in their published research paper that a vaccine developed from the previously-extinct horsepox virus has the potential to provide a superior smallpox vaccine. But that doesn’t mean that Pandora’s Box has not been opened. The Canadian scientists admit in their monograph that “this is clearly an example of dual-use research, and observations like these poses significant challenges for public health authorities. Most viruses could be assembled nowadays using reverse genetics, and these methods have been combined with gene synthesis technologies to assemble poliovirus and other
extinct pathogens like the 1918 influenza strain. Given that the sequence of variola virus has been known since 1993, our studies show that it is clearly accessible to current synthetic biology technology, with important implications for public health and biosecurity.”
“If it’s possible with horsepox, it’s possible with smallpox.” PROF. GERD SUTTER, LUDWIG MAXMILIANS UNIVERSITY, MUNICH
Given that the total cost to reconstitute horsepox was about $100,000/£76,000, and “did not require exceptional biochemical knowledge or skills, significant funds or significant time,” it would not take a wealthy or brilliant terrorist organization to conduct such work. Potential dual-use synthetic biology research should justifiably be scrutinized by government agencies concerned with public health protection. Awareness of synthetic biology’s Janus-faced potential has spurred action in the UK and US. In June 2018, the US National Academy of Sciences released the comprehensive report Biodefense in the Age of Synthetic Biology, sponsored by the US Department of Defense (DoD). It employs a strategic framework to analyze potential vulnerabilities enabled by synthetic biology. Important considerations include the CBNW 2019/01 53
BIOTERRORISM A microbiologist peers out from within the BSL-4 laboratory autoclave room at the CDC.
“You think it’s all tucked away nicely in freezers, but it’s not, the genie is out of the lamp.” DR. PETER JAHRLING, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES INTEGRATED RESEARCH FACILITY, FORT DETRICK, MARYLAND
availability and ease of use of technologies, challenges of producing an effective weapon, expertise and resources required to carry out an attack, and proactive and reactive measures that might be taken to help mitigate the effects of an attack.
Traditional biodefence measures are applicable to synthetic biology hazards. However, novel approaches are needed that can be applied to a wide range of threats, as is evaluation of monitoring for biothreats and strengthening the public health infrastructure in preparation for a potential attack. In July 2018, the Home Office published the UK Biological Security Strategy, to protect the nation from natural and synthetic biological risks, and outline the roles and responsibilities all governmental agencies will have in this endeavour. The UK biological security strategy for the first time unites the work across government to protect the UK and its interests from significant biological risks, no matter how these occur and no matter who or what they affect. It further describes the nature of biological risks and opportunities, examines how this science continues to evolve, and explains the national response to these challenges.
In September 2018, the US released its National Biodefense Strategy, which enables risk awareness to inform decision-making across the biodefence enterprise, ensures biodefence enterprise capabilities to prevent bio-incidents, strives for biodefence enterprise preparedness to reduce the impacts of bio-incidents, enables rapid response to limit the impacts of bio-incidents, and facilitates recovery to restore the community, the economy, and the environment after a bio-incident.
The US has also established advisory committees which can provide government consultation on synthetic biology research proposals and biodefence preparations. These include the Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense and the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB). The potential for synthetic biology to enable dual-use research is a concern of both commissions. The bipartisan Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense was established in 2014, and is co-chaired by former Secretary for the Department of Homeland Security Thomas Ridge, and former Senator Joseph Lieberman. This Panel developed comprehensive guidance for implementable budget reform and government policies to optimally prepare national biodefence. Its October 2018 study Holding the Line on Biodefense outlines ways to implement and strengthen resilience capacity of local and state governments to respond in the event of large-scale biological events.
The NSABB is a Federal advisory committee chartered to provide advice,
USAMRIID Viral Immunology branch chief Dr John M. Dye Jr led a study in 2007 into non-human primates, involving the experimental Ebola drug ZMapp.
guidance, and leadership for biosecurity oversight of dual-use research for all Federal agencies. The NSABB recommends strategies for the oversight of federally supported dual-use biological research and related issues, in consideration of national security requirements and research community needs. The NSABB (up to 25 voting members) provide expertise in molecular biology, microbiology, clinical infectious diseases, laboratory biosafety and biosecurity, public health/epidemiology, health physics, pharmaceutical production, veterinary medicine, plant health, food production, bioethics, national security, biodefence, intelligence, national security, law enforcement, recombinant or synthetic nucleic acid research, and export control. NSABB recommendations enabled the development of screening guidance for providers of synthetic double-stranded DNA, clarification of the Select Agent Rules regarding their applicability to synthetic genomics, and guidance to explicitly address synthetic nucleic acids. The NSABB has also provided recommendations for federal policies for evaluation and oversight of dual use research, as well as research involving enhanced potential pandemic pathogens. The capacity of synthetic biology to more readily allow manipulation of bacteria and viruses has inarguably changed the nature of the threat from biological agents. But we have within existing government agencies and preparedness efforts already developed the means to defend against such novel biothreats. We should not hesitate in strengthening international efforts to bolster biodefence capacities against potential novel threats posed by synthetic biology. ❚❙
Col (Ret) Zygmunt F. Dembek, PhD, MS, MPH is an epidemiologist and biochemist. He has written extensively on biodefence and has conducted international biodefence training on five continents. 54 CBNW 2019/01
The CBRN threat is real. Are you prepared?
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Martin Valovsky shows us that in responding to a CBRN silent killer, the toughest enemy is...
All photos © SEC Technologies
low rumbling of truck in the distance interrupts the silence. It is pitch dark and freezing gets quickly under the skin. Nights in the desert are harsh. There are three or four of us sitting bored in the trailer. After the first five minutes taking Falcon 4G out of the box and switching it on, we have been sitting the whole night trying not to fall asleep. The mostly successful fight to stay awake is randomly interrupted by the movement of your head falling… then jolting awake… then quickly getting back into position. Eyes are wide open again in a split second.
Disasters don’t wait for a spotlight nor do they report their arrival. Less than a mile from us, a silent killer is slowly spreading in the air, the concentration of vapour just within the detection limits, yet high enough to kill people. Options to save lives are quickly decreasing with time.
The reading on our display is clear: MES agent detected. The same constant message has come with every measurement for the past few minutes; only the concentration changes. Until now everyone is calm. “..Concentration two milligrams per cubic metre, one minute to end of release… over” echoes the voice on the radio in Peter’s hand. Mike notes down the data. “We match the concentration of the referee system the whole time. From one point two kilometres away: isn’t that great?” Mike is filling up the notepad with 56 CBNW 2019/01
data. Back-scattering shows clear air all the whole way up to the tunnel, with the stuff only detected inside it. Luckily, this is just an experimental trial and collecting data is all that matters. The ‘silent killer’ is replaced by a simulant. Nobody is in danger.
The toughest enemy
By the end of the night many of us are satisfied with the results. “Very good. We had few alarms,” said a technician from one of the teams who’d placed the device inside the tunnel. “Collected a lot of data,” said another guy.
Successful trials; just the time... The time is driving me mad. I don’t remember the last time I slept. Preparations take ages. Tuning point detectors inside the tunnel and moving passive stand-off detectors in front of the tunnel as a 200-m-long cloud is too small for their wide field of view. Once everyone seems to be ready,
there are still another few minutes to collect the background. From the moment everyone got into position eternity had passed. Our team was sitting and waiting with nothing to do. Some of the preparations must be there just to collect better data for further training development. Still, most of the noticeable procedures happening around us are simply necessary to deploy this or that particular technology. In many instances it’s just moving the system itself. It doesn’t take too long for it to hit me. The time! Time is the enemy we have to beat first! If this had been a real scenario where lives of people are in danger, how much time would we have? Real life brings upon us complex scenarios we have not prepared for. Would we have enough time without preparation, would it be even possible to collect data without knowing the method of the release? How do you know where the cloud is in the first place? Assuming this was a triggering event and we can assume where the chemical
TRINITY OF DETECTION Having reliable data in the shortest possible time is crucial, and without figuring out how to beat the clock we can hardly win. To do that we need to sort out three main questions:
1 Rapid deployment of a system that can be deployed without
any previous preparation to enable data to be collected instantly
2 Low detection threshold: the ability to detect clouds that are close to the ground and also in low concentrations
3 Ability to collect data from a safe distance – miles away
DETECTION A final check-up is carried out before delivery to customer.
One of the inventors and current CTO conducts demonstration in Italy.
Master Control Module.
is, have we got our point detectors there? How long does it take for a reconnaissance vehicle to drive downwind? Or for a passive stand-off system to come close enough if the cloud is too small, or low in height? No, wait a minute – the background wasn’t collected. So let’s fly the drone. Drones are fast. There’s another explosion, a triggering event – on the opposite site. The first drone was already in the cloud; we can’t bring it back as it will be contaminated. So let’s deploy another one... The clock is ticking. What will be the next course of action? I can go on and on with theoretical scenarios that will suit or create barriers
for one or another technology. And yes, all these barriers we can overcome. All but one: the time. Time is the enemy that beats most of the systems. I strongly believe that each of the existing technologies has its benefits – while none is perfect. No one technology can provide the answer to all our demands. Rather, the correct combination of all available devices is the way forward. This involves combining the various technologies with versatile operating procedures. And for different scenarios, any one of them could have the upper hand. So far, only one technology appears to beat the clock for the trinity of detection – rapid deployment,
The Falcon 4G tripod version is equipped with both camera and aiming scope as an option.
low-detection threshold, and long distances – in the same time. This is active stand-off detection, and in particular, differential absorption LIDAR (DIAL). When the development of stand-off systems began decades ago, everyone was preparing for a big war – when the enemy would spread tons of chemicals: one big army fighting another big army. Even though this scenario is still possible, terrorism and hybrid, asymmetric wars are now the more likely settings for chemical attack. This means small, localized clouds in densely populated areas – and with no prior warning and no visible triggering event. The complexity of the riddle is increasing. How much time do we have? zy
Martin Valovsky is founder of SEC Technologies, a company producing stand-off detection systems for chemical and biological warfare agents. He is also an investor in multiple technological companies. CBNW 2019/01 57
In the past year there has been a spike in multinational CBRN exercises in Europe
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TRAINING CBNW Deputy Editor David Oliver goes out on exercise to test Europe’s CBRN capabilities
n December 2017, the JCBRN Defence Centre of Excellence (COE) hosted a NATO Technical Exploitation Workshop held in Vyškov in the Czech Republic. The workshop was an activity under the Emerging Security Challenges Division’s Defence against Terrorism Programme of Work (Reinforced) and was co-chaired by Major Holm Steen, Danish Army Intelligence Centre, and Samuel Henze, NATO Headquarters-International Staff/ Emerging Security Challenges Division/ Counter-Terrorism Section (NATO HQ – IS/ESC [CT]).
the commander’s priorities including targeting, operations, judicial proceedings, force protection and training. The workshop was open to participants from all NATO, and seven non-NATOnations including Australia, Austria, Ireland, Finland, New Zealand, Sweden, and Switzerland – ideally military and government officials of captain (OF-2) to colonel (OF-5) level with technical exploitation capability development responsibilities. These were from the sub-tactical level to theatre and national level, as well as weapons intelligence and intelligence experts and functional
subject matter experts. In total, 30 participants from six countries and also NATO HQ and of course JCBRN Defence COE attended. To better clarify the roles of existing EOD, C-IED, technical exploitation and CBRN Defence capabilities, four situations were identified and led to the conclusion to better co-ordinate the next editions of C-IED and CBRN defence-related standardization documents. Another important conclusion was to develop a Low Level Collect standard to guide all-arms Level 1 collection of hazardous material (DMAT), including in a CBRN environment and contaminated DMAT.
One of the workshop’s objectives was to facilitate better coordination between C-IED, EOD, and the CBRN community. One day was specifically dedicated to a potential role of CBRN defence capabilities within Technical Exploitation – the application of scientific methods to gain further knowledge and insight from information, materiel and captured persons. Technical exploitation supports
Left: A Slovakian soldier is decontaminated at the personnel decon site as part of Toxic Lance at Training Centre Lest, Slovakia. Right: Texas Army National Guard engineers with soldiers from the Czech Republic and Slovakia supporting Exercise Toxic Lance. Below: Soldiers from the US, Czech Republic and Slovakia in a Toxic Lance search-andrescue exercise involving a chemical warfare scenario. ©US Army National Guard
Following the JCBRN Defence COE’s workshop in the Czech Republic, specialists of chemical troops from the Czech Republic, Slovakia and the US enhanced their skills during Exercise Toxic Lance held in the Slovak Training and Test Centre of Radiation, Chemical and Biological Protection in Zemianske Kostolany and the Lešť military training area in March 2018. The annual exercise was a two-week training event held by the Slovakian CBRNE Battalion with participation from the Czech Republic’s CBRN Regiment soldiers trained to build interoperability and strengthen their skills in chemical warfare.
The first week of Exercise Toxic Lance not CBNW 2019/01 59
TRAINING only consisted of scenario-based training on CBRN decontamination, reconnaissance and surveillance, but also on space tunnel entry, clandestine laboratory sampling, outdoor soil and water sampling, and search and rescue. At the end of the week, the soldiers demonstrated their new learning in a simulated response that required the detection of live CWAs, including lewisite, di-phosgene, mustard and sarin.
Week two of the exercise covered many of the same training topics but with one significant adaptation. Instead of operating in a classroom as they did in the first half of the course, they were responding to the fictional threat in both a large tactical manoeuvre space and in actual urban terrain. Also in the second week soldiers of the three CBRN platoons from the US, Slovakia and Czech Republic worked
Above: Fourteen nations participated in Coronat Mask, a CBRN defence exercise held in Germany in September 2018. Right: NATO troops taking part in Exercise Coronat Mask check casualties in the field.
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“Exercise Coronat Mask 18 has allowed us to demonstrate a full spectrum of defensive CBRN capabilities across a variety of scenarios where this exercise has tested all participants in key CBRN disciplines and shown how capable our collective skills can be. We have reinforced on an already high degree of interoperability and continuously learned from each other through cross-training. This exercise has been a huge success and we must build upon it.” COMMANDER, BUNDESWEHR ABC ABWEHRKOMMANDO, COL. HENRY NEUMANN
together to establish search and rescue elements, medical triage of contaminated victims and emergency decontamination stations.
The Indiana Army National Guard’s
438th Chemical Company participated in Toxic Lance through the Indiana National Guard’s 24-year state partnership with Slovakia. Working with their Slovakian counterparts for well over two decades, members of the Indiana Guard have been able to foster a positive relationship with the Slovakian army that grows with each exercise. Also participating in Toxic Lance were soldiers of the Texas Army National Guard’s 836th Engineer Company, 136th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade. The Texas Guard Soldiers are search-andrescue-qualified, and tasked with providing real-world response to the US Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Region VI as part of the 136th’s Homeland Response Force. Seeking to increase its capabilities in protecting its citizens from the threats presented by extremist and terrorist organizations, the Slovakian army is currently focused on improving its rapid mobilization response operations and enhancing its rescue techniques that would be used during a chemical attack. Soldiers from the 836th participated in
TRAINING the Toxic Lance training to provide search-and-rescue guidance to the Slovakian soldiers.
Exercise Toxic Lance was followed by an even more comprehensive CBRN training exercise in Slovakia, Toxic Valley 2018. In September CBRN troops practised their procedures along with their allied teams for Sampling and Identification of Chemical Agents (SICA). This exercise has been held traditionally at the CBRN Training and Testing Centre Zemianske Kostoľany, with the training participants from 12 countries and three NATO training institutions. The aim of the exercise was to practise standard operating procedures and techniques for SICA teams and deployable laboratories with the use of real toxic chemical substances. Taking part in Toxic Valley 2018 were military observers from the participating countries and a total of 119 allied and 92 Slovak troops deployed on the exercises in Zemianske Kostoľany. In addition to members of the SVK Armed Forces, Slovakia was also represented by experts from its National Criminal Agency (NAKA). SICA/Weapons Intelligence Team experiments – a joint endeavour of the JCBRN Defence C-IED and EOD COEs – were conducted in conjunction with the Slovak Field Exercise Toxic Valley 2018, which in turn will be executed in close synchronisation with the largest NATO CBRN Exercise of the last decades, Coronat Mask 2018.
“There continues to be growing interest in CBRN defence globally and very much so in our Alliance, and this has been reflected in the media attention given to Exercise Coronat Mask. With Germany as the framework nation, NATO member contributions have been significant and I am delighted with the high degree of cooperation throughout, culminating in this excellent DV Day.” CHIEF, BUNDESWEHR JOINT SUPPORT SERVICE LT. GEN. MARTIN SCHELLEIS
Exercise Coronat Mask 2018, a Germanled CBRN exercise held in Bruchsal, Germany 14-27 September 2018, was part of the multinational initiative called Framework Nations Concept (FNC) that was introduced to NATO in 2013 by Germany. Within NATO, the FNC is one of the driving forces of multinational defence co-operation. Following the 2008 financial crisis, NATO Member States sought after ways in which forces could be more effective using an already available amount of resources. As a result, participating states are able to hold training exercises that coincide with the changing security and defence climate. With these pillars in place, the opportunity to establish Exercise Coronat Mask became available to NATO Member States, in addition to non-member states. The 2018 exercise, which included 14 Allied Nations and 1,300 personnel, was composed of a series of exercises and 62 CBNW 2019/01
NATO CBRN specialists wear two different positive-pressure personnel suits (PPPS) for use in biocontainment training during Exercise Coronat Mask.
drills based on scenarios demonstrating the identification, reconnaissance, analysis and decontamination of suspected chemical agents. Plans are already underway for the next exercise, where the NATO CBRN Battalions will undergo further enhanced training for the next phase of defensive CBRN manoeuvres. Highlighting the continued European focus on CBRN training, in November twelve chemists from 11 member states of the OPCW took part in a professional course again in Slovakia, aimed at improvement of methodology and its participants’ psychological resistance when working with real toxic chemical substances. They had the possibility to work with real chemical substances at
the CBRN testing facility at Zemianske Kostoľany which provided them with unique conditions for this training. Slovak Defence Minister Peter Gajdos said in connection with the course that it is already the third training of this kind to take place in 2018. According to Gajdos, the Slovak Defence Ministry provides technical background for training of OPCW experts on a regular basis. It is the 27th occasion that training of OPCW specialists has taken place on the premises of the centre. zy CBNW Deputy Editor David Oliver is the author of 18 defence-related books and a regular correspondent for defence publications.
One bomb OR TWO? Dai Williams invites us to think outside the box
In March 2008, the IDF (Israeli Defence Force) confirmed an air strike on a suspected nuclear reactor site at Al Khibar, Syria in Sept 2007. Operation Outside the Box led to controversy over the discovery of ‘anthropogenic natural uranium’ in samples collected by IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) inspectors in June 2008. Similar samples were found in Lebanon in 2006.
as this proof of a nuclear reactor under construction? Could IAEA authorities allow their experts to think outside the box when analysing the incident? Former IAEA weapons inspector Robert Kelley questioned anomalies between available evidence and official interpretations. Did traces of man-made uranium come from nuclear fuel or weapons used in the strike? The technology of radiological detection is complex. But even
Above: Zahrani Bridge, Lebanon, 14 July 2006: one bomb or two?
meticulous methods can be vulnerable to unconscious bias and assumptions or groupthink. How can analysts remain open to all possibilities for tactical interpretation and legal evidence, despite political agendas from sponsors and competing agencies keen to avoid embarrassing findings? One organizational strategy developed in the US to mitigate bias and groupthink is red teaming – viewing a problem from an adversary or competitor’s perspective, enhancing decision-making by challenging assumptions, having more than one team involved in critical projects as devil’s advocate. The red team and blue team scenario happened by chance in Lebanon – revealing uranium contamination from not one bomb, but two. CBNW 2019/01 63
URANIUM WEAPONS nor higher than natural uranium content in their samples. Harwell’s results were a problem.
HOW MANY BOMBS? The Zahrani Bridge photo appears to show a dual strike with two different warheads – a HE penetrator, and thermobaric with powerful vacuum effects to disrupt large structures. A similar event at Khiam might explain Craters A and B, two different types and sizes of weapons with different isotopic ratios.
Blue & Red teams in Lebanon 2006
In September 2006 the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) conducted a post-conflict assessment in Lebanon after the Israel-Hezbollah War in July-August. Their ‘Blue Team’ surveyed infrastructure damage and the environmental effects of land, sea and air strikes with 162,000 weapons. UNEP did not expect depleted uranium (DU) contamination in Lebanon since there were no armoured targets, for which DU tends to be used due to its penetrative qualities. What they did find was not expected, nor politically acceptable to UN sponsors. In effect the ‘Red Team’ started when Lebanese physics professor Dr Mohd Ali Kobeissi detected radiation in a Crater (A) in Khiam in August 2006, which still gave a reading of 726 nSv/ hr (nanoSieverts per hour) in September. (The sievert (Sv) is the SI derived unit of radiation dose). High natural-uranium contamination was found from bombed locations in Afghanistan in 2002. No-one expected that black dust on debris I collected from the adjacent Crater (B), or in an ambulance air filter from Beirut, would show low enriched uranium (LEU) contamination. Mass-spectrometry tests to measure the isotopic ratio – the relative abundance of isotopes in samples – conducted at the Atomic Energy Research Establishment at Harwell gave isotopic U238/U235 ratios of 108-123. Natural uranium (NU) is usually 137.9 +/- 1, and depleted uranium (DU) 454. UNEP’s first weapons survey in Lebanon led by senior UNEP scientist Mario Berger relied on 33 smear tests in target locations. These gave quick and cheap isotopic identification to eliminate DU. They only reported three soil samples – needed to differentiate anthropogenic NU from natural background uranium. The first UNEP soil sample taken from Khiam Crater A showed 26 mg/kg of NU – 10 times higher than normal. UNEP announced that there was no DU, nor enriched uranium, ©Dai Williams
Crater B. I collected the surface water from one of the concrete slabs, centre right. (I did not realise the whole pond – and ground below – was saturated with low enriched – 0.91% U235 – uranium oxide particles).
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Bomb fragment from Crater A provided the highest UNEP U-238 smear sample. It was 11 x the average found at other sites in Lebanon. It had an isotopic ratio of 141, which is outside the box for natural uranium (137.9+/-1).
The return match
In November 2006 both teams revisited the Khiam site together. Field cooperation was good and vital for safety, as well as mine awareness in a region littered with antipersonnel mines and larger UXO (unexploded ordnance). The Blue Team collected 15 soil samples near and into Crater A, a smear from a bomb fragment in the crater, and ground water from the bottom. They carried out ICPMS (Inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry) – which is
able to detect metals and several non-metals at concentrations as low as one part in 1015 (part per quadrillion, ppq). The ICPMS results indicated increased uranium levels up to 52 mg/kg – 20 times normal – in Crater A, and average ratio 141 – both outside the normal box. Shared water samples were taken from Crater A. I also collected water samples from Crater B and South Beirut. Harwell found LEU in the ground water from surface water in Crater B (108), matching the Crater B soil sample, and in the ground water from Crater A, possibly leached from the larger flooded crater. The Blue Team water sample tested at the Spietz Laboratory in Switzerland was
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URANIUM WEAPONS filtered before testing and showed similar U238/U235 ratio U as the soil. As 80% of uranium oxides created in explosions are insoluble, Harwell used a different procedure to dissolve suspended solids before ICPMS testing.
Look behind you…
UNEP’s mission included assessing the use of depleted uranium in the airstrikes on Lebanon. This assumption may have limited the variety and quantity of samples and tests used in their countrywide survey – far less than their Balkans studies but with faster results to eliminate DU. They did not test Crater B. UNEP’s one-page final report on Khiam concluded that “The results confirmed the original findings that no DU, enriched uranium or higher than natural uranium levels are present at
Uranium test results outside the natural uranium box. Test data found from Spiez and Harwell Laboratories.
high levels of uranium dust in air after air strikes in Kosovo and Serbia, apparently natural uranium disturbed by explosions. Were weaponeers using NU ballast instead of DU to avoid detection? If so, then tests for isotopic ratio and abundance (concentration) are essential. The truly natural uranium box has tight limits – isotopic ratio (137.88 +/-1 with high-resolution ICPMS), 2-3 mg/kg in soil, below 3 mg/litre in water, and 0-10 ng/litre in urine, with known regional variations.
the site, and that the readings are due to natural causes.” UNEP did not describe or publish their second visit test results in their report, but these were on their website and in a joint report with IAEA in 2007.
Samples from Khiam and other conflict zones that fall outside this natural uranium box for airborne dust, smears, soil, water, and urine samples raise questions for weapons analysts and health professionals. Additional tests may show whether samples come from low-temperature refining or are oxides from high-temperature explosions. IAEA and UNEP face hard dilemmas. Similar issues may be relevant when detecting other CBRN hazards. Red Teaming may help analysts to mitigate conscious or unconscious bias in the detection and interpretation of suspected CBRN threats – thinking outside the box of shared assumptions and methods. ❚❙
Thinking outside the uranium box
In 1999 scientists in Hungary, Macedonia, and Greece detected Blue Team (UNEP team) and Red Team (Dr Kobeissi, Williams) and others re-visit Crater A in Khiam, Lebanon, in November 2006.
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Dai is a work psychologist who has researched uranium weapons since 1999. He visited Lebanon twice in 2006 and wrote for UNIDIR (UN Institute for Disarmament Research) on uranium weapons in 2008.
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FEATURING NCT will be hosting its third edition of the multi-agency, international NCT PRO Trainings at NCT USA 2019. Over the duration of three days, teams of professionals will be trained based on their expertise & requirements using equipment provided by leading CBRNe, C-IED/ EOD companies from all over the world.
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Whatâ€™s in your
Superfund oil pit waste site in Texas. ÂŠUS NOAA
ertain locations are also a veritable grab bag for terrorists seeking to export their own brand of horror to the highest bidder anywhere in the world. Materials for dirty bombs, improvised chemical weapons utilizing toxic industrial chemicals and materials, and potential weapons cultivated from biomedical waste are the primary culprits. Reductions in regulations to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) could have the unintended consequence
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of easy access to these materials by more nefarious organizations as well as individuals, both foreign and domestic.
US Military or Department of Energy (DOE) waste sites contain nuclear materials and radioactive waste from nuclear weapons, research, development, production and waste disposal practices, as well as mixed toxic substances. They may also include unexploded conventional ordnance. Along with DOE sites there are also
legacy sites, overseen by the Department of Defense (DOD) generated from chemical weapons research and development, production, and demilitarization and disposal programmes and processes. There are also areas that have gained notoriety due to their vast contamination by hazardous substances and pollutants. These areas are known as Superfund sites and are under the supervision and watchful eye of the EPA. Superfund is a Federal programme to fund the clean-up and remediation of active or abandoned sites contaminated with hazardous
backyard? Dee Ruelas examines the legacy and impact of hazmat waste sites on communities
Scattered throughout the United States and many countries around the world are sites that have been utilized by the military or industry and are now rendered unusable. The groundwater, aquifer, surrounding bodies of water, air and ground are often damaged to the point of acute environmental toxicity. The communities in which these wastelands lie are often the source of public health disasters in the form of disease clusters and are potential nightmares for first responders.
substances and pollutants. These toxic waste areas are those listed among the worst in the US and pose severe hazards to health and the environment.
Finally, there are the brownfields - areas once the home of dry cleaners, local industry, and even former meth labs. The usually vacant lots are frequently fenced off, occasionally house abandoned structures, and are often devoid of vegetation beyond sparse scrub. Some of these sites are marked, others are not.
They regularly contribute to blight in our cities, when not addressed quickly. Brownfields can be found in shopping areas, industrial parks and neighbourhoods alike. The EPA defines a brownfields property as: real property, the expansion, re-development, or reuse of which may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of hazardous substances, pollutants or contaminants.
Who will clean it up?
Since World War I the refinement of CW
materials has become common and subject to more mass production. Sulphur mustard and nitrogen mustard along with chlorine and phosgene were the forerunners of chemical warfare agents (CWAs). Although most nations are destroying or have destroyed their stockpiles, some rogue nations are still utilizing these devastating weapons of war. Since the 1990s, the sites where CW were researched, developed, produced and stored have been entrusted to the DOD for disposal and cleanup. The US ď‚†
CBNW 2019/01 69
HAZMAT Army Chemical Materials Agency is tasked with and performs the painstaking work of ensuring that the US Army complies with the International Chemical Weapons Convention(CWC), the treaty (ratified by the US in 1997) requiring destruction of all CW and facilities. Both mobile and fixed chemical demilitarization assets are currently being utilized in the US and abroad to safely and effectively destroy CW stockpiles. Care is taken to provide surety, protective and medical countermeasures, environmental safety and community preparedness efforts. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) assists with community preparedness efforts. Two sites in the US are still active: The Pueblo Chemical Depot in Colorado and Bluegrass Army Chemical Depot in Kentucky.
Below: An RDECOM C&B Explosive Destruction System technician holds a sign in front of six 105-mm problematic projectiles just before entering them into the vessel for a detonation. Inset: The Explosive Destruction System is a safe and effective means of destroying chemical munitions. The blast, vapour and fragments are all contained inside the stainless steel chamber.
©US Army Chemical Materials Activity
Since the dawn of the Atomic Age in the 1930s, disposal of radioactive waste has been problematic. As R&D progressed to nuclear weaponry and test sites expanded, the ability to contain and deal with the aftermath of nuclear weapons R&D and production has been an unwieldy behemoth, as evidenced by sites such as the Hanford Reservation in Washington, The Nevada National Security Site, Rocky Flats in Colorado, and Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee. The Department of Energy (DOE) oversees the clean-up for these sites and others like them, using a variety of contractors. At DOE legacy sites, the nuclear and hazardous chemical waste operations have impacted the surrounding communities and the environment vis-à-vis the contamination of the aquifer, ground, nearby bodies of water and the flora and fauna of the immediate region. For example, because of radionuclide leaks, the sediments and waters of the Columbia River and its estuary have the highest radioactive content of any river in the US. Despite the introduction of artificial environmental radioactivity to the river system in the past, recent studies do not reveal extensive contamination with radionuclides. Addressing air, water and soil contamination caused by high-level radioactive wastes, including transuranic wastes, as well as low-level radioactive material and mixed toxic chemical waste streams from the Hanford site have been a high priority. For example, nuclear and non-nuclear industrial and research programmes at the Hanford site have been operational since 1943. Comprehensive ecological 70 CBNW 2019/01
EXPLOSIVE DESTRUCTION SYSTEM The centrepiece of this operation is the Explosive Destruction System (EDS). This chamber-like technology allows for the neutralization of the chemical agent and the destruction of the munitions and delivery system. The operation is environmentally safe, utilizing a stainless-steel containment vessel which captures the explosive blast, vapour/gas and fragments from the process.
The Gowanus Canal, Brooklyn, NY, has become stagnant and polluted by decades of run-off and dumping from local neighbourhoods and businesses.
studies, environmental sampling and monitoring and human health assessments have been ongoing for several decades, both on and off-site. The most toxic and voluminous wastes, 208 million litres, have sat in underground storage tanks, having been accumulated from mid-World War II as a highly dangerous remnant of the Manhattan Project. The last nuclear reactor to produce plutonium was decommissioned
in 1987. US government efforts to achieve environmental remediation, clean-up and a permanent solution for safe storage have been met with obstacles ranging from hydrogen explosions, potential runaway chain reactions, and leaks from corroded 55-gallon drums and metal corrosion of storage and containment structures. The Vitrification Isolation Plant (VIP)
HAZMAT is one waste processing facility which will utilize molten glass-like materials to bond with and encase liquid waste. All environmental remediation, clean-up, restoration and monitoring activities are overseen by the DOE, EPA and the Washington State Department of Ecology.
Below: Aerial view of the pilot plant built to utilize neutralization, then biotreatment, to destroy munitions containing 2,600 tons of mustard agent, part of a CW stockpile in storage at the US Army Pueblo Chemical Depot. ©US Army
An EPA Superfund Site shows contaminated soil and sediment and a transformer containing PCBs. A brownfields site has been revitalized following remediation. C
Left: Rusting barrels of nuclear waste dumped in the North Sea by the UK from about 1950 to 1980.
Non-military hazmat waste
Insofar as non-military hazardous waste sites are concerned, there are approximately 1,700 Superfund sites slated for clean-up and environmental remediation, with prioritization of the most hazardous areas slated for immediate or emergency action. The EPA oversees the programme and utilizes private entities to perform clean-up, disposal and restorative operations based on assessments performed by the EPA. It also seeks to investigate and locate offenders and enforce financial compensation from responsible parties. Brownfields also come under the purview of the US EPA. It collaborates with municipalities in granting funding to communities and environmental contractors to assess and characterize sites, train environmental workers and other aspects of environmental management.
The associated human health risks of 72 CBNW 2019/01
hazardous wastes sites are multifactorial, complex and often not easy to associate as causal factors in disease. There are many physicians and researchers that believe profound expressed health effects from these sites may induce chronic and debilitating diseases, including autoimmune disorders such as lupus and cardiovascular pathology and cancers. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), the US EPA Health Effects Laboratory, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and other governmental, academic and private organizations are involved in environmental health assessments and research related to Superfund activities. Evidence-based risk assessments are an integral and essential process needed for identifying and controlling any potential health risks due to environmental exposures. These sites are ubiquitous. In most cases, the remediation efforts are on
target and the affected areas are being restored to whatever semblance of normalcy they will ultimately reach. However, responsibility and accountability for both military and non-military hazardous materials management and environmental stewardship lies not only in those in governmental circles or corporate offices, but also squarely in the laps of our concerned citizens. Our cumulative experiences and lessons learned from the toxic and radioactive flotsam and jetsam discarded from our national security programmes and industrial activities will, hopefully, serve to enhance awareness, prepare for worst-case scenarios, and protect us from ourselves. ❚❙ Dee Ruelas is a retired Public Safety Communications Dispatcher. She is currently a certified emergency medical technician and Instructor with ICSAVE. org and is a former radiological technologist.
CBRNe SUMMIT EUROPE
Conference and Exhibition Birmingham, United Kingdom | 9th – 11th April 2019
Speaker Line-up: Deputy Chief Constable John Campbell, Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Lead, National Police Chief’s Council, United Kingdom Colonel Carlos Ardanaz, Commanding Officer, NBC Regiment, Spanish Army William Alberque, Head, Arms Control and Coordination Section, Political Affairs and Security Policy Division, NATO Colonel Wolfgang Reich, Deputy Director, NATO JCBRN Defence Centre of Excellence Colonel Denis Josse, Adviser on CBRN risks management & head of the pharmaceutical services, Alpes-Maritimes Fire and Rescue Services, France Allan Cordwell, Head of Group, Emergency Planning, Resilience and Response Unit, The Northern Care Alliance NHS Group, United Kingdom Lieutenant Colonel Andrea Gloria, CBRN Battalion Commander, 7th NBC Defense Regiment “CREMONA”, Ministry of Defence, Italy Major Christophe Vincart, CBRN SME for the General Staff, Strategy Department, Ministry of Defence, Belgium Lyudmila G. Simeonova, Head of CBRN Department, Fire Safety and Civil Protection Chief Directorate, Ministry of Interior, Bulgaria Inspector Mark Roberts, Emergency Planning Division, Police Service of Northern Ireland Lieutenant Colonel Ladislava Navratilova, Scientist and Chemical Expert, Fire Rescue Service, Ministry of Interior, Czech Republic Dr. Patrick Mullan, Principal Scientist, CBR Division, DSTL Professor Robert Chilcott, Head of Toxicology, University of Hertfordshire, United Kingdom Jon Hall QFSM, Director, Resilience Advisors
SPONSORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES AVAILABLE! To book a stand in our exhibitor hall please contact us at email@example.com or +44 (0)1582 346 706
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ART of the DEAL Colonel H R Naidu Gade asks if the Iran nuclear deal will hold out
ormal negotiations towards the JCPOA on Iran’s nuclear programme began with the adoption of the Joint Plan of Action, an interim agreement signed between Iran and the P5+1 in November 2013. For the next 20 months, Iran and the P5+1 engaged in negotiations, and in April 2015 agreed on an Iran Nuclear Deal Framework for the final agreement.
In July 2015, Iran and the P5+1 and EU confirmed agreement on the plan along with the ‘Roadmap Agreement’ made between Iran and the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency). As provided for in the JCPOA, the agreement was formally endorsed by the UN Security Council, incorporating it into international law. There was initially disagreement on if the deal is legally binding on the United States. Under the agreement, Iran agreed to eliminate its stockpile of 196 kg of 74 CBNW 2019/01
medium enriched uranium, cut its stockpile of low-enriched uranium (LEU) from 10,000 kg to 300 kg, and to reduce, by about two-thirds, the 19,138 gas centrifuges to 6,104 and totally eliminate its 1,008 advanced centrifuges. For the next 15 years, Iran was to only enrich uranium up to 3.67% – a percentage sufficient for civilian nuclear power and research. Iran also agreed not to build any new heavy-water (deuterium oxide) facilities for the same period of time. Uranium-enrichment activities will be limited to a single facility using first-generation centrifuges for ten years. Other facilities will be converted to avoid proliferation risks. To monitor and verify Iran’s compliance with the agreement, the IAEA will have regular access to all Iranian nuclear facilities. The agreement provides that in return for verifiably abiding by its commitments, Iran will receive relief from US, EU, and UNSC nuclear-related economic sanctions. On 1 May 2018 the IAEA reiterated its 2015 report, saying it
had found no credible evidence of nuclear weapons activity in Iran after 2009.
US withdrawal – EU response
In April 2018, the US and Israel stated that Iran did not disclose a past covert nuclear weapons programme to the IAEA, which was required in the 2015 deal. On 8 May 2018, President Trump announced that the US would withdraw from the agreement and that he would re-impose sanctions on Iran’s oil sector that had been lifted as part of the agreement. This put the US in violation of its obligations under the agreement, and thus constitutes unilateral American withdrawal from the deal. The US action revolved around perceived defects in the deal itself. The first one is that the deal isn’t entirely permanent, although the agreement not to build a nuclear weapon is permanent. The second is that the deal didn’t cover other problematic things Iran was doing, including ballistic missile
The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), also known as the Iran Nuclear Deal, is an agreement on Iran’s nuclear programme reached in Vienna on 14 July 2015 between Iran and
P5+1 and Iran foreign ministers meet in Geneva in October 2013 for negotiations over Iran’s nuclear programme.
the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, plus Germany (P5+1) and the European Union (EU).
©US Dept of State ©US Dept of State
Ministers of Foreign Affairs and other officials from P5+1, the EU, and Iran are pictured in Lausanne as the framework of a comprehensive agreement on Iran’s nuclear programme is announced on 2 April 2015.
development and its support for violent militias around the Middle East.
Iran’s nuclear programme
Iran’s nuclear programme was launched in the 1950s with the help of the US as part of the ‘Atoms for Peace’ programme. The participation of the Western countries in the programme and other international nuclear cooperation
continued until the 1979 Iranian Revolution. In 1981, Iran concluded that the country’s nuclear development should continue. Towards this end, agreements were reached with France and Argentina, which soon fizzled out. In the 1990s, Russia formed a joint research organization with Iran, providing Iran with Russian nuclear experts and technical information.
Iran’s first nuclear power plant, the Bushehr l Reactor, was completed with major assistance from the Russian government agency Rosatom and officially opened on 12 September 2011. Iran began to indigenously design and build a 360 MW (megawatt) reactor at Darkhovin basing on the IR-40 – a 40-MW Heavy Water Reactor under construction at Khondab, adjacent to the Arak Heavy Water production plant Iran had been building. Spent fuel from a heavy-water reactor contains plutonium suitable for a nuclear weapon. The programme included several research sites, two uranium mines, a research reactor, and uranium processing facilities that include three known uranium enrichment plants. In two such facilities at Natanz and Fordo, uranium hexafluoride gas was fed into centrifuges to separate out the most fissile isotope, uranium-235. Enriched uranium is used to make reactor fuel, but also nuclear weapons. In 1970, Iran ratified the CBNW 2019/01 75
COUNTRY FOCUS Below: Satellite image taken in 2009 of the Arak Heavy Water Production Plant that was first revealed publicly by the National Council of Resistance of Iran in August 2002 and confirmed by commercial satellite imagery in December 2002.
©Obama’s White House
Bottom Right: Iran agreed to re-design the IR-40 40 megawatt heavy water reactor to avoid production of weapons-grade plutonium. ©ISIS
Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), making its nuclear programme subject to the IAEA’s verification.
In the 2000s, the revelation of Iran’s clandestine uranium enrichment programme raised concerns that it might be intended for non-peaceful uses. The IAEA launched an investigation in 2003 after an Iranian dissident group revealed undeclared nuclear activities carried out by Iran. France, Germany and the UK (the EU3) undertook a diplomatic initiative with Iran to resolve questions about its nuclear programme. In October 2003, the Iranian government and EU-3 Foreign Ministers issued the Tehran Declaration, in which Iran agreed to co-operate with the IAEA, sign and implement an Additional Protocol as a voluntary, confidence-building measure, suspend its enrichment and reprocessing activities during the course of the negotiations. Even before the Additional Protocol was ratified by the parliament, Iran was allowing the required access by the IAEA inspectors.
The IAEA has consistently stated “it is unable to conclude that Iran’s nuclear programme is entirely peaceful.” In February 2006, the IAEA Board of Governors decided to report Iran’s non-compliance with regard to NPT safeguards to the UNSC. This forced Iran to cease implementation of the Additional Protocol and all other cooperation with the IAEA beyond that 76 CBNW 2019/01
which Iran acknowledged it was required to provide under its NPT safeguard agreement. Because of Iran’s non-compliance with its NPT obligations, the UNSC demanded that Iran suspend its enrichment-related and reprocessing activities. When Iran rejected the demand, the UNSC imposed a number of sanctions, the toughest the world community has imposed on any country.
What next for the deal?
The American withdrawal doesn’t mean the deal is immediately dead. Technically, the nuclear deal is an agreement between Iran and the P5+1 and the EU — which means the US leaving the agreement doesn’t end it. If the rest of the P5+1 keep their sanctions off, Iran may decide to continue to adhere to the deal’s restrictions even after the US pull out. That’s what Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said his country would do. Following the US withdrawal, the
EU enacted an updated blocking statute on 7 August 2018 to nullify US sanctions on countries trading with Iran. Russia and China, as of now, are strongly backing the deal. However, it is only a matter of time if EU efforts to stick to the deal would survive intense US diplomatic and economic pressures. All this is bolstering Iranian hardliners and also aggravating existing divisions in Iran and narrowing the government’s room for any manoeuvre. Russia sees Iran as a captive trade partner without the West and may be happy if the deal fails. Is the JCPOA – reached after such long, painstaking and hard negotiations – bound to be doomed? zy Indian Army Veteran Col H R Naidu Gade is the Chief Consultant for CBRNe Secure India, a forum and knowledge centre bringing awareness to the public and security agencies of the threats arising from the use of CBRNE materials and their disastrous consequences.
TERRIFFIC! Rob Munro introduces a new scheme to directly improve the response to an RNe incident
o complicate things even more, the situation can often be extremely dynamic. The continued presence of the perpetrators or terrorists at the crime scene and the potential combination of the RN attack with a conventional attack are genuine threats. Changing meteorological conditions, the fragility of the buildings damaged by the explosion, the presence of secondary IEDs (improvised explosive devices) timed to explode after the arrival of the first responders, the presence and state of the victims, and the reaction of the general public are all further complications.
Faster response time
For the incident commander, it is vitally important to find out as much about the situation as possible and that situational awareness is updated dynamically,
accurately and quickly. Improved situational awareness and a Common Operational Picture will ensure that the Incident Commander is able to make better-informed decisions. In particular, the evolution of the radiation plume and determining the extent and severity of the contamination and the dimensions of the control zone are essential elements. An improved initial response would certainly contribute to fewer victims, less damage, more effective use of resources and in turn reduce the direct and indirect costs of a CBRNe incident. However, the early-stage information can be somewhat limited and is often not quickly available. Detection and measurement networks are not adequately adaptive and dynamically responsive, including the repositioning of detectors to follow the evolution of the contamination.
Horizon 2020 project
A project which has received funding from the European Unionâ€™s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme will deliver a step change in the effectiveness of first responders during the first hours of an RNe (Radiological, Nuclear, explosive) incident. TERRIFFIC is designed to lead to reduced response time, fewer risks for the response team, and less human intervention in the operation due to a higher number of automated processes and extended mobile detection capabilities. Within the project, explosives are only being considered in the context of a RDD scenario, in which the characteristics of the explosion and the explosives used will influence the development of the radioactive plume. Detection and analysis of explosives is not within the scope of TERRIFFIC.
The first hours of a response to a CBRNe incident, and especially a radiological event, are particularly critical. Responders are looking to contain the most severe consequences, stop the ongoing criminal or terrorist threat, save victims, manage the crime scene and organize an effective response. This is also the time when first responders are most at risk as the nature, extent and intensity of the contamination is still unknown and secondary devices or contaminated objects may still be present.
78 CBNW 2019/01
UK police practise CBRN response.
RESPONSE Tools for early and Effective Reconnaissance in cbRne Incidents providing First responders Faster Information and enabling better management of the Control zone Modular technology
TERRIFFIC aims to enrich the broader European response to RNe events by developing a set of modular technology components in a comprehensive system. These will include new detectors, mobile detector units, algorithms, drones, robots, dispersion models, information management software, and decision support systems. The project will also provide detailed information on the applicability of some developments within a chemical and biological context, so while the focus is on RNe, the outcomes are intended to have a wider impact. Throughout the project, dedicated Key Performance Indicators will measure the progress towards targeted performance goals, such as significant acceleration of the time terrain interventions can be commenced to more accurate, and near-to-real-time estimation of the
Above: The TERRIFFIC system will improve situational awareness. Below: This graph shows the TERRIFFIC Control Zone.
control and exclusion zones. Advanced mixed-reality technology will also be leveraged to provide first responders with ad-hoc available and continuously updated information during operations.
UAVs will be used to improve situational awareness.
All aspects of the project are practitionerdriven. Leading-edge technologies will be provided by the R&D partners, whereas ©Lukas AUER, International Security Competence Centre GmbH
“TERRIFFIC will deliver a step change in the response during the first hours – reduced response time, less risks for the response team and less human intervention.”
key innovative components will be developed by SMEs already involved in military or first-responder markets taking on the commercialization of the TERRIFFIC system and its components. The practitioners will be strongly involved throughout the development process, components assessment and technology trialling. The project will also leverage results from previously successful FP7 projects and will cooperate closely with ENCIRCLE on the CBRN Cluster and with eNOTICE on training and technology testing and assessment. The first TERRIFFIC Public Workshop took place 6-7 November in Paris, hosted by the French Fire Brigade National Federation. During the workshop practitioners’ needs were collected during the first hours of an RNe incident to define the specifications of the TERRIFFIC System, based on a set of pre-defined scenarios. These scenarios were in turn put together with the assistance of operational first responders to ensure their relevance and prioritization. To get involved in TERRIFFIC or to find out more about the project, please visit www.terriffic.eu. This project has received funding from the EU’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 786729. zy Rob Munro from ARTTIC is the dissemination lead in the TERRIFFIC project and has 12 years’ experience of working on European-funded projects, including CATO, TARGET and DRIVER+. Before that he worked for leading brand identity and design consultancies on major brands including HSBC, ConocoPhilllips and O2. CBNW 2019/01 79
Go with the FLOW Michel Philips and Claude Lefebvre describe new contamination units for French hospitals
All photos ÂŠ4S France
The two modules are viewed from the air.
In a CBRN event we all know decontamination of victims and responders is a vital part of emergency actions to save lives. All physiological studies show that the toxic effect of the contamination depends very much on its duration of contact with the skin or the vital organs of the wounded. Every minute gained greatly improves the prognosis Front view of the decontamination units.
of survival and recovery.
rance has long considered this particular risk as a particularly important technical and organizational challenge for all emergency services and especially for hospital services, which are equipped with decontamination facilities in the various defence zones of the country.
SMART-DECO in France
The use of decontamination units, mobile or fixed, in fully integrated containers 80 CBNW 2019/01
eliminates all long and tedious assembly operations, and is quickly operational. The decontamination units proposed by the company SMART-DECO are 6.06 m x 2.44 m containers that are easily transportable and deployable in a few minutes by a limited number of operators. Each unit integrates all the equipment needed for almost immediate operation: water tanks, decontamination solution and effluent collection systems, electric generator, heating system for showers, and cabin air, ventilation, pumps, and
retention tanks for personal effects and clothing.
These elements are installed in a fixed position inside the module. Most of the elements are integrated in a false floor, which makes it possible to preserve almost all the surface available for the cabins. The system is operational without any assembly as soon as the doors of the unit are opened, for an undeniable time gain.
S E P T E M B E R 2 4 T H - 2 6 T H 2 0 1 9, M A L M Ö, S W E D E N
Organized by Swedish Defence Research Agency, FOI, Sweden
Welcome to the 13th CBRNe Protection symposium, Science for safety & security. This symposium is aimed for engaged professional people within the CBRNe-protection field.
Example of sessions are:
The symposium will take place in Malmö, a beautiful city in the southern part of Sweden, and in connection with the symposium an exhibition of CBRNe protection equipment will be arranged. The exhibition will offer a good opportunity for industry to interact and exchange ideas for next generation protection equipment with scientists, first responders, CBRNe experts within armed forces and stakeholders.
• Hazard Management
The scientific program will consist of keynote lectures with distinguished speakers and at least three parallel oral sessions throughout the symposium as well as poster presentations. Abstract submission will be open until March 31st.
• Medical Management
• Emerging Threats and Risks • Dispersion Techniques and Modeling • Detection and On-site Analysis • Identification/Forensics • Personal- and collective protection • Decontamination • Education/Training/Exercises • Commercial Developments
the 13 th cbrne protection symposium science for safety & security www.cbw.se
DECONTAMINATION The first health centre to be equipped with hospital decontamination units for EURO 2016 is the Lens hospital in northern France. CBRN decon units have been operational in specific exercises since then.
Modules can be set up by only two persons.
A wounded man is brought into the decontamination cabin on a stretcher.
WHEN USED IN A HOSPITAL CONTEXT, CBRN DECONTAMINATION UNITS MUST SATISFY SPECIFIC REQUIREMENTS: Avoid contamination of hospital installations Start decontamination treatment as rapidly as possible Be safe and easy to use by health personnel not specialized in CBRN defence Be able to treat one isolated patient as well as a big group in a major event Be compliant with health authority regulations The fixed installation of system components and the absence of moving partitions and adjoining flexible tanks allow better control of CBRN safety: perfect sealing of doors and rigid walls, controlled ventilation, immediate evacuation of the effluents in a rigid retention tank located under the false floor, before bedding and rejection to the sewer. These particulates avoid the risk of contamination transfer, effluent leakage and facilitate the restoration of operational condition after each use. The cabins are moulded in one piece without connecting joints, with perfectly smooth walls and rounded corners. The material is resistant to bases and acids. The complete cleaning of the cabins is achieved with ease in a short time and it is not necessary to wait for the drying of the module before re-packaging or moving. The containers where the modules are integrated comply with the ISO standard for shipping or land transport and do not require preparation for shipment.
These requirements can be satisfied with specific design choices. Contamination of hospital premises is avoided by installing the decontamination unit in stand-alone separated shelters. Rapid start-up of the 82 CBNW 2019/01
or many is obtained if the unit is both easy to set up, take down, and if a flow of patients can be treated. Compliance with health authorities’ regulations requires a walk-through and multi-cabin design.
An injured decontaminated victim is taken away on a stretcher.
treatment and ease of use is possible with a decontamination unit stored ready to function with nothing to set up or connect. Safety against the risk of environmental contamination is obtained by including all the tanks and equipment in a closed technical area under the floor. Reduced risk of contamination is obtained with specifically moulded cabins with flush walls, specific coating and airtight doors. Versatility and ability to treat one person
These design choices have been confirmed by user feedback. Complete training can be done in less than three days. The training specific to the utilization of the decontamination unit is less than one day. Set-up of one unit is done by two persons in three minutes. The units can be installed outside, near the hospital emergency service entrance; the liquid effluents can be treated before discharge into the sewage system. Units have proved to be adaptable for the treatment of a continuous flow of patients. ❚❙ Michel Philips is Managing Director of 4S France and Claude Lefebvre is an independent CBRN consultant.
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David Oliver rounds up the European Union’s CBRN defence initiatives for disaster response
In December 2017, the European Council (EC) took the historic step to adopt a decision establishing Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) with a total of 25 Member States deciding to participate in the projects in order to enhance Europe’s capabilities in response to civil emergencies
he participating Member States also agreed on a declaration identifying the first 17 collaborative PESCO projects, in the areas of capability development and in the operational dimension. Specific projects include the Deployable Military Disaster Relief Capability Package, which will deliver a multi-national specialist military package for the assistance to EU and other States and can be deployed within both EU-led and non EU-led operations.
The new EU capability will manage a range of emergencies including natural disasters, civil emergencies and pandemics. The EUFOR Crisis Response Operation Core (EUFOR CROC) will decisively contribute to the creation of a coherent full-spectrum force package, which could accelerate the provision of forces. EUFOR CROC will improve the 84 CBNW 2019/01
crisis management capabilities of the EU. The European Defence Agency (EDA) and the EEAS, including the EU Military Staff, are jointly providing secretariat functions for all PESCO matters, with a single point of contact for the participating Member States. On 6 March 2018, the Council adopted a roadmap for the implementation of the PESCO that provided strategic direction and guidance on how to structure further work on both processes and governance, including for projects and in relation to the sequencing of the fulfilment of commitments. In May 2018 a call for new project proposals was also issued by the PESCO Secretariat and following a six-month period of assessment and the next set of PESCO projects, was expected to be formally adopted by the Council in November 2018.
Implementing the plans
It will then set out a calendar for the review and assessment process of the
national implementation plans, which detail how participating Member States plan to fulfil the more binding commitments they have made to one another. It also provides a timeline for agreement on possible future projects, as well as the main tenets of a common set of governance rules for projects to be adopted by the Council. The Council also adopted a decision formally establishing the initial list of 17 collaborative projects, which were agreed politically in December 2017. The projects cover areas such as training, capability development and operational readiness in the field of defence. In September 2018 a ‘clarification workshop’ at expert level was organized by the PESCO Secretariat at the EDA, with the aim of facilitating an exchange of information between the PESCO participating Member States and to provide details on the 33 new project proposals put forward by them as part of the second project assessment and
EU CBRN selection round currently underway. The 25 member states participating in PESCO are Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Croatia, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Spain and Sweden. The conditions under which third-party states may be invited to participate in individual PESCO projects are currently under consideration, with a decision, in principle, to be formally agreed at the EC in December 2018.
The UK’s position
The UK Government did not sign the Join Notification on 13 November 2017 – and consequently it will remain outside of PESCO with no decision-making rights over PESCO governance, or any veto over the future strategic direction of PESCO,
which has been openly acknowledged as greater EU integration in the field of defence. Post-Brexit the UK Government has indicated its preference for third-party participation in mutually beneficial PESCO projects, determined on a case-bycase basis, to remain as an option. The UK has already expressed an interest in a Dutch-led project on military mobility, which complements efforts currently underway on this issue within NATO. However, the terms of third-party participation are for the participating PESCO states to determine, which the UK will have to find acceptable.
An Austria-led project with Croatia, Hungary and Slovenia is a proposal to create a new modular-based CBRN surveillance capability that mixes
1 2 3 4
Italian first responders taking part in a CBRN exercise would be included in the EUFOR Crisis Response Operation Core. Along with Austria, Croatia and Slovenia, Hungary has proposed the creation of a new EU CBRN Surveillance as a Service capability. Slovak exercise control personnel would be part of the PESCO Deployable Military Disaster Relief Capability Package. 25 PESCO member states are putting forward 33 project proposals that include a new EU capability to manage a range of emergencies.
CBNW 2019/01 85
Troops of PESCO member state Poland conduct contamination training at a range near the Bemowo Piskie Training Area, Poland.
manned and unmanned elements for operational deployment across air, ground, and maritime domains. To be offered as a service for the EU, national or other missions, the project and other competing proposals await review and co-funding from the European Commission within the union’s PESCO framework for developing multi-nation military capabilities.
Infrastructure and supply chains
General Major Johann Frank, director of defence policy at the Austrian Ministry of Defence (MoD) who helped spearhead the effort, is confident that the CBRN Surveillance as a Service (CBRN SaaS) – to protect critical infrastructures such as chemical plants, ports, borders, and for national and European disaster relief – has a good chance of gaining PESCO approval by end 2018. Another European CBRN initiative is based on a 2017 study by the European Defence Agency (EDA). This concluded that, considering the complexity of defence supply chains and long life cycles of military equipment, Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) 86 CBNW 2019/01
and associated packaging of chemical substances and mixtures (CLP) regulation, as they stand now, may impact the actual operability of Member States’ Armed Forces.
Impact of regulations
The EDA-dedicated study examined what impact the EU’s regulations on REACH and CLP have had on the European defence sector, both on governments and industry, since they entered into force in 2007 and 2009 respectively. Further to assessing the impacts, the study aimed to develop recommendations for further improvement of REACH regulation and its current implementation regime. The basis for the study aimed for a win-win solution achieving two principle goals and a high level of health and environmental protection – as well as ensuring the operational effectiveness of Member States’ Armed Forces and enhancing the competitiveness and innovation of the European Defence Technological and Industrial Base. The study’s consultation facilitated input from a wide range of European defence stakeholders including, in particular, the EDA Member States’ Ministries of Defence (MoD), European Commission, European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), Member States’ Competent Authorities on REACH and CLP and
the defence industry. The main conclusions proposed several improvements and related actions for stakeholders, broadly grouped into the three main areas, more time and resources for innovative substitution of Substances of Very High Concern, consistency of REACH and other EU laws and policies, and EU-level solutions for defence under REACH.
UK’s role in the EDA
In terms of defence, future participation of the UK in the projects and programmes of the EDA may not appear a problem, as the agency has already signed administrative agreements with third countries. Defence collaboration will be also influenced by the future relationship between the UK and the EDA. Following Brexit, the UK will no longer be a member of the EDA. This will impact on the UK’s participation in those EU defence initiatives that rely on the Agency for implementation – namely, PESCO and the Coordinated Annual Review on Defence (CARD). As a result, as regards future cooperation between EU member states on vital defence issues such as CBRN defence, the UK may be established on an ad hoc case-by-case basis, through possible intergovernmental deals in either bilateral or mini-lateral formats. ❚❙
ADVERTORIAL: ALLUVIAM LLC / BERTIN TECHNOLOGIES
HazMasterG3 answers questions like “so what does that mean?”
OD, Hazmat, and forensics teams around the world have invested heavily in detection technologies to help identify home-made explosives (HME), narcotics, chemical warfare agents (CWAs) and other threats. These detection technologies do a fine job at identifying finished products. Much of the time, however, a finished product (HME or otherwise) may not be found when investigating a suspected clandestine lab, providing little or no context to the point-detection results provided by a detector. Alluviam's HazMasterG3 works closely with detectors to provide key insights and answer "so what does that mean" types of questions that a decision maker needs to understand the threats posed by a cache of chemicals. HazMasterG3's core database of over 167,000 materials and tradenames and patented decision support engine lets you virtually mix agents to model HME, CWA and narcotics formulations in real time to identify what is being made, and how to respond – a critical shortfall of today’s point detectors. Running on a range of mobile devices and platforms, HazMasterG3 is also the only mobile CBRNE/HME decision support system approved by the US Department of Homeland Security as a qualified anti-terrorism technology. zy
More information can be found at www.alluviam.com | email@example.com | 1-510-315-1974. zy
Military survey meter: SaphyRAD MS Bertin is fighting against radioactive contamination with a new generation of multi-probe survey meter
©French Gendarmerie - Cellule Nationale NRBC
he SaphyRAD MS developed by Bertin is the latest multi-probe survey meter designed for operations in harsh environments, to be used on military operations or by hazmat teams. Its wide range of dose-rate meter and external smart probes for source, hot-spot search and contamination measurement covers the needs of all army corps. Through its embedded simulation mode, users can train in real conditions without the use of any radioactive sources. The SaphyRAD MS’s ruggedized design has been developed especially for use with CBRN protective clothing. Its easy-to-use interface allows for quick use – even by non-radiation specialists. With the development of this new military survey meter, Bertin strengthens its existing products in CBRN threat
detection, suppling proprietary systems for all chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear detection and identification dedicated to armed forces and civil security bodies (rapid intervention teams, and public health and emergency
services). The SaphyRAD MS is the result of two years of research and development. It has been successfully beta tested by the French Army in 2018 and Bertin plans a significant production schedule in 2019. zy CBNW 2019/01 89
ADVERTORIAL: CRISTANINI / SAAB
One machine, one product, one operator
ristanini is a very strong presence all around the world in the field of high-pressure water technologies since 1972, offering a complete range of equipment for the industrial and military arena and for civil defence. In particular, the Company is a worldwide leader in the research, development and production of systems and products for CBRN decontamination and detoxification of equipment, personnel, vehicles, terrain and sensitive equipment and in the domain of CBRN Defence solutions. The R&D programme is conducted in cooperation with the most famous universities, institutes and military labs around the world. The state-of-the-art R&D is validated by 25 patents and it is the result of creative work, researching for new solutions to highly complex scientific, technological and engineering problems. The latest Cristanini BX 24 product is the most effective decontamination and
detoxification solution in the world with a large-scale CBRN decontamination spectrum. The range of CBRN defence solutions includes the deployable mobile CBRN LAB and Light Multirole vehicle for CBRN Recce, Survey & Scene Assessment, integrated onto the IVECO LMV chassis. With high mobility, the vehicle supports the immediate detection and manage-
ment of contamination, as well as related Warning and Reporting and Scene Assessment to support a CBRN common operating picture. Cristanini systems are based on the concept “only one machine – only one product – only one operator” – the simplest of systems that has radically changed the old decontamination/ detoxification philosophy. zy
The CBRN threat is real – Are you prepared? Every government has a responsibility to keep their people and society safe, and it’s a significant challenge to balance these threats with appropriate countermeasures in order to be fully prepared if/when the unthinkable happens.
Early warnings – the key factor
Why CBRN protection?
The world is facing increased threats from general political and religious instability, in regions or between states. Sadly 90 CBNW 2019/01
enough, terrorism, pandemic diseases and an increased presence of biological and chemical substances are becoming a natural part of our everyday lives.
One of the most crucial and efficient countermeasures you can invest in is early warnings to units and personnel. This is a key factor in limiting the effects of CBRN threats and it makes all the difference. This is the reason why Saab has decided to offer a complete concept for protection against CBRN agents. The solution is a complete Automatic Warning and Reporting (AWR) system designed for quick and easy deployment and, maybe the most important feature of them all, it is specifically designed for use by non-specialists in the field. AWR is a flexible, modular and future-proof solution with sensors and equipment designed for both mobile and fixed installations. zy
UNLABELED LEAKING BARREL
FLIR Griffin G510
The FLIR Grif Griffin G510 GC-MS enables responders to confidently identify unknown chemical threats. It is the ultimate chemical detection toolbox, with guided controls and si mple threat alarms. Completely self-contained and mission-ready, the G510 is built for everyone and everywhere. Download FLIRâ€™s Chem Guidebook to learn more about ID tools like the G510: flir.com/chemguidebook
CBNW – Chemical, Biological & Nuclear Warfare
PREPARE PREVENT PROTECT
2019 | 01
2019 | 01
response Emergent BioSolutions is a global life sciences company dedicated to providing medical countermeasures to protect life against: CHEMICAL THREATS
EMERGING INFECTIOUS DISEASES SPECIAL REPORT: Chemical threats to cities Visit www.emergentbiosolutions.com to learn more about our products and reseach.
TO BOLDLY GO Drones for sensing
NOVEL AGENTS The assassin’s weapon
ONE SOLUTION Responding to acid