16 Jan 09. The Department of Homeland Security will allocate as much as $50m to mitigate the environmental impact of the U.S.-Mexico border fence ordered by the Bush administration. The agency signed an agreement Wednesday with the Department of the Interior to set aside funds for projects that the Interior department determines will soften the environmental damage caused by the fence. “Today’s signing of this memorandum of agreement demonstrates that our commitment is not only words, but actual resources, which have been set aside to allow DOI to mitigate the impact of our border security efforts in environmentally sensitive areas,” Customs and Border Protection Commissioner W. Ralph Basham said in a statement released Thursday. The Department of Homeland Security includes Customs and Border Protection, which is overseeing the fence project. (Source: WSJ)
21 Jan 09. Rapiscan Systems, a leading global supplier and manufacturer of security inspection systems for homeland security applications, announced today that its Research and Development division, Rapiscan Laboratories, has received a contract for approximately $2 million from the U. S. Department of Homeland Securitys Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO). Under the terms of the contract award, the Company will complete the development of an advanced technology that would be capable of detecting weapons of mass destruction such as nuclear weapons and radiological dispersal devices (i.e. dirty bombs). The technology is to be incorporated on the Rapiscan Eagle Portal and used for the inspection of trucking and shipping containers. (Source: ASD Network)
22 Jan 09. Engineers at the University of Liverpool have tested a new form of concrete designed to reduce the impact of bomb blasts in public areas. The fibre-reinforced concrete was found to absorb a thousand times more energy than plain concrete and could therefore be used for bomb-proof litter bins and protection barriers. Although not yet used in the UK the concrete has been utilised in Australia in the design of slender footbridges and in the roofs of government buildings to strengthen them against mortar attack. University Engineers working in partnership with the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure explored the limits of the concrete’s capability through a range of tests for dynamic bending and “shear” or indirect stress. These culminated in a series of high explosion blast tests at RAF Spadeadam, in Cumbria, each representing a typical IRA car bomb. The Ultra High Performance Fibre Reinforced Concrete (UHPFRC) resisted the high explosion blast without any disintegration from the back of the panels causing shrapnel. This is important in the use of protection barriers designed to shield people from bomb blasts. Professor Steve Millard said: “Many of London’s tourist landmarks are surrounded by concrete to protect against terrorist attacks. However, the material does not absorb sufficient energy to prevent the creation of shrapnel which is one of the most lethal consequences of a bomb blast. UHPFRC is different because needle-thin steel fibres are added into the concrete mix instead of steel reinforcing bars to increase its tensile strength. “We carried out a number of high explosion tests; gradually reducing the distance to the explosive charge to examine the concrete’s bending strength and capacity to absorb energy. Our results showed the new UHPFRC material had an enhanced tension and compression strength of 500% greater than conventional concrete. This makes UHPFRC a suitable material for use in anti-terrorism applications.” The research was undertaken in collaboration with the University of Sheffield and was funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council under its Think Crime-4 Initiative.