Containing the Threat from Illegal Bombings

An Integrated National Strategy for Marking, Tagging, Rendering Inert, and Licensing Explosives and Their Precursors

Committee on Marking, Rendering Inert, and Licensing of Explosive Materials

Board on Chemical Sciences and Technology

Commission on Physical Sciences, Mathematics, and Applications

National Research Council

NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS
Washington, D.C.
1998



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Containing the Threat from Illegal Bombings: An Integrated National Strategy for Marking, Tagging, Rendering Inert, and Licensing Explosives and Their Precursors Containing the Threat from Illegal Bombings An Integrated National Strategy for Marking, Tagging, Rendering Inert, and Licensing Explosives and Their Precursors Committee on Marking, Rendering Inert, and Licensing of Explosive Materials Board on Chemical Sciences and Technology Commission on Physical Sciences, Mathematics, and Applications National Research Council NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS Washington, D.C. 1998

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Containing the Threat from Illegal Bombings: An Integrated National Strategy for Marking, Tagging, Rendering Inert, and Licensing Explosives and Their Precursors NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. This study was supported by Contract No. TATF-96-17 between the National Academy of Sciences and the Department of the Treasury. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the organizations or agencies that provided support for this project. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Containing the threat from illegal bombings : an integrated national strategy for marking, tagging, rendering inert, and licensing explosives and their precursors / Committee on Marking, Rendering Inert, and Licensing of Explosive Materials, Board on Chemical Sciences and Technology, Commission on Physical Sciences, Mathematics, and Applications, National Research Council. p. cm. Includes bibliographical references (p. ) ISBN 0-309-06126-1 1. Taggants. 2. Explosives industry—Licenses—United States. I. National Research Council (U.S.). Committee on Marking, Rendering Inert, and Licensing of Explosive Materials. TP313.C65 1998 363.3′3—ddc21 98-19665 Cover: Background photograph courtesy of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms. Additional copies of this report are available from: National Academy Press (http://www.nap.edu) 2101 Constitution Ave., NW, Box 285 Washington, DC 20055 800-624-6242 202-334-3313 (in the Washington metropolitan area) Copyright 1998 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America

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Containing the Threat from Illegal Bombings: An Integrated National Strategy for Marking, Tagging, Rendering Inert, and Licensing Explosives and Their Precursors COMMITTEE ON MARKING, RENDERING INERT, AND LICENSING OF EXPLOSIVE MATERIALS MARYE ANEE FOX, University of Texas, Co-chair EDWARD M. ARNETT, Duke University, Co-chair ALEXANDER BEVERIDGE, Royal Canadian Mounted Police ALAN L. CALNAN, Southwestern University School of Law TUNG-HO CHEN, U.S. Army Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center HERBERT S. ELEUTERIO, National University of Singapore WILLIAM M. HAYNES, Monsanto Company ROBERT B. HOPLER, Powderman Consulting Inc. ALEXANDER MacLACHLAN, Department of Energy (retired) LYLE O. MALOTKY, Federal Aviation Administration DAVID W. McCALL, AT&T Bell Laboratories (retired) DOUGLAS B. OLSON, New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology JIMMIE C. OXLEY, University of Rhode Island and Gordon Research Conferences ROBERT M. PENTZ, Aerospace Corporation ANTHONY J. SILVESTRI, Mobil Research and Development Corporation (retired) JUDITH BANNON SNOW, Los Alamos National Laboratory FRANK H. STILLINGER, Bell Laboratories, Lucent Technologies ANDREW E. TASLITZ, Howard University School of Law Liaison Members JOHN J. WISE, Mobil Research and Development Corporation (retired) (Board on Chemical Sciences and Technology) EDWARD C. DOWLING, Cyprus Amax Minerals Company (National Materials Advisory Board) Project Staff DOUGLAS J. RABER, Study Director and Director, Board on Chemical Sciences and Technology (BCST) ROBERT SCHAFRIK, Director, National Materials Advisory Board (NMAB) GREG EYRING, Consultant, NMAB SANDRA HYLAND, Senior Program Officer, NMAB DAVID GRANNIS, Project Assistant (from September 1997), BCST RYANNE J. MAYERSAK, Research Assistant (November 1996 through July 1997), BCST TRACY D. WILSON, Senior Program Officer, BCST

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Containing the Threat from Illegal Bombings: An Integrated National Strategy for Marking, Tagging, Rendering Inert, and Licensing Explosives and Their Precursors BOARD ON CHEMICAL SCIENCES AND TECHNOLOGY LARRY OVERMAN, University of California at Irvine, Co-chair JOHN J. WISE, Mobil Research and Development Corporation (retired), Co-chair HANS C. ANDERSEN, Stanford University JOHN L. ANDERSON, Carnegie Mellon University DAVID C. BONNER, Westlake Group PHILIP H. BRODSKY, Monsanto Company GREGORY R. CHOPPIN, Florida State University BARBARA J. GARRISON, Pennsylvania State University LOUIS C. GLASGOW, E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company JOSEPH G. GORDON II, IBM Almaden Research Center ROBERT H. GRUBBS, California Institute of Technology KEITH E. GUBBINS, Cornell University VICTORIA F. HAYNES, B.F. Goodrich Company JIRI JONAS, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign GARY E. MCGRAW, Eastman Chemical Company GREGORY A. PETSKO, Brandeis University WAYNE H. PITCHER, JR., Genencor Corporation PETER J. STANG, University of Utah JOAN S. VALENTINE, University of California at Los Angeles WILLIAM J. WARD III, General Electric Company JOHN T. YATES, JR., University of Pittsburgh Staff DOUGLAS J. RABER, Director TRACY D. WILSON, Senior Program Officer DAVID GRANNIS, Project Assistant MARIA P. JONES, Senior Project Assistant RUTH McDIARMID, Senior Program Officer CHRISTOPHER K. MURPHY, Program Officer SYBIL A. PAIGE, Administrative Associate

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Containing the Threat from Illegal Bombings: An Integrated National Strategy for Marking, Tagging, Rendering Inert, and Licensing Explosives and Their Precursors COMMISSION ON PHYSICAL SCIENCES, MATHEMATICS, AND APPLICATIONS ROBERT J. HERMANN, United Technologies Corporation, Co-chair W. CARL LINEBERGER, University of Colorado, Co-chair PETER M. BANKS, Environmental Research Institute of Michigan WILLIAM BROWDER, Princeton University LAWRENCE D. BROWN, University of Pennsylvania RONALD G. DOUGLAS, Texas A&M University JOHN E. ESTES, University of California at Santa Barbara MARTHA HAYNES, Cornell University L. LOUIS HEGEDUS, Elf Atochem North America Inc. JOHN E. HOPCROFT, Cornell University CAROL M. JANTZEN, Westinghouse Savannah River Company PAUL G. KAMINSKI, Technovation Inc. KENNETH H. KELLER, University of Minnesota KENNETH I. KELLERMANN, National Radio Astronomy Observatory MARGARET G. KIVELSON, University of California at Los Angeles DANIEL KLEPPNER, Massachusetts Institute of Technology JOHN KREICK, Sanders, a Lockheed Martin Company MARSHA I. LESTER, University of Pennsylvania NICHOLAS P. SAMIOS, Brookhaven National Laboratory CHANG-LIN TIEN, University of California at Berkeley NORMAN METZGER, Executive Director

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Containing the Threat from Illegal Bombings: An Integrated National Strategy for Marking, Tagging, Rendering Inert, and Licensing Explosives and Their Precursors The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Bruce Alberts is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. William A. Wulf is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Kenneth I. Shine is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy's purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Bruce Alberts and Dr. William A. Wulf are chairman and vice chairman, respectively, of the National Research Council.

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Containing the Threat from Illegal Bombings: An Integrated National Strategy for Marking, Tagging, Rendering Inert, and Licensing Explosives and Their Precursors Preface The Committee on Marking, Rendering Inert, and Licensing of Explosive Materials (see Appendix A) was appointed by the National Research Council (NRC) to address four basic areas: (a) the viability of adding tracer elements to explosives for the purpose of detection, (b) the viability of adding tracer elements to explosives for the purpose of identification, (c) the feasibility and practicability of rendering inert common chemicals used to manufacture explosive materials, and (d) the feasibility and practicability of imposing controls on certain precursor chemicals used to manufacture explosive materials. (See Appendix B for a detailed statement of task.) As part of these tasks, the committee considered risks to human life or safety, utility for law enforcement, effects on the quality and reliability of the explosive materials for their intended lawful use, potential effects on the environment, and the cost-effectiveness of these approaches. The study focused on issues in science and technology, with the goal being to frame the issues and furnish a report that provides a clear description of the technical options that exist to contain the threat from illegal bombings. The committee's final report of the results of this study provides advice to officials of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms on which to base recommendations to Congress. It also sets forth findings obtained as a result of consultation with other federal, state, and local officials, regulated industry members, and fertilizer research centers. An interim report, published in May 1997 (National Academy Press, Washington, D.C.), described progress to date and summarized workshop presentations concerning current developments and critical issues in marking or tagging explosive materials for the purposes of detection or identifi-

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Containing the Threat from Illegal Bombings: An Integrated National Strategy for Marking, Tagging, Rendering Inert, and Licensing Explosives and Their Precursors cation. This final report supersedes the interim report and presents the committee's conclusions and recommendations. In its initial meetings, the committee received a number of briefings (see Appendix C) and held subsequent deliberations. These presentations are summarized in Appendixes D and E. The committee is grateful to the many individuals who provided technical information and insight during these briefings. This information represented a sound foundation on which the committee based its work. The committee solicited input from the scientific community and affected stakeholders on the issues delineated in the committee's charge and considered all such sources of information throughout the study. This study was conducted under the auspicies of the NRC's Board on Chemical Sciences and Technology with technical insight and assistance provided by the NRC's National Materials Advisory Board and its staff. The committee acknowledges this support. The co-chairs are also particularly grateful to the members of this committee, who worked diligently and effectively on a demanding schedule to produce this report. Marye Anne Fox and Edward M. Arnett, Co-chairs Committee on Marking, Rendering Inert, and Licensing of Explosive Materials

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Containing the Threat from Illegal Bombings: An Integrated National Strategy for Marking, Tagging, Rendering Inert, and Licensing Explosives and Their Precursors Acknowledgments This report has been reviewed by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the National Research Council's (NRC's) Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the authors and the NRC in making the published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The contents of the review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their participation in the review of this report: Peter Banks, Environmental Research Institute of Michigan, Randy Becker, Los Angeles Police Department, Charles H. Bennett, IBM T.J. Watson Research Center, John F. Braley, Dow Chemical Company, Nick Cartwright, Royal Canadian Mounted Police, William C. Davis, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Richard L. Garwin, IBM T.J. Watson Research Center, Claude Merrill, Air Force Phillips Laboratory, Hyla Napadensky, Napadensky Energetics Inc. (retired), Larry E. Overman, University of California at Irvine, Susan Poulter, University of Utah, Mark J. Raabe, Merck & Co. Inc.,

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Containing the Threat from Illegal Bombings: An Integrated National Strategy for Marking, Tagging, Rendering Inert, and Licensing Explosives and Their Precursors Jean-Michel Rendu, Newmont Gold Company, Paul Rydlund, El Dorado Chemical, and Peter Sharfman, MITRE Corporation. Although the individuals listed above provided many constructive comments and suggestions, responsibility for the final content of this report rests solely with the authoring committee and the NRC.

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Containing the Threat from Illegal Bombings: An Integrated National Strategy for Marking, Tagging, Rendering Inert, and Licensing Explosives and Their Precursors Contents     EXECUTIVE SUMMARY   1 1   INTRODUCTION   21     Charge to the Committee,   22     Explosives and the Bombing Threat,   24     Understanding and Addressing the Bombing Threat,   38     Approach to This Study,   39 2   IMPROVING THE CAPABILITY TO DETECT EXPLOSIVES   41     Introduction,   41     Options for Marking Explosives to Enhance Detection,   43     Direct Detection of Unmarked Explosives,   60     Legal Issues,   66     Planned National Investment to Enhance Detection of Explosives,   68     Conclusions and Recommendations,   70 3   TAGGANTS FOR PREBLAST AND POSTBLAST IDENTIFICATION OF EXPLOSIVES   73     Introduction,   73     Evaluation of Identification Taggants,   79     Legal Issues,   90     Conclusions and Recommendations,   92

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Containing the Threat from Illegal Bombings: An Integrated National Strategy for Marking, Tagging, Rendering Inert, and Licensing Explosives and Their Precursors 4   RENDERING EXPLOSIVE MATERIALS INERT   97     Introduction,   97     Ammonium Nitrate in Mining and Agriculture,   99     Rendering Bulk Ammonium Nitrate Inert,   103     Research and Testing Needed,   108     Legal Issues,   110     Conclusions and Recommendations,   112 5   LIMITING CRIMINAL ACCESS TO EXPLOSIVES AND PRECURSOR CHEMICALS   117     Introduction,   117     Controls on Purchase and Use of Commercial Explosives in the United States and Abroad,   118     Common Precursor Chemicals Potentially Subject to Controls—Developing a Short List,   126     Potential Models for Control of Explosives Precursors,   132     Recommended Controls on Short-list Precursor Chemicals at Various Threat Levels,   142     Legal Issues,   153     Conclusions and Recommendations,   155     BIBLIOGRAPHY   159     APPENDIXES         A Biographical Sketches of Committee Members   167     B Statement of Task   173     C Committee Meetings   177     D Summary of Presentations and Materials from Marker and Taggant Vendors   182     E Summary of Presentations and Materials from Nonfederal Stakeholders   191     F Summary of European Site Visit   198     G An Analysis of the Legal Issues Attendant to the Marking, Inerting, or Regulation of Explosive Materials Alan L. Calnan and Andrew E. Taslitz   215     H Test to Evaluate Detonability   341     I Laboratories Capable of Testing   344     J Probabilistic Aspects of Taggant Recovery   347     K Criteria for Ranking Common Explosive Chemicals   352     L ''Be Aware for America" Survey   356     M Components of Explosive Systems   359     N Glossary   363     O Acronyms and Abbreviations   369