• DARPA Wants Smart Suits to Protect Against Biological Attacks

    DARPA, the Pentagon’s research arm, wants to accelerate the development of innovative textiles and smart materials to better and more comfortably protect humans from chemical and biological threats.

  • Intelligent Camera Detects Roadside Bombs Automatically

    Roadside bombs are sneaky and effective killers. They are easy to manufacture and hide, making it the weapon of choice for insurgents and terrorists across the world. Finding and disabling these lethal devices is difficult. Dutch engineers have developed a real-time early-warning system. When mounted on a military vehicle, it can automatically detect the presence of those bombs by registering suspicious changes in the environment.

  • Paper-Based Sensor Detects Potent Nerve Toxins

    Chemist developed a new, paper-based sensor that can detect two potent nerve toxins that have reportedly been used in chemical warfare. The toxin, paraoxon, is thought to have been used in chemical warfare during the 1970s in what is now Zimbabwe, and later by the apartheid regime in South Africa as part of its chemical weapons program.

  • Today, Everyone’s a Nuclear Spy

    There was a time when tracking nuclear threats was the domain of secret agents, specialists at high-powered government intelligence agencies, and think-tank experts. Not anymore. Amy Zegart writes that today, the world of new nuclear sleuths looks like the Star Wars bar scene. What has empowered these nuclear detectives and made their work possible is the fact that in the last 15-20 years, commercial satellites have become common – and their capabilities, although not at the level of spy satellites, are not too far behind. Open-source amateur nuclear sleuthing comes with risks, but Zegart says that despite these risks, the democratization of nuclear-threat intelligence is likely to be a boon to the cause of nonproliferation.

  • Worry: Iran Said It Will Continue to Enrich Uranium Beyond Radioactive Isotopes Level

    Tehran sent a letter to the UN Thursday saying that it was “determined to resolutely continue” enriching uranium. This came following an EU letter criticizing the Iranian government’s decision, and a Russian firm suspending cooperation in Iran’s uranium enrichment program at the underground Fordo facility.

  • Britain’s Secret War with Russia

    A drab office building on the outskirts of the Swiss town of Spiez houses Switzerland’s Federal Office for Civil Protection, renowned for its work on global nuclear, chemical, and biological threats.Over the course of a few months in 2018, this outfit’s gentle existence was upended, as the lab became caught in a cold war between Russia on one side and the United Kingdom and the West on the other.

  • DHS S&T Event to Host Innovators, Researchers, Experts on Canine Detection

    Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) is inviting innovators, researchers, and canine training experts to learn about funding opportunities in the detection canine field. “We want to reach a broad spectrum of innovators to help us solve our most important detection canine research challenges,” said Don Roberts, S&T’s Detection Canine Program Manager.

  • Underwater Telecom Cables to Be Used as Seismic Detection Network

    About 70 percent of Earth’s surface lies under the sea, which means that, until now, most of the Earth’s surface had been largely without early-warning seismic detection stations. Scientists say that fiber-optic cables that constitute a global undersea telecommunications network could one day help in studying offshore earthquakes.

  • Newly Proposed Barrier Could Have Limited Radiation Release at Chernobyl, Fukushima

    Following the most serious nuclear accidents in the history — at Three Mile Island (1979), Chernobyl (1986) and Fukushima (2011), in which release of radiation occurred as a result of core meltdown — many countries around the world have committed to phase out nuclear power. Afuture powered by nuclear energy, however, may be neither a lost cause nor a game of “Russian roulette,” according to researchers.

  • The U.S. Wants to Bury SC’s Plutonium Stockpile Forever. Its New Home Isn’t Sure It Wants It.

    How long will it take for weapons-grade plutonium stockpile, temporarily stored at the South Carolina’s Savanah River nuclear weapons complex, to decay, that it, to have its radioactivity reduced to a level at which it will no longer pose radiation risks or turned into nuclear weapons? About seven billion years, or a little more than double the age of planet Earth. The government’s plutonium plan calls for expanding a nuclear waste burial ground located inside an abandoned salt mine near Carlsbad, New Mexico, which is known as the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, or WIPP. But New Mexico objects.

  • Dealing with the Soviet Nuclear Legacy

    On 29 August 1949, the Soviet Union conducted their first nuclear test. Over a 40-year period, they conducted 456 nuclear explosions at Semipalatinsk, in eastern Kazakhstan — 116 aboveground and 340 underground. After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, many of the scientists and military personnel abandoned the site and fled the country, leaving behind large quantities of nuclear materials, completely unsecured. The Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) has been quietly helping Kazakhstan deal with the Soviet nuclear legacy.

  • Iran’s Nuclear Weapons “Breakout” Time Getting Shorter: Experts

    The Trump administration’s withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran, and the administration’s “maximum pressure” policy, are failing to yield the desired results, as Iran, pursuing a methodical “creep-out” strategy, is reconstituting its nuclear weapons program. In 2015, Iran’s “breakout” time, that is, the amount of time Iran would need to produce enough weapon-grade uranium for a nuclear weapon, was three months. The 2015 agreement, by imposing serve technical restrictions and intrusive monitoring, increased Iran’s breakout time to about twelve months. Experts now say that since the U.S. withdrawal from the treaty, Iran’s breakout time has been reduced to 6-10 months. “The breakout time will decrease further as Iran increases its stock of enriched uranium and installs more centrifuges,” the experts say.

  • Operations in French Nuclear Power Plant Suspended after Monday Tremor

    Following a strong earthquake Monday in the Drôme and Ardèche regions in south-east France, EDF (Électricité de France) has ordered the suspension of power production at the Cruas-Meysse power station. The magnitude 5.4 earthquake shook the area at 11:52 a.m. Monday. Of France’s nineteen active nuclear power plants, five plants are located in seismically active zones.

  • New Reactor Designs Will Degrade Waste More Rapidly

    Renewed interest in nuclear power as a viable option for generating electricity has been accompanied by steady progress in reactor design. Advanced reactors offer the promise of greater fuel efficiency and less radioactive waste generation compared with the water-cooled models that have dominated the nuclear power landscape for decades. Newer designs, however, will operate at higher temperatures and use highly corrosive coolants — like liquid metal, molten salt, or high-temperature gas — all of which would rapidly degrade many of the materials used in conventional nuclear reactors.

  • Preparing for Chemical Attacks

    Is the U.S. ready for a chemical attack on the homeland? With the very real possibility of a chemical attack in public spaces like stadiums, religious buildings, museums and theaters, or even contamination of the food or water supply, the U.S. needs to be prepared to take appropriate action to save lives. This means having security measures in place to prevent or minimize the attack. It also means having effective medical responses that consider the quantity of medical supplies needed, transportation of those supplies to the scene, and medical facilities and personnel to care for the injured.