• Phasing out nuclear energy could affect safety: Psychologists

    The way in which the phase-out of nuclear power plants in Germany is currently planned could negatively influence the safety of the facilities. Those involved could increasingly favor their own interests as the shutdown date approaches, a new study argues. They base their argument on the possibility of endgame behavior from game theory.

  • New tool to detect deadly chemical weapon agents: Butterflies

    Every spring caterpillars shed their cocoons, emerging as butterflies. This timeless symbol of change is now being applied to enhanced chemical detection for U.S. soldiers. Researchers from the military service academies, funded by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency’s Chemical and Biological Technologies Department, are using butterflies to detect trace amounts of chemical warfare agents with increased precision and speed.

  • Data science improves lie detection

    Someone is fidgeting in a long line at an airport security gate. Is that person simply nervous about the wait? Or is this a passenger who has something sinister to hide? Even highly trained Transportation Security Administration (TSA) airport security officers still have a hard time telling whether someone is lying or telling the truth – despite the billions of dollars and years of study that have been devoted to the subject. Researchers are using data science and an online crowdsourcing framework called ADDR (Automated Dyadic Data Recorder) to further our understanding of deception based on facial and verbal cues.

  • The federal government has long treated Nevada as a dumping ground, and it’s not just Yucca Mountain

    Nevadans can be forgiven for thinking they are in an endless loop of “The Walking Dead” TV series. Their least favorite zombie federal project refuses to die. In 2010, Congress had abandoned plans to turn Yucca Mountain, about 100 miles northwest of Las Vegas, into the nation’s only federal dump for nuclear waste so radioactive it requires permanent isolation. And the House recently voted by a wide margin to resume these efforts. While teaching and writing about the state’s history for more than 30 years, I have followed the Yucca Mountain fight from the beginning – as well as how Nevadans’ views have evolved on all things nuclear. The project could well go forward, but I believe that it probably won’t as long as there are political benefits to stopping it.

  • Fukushima-Daiichi radioactive particle release was significant: Study

    Scientists say there was a significant release of radioactive particles during the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear accident. The researchers identified the contamination using a new method and say if the particles are inhaled they could pose long-term health risks to humans.

  • Artificial “nose” helps find people buried by earthquakes, avalanches

    Trained rescue dogs are still the best disaster workers – their sensitive noses help them to track down people buried by earthquakes or avalanches. Like all living creatures, however, dogs need to take breaks every now and again. They are also often not immediately available in disaster areas, and dog teams have to travel from further afield.. Scientists have developed the smallest and cheapest ever equipment for detecting people by smell. It could be used in the search for people buried by an earthquake or avalanche.

  • Scientists successfully vitrify three gallons of radioactive tank waste

    In a first-of-its-kind demonstration, researchers at the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory have vitrified low-activity waste from underground storage tanks at Hanford, immobilizing the radioactive and chemical materials within a durable glass waste form.

  • Mountain collapsed in North Korea after most recent nuclear test

    As North Korea’s president pledges to “denuclearize” the Korean peninsula, scientists published the most detailed view yet of the site of the country’s latest and largest underground nuclear test on 3 September 2017. The new picture of how the explosion altered the mountain above the detonation highlights the importance of using satellite radar imaging, called SAR (synthetic aperture radar), in addition to seismic recordings to more precisely monitor the location and yield of nuclear tests in North Korea and around the world.

  • Earthquake science could have predicted North Korea’s nuclear climbdown

    Just days after North Korea announced it was suspending its testing program, scientists revealed that the country’s underground nuclear test site had partially collapsed. The collapse may have played a role in North Korea’s change in policy. If correct, and with the hindsight of this research, we might have speculated that the North Koreans would want to make such an offer of peace. This shows how scientific analysis normally reserved for studying natural earthquakes can be a powerful tool in deciphering political decisions and predicting future policy across the globe.

  • The past as prologue? Iran’s nuclear weapons project

    In a major coup, Israel’s intelligence operatives smuggled tens of thousands of documents from Iran’s nuclear weapons archive – the existence of which Iran had denied – which show the methodical steps Iran took between 199 and 2003 to build nuclear weapons. Two nuclear weapons experts say that the very existence of the archive is proof that Iran not only lied about its past nuclear weapons plans, but also about its future plans.

  • As U.S. withdraws from Iran nuclear deal, experts consider fallout

    U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the 2015 Iranian nuclear agreement reverberated throughout the Middle East, Europe, and elsewhere – all the more so because did not say what comes next in U.S. policy toward Iran, leaving a list of questions that experts are rushing to predict: Will Washington seek new negotiations with Tehran? Will Iran resume enriching uranium? Will Israel step up attacks on Iran’s proxies, such as Hezbollah in Lebanon, or militias in Syria? Will the U.S. European allies try to coax the Trump administration back to the negotiating table with Tehran? Will U.S. forces in Syria become more of a target for Iranian fighters?

  • Presidents often reverse U.S. foreign policy — how Trump handles setbacks is what matters most now

    President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal is hardly Trump’s first foreign policy turnaround. But is Trump really such an outlier? As a scholar of American foreign policy, I know that many American presidents have reoriented international relations. Some of those policies succeeded. Many faced opposition. Ultimately, though, my research shows that what matters more to U.S. national security is how those presidents responded when their foreign policy shifts failed.

  • Ahead of nuke deadline, Israeli company detects unusual activity at Iranian enrichment site

    An Israeli satellite company has published photographs of “unusual” activity at an Iranian enrichment facility, a week before President Donald Trump will make a decision whether or not to continue America’s participation in the 2015 nuclear deal.

  • Improving K-9 training

    Additive manufacturing (AM) has gone to the dogs, thanks to Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s (LLNL’s) new approach to K-9 training materials. The process prints 3D objects that contain trace amounts of nonreactive explosives, resulting in several advantages for K-9s and their handlers.

  • IAEA saw no “credible evidence” Iran was working on nuclear weapon after 2009

    In December 2015, following a series of inspections, the IAEA issued a report saying that the agency had “no credible” evidence Iran was working on developing a nuclear “explosive device” after 2009 and that the UN’s nuclear watchdog considered the issue “closed.” The IAEA said today (1 May) that the agency stands by those conclusions. The IAEA’s statement ccame after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on 30 April that Israel had documents that showed new “proof” of an Iranian nuclear-weapons plan that could be activated at any time.