Novichok Represents More than a New Class of Chemical Agents

    Dec 2, 2022

    What are your options when the first international treaty - the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) - prohibits chemical warfare agents, and has the momentum to achieve approval in the halls of the United Nations? Create a NEW family of agents skirting the CWC!

    Rigaku Novichok-sm


    What is Novichok?

    Welcome to the fourth generation of chemical warfare and the Novichok family of agents. Novichok, or ‘newcomer’ / ‘newbie’, is a product of Russian chemistry representing the most lethal family of at least 7 agents; substance-33, A-230, A-232, A-234, Novichok-5, Novichok-7, and Novichok-# (no designator). They represent solid, liquid, persistent, non-persistent, and dusty agent capabilities.

    Rigaku CBRN Operator-sm


    The Implementation of Novichok


    1980          Ad Hoc Working group on chemical weapons is established

    1980’ s      Russian research to develop Novichok

    1984          USA presents the framework for a Chemical Weapons Convention Treaty

    1993          CWC signed by 130 countries in Paris

    1997          CWC enters into force

    2018          Assassination attempt using Novichok

    2019          CWC amended to include Novichok agents


    Novichok represents more than a new class of chemical agents. It showcases both treaty vulnerabilities and the nefarious opportunities of chemistry.


    The use of Handheld Raman Spectroscopy for Novichok Identification

    Raman spectroscopy provides the unique analytical benefit of identifying unknown chemicals through packaging, keeping the user safe from the risk of exposure.  This is critical, as Novichok agents are extremely dangerous to handle and can be debilitating when inhaled, absorbed, or ingested.  

    The Rigaku ResQ CQL handheld Raman analyzer provides presumptive ID in a backpack for Novichok and over 12,000 other agents, explosives, pharmaceuticals, and precursor chemicals.  When military forces are concerned with potential unknown weaponized chemicals, they can now receive a result in the field in less than one minute.





    Chai, P. R., Hayes, B. D., Erickson, T. B., & Boyer, E. W. (2018). Novichok agents: a historical, current, and toxicological perspective. Toxicol Commun, 2(1), 45-48.          



    Dr. Brodeur has experience developing CBRN strategy, plans, and training programs at all echelons of Department of Defense; strategic, operational, and tactical. Formally trained at the US Army Command and General Staff College and the US Army War College, Jeff earned a Master’s in Strategic Studies. His past performance includes senior battle staff at the Army Division (2-star), Army Service Component (3-star), and Geographic Combatant Command (4-star). Jeff's last military duty assignment was the Assistant Commandant for the US Army Chemical-Biological-Radiological-Nuclear schoolhouse and Regimental headquarters where he expertly managed the professional military education curriculum, training, and administrative management of an annual student load of approximately 8,000. Mr. Brodeur is an internationally recognized CBRN expert with conference keynote speaker and panel member experience in USA, Canada, Iraq, Brazil, Sweden, and Italy. In private industry, Dr. Brodeur led CBRN survey teams in combat zones to support Department of State programs. As a CBRN executive he has served Department of Energy activities to include Y-12 National Security Complex, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Sandia National Laboratory, Savannah River Site, and the office of International Nuclear Security. Mr. Brodeur was the project lead, subject matter expert, and instructor for developing and presenting a suite of 18 United Nations Counter CBRN courses. Jeff serves as President for the Chemical Corps Regimental Association (CCRA).

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