The Next Terrorist Attack (Revelation 15:4)

Test blasts simulate a nuclear attack on a U.S. port

This detonation at Aberdeen Proving Ground last October simulated the effects of a nuclear blast in a ship’s hull.

Aberdeen Proving Ground

By Richard StoneFeb. 28, 2017 , 5:00 PM

Under cover of night, a blacked-out fishing boat slips into Baltimore, Maryland’s Inner Harbor. A U.S. Coast Guard cutter moves to apprehend the intruder. But before officers can board, both boats and much of Baltimore disappear in an intense flash: A nuclear bomb hidden on the boat has detonated. As first responders rush to victims, nuclear forensics specialists scrutinize data on radiation and acoustic and seismic waves from sensors placed around the city in a breakneck effort to decipher the bomb’s design and perhaps determine who was behind the blast.

At a time when a bomb smuggled by terrorists is as big a concern as one from a foreign power, delivered by missile or airplane, an attack at a port is “definitely a more likely scenario,” says Thomas Cartledge, a nuclear engineer with the U.S. Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) in Fort Belvoir, Virginia. But forensic experts, who rely largely on nuclear test data collected years ago in Western deserts, lack a clear picture of how energy from a detonation would propagate in the highly saturated geology of many U.S. port cities. To remedy that, DTRA last October quietly staged Humming Terrapin: a 2-week test series at the Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland that detonated nearly 2 metric tons of conventional explosives to simulate nuclear blast effects in shallow water.

Since the 9/11 attacks, the U.S. government has mounted a major effort to prevent a nuclear bomb from being smuggled into a port. It has outfitted points of entry with radiation detectors, and it is working with foreign ports toward a goal of having all U.S.-bound cargo scanned for nuclear materials before departure. But it’s well nigh impossible to track the myriad small craft flitting in and out of the 361 U.S. ports and 153,000 kilometers of open shoreline. “There are a zillion fishing boats that leave U.S. ports and nobody inspects them when they come home,” says Matthew Bunn, a specialist on nuclear terrorism at Harvard University’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. “If there is highly enriched uranium metal that’s shielded and below the water line, it’s going to be really tough to detect at long range.”

In case the unthinkable happens, a sensor array called Discreet Oculus that is being installed in major U.S. cities would capture key forensic information. The array, which DTRA is still developing, would record radiation and seismic waves emanating from the blast. “Discreet Oculus is up and running in several U.S. cities now,” Cartledge says. A sister system—a portable array that runs on battery or solar power called Minikin Echo—will be deployed at major events such as the Olympics or the Super Bowl. Data from Cold War–era nuclear testing and simulations are being used to calibrate the sensors.

Yet past U.S. testing is a poor proxy for detonations at a port, says Tamara VanHoose, a U.S. Army major and nuclear engineer at DTRA. A closer analog is a little-known campaign in 1963–64 in which the U.S. Air Force conducted a series of detonations of as much as 10 tons of chemical explosives at the bottom of Lake Superior. The tests offered a wealth of data on how seismic waves traverse the land-water interface, but they “were not instrumented to meet our needs,” VanHoose says.

Humming Terrapin aims to fill that gap. VanHoose and colleagues set up Discreet Oculus and two Minikin Echo arrays at Aberdeen, adding hydrophones, which are not currently included in either array. Another set of sensors probed how seismic signals ripple through East Coast rock layers. “These are wet-type geologies versus the granite geologies that we see out at the typical desert sites where we’ve done historic testing,” VanHoose says.

The team set out to test several scenarios. “We were looking at how a weapon might be delivered,” Cartledge says. A detonation above the water line—say in a container on the deck of a cargo ship—would produce a mostly acoustic signal, he says, whereas a detonation in a ship’s hull, below the surface, would be mostly seismic. “Really challenging,” he says, is the seismo-acoustic coupling “right at the surface”—a scenario one might expect for a detonation aboard a smaller boat.

Finally came the big bangs. Working with U.S. Navy hydrosound experts, the DTRA-led team detonated eight 175-kilogram TNT explosions at Aberdeen’s Briar Point Test Pond, as well as one 455-kilogram TNT explosion at a nearby underwater explosives facility. The team sheltered in a bunker about 450 meters away and watched the explosions on closed-circuit TV.

Less than a second after a detonation, the seismic waves arrived. The bunker “really rocks,” Cartledge says. “Wow, you don’t think it would shake us much as it does. That’s the fun part of the job.” A moment later came the airborne shock wave: “a very intense bang,” recalls Mark Leidig, a seismologist at Weston Geophysical Corp., a consulting firm in Lexington, Massachusetts, that designed the tests.

Now comes the hard work of sifting the data and “building our models to account for the coupling effects of the water we observed,” VanHoose says.

DTRA will stage its next test series back on dry land at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, where an unshielded “fast-burst” nuclear reactor is normally used to test how military hardware might withstand a nuke’s high-energy neutron barrage. In June the DTRA team will verify that the speed-of-light sensors it is developing—detectors for gamma rays, radio waves, and light—can capture and model the fast burst, or the exponential rise of the nuclear reaction going critical. Such data provide “valuable forensic insight into weapon characteristics,” Cartledge says. Revealing a weapon’s design would speed the government’s response to a once-unimaginable act of terrorism, wherever it took place.

Babylon the Great Increases Her Nuclear Might

US Accelerates Upgrades for its Arsenal of Nuclear-Armed, Submarine-Launched Trident II D5s

The US Navy is accelerating upgrades to the nuclear warhead for its arsenal of Trident II D5 nuclear-armed submarine launched missiles — massively destructive weapons designed to keep international peace by ensuring and undersea-fired second-strike ability in the event of a catastrophic nuclear first strike on the US.

The Navy has been working on technical upgrades to the existing Trident II D5 in order to prevent obsolescence and ensure the missile system remains viable for the next several decades.

The Navy has modified an existing deal with Charles Stark Draper Laboratory has to continue work on the missile’s MK 6 guidance system, an agreement to continue specific work on the weapon’s electronic modules. The modification awards $59 million to the firm, a DoD statement said.

As part of the technical improvements to the missile, the Navy is upgrading what’s called the Mk-4 re-entry body, the part of the missile that houses a thermonuclear warhead. The life extension for the Mk-4 re-entry body includes efforts to replace components including the firing circuit, Navy officials explained.

Navy and industry engineers have been modernizing the guidance system by replacing two key components due to obsolescence – the inertial measurement unit and the electronics assembly, developers said.

The Navy is also working with the Air Force on refurbishing the Mk-5 re-entry body which will be ready by 2019, senior Navy officials said.

Navy officials said the Mk-5 re-entry body has more yield than a Mk-4 re-entry body, adding that more detail on the differences was not publically available.

The missile also has a larger structure called a release assembly which houses and releases the re-entry bodies, Navy officials said. There is an ongoing effort to engineer a new release assembly that will work with either the Mk-4 or Mk-5 re-entry body.

The Trident II D5, first fired in the 1990s, is an upgraded version of the 1970s-era Trident I nuclear weapon; the Trident II D5s were initially engineered to serve until 2027, however an ongoing series of upgrades are now working to extend its service life.

The Navy is modernizing its arsenal of Trident II D5 nuclear missiles in order to ensure their service life can extend for 25 more years aboard the Navy’s nuclear ballistic missile submarine fleet, service leaders said.

The 44-foot long submarine-launched missiles have been serving on Ohio-class submarines for 25 years,service leaders explained.

The missiles are also being planned as the baseline weapon for the Ohio Replacement Program ballistic missile submarine, a platform slated to serve well into the 2080s, so the Navy wants to extend the service life of the Trident II D5 missiles to ensure mission success in future decades.

Under the U.S.-Russia New START treaty signed in 2010, roughly 70-percent of the U.S.’ nuclear warheads will be deployed on submarines.

Within the last several years, the Navy has acquired an additional 108 Trident II D 5 missiles in order to strengthen the inventory for testing and further technological development.

Trident II D5 Test

Firing from the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Florida several months ago, a specially configured non-armed “test” version of the missile was fired from the Navy’s USS Maryland. This was the 161st successful Trident II launch since design completion in 1989, industry officials said.

The missile was converted into a test configuration using a test missile kit produced by Lockheed Martin that contains range safety devices, tracking systems and flight telemetry instrumentation, a Lockheed statement said.

The Trident II D5 missile is deployed aboard U.S. Navy Ohio-class submarines and Royal Navy Vanguard-class to deter nuclear aggression. The three-stage ballistic missile can travel a nominal range of 4,000 nautical miles and carry multiple independently targeted reentry bodies.

The U.S. and UK are collaboratively working on a common missile compartment for their next generation SSBNs, or ballistic missile submarines.

The 130,000-pound Trident II D5 missile can travel 20,000-feet per second, according to Navy figures. The missiles cost $30 million each.

The “Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists” futher describes the weapon — “The Trident D5s carry three types of warheads: the 100-kiloton W76/Mk-4, the 100-kiloton W76-1/Mk-4A, and the 455-kiloton W88/Mk-5 warhead, the highest-yield ballistic missile warhead in the U.S. arsenal.”

US Puts Pressure On North Korea

US & South Korea launch large-scale war games amid tensions with North Korea

US & South Korea launch large-scale war games amid tensions with North Korea
The US and South Korea have kicked off Foal Eagle, an annual joint military exercise that has been denounced by North Korea as a rehearsal for invasion. The exercise comes amid tensions in the region following North Korea’s recent missile test.

South Korea’s Defense Ministry and the US military based in the South confirmed the commencement of the joint drills on Wednesday.

The exercise is a field training exercise involving ground, air, and naval forces from both US and South Korea that will run through the end of next month. The two allies are likely to deploy their major strategic assets in the drills to deliver a warning against what they see as North Korean provocations. In March, both countries also plan to separately conduct Key Resolve practice, a computer-simulated command post exercise, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reported, citing the South Korean Defense Ministry.

US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and South Korean Defense Minister Han Min-Koo had a phone conversation early on Wednesday, in which Mattis expressed Washington’s commitment to the defense of its ally.

“Secretary Mattis said that the United States remains steadfast in its commitment to the defense of [South Korea]. He further emphasized that any attack on the United States or its allies will be defeated, and any use of nuclear weapons will be met with a response that is effective and overwhelming,” Pentagon spokesman Captain Jeff Davis said in a readout, as cited by Yonhap.

Mattis also welcomed the land-swap deal that South Korea signed with the Lotte Group on Tuesday of this week, which will see the South host America’s THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) defense missile system.

This land transfer will support the alliance’s decision to station Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, a defensive weapons system, in ROK [South Korea] as soon as feasible. This is a critical measure to defend the ROK people and alliance forces against North Korean missile threats,” Davis said.

The deal will see the Lotte Group trade its golf course for military-owned land near Seoul, South Korea’s capital. The golf course will become the future home of the advanced THAAD system, which is designed to intercept short, medium, and intermediate-range ballistic missiles during their terminal flight phase. Equipped with long-range radar, it is believed to be capable of intercepting North Korea’s intermediate-range ballistic missiles.

Both Seoul and Washington claim the system is a defensive measure to counter Pyongyang, while Moscow has urged those involved to consider the escalated tensions it will inevitably cause.

Beijing has also questioned the controversial deployment, with the Chinese Foreign Ministry once again reminded Seoul last month of its strategic “concerns,” stressing its “clear opposition” to THAAD’s deployment on South Korean soil.

Some South Koreans have criticized the deployment as well. A demonstration was staged to protest the land-swap on Tuesday, and people living closest to the golf course have even filed a lawsuit against the South Korean Defense Ministry.

South Korea aims bring the system online by the end of the year, with a military official saying last week that the deployment could be completed by August.

In the phone call with Mattis, Han Min-Koo said that this year’s joint drills will be similar in scale to those held in 2016, which the South’s Defense Ministry called the “largest-ever” at the time. He also said the exercises, which have been held annually since 1997, contribute to peace on the Korean Peninsula.

Both defense chiefs promised to monitor possible North Korean provocations and strengthen military cooperation in order to improve mutual combat-readiness.

On Tuesday, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un inspected the headquarters of a major military unit and issued guidance on increasing combat readiness, Reuters cited North Korea’s official KCNA news agency as reporting.

Last month, Kim Jong-un announced that his country’s military is capable of test-launching an inter-continental ballistic missile, warning that it could reach the US mainland at any time, from any location.

However, US President Donald Trump has brushed off the threat, saying North Korea will never succeed in acquiring an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of that distance.

The joint drills come amid increased tensions with North Korea following its test firing of a new Pukguksong-2 ballistic missile in February, which the state hailed as a major military achievement, but drew angry reactions from its regional neighbors and the US.

Last year’s Foal Eagle exercise involved about 17,000 American troops and more than 300,000 South Korean service members. Although the two countries have held larger joint drills, these were the biggest war games conducted under the current format adopted in 2008 named Key Resolve/Foal Eagle. Last year drills prompted North Korea to order artillery drills simulating an attack on the residence of South Korea’s president, with Kim promising to turn Seoul “into rubble and ashes” if it challenges Pyongyang.

North Korea rescinded its signature to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in 2003 and announced its intention to build a nuclear arsenal, which it deems necessary for defending itself from the US and its regional allies, South Korea and Japan. The UN Security Council has passed several resolutions condemning Pyongyang’s development of nuclear weapons and missiles and has imposed economic sanctions on North Korea to hinder its programs’ advancement.

Preparing For Disaster At The Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)

Indian Point nuclear plant called “disaster waiting to happen”

A boat moves along the Hudson River in front of the Indian Point nuclear power plant March 18, 2011, in Buchanan, N.Y.
Getty Images

Last Updated Feb 23, 2016 10:38 AM EST

The recent radioactive leak at New York’s Indian Point nuclear power plant is prompting renewed calls for the site to be shut down, amid growing concerns about the potential damage a nuclear accident could do in one of the most densely populated parts of the country.

In the past year alone there have been a number of mishaps at Indian Point, including a power failure in the reactor core, a transformer fire, an alarm failure, and the escape of radiated water into groundwater. The plant sits about 25 miles north of New York City, so a serious mishap could potentially put millions of people in harm’s way.

“It’s a disaster waiting to happen and it should be shut down,” Paul Gallay, president of Riverkeeper, a watchdog organization dedicated to protecting the Hudson River, told CBS News.

The Indian Point Energy Center, located on the bank of the Hudson River in the town of Buchanan, supplies electricity for millions of homes, businesses and public facilities in New York City and Westchester County, just north of the city.

Environmental groups call the latest problem just the tip of the iceberg, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo is joining with organizations like Riverkeeper, the National Resources Defense Council and others in seeking the permanent closure of the plant.

indian-point.jpg

CBS News/Google Maps

Earlier this month, Entergy Corporation, which owns Indian Point, reported increased levels of tritium-contaminated water at three monitoring wells, with one well’s radioactivity increasing by as much as 65,000 percent.

Tritium is a radioactive form of hydrogen that occurs naturally in small doses and is a byproduct of nuclear reactors. It could enter a person’s body by drinking tritiated water, or it can also be inhaled as a gas or absorbed through the skin. Tritium can reach all parts of the body like normal water and is eventually expelled through urine. The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) says tritium emits “very weak radiation and leaves the body relatively quick.”

Little research has been done on the health effects of exposure to increased levels of tritium. But the NRC states: “Exposure to very small amounts of ionizing radiation is thought to minimally increase the risk of developing cancer, and the risk increases as exposure increases.”

However, Jerry Nappi, a representative for Entergy Corporation, said that the most recent issue at Indian Point would not have any impact on human health or life in the river. “Concentrations would be undetectable in the river,” Nappi told CBS News. “We know from more than 10 years of hydrological studies on the site that it [radioactive contaminants] can’t reach drinking water sources in nearby communities.”

The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) standard limit for tritium in drinking water, established in 1976, is 20,000 picocuries per liter. (A picocurie is a unit of radiation that could be measured in a laboratory.) By comparison, after the recent leak, samples showed the tritium-laced water at Indian Point had a radioactivity level of more than 8 million picocuries per liter. That level was the highest regulators have seen at Indian Point, Cuomo said, compared to a normal reading of about 12,300 picocuries per liter.

According to a 2014 notice in the Federal Register, EPA is expected to update the standards for tritium in drinking water. EPA did not make anyone available for comment.

In a statement issued February 11, Cuomo, who has spent years fighting for the closure of Indian Point, said that the recent leak there had been getting worse. “Today, Entergy reported that the level of radioactive tritium-contaminated water that leaked into groundwater at the Indian Point Nuclear facility last week has increased by 80 percent since the initial report [February 5],” the statement read. Cuomo also directed the state’s Departments of Environmental Conservation and Health to investigate the cause of the radioactive leak.

Nappi said that tritium levels normally fluctuate as the contaminant moves through the facility. “It’s not getting worse,” he said. Nappi added that the leak was related to a temporary filtration process that occurred for two weeks in January, and said it has since stopped.

Neil Sheehan, a representative for the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, told CBS News that the NRC is continuing to review the recent tritium leakage at Indian Point. “We recently sent a radiation protection specialist to the plant to assess the situation and learn more about what happened. He was assisted by our three Resident Inspectors assigned to the plant on a full-time basis,” he said in an email.

NRC is also currently reviewing Indian Point’s renewal license, which would authorize it to continue operating for another 20 years. But environmental groups say the region needs to utilize other options to meet its energy needs.

“The good news is, advances in alternate power sources, grid management and energy conservation have brought us to the day when the aging, unsafe Indian Point can close,” Gallay said. He enumerated a number of other available sources of energy for the region, including 600 megawatts thanks to transmission system upgrades and another 500 megawatts available through energy savings achieved through efficiency and renewable energy.

“There will be enough power to keep the lights on in our homes and hospitals, our businesses and schools — in every place that makes our communities healthy and vibrant,” Gallay said.

Antichrist’s Followers Pelt Abadi

Image result for stones thrown at abadiIraqi university students pelt PM Abadi with stones

The New Arab

Iraqi university students pelt PM Abadi with stones
Date of publication: 1 March, 2017
Three people were wounded after security forces attempted to disperse students who pelted Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi with stones during his visit to the southern city of Kut Tuesday.

Iraqi students on Tuesday pelted Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi with stones during his visit to the southern city of Kut, with three people being wounded by gunfire as security forces attempted to disperse demonstrators.

Tens of University of Wasit students protested the premier’s visit with anti-corruption slogans that accused government officials of being thieves, a police source told The New Arab.

Some protesters pelted Abadi’s convoy with stones causing damage to a number of vehicles.

The premier’s security detail responded by firing warning shots into the air, causing a number of injuries.

A police officer and a doctor confirmed that people were hit by gunfire but did not say who was responsible.

“We received around 70 (injured). Most of them left and three wounded by gunfire and 19 suffering from poisoning as a result of tear gas remain,” said Ahmed al-Quraishi, a doctor at a local hospital.

Mohammed Anayid, a student, said “security forces fired to disperse the protesters, which resulted in the wounding of a number of demonstrators”.

Second Lieutenant Ali al-Sarrai, a member of the security forces tasked with protecting the university, said protesters threw “stones and water bottles and shoes” at Abadi.

His guards then fired in the air and targeted demonstrators with tear gas, said Sarrai who also confirmed that three people were shot.

The students were protesting against “the lack of services and the spread of corruption in the government”, said Ali al-Aboudi, who took part in the demonstration.

Video posted on social media showed demonstrators chanting a slogan often used by supporters of Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, who has repeatedly called for protests against corruption in the Iraqi government.

Sadr issued a statement apologising to Abadi and stating that the premier was not personally involved in corruption.

The injuries at the protest in Kut came after seven people – five demonstrators and two security personnel – were killed in clashes between Iraqi forces and protesters in central Baghdad on February 11.