Seattle, WA (PRWEB) August 6, 2007
Seattle, Washington-based Isotron's strippable coating technology, RADBlock™, was featured on a global news television program on Friday, August 3. The BBC's special program was hosted by Frank Gardner, the BBC's full-time Security Correspondent, reporting for TV and radio on issues of both domestic and international security, notably on Al-Qaeda-related terrorism. In 2004, while reporting in the Middle East, Frank was shot six times at close range by Al-Qaeda terrorists in Saudi Arabia and his cameraman was killed. After many months in hospital he returned to the BBC to resume his job. In 2005, for his outstanding service to journalism, Frank Gardner was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire.
Gardner reported today on RADBlock, Isotron's advanced polymer coating technology, developed to mitigate against the threat of a dirty bomb and specifically the spread of radioactive material from wind, rain and smearable transport. Smearable and airborne radioactive, chemical and biological contaminants represent a particularly severe threat to emergency workers and civilians in the broad area of a radionuclide dispersion event. In the case of a dirty bomb in particular, while radiation exposure may only threaten those closest to ground zero, contamination threats exist -- according to some simulations -- across a several mile radius from the detonation site, due to the spread of radionuclides by contact and wind.
Isotron's strippable coatings have a long history of use for contamination avoidance in nuclear power plants, but the RADBlock coatings are unique in their ability to "trap" contaminants through special binding sites in the coating matrix. After a dirty bomb attack, the product can be rapidly peeled from the surface, to remove radioactive contaminants trapped in the coating, and provide access to the surfaces for additional decontamination. RADBlock was developed by Isotron through funding from the United States' Technical Support Working Group (TSWG) to trap and contain radioactive dust and other contaminants that are spread in a "dirty bomb" event. Current development is underway to demonstrate the performance of RADBlock-CB, a chemical and biological agent barrier and neutralization system.
"Our goal in developing this product was to give first-responders the ability to immediately enter a dirty-bomb site and to address issues of life and safety -- while providing them protection from the long term threats associated with contamination inhalation and ingestion," said Isotron CEO and co-founder, Christina Lomasney. "Our product can be quickly applied over a wide area through basic spray technologies and allows for immediate plume mitigation -- a critical aspect of containing contaminants from a dirty bomb attack. In addition to the airborne and smearable contamination issue, absorbent surfaces, like soil and asphalt, pose a specific decontamination challenge due to their ability to absorb some contaminants rapidly. Materials such as soil, concrete, wood or -- in the case of organic contaminants -- coated surfaces, are known to quickly absorb contaminants deep into their substructure, thus complicating non-destructive decontamination efforts. The RADBlock™, if applied quickly, can trap these contaminants in the coating layer, such that the decontamination effort - to return the area back to 'background' condition -- can be deferred until a strategically opportune time following emergency response."
The BBC program was filmed at Argonne National Laboratories in Illinois over a two day period of time in which Isotron, along with other U.S. companies, demonstrated their product capabilities for the BBC crew.
"Frank understands the issues of 'dirty bomb' attacks better than many," said Jayne Shelton, President of Isotron. "The significant issue in a dirty bomb attack isn't just the possible injuries that result of the blast, but the concurrent damage to property and people as contaminants shift and drift around. In the time immediately after a dirty bomb blast it is imperative to knock down, and lock down as much radioactive material as possible. Isotron's product doesn't permanently defeat the radioactivity -- but it locks it down and allows for decontamination teams to come back later, after first responders have cleared the area, and the contamination is contained."
Isotron's founding team has participated in the development of a number of strippable coatings and membrane products that have been used in emergency situations, such as, following Three Mile Island accident and the Crystal River Nuclear Power Plant accident. Isolock-300, an immersion strippable coating, has been used in decontamination and contamination avoidance at Nine Mile, Sumner and Sequoyah and other nuclear power plants. Isotron's coatings have been proven to quickly and effectively encapsulate and to afford the means to remove radionuclide and organic contaminants.
Isotron Corporation is based in Seattle, Washington. The company has a core competency in the area of energy, environmental remediation and defense technology development. Isotron has over 20 years experience in the development of innovative coatings and remediation technologies for large-scale spill mitigation and emergency response. The RadBlock™ program has employed theory and scientific accomplishments that have been advanced by a team bringing decades of experience with development and commercialization of environmental remediation and emergency response materials.
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