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Current Nationwide Threat Level


Daily Open Source Infrastructure Report for 17 August 2010


Significant Risk of Terrorist Attacks For information, click here:

Top Stories

? The New York Daily News reports that an explosion rocked a Bronx, New York subway station August 13, sending one transit worker to a hospital and delaying train service. (See item 30)

? According to The Tennessean, police believe someone may be targeting a Tennessee Highway Patrol officer specializing in Driving Under the Influence arrests (DUIs) after a bomb went off at his home last month and two similar bombs exploded August 16 where he was working. (See item 53)

Fast Jump Menu

PRODUCTION INDUSTRIES ? Energy ? Chemical ? Nuclear Reactors, Materials and Waste ? Critical Manufacturing ? Defense Industrial Base ? Dams SUSTENANCE and HEALTH ? Agriculture and Food ? Water ? Public Health and Healthcare

SERVICE INDUSTRIES ? Banking and Finance ? Transportation ? Postal and Shipping ? Information Technology ? Communications ? Commercial Facilities FEDERAL and STATE ? Government Facilities ? Emergency Services ? National Monuments and Icons

Energy Sector

Current Electricity Sector Threat Alert Levels: Physical: ELEVATED, Cyber: ELEVATED

Scale: LOW, GUARDED, ELEVATED, HIGH, SEVERE [Source: ISAC for the Electricity Sector (ES-ISAC) []

1. August 16, Bloomberg ? (International) Russian wildfire area shrinks as storms knock out power for 96,000 people. Storms in northwest Russia knocked out power to about 96,000 people August 15, as emergency crews made headway in their battle against wildfires that have blackened 3,309 square miles this year. The storms in four regions, including the Leningrad region around St. Petersburg, packed winds as high as

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67 mph, the emergency situations ministry said on its Web site. Almost 79,000 people still had no electricity at 6 a.m. August 16, and all customers should have power back by 8 p.m., the ministry said. The area of active fires in central Russia "significantly decreased" in the last 24 hours, the head of the ministry's crisis center said. Greenpeace Russia said there's hope things may change soon as rains and cooler temperatures are in the forecast. "It's still too early to relax," the environmental watchdog group said on its Web site. Source:

2. August 16, Associated Press ? (Louisiana) Assumption well still blowing wild near La. 70. An exploratory oil and gas well continued to blow wild, keeping six families out of their homes and shutting down one business along a two-mile stretch of Louisiana Highway 70 in Assumption parish. Parish officials said crews were bringing in wooden mats and dirt August 15 for heavy equipment needed to cap the well. They said authorities are also discussing strategies including a relief well and a controlled burn. Crews have tried at least twice to set fire to the 200-foot plume of oil, gas, brine and other material from the well, which blew August 11. Nobody was injured in the blowout. Source:

3. August 16, Mobile Press-Register ? (National) With oil well capped, scientists begin assessing spill's environmental toll. With the Deepwater Horizon well capped in the Gulf of Mexico, federal officials have turned their energies toward holding BP accountable for the environmental damage caused by hundreds of millions of gallons of oil loosed into the Gulf. An army of federal scientists 300 strong is focused on the area surrounding Mobile, Alabama. Hundreds of more scientists are at work in Mississippi and Louisiana. The goal is to create an official reckoning of the environmental toll, from the most obvious -- 3,761 dead birds and counting, according to BP. Complicating the process, BP has an army, too, with scientists spread along the coastline from Texas to Florida hunting for the same answers that the government seeks. Both sides said that they hope to reach a consensus on what has been damaged, and what it will take to begin to restore the Gulf. The primary tool used to figure out what has been lost is the Natural Resources Damage Assessment. In essence, it amounts to a civil lawsuit, one that could take many years to settle. Source:

4. August 16, Reuters ? (Louisiana) Conoco has pinhole leak in Belle Chasse refinery unit. ConocoPhillips reported a pinhole leak in a process line at its 247,000 barrel-perday refinery in Belle Chasse, Louisiana August 13, according to a filing with regulators. A company spokesman was not immediately available to comment on which unit was affected and if there was any effect on production. Source:

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Chemical Industry Sector

5. August 15, KCAL 9 Los Angeles ? (California) Hazmat team called to chemical spill. A hazardous materials team responded to a reported chemical spill August 15 on Terminal Island in Los Angeles, California, a city fire official said. There were no reported injuries. The spill, possibly hydrochloric acid, was reported at 7:15 p.m. at 389 E. Terminal Way, an official with the Los Angeles Fire Department said. It was contained shortly before 8 p.m. No information was available on what caused the spill. Source:

6. August 15, Hindustan Times ? (International) 4 of 61 missing ammo trucks found in MP. Four of the 61 trucks that vanished with 400 tons of explosives over four months were found ? but thoroughly cleaned out ? late August 13 in Northern India's Rajgarh district of Madhya Pradesh. A police team seized the vehicles parked in front of a local trading company, BM Traders, at Pipala village of Beoara Tehsil of Rajgarh district. The trucks were sent from Rajasthan Explosives and Chemicals Ltd (RECL) to a trading company in Sagar, Ganesh Magazine, between April and July. Following a Hindustan Times exclusive August 13, the Union Home Ministry expressed concern and asked the MP administration for a report on the missing trucks. The leader of the police team said the explosives were unloaded somewhere between Dholpur in Rajasthan and Sagar. While three of the seized trucks were from Bhilwara, the fourth one is owned by one of the two partners in Ganesh Magazine. Source:

For another story, see item 42

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Nuclear Reactors, Materials and Waste Sector

7. August 14, Associated Press ? (Nebraska) Neb. nuclear power plant plans siren warning test. Sirens soon will be sounding for 10 miles around the Fort Calhoun nuclear power plant in eastern Nebraska. Omaha Public Power District (OPPD) said it will test the plant's siren alert system August 25. The sirens will sound for three minutes sometime between 9 and 10 a.m. All the radio-controlled sirens within 10 miles of the plant will be tested. The plant is 19 miles north of Omaha, southeast of Blair. People who notice malfunctioning sirens should report them to OPPD. Were the sirens to sound in earnest for an emergency, that would be a signal for people to tune in an emergency alert radio station. OPPD said that for the greater Omaha area, that would be KFAB, 1110 on the AM dial. Source:

8. August 14, Lower Hudson Journal News ? (New York) Indian Point gets OK to demolish old siren system. Federal officials have given the Indian Point nuclear power plant in Buchanan, New York the go-ahead to demolish its old emergency siren system,

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the last step in phasing out a problem-plagued network that cost the company credibility and millions of dollars to replace. "We do not wish to hold up removal of the legacy system, since removal is in the best interests of the public," the regional administrator for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) wrote to state officials. In the August 10 letter, obtained by The Journal News, the administrator told the director of the state's office of emergency management, that the new 172-siren system had passed its required tests and provided residents more coverage than its predecessor. FEMA's branch chief for radiological emergency planning said August 13 the approval to take down the old system does not mean the agency has signed off 100 percent on the new system. Source:

9. August 13, LaSalle News Tribune ? (Illinois) Fish kill reported in nuclear plant cooling lake due to temps. More than 2,000 fish died August 13 in La Salle Lake in Illinois after water temperatures skyrocketed. Officials for Exelon Nuclear, which operates the nuclear power plant, point to the high air temperature in the past few days, as well as low wind, lack of precipitation and a high dew point as contributing to the lake reaching 101 degrees overnight. The water of La Salle Lake is used in the nuclear station's power generating process with water being discharged back into the cooling lake. Since the overnight temperatures were nearing a mandated temperature threshold, power at the station's two units was reduced to about 83 percent for a 12-hour window until the morning when lake temperatures cooled to 98 degrees. An Exelon Nuclear spokesman explained that the temperature readings are taken at four locations within the plant as the water is drawn in. An average of those readings is used to determine the water temperature. The majority of the dead fish were gizzard shad, according to an Exelon Nuclear press release. As air and lake temperatures continue to rise, there is a potential for the loss of additional fish. Illinois Department of Natural Resources is conducting a thorough lake survey to independently evaluate the fish loss. Station workers and IDNR representatives will work to quickly clean the lake area. Source: kill+reported+in+nuclear+plant+cooling+lake+due+to+temps.

10. August 13, Associated Press ? (Colorado) Colo. agency OKs new rules for uranium mining. State officials have approved new rules intended to protect Colorado's groundwater during a type of uranium mining that extracts the mineral by injecting a solution underground. The requirements approved August 12 by the mined land reclamation board include detailed environmental protection plans for uranium mines and maintaining existing groundwater quality or at state standards. Mine applications must include detailed information on the pre-mining water quality. Public input will be allowed. The rules carry out three laws passed by the legislature in 2008 out of concern about in-situ, or "in place," mining, which injects a solution underground to dissolve and extract the mineral. An in-situ uranium mine has been proposed about 70 miles north of Denver.

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Critical Manufacturing Sector

11. August 14, WTEN 10 Albany ? (New York) Fire rips through Schenectady recycling plant. Firefighters battled a blaze at T A Predel and Co. on Edison Avenue in Schenectady, New York August 15. Firefighters said they responded to the recycling plant around 5 p.m., battling the flames as smoke billowed out. People reported smelling the smoke miles away. "It moved in slowly and then it was horrible. It smelled like burnt rubber. It was really, really thick and swampy," one neighbor said. The flames tore through a pile of scrap metal including cars, refrigerators and other appliances. The fire proved challenging for firefighters, since water had to be relayed from a hydrant on the street. Source:

12. August 14, Evansville Courier and Press ? (Kentucky) Fire damages potline at Audubon Metals, four slightly injured. Four people were overcome by heat and smoke and one had to be treated at the hospital after fire broke out August 13 at Audubon Metals in Henderson, Kentucky. The fire was located near a smelter potline that was transferring molten metal in a crucible. Apparently a malfunction caused the crucible to overflow, spilling 1,000 pounds of hot, liquid metal on the floor, pulling down electrical lines and igniting hydraulic oil on the ground. A dry material was used to smother the flames. Around 45 workers were evacuated from the area, and four employees were injured. One person was treated at Methodist Hospital and released. The other three employees received medical aid at the scene. Source:

13. August 13, KGW 8 Portland ? (Oregon) Molten metal spills at NW Portland factory. Firefighters and a hazmat team were dispatched to a molten metal spill in Portland, Oregon August 13. The alarm came in around 2:50 p.m. to the Esco Corporation, a firm that manufactures engineered metal wearparts and components for industrial applications, including mining, construction, power generation and aerospace. The building was immediately evacuated. Firefighters were concerned about electrical lines in the plant and whether water on the metal would create an explosion. No one was injured. Source:

14. August 13, KHBS/KHOG 40/29 Fort Smith/Fayetteville ? (Oklahoma) Yaffe iron plant in Arkoma catches fire again. A fire erupted at Yaffe Iron and Metal in Arkoma, Oklahoma August 13. Crews at the scene said a pile containing iron and other appliances caught fire. "A huge pile of scrap iron and a lot of refrigerator casings were

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on fire. Yaffe was trying to fight the fire with a crane," said the Arkoma police chief. Crews said while Yaffe workers were trying to crush metal, a spark made its way onto the pile. This is the third fire at the plant in the past two years. The Fort Smith, Arkansas fire marshal said emergency crews are now working with owners of Yaffe to see if better safety measures can be implemented. Source:

15. August 9, IDG News Service ? (National) Tire tags reveal driver whereabouts. Researchers from Rutgers University and the University of South Carolina have found that wireless communications between new cars and their tires can be intercepted or even forged. While the potential for misuse may be minimal, this vulnerability points to a troubling lack of rigor with secure software development for new automobiles, said a co-lead on the study. The researchers presented their findings at the Usenix Security Symposium in Washington D.C. The system that the researchers tested monitors the air pressure of each tire on an automobile. The researchers had found that each sensor has a unique 32-bit ID and that communication between the radio frequency identification tag and the electronic control unit (ECU) was unencrypted, meaning it could be intercepted by third parties from as far away as 131 feet. An attacker could flood the control unit with low pressure readings that would repeatedly set off the warning light. An attacker could also send nonsensical messages to the control unit, confusing or possibly even breaking the unit. Component manufacturers could take some easy steps to strengthen the security of these systems, the researchers conclude. Communications could be encrypted. Also the ECU should filter incoming messages so that any with unexpected payloads should be discarded, so they do not corrupt the system. Source:

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Defense Industrial Base Sector

16. August 16, Aviation Week ? (National) Alternate JSF engine thrust beats target. The intense battle over powering the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter could be heading to new levels following test results that show the General Electric/Rolls-Royce F136 alternate engine has more than 15 percent thrust margin against specification, significantly exceeding the power of the baseline Pratt & Whitney F135. The tests at the U.S. Air Force's Arnold Engineering Development Center (AEDC) in Tullahoma, Tennessee are the first to officially calibrate the combat-rated thrust of a production-representative F136 at sea level conditions. "Initial results show we have more than 15 percent margin at sea level combat-rated thrust than the specification. That is significantly beyond the thrust requirement right out of the chute," said GE-Rolls. In March this year, following the first maximum afterburner test of a system development and demonstration engine, the team quietly expressed confidence the F136 would exceed the thrust of the baseline F135 by 5 percent. Actual thrust achieved in the test remains undisclosed, but it is in excess of 40,000 lb.

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