• Nanomaterials help solve the problem of nuclear waste

    In the last decades, nanomaterials have gained broad scientific and technological interest due to their unusual properties compared to micrometer-sized materials. Nuclear fuels production, structural materials, separation techniques, and waste management may all benefit from more knowledge in the nano-nuclear technology.

  • Many U.S. dams are obsolete, costly, aging, and unsafe

    As is the case with much of America’s aging infrastructure, many of the country’s estimated two million dams are obsolete, costly, aging, and unsafe. Nearly 4,000 dams around the country have been reported as deficient, and the American Society of Civil Engineers has given America’s dam infrastructure a D rating. “It shouldn’t take a catastrophic failure for the dams in this country to get much-needed attention,” said the author of a new report. “Unfortunately, as is the case with much of our aging infrastructure, we jump from crisis to crisis and fail to plan ahead.”

  • Water war between Asian nuclear powers looms

    A potential global catastrophe looms in Asia as rapidly rising water demand collides with a diminishing resource on which at least 300 million people depend directly, and the current political rhetoric between India and Pakistan underlines the risk of failing to manage correctly and cooperatively vital water resources shared between nations. The Indus Water Treaty governs the distribution Himalayan-origin water in the 1,120,000 km2 basin drained by the Indus River, six major tributaries, and connected waterways among India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and China, but India wants to modify the treaty or walk away from it – and Pakistan announced that any Indian attempt to renege from the Treaty would be deemed an act of war.

  • Calls in Italy for quake-proofing the country’s buildings, infrastructure

    More and more Italians are urging the government to invest more funds to make buildings in the country earthquake resistant. Earlier today (Thursday), Italy was dealing with the cost of two quakes which reduced villages in the Apennines to rubble and left thousands homeless. Geologists have been saying that Italy is such seismically active country that the only option is to strengthen buildings to the extent possible and learn to live with the threat.

  • Internet of Things vulnerability: Analyzing the 21 October DDoS attack

    The Friday, 21 October 2016 Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) has been analyzed as a complex and sophisticated attack, using maliciously targeted, masked TCP, and UDP traffic over port 53. Dyn has confirmed that Mirai botnet was the primary source of the malicious attack traffic. The attack generated compounding recursive DNS retry traffic, further exacerbating the attack’s impact. Dyn says it will not speculate on the motivation or the identity of the attackers, but suggests that, but says that the attack has opened up an important conversation about Internet security and volatility. The attack has not only highlighted vulnerabilities in the security of Internet of Things (IOT) devices that need to be addressed, but it has also sparked further dialogue in the internet infrastructure community about the future of the Internet.

  • Mapping corrosive groundwater across the U.S.

    Approximately 44 million people in the United States rely on groundwater from wells as their water source. A new study found that untreated groundwater from twenty-five states could be potentially highly or very highly corrosive, a recent study finds. Corrosive water, while itself not dangerous, can dissolve lead and other metals from pipes, plumbing, and other metal surfaces into drinking water. While the quality of municipal water supplies is regulated and treated, domestic well owners are responsible for the treatment of their personal water supplies.

  • Is someone really trying to find out if they can destroy the Internet?

    A prolonged Internet outage prevented access to major sites like Twitter, Netflix, Spotify, and the New York Times on Friday. Because of the increase in number and intensity of DDoS type attacks in recent years, security analysts have theorized that some of the attacks are masking the probing of vulnerabilities. The Internet remains incredibly vulnerable to attacks on its infrastructure and right now, there are few ways of avoiding them. It does bring into question the ability of governments to put even more of its interface with the public online since as soon as it does, it becomes a potential target for malicious actors. Governments in particular need to become more adept at dealing with this possibility.

  • Wastewater disposal induced 2016 Magnitude 5.1 Oklahoma earthquake

    Distant wastewater disposal wells likely induced the third largest earthquake in recent Oklahoma record, the 13 February 2016, magnitude 5.1 event roughly thirty-two kilometers northwest of Fairview, Oklahoma. at the time, the Fairview earthquake was the largest event in the central and eastern United States since a 2011 magnitude 5.7 struck Prague, Oklahoma.

  • Bolstering energy security with homegrown energy sources

    The U.S. Department of Energy has a goal to develop and demonstrate transformative bioenergy technologies to fuel a more sustainable nation. Reaching that goal will require roughly a billion tons of biomass, so we will need to rely on a variety of resources to get the job done.

  • Assessing 100 years of Los Angeles groundwater replenishment

    A new study offers the most sophisticated analyses to date on how Los Angeles-area groundwater supplies are replenished. The analyses provide water managers with a clearer understanding of the sources and amount of available groundwater in the region — information that is important for planning and management of the vital resource.

  • Bacteria can help make underground nuclear waste repositories safer

    It takes about two hundred thousand years for the radioactivity of spent nuclear fuel to revert to the levels of naturally occurring uranium. As a result, most research into the long-term safety of nuclear waste disposal focuses on processes that tick to a slow geological clock: the mechanics of the rock layers that make up the storage site or the robustness of the protective barriers in place that are engineered to contain the radiation. However, all these studies neglect one key factor: biology. Naturally occurring bacteria could consume pent-up hydrogen gas in nuclear waste repositories to prevent radioactive leaks.

  • Improving seawalls to strengthen coastal defenses

    Britain’s coastal defenses could be designed to better withstand storms triggered by climate change. Improving seawalls could help limit loss of life and damage to property as coastal waters become stormier over coming years. New research will help engineers design coastal defenses that are better able to stop sea water spilling over on to land — known as overtopping.

  • Ambitious Baltimore water pollution clean-up project

    Baltimore’s Inner Harbor and the urban rivers that flow into it are important sources of water to Chesapeake Bay, popular recreation sites for residents and tourists, and the targets of an ambitious clean-up plan to make the harbor swimmable and fishable by the year 2020. In a first for Baltimore and the nation, the U.S. Geological Survey and the Environmental Protection Agency will soon be installing a suite of sensors that will provide the public and scientists with the first comprehensive, real time look at water quality in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor.

  • Cities should be made more resilient against extreme weather

    Over the past three decades, Europe has seen a 60 percent increase in extreme weather events. In Venice, there were 125 events in 2014, compared to only 35 in 1983 and 44 in 1993. Of these, seven were extreme in 2014, compared to only one in 1983. Moreover, in 2014, flooding and winter storms caused an estimated €20 billion in disruption to the economy  in the United Kingdom alone, while damage by the flash floods in Genoa amounted to €100 million.

  • Growing number of Hurricane Sandy-like storm surges in future

    In the wake of historic destruction wrought by Hurricane Sandy in 2012, residents of New York and other coastal cities were left wondering whether Sandy-scale storm floods are the new normal. Now, researchers have developed a computer simulation that estimates that storm-related flooding on the New York City coastline similar in scale to those seen during Sandy are likely to become more common in coming decades. The worst-case scenario has the frequency increasing by seventeen times by the year 2100.