Friday 23 March 2018

UK firm to train Defence Forces in all major hazards

Don Lavery

A leading British electronics company is to help train the Defence Forces to deal with terrorist or industrial incidents involving nuclear, chemical or biological agents.

Argon Electronics of Luton has won a contract to supply a virtual CBRN (chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear) system to train operatives to deal with a situation involving any of these hazards.

Army bomb disposal teams have already been called out 14 times this year to deal with hazardous chemical substances. On Friday a highly dangerous unstable chemical was discovered in a science lab at Ashbourne Community School in Co Meath.

The chemical, 2.4 dinitrophenylhydrazine had the potential to be explosive and could have blown out the windows and doors of the lab.

It was discovered during a routine audit of chemicals at the school. Army experts removed the chemical to nearby waste ground and carried out a controlled explosion.

The Army Explosive Ordnance Disposal teams are also trained to deal with biological or nuclear materials.

The British firm was involved in a major UK exercise earlier this year when emergency services had to deal with the aftermath of a terrorism attack where a radioactive material was released after a plane hijack.

Similar exercises are held here, including Operation Contained Freedom in February in Dublin Port.

That involved Army experts, firemen, and gardai dealing with a mock 'dirty bomb' -- a terrorist weapon which uses conventional explosives to disperse radioactive material or deadly germs.

Sunday Independent

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