• Iran’s nukesIran Vows 20 Percent Uranium Enrichment “As Soon As Possible”

    Iran said on January 2 that it plans to enrich uranium up to 20 percent purity at its underground Fordow nuclear facility “as soon as possible,” a level far above limits set by an international nuclear accord. Iran’s public announcement come a day after the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said that Tehran had revealed its intention in a letter to the UN nuclear watchdog.

  • Nuclear safetyAnalyzing Forensic Signatures of Nuclear Materials to Prevent Smuggling

    A scientific exercise scenario involved seized nuclear materials for which law enforcement requested nuclear forensic analysis to help discern whether the process histories of the two seized materials were consistent with one another and related to similar materials seized previously by authorities. The exercise was part of an international nuclear forensic drill in support of a simulated nuclear smuggling investigation.

  • Nuclear safetyNuclear Waste Storage Canisters to Be Tested

    Three 22.5-ton, 16.5-feet-long stainless-steel storage canisters, with heaters and instrumentation to simulate nuclear waste so researchers can study their durability, will be tested at Sandia National Lab. The three canisters have never contained any nuclear materials. They will be used to study how much salt gathers on canisters over time. Sandia will also study the potential for cracks caused by salt- and stress-induced corrosion with additional canisters that will be delivered during the next stage of the project.

  • DetectionK9 Chemistry: A Safer Way to Train Detection Dogs

    Trained dogs are incredible chemical sensors, far better at detecting explosives, narcotics and other substances than even the most advanced technological device. But one challenge is that dogs have to be trained, and training them with real hazardous substances can be inconvenient and dangerous.

  • Iran’s nukesEuropean Powers "Deeply Worried" By Iran's Uranium Enrichment Plans

    Britain, France, and Germany say Iran’s apparent plan to install additional advanced centrifuges at its main nuclear enrichment facility is “deeply worrying” and contrary to the 2015 nuclear deal with world powers. A confidential report by the UN’s atomic watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said Iran plans to install three more cascades of advanced IR-2m centrifuges in its underground plant at Natanz.

  • Iran’s nukesIran Violating 2015 Nuclear Deal Again with Use of Advanced Centrifuges: Reuters

    Reuters obtained a confidential IAEA report which says that Iran plans to install more advanced uranium-enriching centrifuges at an underground plant in breach of its troubled deal with major powers. The confidential IAEA report said Iran plans to install three more clusters of advanced IR-2m centrifuges in the underground plant at Natanz, located about 300 kilometers south of the capital, Tehran.

  • Nuclear securityStudents of Nuclear Security Have a Problem. Here’s How to Help Them.

    Radioactive materials are attractive targets to thieves and other bad actors. These are rare finds, valuable on the black market and relatively easy to weaponize. New security professionals rarely learn practical skills for protecting these targets until they are on the job at nuclear power plants, research reactors, processing plants and other nuclear facilities.

  • Chemical weaponsNew Information on Syria’s Chemical Weapons Program

    A new report offers the most comprehensive investigative report to date on Syria’s Scientific Studies and Research Centre (SSRC), the entity at the heart of Syria’s chemical weapons program. The report contains new information on how the Syrian government orchestrated attacks using sarin, a banned nerve agent whose use is considered a war crime.

  • DetectionMarine Organisms as Underwater Detectives

    Because marine organisms observe changes in their environment using a combination of senses, they offer unique insights into the underwater world that are difficult to replicate using traditional engineering techniques. DARPA wants to leverage marine organisms for persistent monitoring and detection of underwater vehicles to bolster shores and harbors protection.

  • The Russia connectionMystery Over Russian’s Suspected Poisoning Deepens with New FBI Records

    By Mike Eckel and Carl Schreck

    RFE/RL Exclusive: In hundreds of FBI documents obtained exclusively by RFE/RL, new clues to the suspected poisoning of Russian opposition activist Vladimir Kara-Murza — and new details about how serious the U.S. government considered his case.

  • Argument: Chemical weaponsHow Putin Borrowed a Page from Assad’s Chemical Weapon Playbook

    Russia use of Novichock to poison opposition leader Alexei Navalny highlights a problem against which Western countries have not yet been able to devise an effective policy: the use of chemical weapons by authoritarian regimes against domestic regime critics. Preventing Russia, or any other autocratic ruler, from using poisons against domestic opponents is a tall order, Gregory D. Koblentz writes, but “Understanding the motivations of authoritarian leaders, and the intensity of their concerns about regime security, however, is the first step towards devising an effective strategy for deterring their use of chemical, and possibly someday biological, weapons against their own people.”

  • Radiation detectionRadiation Detection System to Protect Major U.S. Metropolitan Region

    An exercise last December at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey was the culmination of a five-year effort to develop and deploy an automated, high-performance, networked radiation detection capability for counterterrorism and continuous city-to-region scale radiological and nuclear threat monitoring.

  • FloodsHelping Urban Communities Install Low-Cost Sensors to Reduce Flood Risks

    Floods are costly and dangerous events that impact communities across the U.S. every year. DHS S&T released a guidebook to help communities deploy and operate low-cost sensors for flood monitoring and management.

  • Navalny poisoningNavalny's Team: Water Bottle with Novichok Traces Found in His Hotel Room in Tomsk

    Associates of Aleksei Navalny say traces of the nerve agent used to poison the Russian opposition politician were found on a water bottle in the hotel room he was staying in in the Russian city of Tomsk. When Navalny was flown to Germany for treatment, the bottle was sent along, and German scientists found tracers of Novichock in the bottle. Traces of the toxic Novichock, a favorite poison of the Russian intelligence services against critics of the Putin regime, were also found in samples taken from Navalny’s body.

  • PERSPECTIVE: PoisoningHistory of Nerve Agent Assassinations

    Poisoning political opponents or enemies is not new. Reviews of chemical and biological weapons (CBW) usage through the 20th century similarly list successful and attempted assassinations with mineral poisons or animal and plant toxins in and outside of war. Modern chemical weapons (CW) – typically human-made toxic compounds standardized for use on battlefields – have rarely been selected to target individuals – but a spate of recent political poisonings indicate that this may be changing.