• Iran’s nukesIran Says 60 Percent Enrichment “Under Way” at Natanz Site

    Iranian officials say the country has begun enriching uranium up to 60 percent purity, higher than it has ever done before, despite ongoing talks between Tehran and world powers to revive the 2015 nuclear deal. Under the 2015 nuclear deal, Iran had committed to keep enrichment to 3.67 percent. Recently it has been enriching up to 20 percent, saying the deal was no longer enforceable. Enriching uranium to 60 percent would be the highest level achieved by Iran’s nuclear program, it is still short of the 90 percent purity needed for military use.

  • Chemical weaponsUN Watchdog Confirms Assad Used Chemical Weapons against Civilians

    The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) on Monday released the findings of the second report by the OPCW Investigation and Identification Team (IIT). IIT concludes that units of the Syrian Arab Air Force used chemical weapons in Saraqib on 4 February 2018.Since 2011, the year the civil war in Syria began, the Assad regime has launched atleast 336 chemical attacks, using Sarin and chlorine, against Sunni civilians.

  • Nuclear storageStrengthening Nuclear Storage Research

    Today, nuclear power utilities store over 80,000 metric tons of spent nuclear fuel across the nation. Since the fuel will remain in dry storage longer than was expected, scientists are working to better understand exactly how the fuel behaves under extended storage conditions, how the canisters age, and the forces the two would undergo when shipped and stored for long periods.

  • VirusesNew Tool Assesses Risk of Wild-Life Origin Viruses

    Researchers have a developed a new framework and interactive web tool, SpillOver, which “estimates a risk score for wildlife-origin viruses, creating a comparative risk assessment of viruses with uncharacterized zoonotic spillover potential alongside those already known to be zoonotic.”

  • Nuclear wasteRetaining Knowledge of Nuclear Waste Management

    Sandia National Laboratories have begun their second year of a project to capture important, hard-to-explain nuclear waste management knowledge from retirement-age employees to help new employees get up to speed faster. The project has experts share their experience with and knowledge of storage, transportation, and disposal with next generation scientists.

  • BiosecurityMonitoring Current and Future Biological Threats

    DHS S&T has awarded $199,648 to Mesur.io Inc., for analysis and reporting of outbreak-related data. The Mesur.io project proposes to adapt their Earthstream Platform to provide DHS and NBIC with data that tracks metrics related to an outbreak or emergence to predict various risks of a biological threat.

  • China & bioweaponsBiohazard: A Look at China’s Biological Capabilities and the Recent Coronavirus Outbreak

    By Corey Pfluke

    When people think about weapons of mass destruction (WMD), they tend to think of things that go “boom.” The bigger the weapon, the bigger the boom, and the worse the impact. However, not all weapons need a big boom to be effective. Every day, millions of people are affected by a weapon that has the potential to do far more damage than a nuclear bomb, a weapon we cannot see, a weapon we call germs.

  • ARGUMENT: PathogensPathogens Have the World’s Attention

    The novel coronavirus has demonstrated just how devastating a transmissible pathogen can be—and just how difficult to contain. Nathan Levine and Chris Li write that “the sobering truth is that, as deadly diseases go, the world got lucky. The global case fatality rate of COVID-19 is around 2 percent. One need only compare this to SARS (10 percent), smallpox (30 percent), pulmonary anthrax (80 percent), or Ebola (90 percent) to consider that the coronavirus could easily have been much, much worse.”

  • Radiological threatsHomeland Security for Radiological and Nuclear Threats

    Radiation exposure events are complicated: there is a variety of radiation sources, and since radiation is invisible, and its effect may not always be immediately apparent, first responders and emergency services must prepare for a “worried well” of people requiring attention: individuals who do not have other physical injuries but are concerned about whether they have received a radiation exposure.

  • BOOKSHELF : Nerve agentsToxic: A History of Nerve Agents, from Nazi Germany to Putin’s Russia

    By Chris Quillen

    Nerve agents are very much in the news these days. Bashar al-Assad’s government in Syria repeatedly used Sarin against its own people during that country’s civil war. The Putin regime employed Novichoks in both Russia and the United Kingdom against citizens it deemed insufficiently loyal to Moscow. North Korea’s Kim Jong Un utilized VX in the assassination of his brother at an airport in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Across the globe, the use of nerve agents is challenging the international nonproliferation regime in numerous ways.

  • Nuclear detectionWorking Toward a More Secure World

    By Leda Zimmerman

    Neutron resonance transmission analysis (NRTA), which is used for identifying specific kinds of special nuclear materials. Elements come in different forms, or isotopes, and one way to differentiate among isotopes is to bombard them with neutrons. A reliable method for pinning down the nature of nuclear materials is crucial in nuclear security, where verification of weapons treaties may depend on establishing if a warhead slated for elimination is real or fake. The same kind of technology is useful for determining the enrichment status of nuclear fuel, or for revealing the presence of concealed radioactive material.

  • DetectionInnovative Chemical Weapons Detection Technology

    An innovative new chemical detection technology called SEDONA, or SpEctroscopic Detection of Nerve Agents, was recognized as a 2020 R&D 100 Award-winner.When deployed at security checkpoints, border crossings, and ports of entry across the country, SEDONA will enhance DHS’s abilities to detect and intercept dangerous chemicals and nerve agents. 

  • DetectionHarnessing Earth’s Magnetic Field to Detect Chemicals

    A newly designed spectroscopy instrument allows scientists, industry, and governments to decipher even trace amounts of chemicals using the Earth’s own magnetic field. The portable tool will help scientists, industry, and governments easily detect and identify trace amounts of chemicals.

  • Fukushima: Ten years onThe Lessons and Legacy of the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster

    A decade after a powerful earthquake and tsunami set off the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear meltdown in Japan, Stanford experts discuss revelations about radiation from the disaster, advances in earthquake science related to the event and how its devastating impact has influenced strategies for tsunami defense and local warning systems.

  • Nuclear powerHow Fukushima Triggered Germany's Nuclear Phaseout

    By Christoph Hasselbach

    The Fukushima disaster shook the belief in safe nuclear power to its core. For Germany, it marked a historic turning point for environmentalism.