Emergency Preparedness

  • Plan for Massachusetts LNG site faces growing opposition

    The Weaver’s Cove energy project will see up to seventy liquefied natural gas (LNG) tankers a year travel up Narragansett Bay to berth in Mt. Hope Bay; from there, a sub-sea pipe would carry the liquefied gas more than four miles up the Taunton River to a storage facility at a former oil terminal; Massachusetts and Rhode Island politicians work to block the Fall River storage facility, saying a terrorist attack or accident would place thousands of people in peril in the densely populated city and harm fish habitat and tourism

  • Debate over extending operation of aging NY reactor

    The Indian Point Energy Center is located on the banks of the Hudson River just twenty-four miles north of Manhattan; its reactors are aging: the first reactor at the center began operating in 1962 and shut down in 1974; two new reactors were built in 1974 and 1976; the plant operator seeks permission from the U.S. government to extend operations at the plant; many locals oppose the extension, citing what they say are inadequate emergency evacuation plans in the event of a disaster, and the damage the plant cooling system inflicts on aquatic life

  • DHS seeks comments on small business preparedness plan

    DHS seeks public comments on a private sector readiness certification program specifically tailored to the needs of small businesses; this first-of-its-kind program will tailor voluntary private sector preparedness certification standards to specifically meet the needs and capabilities of U.S. small businesses

  • Asteroids: Earth will be hit by a shotgun blast instead of a single cannonball

    Scientists find that many asteroids are not solid rocks, but a collection of small gravel-sized rocks, held together by gravity; instead of a solid mountain colliding with Earth’s surface, the planet would be pelted with the innumerable pebbles and rocks of which it is composed, like a shotgun blast instead of a single cannonball; this knowledge could guide the defensive tactics to be taken if an asteroid were on track to collide with the Earth

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  • New method predicts communication-disrupting solar activity

    Major solar eruptions (coronal mass ejections) normally take several days to reach the Earth, but the largest recorded in 1859 took just eighteen hours; solar flares — which can also cause significant disruption to communications systems — take just a few minutes; U.K. researchers develop a method of predicting solar storms that could help to avoid widespread power and communications blackouts

  • Scientist offers better ways to engineer Earth's climate to blunt global warming

    A Canadian scientist suggests two novel geoengineering approaches to limit the effects of climate change on Earth: “levitating:” engineered nano-particles, and the airborne release of sulphuric acid; both ideas are more refined than, and have advantages over, another geoengineering concept developed by geoengineers: mimicking volcanic eruptions by injecting massive amounts of sulphur dioxide gas into the upper atmosphere

  • DHS drill offers rare look at disaster preparedness

    Anniston, Alabama, Center for Domestic Preparedness (CDP) offered another glimpse into disaster preparedness, this time focuses on disaster health care; a disaster drill observed by the media saw health care workers from throughout the United States acting out an explosion at a battery acid factory

  • Keeping trains on track

    Tel Aviv University helps develop early-warning hazard system for the world’s railways; researchers are collecting high-tech sensing data from satellites, airplanes, magnetic and soil sensors, and unmanned aircraft to devise a solution that will provide a reliable early-warning system for train operators; the solution will help keep trains on track during natural disasters and acts of terrorism

  • 25,000 new asteroids -- 95 in near Earth orbit -- found by NASA's sky mapping

    NASA’s newest space telescopes has spotted 25,000 never-before-seen asteroids in just six months; 95 of those are considered near Earth objects — which means, in the language of astronomy, that they are within thirty million miles of Earth; the telescope also sighted fifteen new comets and confirmed the existence of twenty brown dwarfs — stellar objects that are bigger than a planet but much smaller than a star; the full celestial catalog of what is out there will not be released to the public until next year after NASA has had time to process the images and flag false alarms

  • Congress to establish a commission to study threat of asteroid impact on Earth

    The annual probability of the Earth being struck by a huge asteroid or comet is small, but the consequences of such a collision are so calamitous that it is prudent to appraise the nature of the threat and prepare to deal with it, experts say; Congress agrees

  • DHS unveils more Than $1.8 billion in FY 2010 preparedness grants

    DHS announces more than $1.8 billion in preparedness grants; the grants are designed to help states, urban areas, tribal governments, and non-profit organizations enhance their protection, prevention, response, and recovery capabilities for risks associated with potential terrorist attacks and other hazards.

  • Particle injection into the stratosphere could mitigate effects of climate change

    In what scientists describe as Plan D, or an insurance policy for the situation in which Earth hits a tipping point in climate change quickly, a 20-kilometer pipe — “garden hose to the sky” — would be deployed to spray a shield of sulphate particles into the stratosphere; the idea is to emulate the eruption of volcanoes which spew sulphur-rich gas that spread worldwide, blocking sunlight and lowering temperatures

  • U.S., U.K. military leaders address climate change's role as a global threat multiplier

    Conflict brought on by droughts, famine, and unwelcome migration are as old as history itself. Yet, a growing number of military analysts think that climate change will exacerbate these problems worldwide and are encouraging countries to prepare to maintain order even as shrinking resources make their citizens more desperate; Rear Admiral Neil Morisetti: “We see climate change as a threat multiplier, as a catalyst for conflict”

  • Australia could face climate refugees

    Australia could face a wave of climate refugees from neighboring Pacific islands unless rich nations help poorer countries with climate change, scientists warned; the 900 climate scientists gathered at a the conference heard specialists say that Australia is already experiencing the effects of climate change and is likely to be one of the most severely affected among developed countries

  • New technology could lead to an earthquake prediction system

    A new airborne radar-based mapping technology allows scientists to see earthquake images on the ground for the first time; the airborne images show tiny or large motions that occurred beneath the surface of the earth, on the fault line, which can not be seen by flying over an area or walking on the surface