112: CHEMICAL, BIOLOGICAL, AND RADIOLOGICAL WARFARE FUNDAMENTALS
112.1 Explain the following:
a. Chemical warfare
b. Biological warfare
Intentional use of living organisms to disable or destroy people or their domestic animals, to damage their crops, and/or to deteriorate their supplies.
As of this writing, large-scale biological warfare attacks by an enemy are as yet an untried weapon. As far as is it known, there has been no open attempt by any country to use this form of attack.
The earliest known use of biological warfare as a weapon in history had a profound impact. In the 14th century Tatar warriors catapulted the bodies of sick people over the walls of Caffa, a Black Sea port. The illness spread throughout the town.
Biological warfare elements are difficult to detect, and slow to identify.
Picture right: Ebola Virus
Examples of this type warfare agents would include the anthrax virus, ebola virus, smallpox, and plague.
Anthrax does not spread from human to human, but the spores that cause the disease can be easily stored for up to a century. Scattered over a large city from a light aircraft, 110 lbs of anthrax spores could cause 250,000 cases and 100,000 deaths.
Iraq is known to have mass produced anthrax spores prior to the Persian Gulf war, and the whereabouts of much of that material today is not clear.
c. Radiological warfare
Radiological warfare is the deliberate use of radiological weapons to produce injury and death in man.
112.2 Describe the purpose of the following:
a. MCU-2/P protective mask
The mask, or gas mask, is the most important piece of protective equipment against CBR agents. It protects your face, eyes, nose, throat and lungs. Inhaling CBR agents is much more dangerous than getting them on the outside of the body. Without filtration, a large amount of contamination could be inhaled in a short time. The mask filters the air, removing particles of dust that may be radioactive or contaminated; and it purifies the air of many poisonous gases. The mask does not provide oxygen, protection against smoke or against toxic gases such as carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, and ammonia; however, it may be used for emergency escape as a last resort.
b. Chemical protective overgarment
The overgarment is treated with chemicals that neutralize blister agent vapors and sprays, but do not stop penetration by liquid agents. It also gives limited protection against other types of CBR contaminants. The suit consists of trousers, hip-length jumper with attached hood, and associated gloves and foot coverings. Except in unusual circumstances, you do not have to wear outer wet-weather clothing over the CBR suit. The danger of heat prostration is significantly reduced. Wear wet-weather clothing during heavy seas. Wear the CBR suit for up to one hour in engineering spaces. Gloves afford hand protection against nerve and blister agent liquids and gases. Foot covers are worn over your own shoes. Boots come in 2 sizes and can be worn on either foot. They are made of black butyle rubber, are impermeable, and have a non-slip rubber sole.
c. Wet-weather clothing
Worn over other types of clothing, wet-weather clothing protects impregnated and ordinary clothing and skin from penetration by liquid agents and radioactive particles. It also reduces the amount of vapor that penetrates to the skin. Wet-weather gear, which includes a parka, trousers, rubber boots, and gloves, is easily decontaminated.
d. Atropine/2 Pan chloride (Oxime) autoinjector
Used for specific therapy for nerve agent casualties. Issued in automatic injectors for intramuscular injection self-aid or first aid.
e. IM-143 pocket dosimeter
The self-reading pocket dosimeter is an instrument about the size and shape of a fountain pen and comes in several ranges: 0 to 5, 0 to 200, and 0 to 600 roentgens; and 0 to 200 millroentgens. These instruments measure exposure to radiation over a period of time, not dose rates at any given time. By holding the dosimeter up to a light source and looking through the eyepiece, the total radiation dose received can be read directly on the scale. After each use, the dosimeter must be recharged and the indicator line set to zero.
f. DT-60 personnel dosimeter
Is in the Nonself-reading catagory; the DT-60 is the high-range casualty dosimeter, which must be placed in a special radiac comptuer-indicator to determine the total amount of gamma radiation to which the wearer has been exposed. Its range is 0 to 600 roentgens.
112.3 List the 4 types of chemical casualty agents and their physical symptoms.
a. Chocking agents
First used in World War I, these agents produce an action on the respiratory system that results in the accumulation of fluid in the lungs. This effect may lead to death. Exposure can produce immediate dryness of the throat, coughing, choking, tightness in the chest, headache, nausea, and watering of the eyes.
A mild exposure accompanied by immediate symptoms can cause fluid to accumulate in the lungs within 2 to 24 hours after exposure.
One example of a choking agent may be Chlorine CL, which is a yellow gas.
b. Nerve agents
As a group, nerve agents are probably the most effective because only small doses are needed to produce death.
Even in low concentrations, the pupils of the eyes may contract. Tightness of the chest may be noticed, which will increase deep breathing. Liquids penetrate the skin, and poisons the body.
A 1 to 5 minute exposure may cause difficulty with a person's vision.
Liquid concentrations of Nerve agents to the skin are a real hazard. Sweating and twitching of the muscles at the site of contamination may be noticed. Small amounts of liquid, left in contact with the skin, can cause death in a matter of minutes. A lethal dose would include getting liquid into the eyes, and inhaling concentrated vapors.
One example of a Nerve agent would be Sarin Gas. It is a colorless liquid, with almost no odor.
Sarin gas was used in 1994 and 1995 by a Japanese religious cult Aum Shinrikyo. Twelve people were killed in a Tokyo subway after the gas was released there. Click here to read an article on the subway event in Japan.
c. Blood agents
Blood agents interfere with the distribution of oxygen by the blood.
d. Blister agents
Symptoms of blood agents depend on the concentration of the agent, and duration of exposure. Typically either death occurs rapidly or recovery takes place within a few minutes after removal from the contaminated area.
After inhaling a blood agent, the victim begins to breathe deeply and has violent contractions after only 20 to 30 seconds. The heart can stop after only a few minutes.
Long exposure and low concentrations may result in damage to the central nervous system.
One example of a blood agent may be Hydrogen Cyanide, which is a colorless gas or liquid, and smells like bitter almonds.
Immediate exposure to blister agents produces no noticable symptoms. But exposure for more than half hour produces a gritty feeling in the eyes, then soreness, and a bloodshot look. Eyelids become red and swollen, and infections are frequent.
Burns caused by blister agents are particularily bad in moist areas of the body, such as in the armpits, groin, bends of elbows and knees. Intense itching and blisters may occur accompanied by swelling and stiffness.
The throat may be very sore, and pneumonia may develop.
If the entire body is exposed to blister agents, the victim usually goes into shock followed by nausea and vomiting.
One example of a blister agent would be mustard gas or liquid. Mustard liquid is dark yellow, and have a musty or fish-like smell.
Click here to see a picture of a foot after exposure to mustard liquid.
Click here to read some very interesting information and facts about Nuclear Warheads.
112.4 Describe the following types of nuclear explosions:
a. High altitude air burst
One in which the point of detonation is at an altitude in excess of 100,000 feet. Above this level, air density is so low that interaction of the weapon energy with the surroundings is markedly different from that at lower altitudes and varies with the altitude. High-altitude nuclear explosions create spectacular visible effects that can be seen both locally and at great distances. Detonation causes widespread disturbances in the ionosphere, which effects the propagation of radio waves and similiar electromagnetic radiations of relatively long wavelengths (EMP).
b. Air burst
Immediately after a nuclear explosion, a huge, intensely hot fireball is formed. An airburst is one in which the fireball does not touch the earth's surface. All materials within the fireball are vaporized. As the fireball rises, it cools to the point where the vapor condenses to form a highly radioactive cloud. At sufficiently low altitudes, the rising fireball creates strong circulating winds that suck up dust and other debris from the surface. This debris combines with the condensed vapor to form the familiar mushroom-shaped cloud.
Detonation of the nuclear bomb creates a blast wave that travels out in all directions at an initial speed greater than the speed of sound. When the wave strikes the earth's surface, another wave is formed by reflection. At some distance from ground zero, the primary and reflected waves combine to form a reinforced blast wave. Pressure at the wave front, called overpressure, is many times that of normal atmospheric pressure and is what causes most of the physical damage. Overpressure decreases as distance from the blast increases. Initial radiation occurs within the first minute after an explosion; residual radiation occurs thereafter. The greatest danger from residual radiation is fallout or the return to earth of radioactive particles of the cloud. In an airburst, most of the particles are carried high into the air where they are scattered by the winds and returned to the earth slowly. Fallout from low-altitude airburst presents a greater hazard because the heavy particles of debris picked up from
the surface settle rapidly and are highly radioactive, but the hazard is not so great as that from surface and subsurface bursts.
c. Surface burst
Produces the worst fallout. The fireball touches the ground. Vast amounts of surface material is vaporized and taken into the fireball. As the fireball rises, the debris is sucked up by the strong afterwinds. Much of this debris returns to earth as radioactive fallout. The area endangered by fallout is much larger than the area affected by heat and shock.
d. Shallow underwater burst
A fireball is formed, but is smaller than an airburst and normally is not visible. The explosion creates a large bubble or cavity which, upon rising to the surface, expels steam, gases, and debris into the air with great force. Water rushing into the cavity is thrown upward in the form of a hollow column that may reach a height of several thousand feet. When the column collapses, a circular cloud of mist, called the base surge, is formed around the base of the column. Practically all thermal radiation is absorbed by the surrounding water, but a highly destructive shock wave is formed and is many times greater than the blast wave from an airburst. large water waves are created, some reaching heights of 90 feet within a few hundred feet of the blast.
e. Deep underwater burst
Produce the same effects as the shallow underwater burst, but with more of the impact absorbed by the deep ocean currents. The visual effects will be less, but the amount of contaminated water will be greater.
Click here to go to an outstanding Nuclear Weapons website, complete with facts and photos.
112.5 Describe the following effects of nuclear explosions:
Injuries caused by blast can be divided into primary injuries and secondary injuries. Primary blast injuries result from the direct action of the air shock wave on the body. The greater the weapon's size, the greater the blast wave's effective range will be, with an increase in casualties. Secondary blast injuries are caused by collapsing buildings and by timber and other debris flung about by the blast. Personnel may be hurled against objects or thrown to the ground. At sea, the shock wave produced by an underwater burst, can produce various secondary injuries.
b. Flash burn/blindness
Burns caused by a nuclear explosion are primary and secondary. Primary burns are a direct result of the thermal radiation from the bomb. Secondary burns are the result of fires caused by the explosion. Flash burns are likely to occur on a large scale as a result of an air or surface burst of a nuclear weapon. Thermal radiation travels in straight lines, so it burns primarily on the side facing the explosion. Under hazy atmospheric conditions a large proportion of the thermal radiation may be scattered, resulting in burns received from all directions. Depending on the size of the weapon, second-degree burns may be received at distances of 25 miles or more. The intense flash of light that accompanies a nuclear blast may produce flash blindness at a range of several miles. Flash blindness is normally of a temporary nature, though, as the eye can recover in about 15 minutes in the daytime and 45 minutes at night. A greater danger lies in receiving permanent damage to the eyes caused by burns from thermal radiation, which may occur 40 miles or more from the nuclear weapon.
Radiation hazards are alpha and beta particles, gamma and neutron radiation. Alpha particles have little skin penetrating power and must be taken into the body through ingestion or cuts. Beta particles can present a hazard to personnel if the emitters of these particles, such as dust or dirt, come in contact with the skin or inside the body. Beta particles with enouth intensity will cause skin burns.
Gamma rays, which are pure energy, are not easily stopped. They can penetrate every region of the body. Gamma rays can pass right through a body without ever touching it. Gamma rays that do strike atoms in the body cause ionization of these atoms, which may result in any number of possible chemical reactions that damage the cells of the body.
Neutrons, which have the greatest penetrating power of the nuclear radiation hazards, create hazards to personnel when the neutron is captured in atoms of various elements in the body, atmosphere, water or soil. As a result of this neutron capture, the elements become radioactive and release high-energy gamma rays and beta particles. Initial radiation contains both gamma and neutron radiation. Residual radiation, our greatest concern, contains both gamma and neutron radiation.
d. Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP)
Produced by high altitude, air and surface bursts. The initial nuclear ionizing radiation will ionize the atmosphere around the burst point and produce the EMP, which will contain frequency components in the range from a few to several hundreds of kilocycles per second. The EMP has magnetic and electric field components which exist for only fractions of a second. The magnetic field component is significant inside the radius of the ionized atmosphere and can induce large currents in cables and long-lead wires. These large transient currents may burn out electronic or electrical equipment. The electric field component may also produce transient signal overloads and spurious signals on communication nets and in computer-driven systems. At ranges where ships suffer minor damage from other weapon effects, the major effect of the EMP is expected to be the tripping of circuit breakers and blowing of fuses in protective circuits. At close ranges, there is a good probability of permanent damage to electronic
and electrical equipment. EMP can totally destroy entire phone and communication systems, radios, vehicle ignition systems, etc. Conventional aircraft exposed to it can lose all navigation, communication, and electronic flight control systems.
The loss of lights or electrical power failure during a nuclear attack.
112.6 Define/discuss Mission Oriented Protective Posture (MOPP).
Defines the amount of protective CBR gear to wear or have readily availabe. There are several levels of protection.
Gas masks are issued to all hands and are kept at battle station. The gas masks are fitted for immediate use. An inventory of stowed chemical/biological defense equipment and supplies is conducted.
Gas masks are carried by each person onboard. Per-position decontamination supplies at decontamination stations. Set material condition ZEBRA (modified).
New filters are installed on the gas masks. Don Chemical Protective Overgarment smock with hood down, trousers, and overboots. Stow personal decontamination kit in the mask carrier. Stow chemical protective gloves and medical supplies in the jumper cargo pocket. Go to General Quarters. Set material condition ZEBRA. Fill pre-positioned canteens with potable water. Activate decontamination stations and Contamination Control Station (CCA) for operability. Post detection and monitoring teams. Post and monitor detection equipment materials in accordance with the ship's Chemical, Biological, Radiological bill. Activate the CMWD, Counter Measure Washdown System, intermittently.
Don gas mask and secure the hood over the head and around the mask. Don gloves. Initiate continuous monitoring of detection equipment. Set condition Circle William (security of air vents). Activate CMWD system continuously.
The levels are set to protect against overheating from wearing protective gear for long periods of time.
Other related links:
For questions or comments please contact:
AZC(AW/NAC) Kimberly King