Military decontamination systems remove or neutralize hazardous materials from personnel and equipment. Decontamination forms part of CBRN (chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear) defense, which is a term that has replaced the older NBC (nuclear, biological, and chemical).
Radiological & Nuclear Decontamination
Radiological & nuclear decontamination involve dealing with two different forms of radioactive threat. Nuclear threats involve an explosion that includes a fission reaction, such as nuclear weapons and improvised nuclear devices. Radiological threats do not involve fission, and may include nuclear reactor incidents or radiological dispersal devices (RDDs). Methods for equipment decontamination include mechanical, chemical, electrochemical and laser ablation. Human decontamination may involve rapid washing, possibly with surgical irrigation solutions for wounds.
Chemical decontamination deals with toxic agents that have been deployed during chemical warfare or released during accidents. It may involve simple washing, or the application of other substances that convert the toxic agents into harmless ones. Military universal decontaminant solutions include hypochlorite solution for washing, as well as dry resin that absorbs and removes toxic chemicals from skin. Decontamination stations may include isolation facilities that help prevent the further spread of the chemical due to wind.
Biological Military Decontamination
Biological decontamination deals with microbes and pathogens that may occur in the environment or may be released deliberately as part of an attack. Disinfection methods may include chemical fogs and sprays such as hydrogen peroxide, or raising the temperature to levels that may kill pathogens. As with chemical decontamination, personnel may need to be isolated to prevent further spread of the pathogen. Isolation solutions may require air filtration.
Complete military decontamination solutions may come in a variety of form factors, including briefcase-sized kits for lesser threats, truck- or trailer-based mobile decontamination systems for fast response, and complete containerized decontamination centers with generators and water storage.