• Nuclear forensicsNuclear forensics summer program trains students for a future in nuclear security

    A sure sign of summer is the return of interns to the Lawrence Livermore campus. Students interact with premier researchers and access equipment and facilities not available anywhere else, while scientists lay groundwork for advancing their fields. LLNL runs an eight-week summer internship for students interested in nuclear science and its range of specialties — nuclear forensics, environmental radiochemistry, nuclear physics, and beyond. Together, these disciplines support the laboratory’s nuclear security mission through analysis of nuclear processes and properties.

  • Middle EastIran threatened to halt nuke talks if U.S. bombed Assad, WSJ reporter says

    President Barack Obama changed his mind about launching a retaliatory strike against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, whose forces carried out a sarin gas attack that killed more than 1,400 people in August 2013, after Iran threatened to pull out of then-secret nuclear talks, the chief foreign correspondent for the Wall Street Journal said on Monday.

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  • Nuclear weaponsU.S. nuclear weapons in Turkey at risk of seizure by terrorists, hostile forces

    The continued presence of dozens of U.S. B61 nuclear weapons at Incirlik Air Base in Turkey raises serious risks of their seizure by terrorists and other hostile forces, a new report says. These weapons no longer serve any military purpose, and ending B61 presence in Europe would save $3.7 billion over five years.

  • Radiation risks Long-term health effects of atomic bombs dropped on Japan not as dire as perceived

    The detonation of atomic bombs over the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945 resulted in horrific casualties and devastation. The public perception of the long-term effects of radiation exposure, however, is, in fact, greatly exaggerated. New studies, summarizes over sixty years of medical research on the Hiroshima/Nagasaki survivors and their children, have clearly demonstrated that radiation exposure increases cancer risk, but also show that the average lifespan of survivors was reduced by only a few months compared to those not exposed to radiation. No health effects of any sort have so far been detected in children of the survivors.

  • Solar storm & war1967 solar storm jammed USAF radars, nearly taking U.S. to brink of war

    A solar storm that jammed radar and radio communications at the height of the Cold War could have led to a disastrous military conflict. On 23 May 1967, the Air Force prepared aircraft for war, thinking the nation’s surveillance radars in polar regions were being jammed by the Soviet Union. Just in time, military space weather forecasters conveyed information about the solar storm’s potential to disrupt radar and radio communications. The planes remained on the ground and the United States avoided a potential nuclear weapon exchange with the Soviet Union, according to the new research.

  • Dirty bombIn dirty bomb prevention, Texas fails a crucial test

    By Patrick Malone

    The clandestine group’s goal was clear: Obtain the building blocks of a radioactive “dirty bomb” — capable of poisoning a major city for a year or more — by openly purchasing the raw ingredients from authorized sellers inside the United States. It should have been hard. The purchase of lethal radioactive materials — even modestly dangerous ones — requires a license from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, a measure meant to keep them away from terrorists. But a team of undercover bureaucrats with the investigative arm of Congress discovered that getting a license and then ordering enough materials to make a dirty bomb was strikingly simple.

  • Nuclear wasteStudying the basic science of nuclear waste

    Approximately 300 million liters of highly radioactive wastes are stored in hundreds of underground tanks at the Hanford Site in Washington and the Savannah River Site in South Carolina. These wastes are extremely complicated mixtures of salts and sludges that have been exposed to ionizing radiation for decades. Their chemistry is dominated by interactions at solid-liquid interfaces that are poorly understood. A more thorough understanding of the chemistry of radioactive waste is key to treating this unwanted byproduct of winning the Second World War and the cold war.

  • Iran’s nukesSecret side deal cuts Iran’s breakout time in half in little more than a decade

    Key restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program will ease in slightly more than a decade, cutting in half the time Iran would need to build a nuclear weapons. The AP had obtained a document from a source inside the IAEA — a document which was the only secret portion to last year’s agreement between Iran and the P5+1 powers. The document said that after a period of between eleven to thirteen years, Iran could replace its 5,060 older, and inefficient, centrifuges with up to 3,500 advanced centrifuges.

  • Nukes in TurkeyCoup attempt raises fresh questions about safety of U.S. nuclear stockpile in Turkey

    To the extent that news coverage of the coup attempt in Turkey touched on how the coup might affect the U.S. military presence in the country, the focus was on air operations the United States has been conducting against ISIS from the Incirlik airbase in southern Turkey. What was not discussed in the media was the fact that the base is home to the largest stockpile of U.S. nuclear weapons in Europe. The coup was the cause of fresh questions about the safety of these weapons, and the wisdom of storing them in such a vulnerable location.

  • Nuclear proliferationLaser uranium enrichment technology may create new nuclear proliferation risks

    A new laser-based uranium enrichment technology is based on a new uranium separation concept, which relies on the selective laser excitation and condensation repression of uranium-235 in a gas. Experts worry that this new enrichment technology may provide a hard-to-detect pathway to nuclear weapons production.

  • Nuclear historyNew mobile app offers a virtual tour of the Manhattan Project

    A new, free mobile application titled “Los Alamos: The Secret City of the Manhattan Project,” is now available for download from the Apple store. The app allows users from any location around the world to experience the environment in that pivotal time during the Second World War when a group of scientists came to Project Y, the wartime-era code name for Los Alamos, to develop a weapon unlike any other in human history — a weapon to harness the power of the atom.

  • Nuclear weapons“Cold War warriors”: Sandia’s decades in nuclear weapons

    “Cold War Warriors,” a 32-minute historical documentary, traces nuclear weapons testing from the first nuclear detonation in southern New Mexico in 1945 to the final test in September 1992. The story is told largely by forty-four Sandia Lab field testers, the people video producer Myra Buteau calls “game changers in the evolution of nuclear weapons testing.”

  • Dirty bombsWhat is a dirty bomb and how dangerous is it?

    By Robert J Downes

    The worrying news that individuals affiliated with the so-called Islamic State have undertaken hostile surveillance at a Belgian nuclear research facility has created growing speculation about the group’s nuclear ambitions. There are no indications that a terrorist group has obtained any fissile material to date. An easier option for a terrorist group would be to build a dirty bomb or, technically, a radiological dispersal device. This is the reason for sensible concern, rather than hysterical speculation about Islamic State’s recent activities in Belgium and, especially, Iraq and Syria. After all, without an effective government, it is unclear who controls the many radioactive sources in the region.

  • African securityAfrican parliaments lead the continent's fight against weapons of mass destruction

    By Nicolas Kasprzyk

    Jihadist literature has, for a while, called for the acquisition of weapons of mass destruction — encouraging the production of ricin, botulinum, and sarin. The surge in terrorist acts and violent extremism on the continent should underscore, for all African states, the urgent need to actively prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction to non-state actors. It also confirms the relevance of UN Security Council resolution 1540

  • Nuclear terrorismISIS planning to use drones for radioactive attacks on Western cities

    Prime Minister David Cameron warned that ISIS terrorists are planning to use drones to spray nuclear material over Western cities in a lethal “dirty bomb” attack. Security experts are worried about jihadists buying simple drones, which are widely available, and use them to carry radioactive material into the centers of large cities in attacks which would kill thousands and contaminate large sections of cities, making entire areas uninhabitable for years.