Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Final Report Summary - EXPEDIA (EXplosives PrEcursor Defeat by Inhibitor Additives)

Executive Summary:
The threat from homemade explosives (HMEs) is constantly present and several large scale terrorist bomb attacks have been executed in Europe during the recent years. The explosives have been manufactured in apartments or in other non-professional environments with chemicals referred to as explosives precursors available to the general public. The availability of several of the most commonly used precursors is regulated in the EU regulation No 98/2013 on the marketing and use of explosives precursors. Despite the regulation and the limited availability for the general public, several recent terrorist attacks have been executed using some of these chemicals. EXPEDIA has devoted research to map which recipes are used to produce certain HMEs and how effective they are, identifying necessary key chemicals and what type of equipment is required for the manufacture of the explosives. This work is referred to as garage chemistry in EXPEDIA and aims to give valuable input to legislators in order to strengthen the precursor regulation in upcoming revisions. As one important output of the EXPEDIA project, a report with recommendations on regulation of four key precursors has been submitted to the commission and to the Standing Committee on Precursors (SCP). These recommendations are based on the scientific facts produced within EXPEDIA.

A threat list of prioritized precursors and explosives was created with input from the garage chemistry research in EXPEDIA together with input from the earlier FP7-projects LOTUS, EMPHASIS and PREVAIL. The explosives and precursors were ranked based on four parameters: preparation simplicity, availability of the precursors, preparation hazards and ease of detection/covertness. The threat list collects the most important aspects of the materials and could give valuable input to where future research is needed to prevent terrorist attacks.

In cases where regulation and legislation are not sufficiently effective to limit the access to precursors, inhibition can be a complementary solution. Inhibition prevents the misuse of chemicals as explosive precursors and relies on the activity of additives to neutralize explosive properties or to hinder (inhibit) the manufacture of the explosive without obstructing the legal use of the chemicals. EXPEDIA builds on the successful results of PREVAIL, a previous FP7-project in which two precursors were addressed for inhibition. EXPEDIA extends the PREVAIL project by addressing three other precursors and in all three cases, EXPEDIA has shown that it is possible to prevent or to complicate the misuse of these materials.

Although regulations and chemical solutions such as inhibition are effective measures to increase the security in Europe, there will always be ways to circumvent regulations and to bypass inhibition. To stop terrorist attacks, intelligence services and police authorities constitute two of the most important keystones in the counter-terrorist work. However, in some cases uniformed police and rescue services with limited knowledge in bomb-making and precursors come across clandestine laboratories in their ordinary day-to-day work. In order to help them to identify the location as a bomb-factory and to alert intelligence services and bomb squads, EXPEDIA has produced a European guide to first responders. The guide was developed both as a pamphlet and as an application for mobile phones. This guide includes instructions on how to identify a bomb-factory, how to act and a report function (mobile application) that connects the first responders with the proper experts for further guidance. The guide can help to increase the safety of the first responder and increases the chances of detecting bomb-factories and thereby also the chances to prevent terrorist attacks.

EXPEDIA was a successful project with several important outputs that will help to increase the security in Europe.

Project Context and Objectives:
The bomb attacks in Madrid 2004 initiated the work on increasing the security in Europe. In 2008, the EU Action Plan on Enhancing the Security of Explosives was formulated, which contained 48 measures to prevent, detect and respond to the increasing threat. The action plan also contained horizontal measures to develop platforms to share information between member states and support research in the area. In the seventh framework programme (2007-2013), security research was included and in the prevent work stream of the programme, the PREVAIL project was launched. The aim of the project was to find chemical solutions, inhibitors, to prevent the misuse of explosive precursors as well as markers to increase the chance of detection of bombs and bomb factories.

The Stockholm programme in 2010 stated that a legislative framework was required to address the dangers associated with precursors. In 2013, the EU regulation No 98/2013 on the marketing and use of explosives precursors came into force. In the regulation, most of the commonly used explosive precursors are either prohibited for the general public to buy, obtain or hold over a specified concentration limit or included on a list for which suspicious transactions of the precursors shall be reported to the appropriate authority.

Despite the regulation, several terrorist attacks have been executed that could be traced back to regulated precursors. EXPEDIA (EXplosives PrEcursor Defeat by Inhibitor Additives) is the successor of PREVAIL and answered the final call of the seventh framework program. It continues the work that started with PREVAIL. One of the objectives was complete the picture of finding chemical solutions to the misuse of explosive precursors.

EXPEDIA extended the PREVAIL project with inhibition research on three new explosives and explosive precursors: Hexamethylene triperoxide diamine (HMTD), calcium ammonium nitrate (CAN) fertilizers and nitromethane (NM). An expert institute, WIHiE, supported the development work of the inhibitors with environmental impact and toxicity evaluations of suggested inhibitors. Industry partners (Yara, Angus, GMAX, Esbit) were tightly connected to the work to ensure cost effective and industrial implementable solutions.

Improvised primary explosives are essential to build blasting caps/detonators for the initiation of secondary explosives to detonation. Therefore, many internet blogs discuss the synthesis of primary explosives. Varying recipes and synthesis instructions for this type of explosives can be found. However, not all of them work in practice. If bomb attacks fail, it is often because of malfunction of the initiation systems. EXPEDIA evaluates how much chemistry knowledge that is necessary to build functional initiators and how long these items are serviceable. The work aims to collect syntheses descriptions for improvised primary explosives from open literature sources like internet forums, news groups and terrorist handbooks. The focus is on recipes with commercial available precursors for HMTD and Diazodinitrophenol (DDNP) and evaluation of the equipment and the synthesis skills. Characterization of HMTD and DDNP (purity, sensitivity, life time and detonation properties) is necessary to evaluate the specific characteristics of procedures and materials, and aims to provide new opportunities for detection of bomb factories and to provide essential information for first responders to recognize bomb factories for initiator production including instructions how to deal with the threats.

Information that describes the synthesis and the properties of home-made explosives is easily accessible today on the internet through forums, chats and blogs. This information referred to as garage chemistry originates from amateur chemists and terrorist groups with various degrees of knowledge within the area and probably also from professional chemists to some extent. The starting point in the recipes is usually commercially available precursors and kitchen equipment. EXPEDIA works toward validation of the threat described in these sources in order to provide scientifically validated data. Main charges made from home-made acids, chlorates, perchlorates, nitromethane, fertilizers and hydrogen peroxide are targeted together with assessment of the access to chemical precursors, garage chemistry procedures and equipment. The aim is to provide legislators with recommendations for the inhibition of precursors to prevent their use for illicit purposes, to improve the knowledge of garage chemistry and provide technical support to authorities for new regulations with the intention to limit the access of precursors. The evaluation of the specific characteristics of garage chemistry procedures provides new opportunities for detection of bomb factories and essential information for first responders to recognize them. EXPEDIA helps to identify key chemicals that could be subjects for inhibition work in forthcoming projects.

Finding bomb factories before the attacks are carried out is one of the most important keystones in the counter-terrorist work. This is mainly done by intelligence services and police forces with trained personnel. However, in some cases uniformed police and rescue services with limited knowledge in bomb-making and precursors come across clandestine laboratories in their ordinary day-to-day work. One of the objectives of EXPEDIA is to provide these professionals with a tool to help them identify bomb factories and what to do in a potentially life threatening situation. The development of a mobile application could accomplish that goal and also provide a direct link to trained experts for on-site guidance. The development of a European guide for first responders will extend the present counter-terrorist work and also provide a better safety for the first responder.

Anders Behring Breivik states in his manifesto released in conjunction to the bombing of the government building in Oslo 2011 that some of the best information on how to build the bomb was obtained through governmental sources. To avoid spreading such information to the wrong people, the majority of the work in EXPEDIA is classified and varies from Restreint EU/EU-Restricted up to Secret UE/EU-Secret. All involved partners need a personal security clearance to the level of EU-Secret in order to take part in the work and to be able to share information between partners.

The EXPEDIA consortium consisted of 12 partners. Our industrial partners YARA, Esbit and ANGUS ensured industry viable solutions in relation to the inhibition work. Further, our end user partners, NBI and BKA, certified that the work conducted within EXPEDIA was presented to end users in a way that ensured implementation and use. The Competence Centre for Energetic Materials, KCEM, was created to disseminate and educate end users of both safety and security in matters relating to energetic materials. KCEM have many important contacts and knowledge of European and national chemical legislation. Five research centres (FOI, TNO, CEA, ICT and BI) with profound knowledge of energetic materials ensured high level research and results that serve legislators with important information in their work. WIHiE constituted a very important part in the project and their work was tightly connected with the development of the inhibitors to ensure beneficial environmental and toxicity profiles of the suggested inhibitors.

Project Results:
WP1 Management
The Project Management group (PMG) of EXPEDIA consisted of the Project Manager (PM), Deputy PM (DPM) and Work Package Leaders (WPL), where each WPL was responsible for the management within their respective WPs. The focus of the management work was on matters of legal, contractual, ethical, financial and administrative nature. The PMG coordinated outward reporting and deliverables with respect to timeliness, quality and security classification.

WP2 Dissemination
Three end user workshops were arranged during the project. The first workshop was held at and arranged by TNO in Rijswijk, the Netherlands. The purpose of this workshop was to receive input from end users to the guide for first responders, which subsequently was produced within WP 3. Important input and several comments were received and in the aftermath of the workshop, it was decided to focus the work on a guide for rescue services with limited knowledge in explosives and bomb factories. This decision was based on the opinion of the end users that expert guides already exists in all EU-countries, but guides for non-experts focused on pre-blast activities are less common.

The second workshop was arranged in conjunction to a meeting of the Standing Committee of Precursors (SCP) in Brussels and was held on Confidentiel UE/EU-Confidential level. At this meeting, objectives and results were presented.

The third and final workshop was divided into two parts, one public part and one classified Confidentiel UE/EU-Confidential. The public part was a presentation at the SCP to give an overview of EXPEDIA and to present impact studies and implementation recommendations based on the results of the project. The classified part of the workshop was held at CEA in Tours, France, with invited targeted end-users to disseminate the final results of EXPEDIA. At this workshop, present SCP members asked for a document with recommendations of the EXPEDIA project as input to the revision of the precursor regulation. They also requested instructions on how to obtain reports from the project. A recommendation document was provided to the SCP members that were present at the workshop and later to all members of the SCP as requested by the EU commission.

Due to the classification of the EXPEDIA results, scientific publications in peer-reviewed journals were considered undesirable, as too many details would have to be disseminated. FOI, TNO, BKA, NBI and CEA were part of the project security board (SB) in order to ensure that no classified information is released unauthorised. This group was summoned when necessary in order to determine the proper dissemination level on the project deliverables.

WP3 Threat analysis and End user requirements
In WP3, the focus was on three main objectives:

• Collect information from nationally and EU funded projects as input to the work in EXPEDIA
• Construct a prioritised threat list of explosives and explosive precursors
• Develop a guide for first responders

In order to receive important input and to avoid duplicating previous and on-going work within the security area, the first task in WP3 was to collect and disseminate results within the consortium from ongoing national and EU-funded projects. Threat lists was collected from the EMPHASIS and LOTUS projects and prioritized according to a method developed in PREVAIL. Results from the inhibition work performed in the PREVAIL project were used as input to the research on inhibition on HMTD. Earlier work on nitromethane from national projects was disseminated to support both the garage chemistry and inhibition research relating to products containing nitromethane. Several new threat substances and pre-precursors (i.e. precursors of the precursors) were also identified in this process as being potential future threats. Experiments with these new threat substances were conducted in WP5 and WP6.

The purpose of the threat list developed in WP3 was to get an overview of the current threat situation in order to focus future work and research on the most important explosives and explosive precursors. This list is intended to be used by both legislators as well as research projects and could furthermore support police bomb squads in their education of new and existing team members.

It was concluded during the development of the list that making a reasonable prioritization is difficult, since the list comprehend a selection of precursors, highly sensitive explosives and explosives most commonly used in large IEDs. The prioritization was also complicated by the fact that the availability of important precursors are not harmonised within the EU. Furthermore both military and civilian explosives are included on the list where the availability is strongly connected to the member states situation and regulations. The availability of important materials through internet channels from outside the EU was not accounted for, but could be a further complicating factor. Nevertheless, the list constitutes the most important explosive materials and precursors. With the complications in mind, the list can be of great importance for many different authorities and research projects throughout the EU.

As mentioned above, the first workshop in EXPEDIA was devoted to the guide for first responders in order to collect information and opinions from end users and stakeholders on what type of guide that is needed on a European level. At the workshop, it was concluded that the guide should respond to the need of the police and rescue services with limited knowledge of explosives and clandestine labs since bomb squads and other experts already have the required material and knowledge to handle such situations. Therefore the work was focused on developing a guide for a pre-blast situation aimed at persons that can come across clandestine labs in their ordinary day-to-day work. It was also decided that the guide should be public but with targeted end users in order to simplify distribution and handling.

At first, the intention was to develop the guide as an easy-to-carry pamphlet. However, mid-way in the project the focus was shifted towards the development of a mobile application version of the guide, since it is easier and almost always carried, can contain more data and pictures, is easier to update and functions to set the first responder in direct contact with experts can be implemented. The application was developed together with an external company and has received positive feedback from potential end users during presentations. The application contains instructions on what-to-do and how to act in a potentially life threatening situation together with important indications of a clandestine explosives lab and pictures of common chemicals and equipment. The application also hosts a report function by which it is possible to send a short description of the location to experts through an easy-to-use multi-choice interface together with the possibility to attach pictures in order to get instant feedback for the first responder to sustain a safer and more secure handling of the situation.

WP4 Inhibition of precursors
In WP4, the objectives were to develop inhibitors for

• the production of HMTD
• purification and sensitisation of nitromethane
• ammonium nitrate based fertilizers with focus on CAN fertilizers

WE4.1 Inhibition of the production of HMTD
The objective of this WE was to find a method for the inhibition of hexamine that will prevent the synthesis of the home-made, primary explosive HMTD from commercially available sources of hexamine. This work was divided into several steps:

• A literature study to get answers on how terrorists and criminals get access to hexamine and hydrogen peroxide (HP) for HMTD synthesis and which compounds are the most effective to inhibit hexamine for the HMTD synthesis.
• Inhibition research: Homogeneous formulations of hexamine and several concentrations of different inhibiting compounds were produced and the effectiveness of the inhibited hexamine to prevent HMTD synthesis was checked. The following parameters were studied: Amount of HP compared to hexamine, different acids to guarantee that even with modifications to the classical synthesis procedure, HMTD cannot be produced.
• Removal studies: Possible procedures to remove the inhibition compound from hexamine were investigated.

Based on relevant scientific literature, over 60 compounds belonging to different substance classes were identified as potential inhibitors. A suitable screening procedure was developed and applied in order to classify the effectiveness of the compounds concerning their ability to decompose hydrogen peroxide and therefore to prevent the synthesis of HMTD. A selection of the most promising compounds was used for further investigation in homogeneous formulations in different concentrations with hexamine supplied as ESBIT raw material by the ESBIT Company. The work performed in EXPEDIA provided the identification of two suitable inhibitor compounds that can prevent the synthesis of HMTD. Various parameters and modifications such as the amount of hydrogen peroxide compared to hexamine and the use of different acids was studied to ensure the effectiveness of the inhibition, even with alternative starting materials.

Different potential procedures to remove the specific inhibition compound or circumvent the inhibition with other means were investigated and evaluated.

WE4.2 Inhibition of CAN
Fertilizers are produced as many different compositions with different nutrients and fillers adopted for the intended use. One such fertilizer is Calcium Ammonium Nitrate (CAN), which contains approximately 80% Ammonium Nitrate (AN) and 20% limestone or dolomite as the major components. Pure AN can easily be turned in to an explosive but CAN-27 and other corresponding fertilizers are more difficult to use in explosives. However, there are methods to turn also these types of fertilizers into explosive components. With different sensitisation and extraction techniques, a large IED can be made from these materials within a reasonable short time frame.

The research was initiated by scrutinizing the different sensitization and extraction methods available for manipulation of the products for their use in IEDs in order to evaluate the efficiency of different potential inhibition methods. Decreasing the detonation sensitivity of fertilizers was identified as the inhibition method with the highest potential impact, and is also historically the most scientifically evaluated method, This method has the potential to cover all other methods of sensitisation and extraction inhibition by leaving the processed material insensitive to shock initiation.

A literature study was conducted in order to find potential inhibitors. Different aspects and properties of the inhibitors were evaluated in order to avoid affecting or minimizing the effect on:

• Industrial process compatibility
• Environmental impact and toxicity
• Soil and plant nutrient value

Several different compounds and compound classes were identified as promising. A test setup was constructed in order to compare the detonability of processed CAN-27/fuel mixtures with different inhibited compositions. In this screening, one inhibitor was found to be very promising. Yara produced different batches of granulated fertilizer containing the inhibitor in well-defined concentrations for further evaluation of both process compatibility and detonability. The inhibitor did have an impact on the process compatibility when higher amounts were used. However, when a moderate amount was used, both the process compatibility and detonability sensitivity improved considerably, compared to the higher amount inhibitor batches. Compared to CAN-27, the inhibited product showed a much lower sensitivity to initiation by shock. However, the effectiveness of the inhibitor was dependent on different factors and the conclusion in this WE is that it is possible to inhibit fertilizer based charges to a certain degree but that the effect of the inhibition do not compare to the costs of its implementation. Consequently, it is recommended to further strengthen the regulations regarding AN-fertilizers on an EU level and continue inhibition research if possible.

WE4.3 Inhibition of nitromethane (NM)
Mixtures of NM with other (organic) liquids like methanol and oil are commercially available to the public for use as a fuel in e.g. radio-controlled models (car, plane and helicopter) and for drag racing. NM, whether or not mixed with a metallic fuel, is also known as an additive in home-made explosives for enhanced blast properties. A literature study was performed to identify inhibitors that, when added to NM mixtures, could prevent the extraction of pure NM from these mixtures by distillation, extraction or other separation methods.

The inhibition research resulted in several very promising additives that prevented NM to be concentrated from an inhibited NM-containing composition. Compatibility/stability tests with inhibited hobby fuels showed that none of the identified inhibitors showed compatibility issues. Based on feedback from GMAX, a UK company that produces and sells NM-containing hobby fuels, a down-selection of inhibitors was made, preventing anticipated incompatibilities with (plastic) engine parts. Toxicological studies showed that this selection of inhibitors does not lead to any additional adverse effects on health and environment compared to the current hobby fuels. Also ways to remove the inhibitor from a hobby fuel were studied for the down-selected inhibitors. Thermodynamic calculations showed that the partial replacement of methanol by an inhibitor hardly affected the theoretical performance of the hobby fuel. A minimal concentration of the inhibiting agent was determined by measuring the go/no go-transition in detonability tests. The measured go/no go-transition could be used to estimate the minimal inhibitor concentration to be added to a hobby fuel in order to render a concentrated and sensitized NM composition non-detonable. Field trials with a series of inhibited hobby fuels were performed by GMAX.

Furthermore, different additives for the inhibition of the sensitisation of NM were also studied and promising results obtained. Inhibition of both the extraction of NM as described above and the sensitization of NM could work as complementary solutions to strengthen the security and safety regarding NM products.

WP5 Garage chemistry – initiator systems
The objectives of this WP were:

• Collection of syntheses descriptions for improvised primary explosives from open literature sources like internet forums, news groups and terrorist handbooks
• Evaluation of the recipes with commercial available precursors with special focus on HMTD and Diazodinitrophenol (DDNP)
• Evaluation of the equipment and the synthesis skills, which are necessary to build functional initiators
• Characterization of HMTD and DDNP (purity, sensitivity, life time and detonation properties)
• Evaluation of the specific characteristics of garage chemistry to provide new opportunities for detection of bomb factories and provide essential information for first responders to recognize bomb factories for initiator production including instructions how to deal with the threats.

A literature search in open sources like internet sites and forums, news groups and terrorist handbooks concerning improvised detonators showed that there are many instructions, manuals and discussions in forums available for this topic that enable interested ordinary persons to build improvised detonators. The high risks for accidental explosions and injuries during the construction and handling of such devices is in general not a big matter of consideration in discussions or descriptions. EXPEDIA collected descriptions for the different types of detonators with varying stimulus modes for activation.

EXPEDIA also evaluated recipes for synthesis of primary explosives HMTD and DDNP from commercially available precursors.

If a chemistry lab is found in somebody’s garage or kitchen, it could have many explanations. The person could be a hobby chemist, which is not necessarily illegal. Two other reasons are production of drugs or explosives. It is difficult to recognise the difference between the different labs at a first glance. This WP has identified some starting materials for the production of home-made detonators. If these are found, that is good indication that it is a bomb factory. For the starting materials to be recognised, they must be packaged in their original containers or labelled appropriately. Other ways to identify a bomb factory were identified and discussed in the classified, final report of this WP.

WE5.1 Garage chemistry HMTD
A literature study for the synthesis of HMTD was performed. The home-made synthesis of HMTD has to be categorized as very easy. Many easy to follow step-by-step synthesis procedures are available online, which was discovered in the literature study. The manufacture of HMTD consists of an easy-to-control one-step synthesis that can be carried out with standard kitchen equipment. Precursor chemicals can be purchased by everyone in web stores, groceries, supermarkets or hardware supply stores. Several different methods were evaluated and from the synthesized HMTD, improvised detonators were built and detonation experiments were performed with a selected type of main charge. The initiation strength of HMTD was evaluated and some parameters, which influence the operational reliability of HME detonators with HMTD, could be identified. The storage stability of HMTD was also evaluated under several climate conditions.

It is difficult to limit the access to the materials required to make HMTD, as the key chemicals are widely used. However, the inhibition of the synthesis through addition of different substances to hexamine was studied in WP4 of this project and showed that it would be possible to add inhibitors to this starting material to prevent the synthesis of HMTD. If the starting materials cannot be further regulated, it is recommended that more research is performed on finding efficient inhibitors to limit the threat posed by HMTD.

WE5.2 Garage chemistry Diazodinitrophenol (DDNP)
The research on DDNP has its origin in the bomb attach in Oslo 2011 carried out by Anders Behring Breivik. Up until then, the expert’s opinion was often that DDNP was not a threat, thanks to its seemingly long and complicated synthesis. Unfortunately, this was proven miserably wrong.

A literature study for synthesis of DDNP was performed. Some of the procedures described in the literature were investigated and technical work was carried out to assess different recipes. In this study, some parameters which influence the functionality of improvised detonators from DDNP were identified.

It is difficult to limit the access to the materials required to make DDNP, but some measures are possible. These are described in the classified final report of this WP.

WE5.3 New threats
One new threat was identified in WP3 and studied further in this WP. This compound is discussed in newsgroups, but it was not clear whether it is a primary explosive or not. This work was performed in collaboration between ICT and TNO, which explored one synthesis route each. The compound was obtained successfully by both synthesis routes and was characterised. Small scale testing indicates that it is not a primary explosive.

Also in the area of new threats, TNO worked on a new, alternative precursor for a particular home-made explosive in order to investigate whether or not this home-made explosive could be prepared. Moreover, literature data was found which provided evidence of the explosive properties of this alternative precursor itself.

WP6 Garage chemistry – main charge
Information that describes the synthesis and the properties of home-made explosives is today easily accessible on the internet through forums, chats and blogs. This information referred to as garage chemistry originates from amateur chemists and terrorist groups with various degrees of knowledge within the area and probably also from professional chemists to some extent. The starting point in the recipes is usually commercially available precursors and kitchen equipment. Validation of the threat described in these sources has been done in EXPEDIA in order to provide scientific elements to authorities for taking appropriate measures to limit the access of the important precursors. The targets were main charges made from home-made acids used to produce explosives, chlorates and perchlorates, nitromethane, fertilizers and hydrogen peroxide. Access to chemical precursors, garage chemistry procedures and equipment has been evaluated. This WP contributed to:

• The guide for first responders by identifying precursors and garage recipes leading to explosive main charge
• Proposed recommendations for the inhibition of precursors to prevent illicit use
• Improving the knowledge of garage chemistry and provided technical support to authorities for new regulations to limit the access of precursors

WE 6.1 Explosives from homemade acids
A key issue for the home-made synthesis of numerous explosives is the supply of the required acids (nitric and sulphuric acid). Recipes leading to these acids from commercial sources and the synthesis of known explosives from these home-made acids were studied.

Literature search and experimental evaluation of synthesis methods for the preparation of homemade acids were performed in EXPEDIA as joint task between TNO and ICT. Nitric and sulphuric acid were synthesised in different concentrations and the efficiency of various methods was studied. From these homemade acids, two different HMEs were prepared. The results showed under which conditions the homemade acids could lead to the selected HME. The resulting HME batches were characterized with regards to purity and some basic properties. The work performed in this element led to a new recommendation for the limitation of the access of sulphuric acid to public.

WE 6.2 Perchlorates/Chlorates
This WE was dedicated to the homemade synthesis of chlorates and perchlorates. Different commonly found methods to obtain the target chemicals were assessed. The resulting compounds were used in explosive compositions in order to validate the quality of chlorates prepared in homemade conditions.

WE 6.3 Nitromethane
Nitromethane (NM) is used in hobby fuels for model cars, air planes or helicopters. The regulation on precursors limits the availability of these fuels for the general public to concentration in NM lower than 30% (w/w). NM based compositions can be misused as an explosive (main charge) and the potential threat posed by these formulations was verified. NM was isolated from hobby fuels and detonability tests were performed using sensitized NM/methanol mixtures to measure the go/no go transition for these formulations as a function of the methanol content to determine the reactivity of these home-made explosives. Several methods, qualitative and quantitative, were deployed in order to assess the reactivity of NM under instrumented and home-made conditions. Different sensitizers of the initiation were tested; some of them obtained in homemade conditions from commercially available products. This work led to a new recommendation for the concentration in NM of fuels containing NM.

WE 6.4 Fertilizers
The work focused on the explosive reactivity of compositions of a fuel mixed with several commercial fertilizers containing different AN content. The impact of the specific preparation (home-made compatible) of fertilizers and the concentration in AN were assessed by explosive tests. Specific setups were built including measurements of the performances by Velocity of Detonation (VOD) probes. This work provided information of the reactivity of fertilizers depending on their AN content. In parallel, trials of extraction of AN from commercial fertilizers available for the general public led to different AN qualities. Conclusions about the explosive reactivity of these products were given. This work led to a new recommendation for the public access to fertilizers.

WE 6.5 Hydrogen peroxide characterisation
Hydrogen peroxide (HP) is a well-known precursor to different HMEs and as a component in main charges. The characteristics of HMEs based on HP are dependent on several factors. In this work thermal characterisation of different HP-fuel mixtures have been performed and the decomposition kinetics, mechanism and stability of these mixtures were evaluated.

WE 6.5 New threats
One prioritized threat was evaluated and the results confirmed the initial suspicions of the threat. It further revealed an easier activation method than was first believed to be the key element in the construction of the HME.

WP7 Feasibility studies
Due to the fact that the company Jonker terminated its business in the field of NM-based hobby fuels early in the project, the UK company GMAX was identified as a potential partner. They were willing to become an end user in the project and replaced the role of Jonker.
Within WP7 the feasibility of the identified inhibitors for hexamine, CAN, and NM were assessed since these must not interfere with the legitimate use of these substances. For CAN, a qualitative assessment of Capital Expenditures (CAPEX) and Operating Expenses (OPEX) was carried out, showing that the implementation of an inhibitor for CAN on industrial scale would lead to significant implementation costs. For NM a preliminary assessment was carried out, both theoretically (thermodynamic calculation of the flame temperature, performance and combustion products) and experimentally (field trials by GMAX). Esbit qualitatively evaluated the aspects that need to be studied in more detail regarding the scale-up of the manufacturing of inhibited Esbit tablets as well as other criteria like storage, freight and handling properties, classification and REACH registration requirements.

WP8 Recommendations for implementation
In this work element, the current threat level was assessed for precursors and explosives based on the evaluation and research performed in the technical WPs (4, 5 and 6). Recommendations if and how to implement the suggested inhibitors were given and assessment on the efficiency of the inhibitors were presented. Furthermore, a document on EXPEDIA recommendations for the upcoming revision of the Explosive Precursor Regulation 98/2013 was published and fed to end-users of EXPEDIA and to the Standing Committee on Precursors (SCP) through the EU commission. The recommendations were based on scientific results from the project.

Implementation recommendations for the European guide for first responders were developed. A network for national contact points was suggested for the distribution of the guide and possible sources for future financing were identified. Guidelines for the continuous development and update of the mobile application version of the guide were presented.

Potential Impact:
The overall objective of EXPEDIA was to contribute to a safer and more secure Europe. With a number of terrorist attacks during the recent years, this objective is more important than ever. Although the course of action is varied from attack to attack, home-made explosives are often used either as the exclusive method or as a secondary complementary method. The home-made explosive is often synthesized by the terrorist or terrorist network by using chemicals available to the general public. Research makes it possible to identify key chemicals to include them in current regulations or suggest revisions and to provide alternative solutions to the problem, such as inhibition, in order to counter the threat. In this work, EXPEDIA and similar projects play a very important role.

Although regulations and chemical solutions, such as inhibition, are effective measures to increase the security in Europe, there will always be ways to circumvent regulations and to bypass inhibition. To stop terrorist attacks, intelligence services and police authorities constitute the two most important keystones in the counter-terrorist work. However, in some cases uniformed police and rescue services with limited knowledge in bomb-making and precursors come across clandestine laboratories in their ordinary day-to-day work. In order to help them to identify the location as a bomb factory and to alert intelligence services and bomb squads, EXPEDIA produced a European guide to first responders. The guide was developed both as a pamphlet and as an application for mobile phones. This guide includes instructions on how to identify bomb factories, how to act and a report function (mobile application) that connects the first responders with the proper experts for further guidance. The guide can help to increase the safety of the first responder and increases the chances of detecting bomb-factories and thereby also the chances to prevent terrorist attacks.

The threat list that was developed in EXPEDIA has the potential to be an important tool for legislators and scientist. The list contains the most important and commonly found explosives and explosive precursors. With the prioritization method it is possible to focus research and regulation where it most needed. It is also possible to assess the potential of new identified threats.

The results obtained from the inhibitor research of nitromethane supports implementation of inhibitor substances in NM compositions for which the mass-based NM/(100-oil) ratio (NM and oil expressed in percent by weight in the product) exceeds 0.20. Several effective inhibitors were identified, but within the EXPEDIA program only limited testing could be performed to assess the impact of these inhibitors in legal applications of NM hobby fuels. Inhibited nitromethane could be a complementary solution to the suggested revision of the precursor regulation for applications, where a higher content of nitromethane is necessary. However, additional testing is still required in order to obtain a more complete picture of the impact of inhibited NM hobby fuels on the legal use. If the EXPEDIA recommendations regarding NM are adopted by legislators, the threat posed by NM products available to the general public will be more or less eliminated.

In order to assess the impact of the use of inhibitors, preliminary combustion and performance tests for NM and hexamine have been addressed in WP4 by GMAX and Esbit, respectively. Although preliminary thermodynamic calculations and field trials have been performed for inhibited NM fuels, indicating that the addition of the selected inhibitors do not cause significant changes in the performance, flame temperature and combustion gas compositions compared to current NM-containing fuels, further requirements testing is needed prior to potential implementation of one or more of these inhibitors in commercial products. Results of the toxicological assessment regarding in vitro eye and skin cell irritation tests, which are well-validated alternatives to animal studies, showed that all suggested inhibitors for NM fuels can be recommended.

Also the impact on the agronomical value of inhibited CAN was evaluated. This showed that the inhibitor presents no advantage from an agronomical point of view. Secondary nutrients might need to be added separately at extra cost. Such inhibitor could from an agriculture point of view be an unnecessary diluent of the fertilizer. However, this would need further testing and evaluation before any final conclusions can be made. The results from detonation test show that inhibited CAN is much less sensitive to initiation than the corresponding non-inhibited CAN, but the inhibition effect is limited to small scale charges. The research indicates that it would be very difficult to inhibit AN-fertilizer without affecting costs and agronomical value negatively. Therefore it has been suggested to transfer AN from Annex II to Annex I in the precursor regulation with a concentration limit of 16 % by weight of nitrogen in relation to AN. This would help the police and intelligence services to counter the threat by making it illegal for the general public to hold, purchase and purify AN products above the stated concentration limit.

For hexamine and HMTD, further studies regarding the manufacturing process and possible adjustments on the machinery in operation still need to be carefully evaluated (e.g. homogeneity within the batch of mixed raw materials incl. the additive, possible adjustments in the moulding tools). Besides the economic viability, the main other criteria are storage, freight and handling properties; classification of the substance or mixture according to Regulation (EU) 1272/2008 (possible packaging change due to new warning symbols / phrases etc.) and REACH registration requirements and terms including new safety data sheets.

Furthermore, there are some concerns regarding the remaining two inhibitors. The first inhibitor may give problems in obtaining a product with a constant and reproducible quality; this may be a concern with regards to fulfilling the criteria and specifications of the Esbit tablets. The other inhibitor, if applied on large scale in Esbit tablets, an industrial producer needs to be identified in order to reduce the costs for this inhibitor.
Through involvement of the industrial partners in the project, more insight has been gained in the additional research and (large scale) testing that would still be needed prior to the implementation of inhibitors on industrial scale.

If terrorists find it more difficult to misuse precursors to prepare explosives, they will look for other routes to circumvent the regulations. Possibilities are alternative precursors replacing the regulated precursors, the direct preparation of the regulated precursors (which require non-regulated pre-precursors) or even completely new threat substances. EXPEDIA has identified several of these alternative routes and studied them experimentally.

The evaluation of garage chemistry procedures regarding initiators and main charges has resulted in four recommendations for the upcoming revision of the precursor regulation. The recommendations relate to the public availability of nitromethane, ammonium nitrate, potassium and sodium nitrite, and sulphuric acid. An assessment of the recommendations is required before implementation to evaluate the impact on industries, society and stakeholders. By translating the scientific results from EXPEDIA into recommendations for a revision of the precursor regulation, it will become more and more difficult for terrorists to misuse precursors to prepare home-made explosives. The results have also served as valuable input to the creation of the guide for first responders, the prioritised threat list and in the identification of new threats.

If the results from EXPEDIA are well received and cared for by legislators, they have the potential to increase the security in Europe and the safety of its citizens.

List of Websites:
www.expedia-fp7.eu

Reported by

TOTALFORSVARETS FORSKNINGSINSTITUT
Sweden

Subjects

Safety
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