• NUCLEAR WASTEGerman Nuclear Phaseout Leaves Radioactive Waste Problem

    By Klaus Deuse

    While Germany searches for a permanent storage facility for its nuclear waste, it risks sitting on piles of dangerous waste for decades. The problem drains public finances by hundreds of millions of euros every year.

  • THE RUSSIA CONNECTIONPoisoning Critics: The Kremlin's Preferred Method of Dealing with Dissidents By Monir Ghaedi

    By Monir Ghaedi

    A recent report indicates the Kremlin might be responsible for the poisoning of Russian journalists in exile. The cases appear to fit into a broader pattern of targeting dissidents: these recent poisonings are but the latest in a series of poisonings targeting Kremlin opponents and critics. Poison has long been a weapon used by security services in Russia to silence prominent political dissidents.

  • NUCLEAR WEAPONSNuclear Engineer Uses Machine Learning on Weapons Testing Images to Understand Fallout

    After WWII, the U.S. wanted to better understand what happened after a nuclear weapon was detonated. Researchers conducted tests in the southwestern U.S. and the Pacific Ocean and recorded those experiments on film. Scientists used the original reel-to-reel films to manually measure data from the blasts. Today, nuclear forensic scientists combine modern computational techniques with the historical records of nuclear tests to obtain precious insights into the physics of these type of events, which are otherwise hard to study experimentally.

  • BIOTHREATSNatural or Not? Identifying Genetically Engineered Organisms

    By Aliyah Kovner

    Ever since gene editing became feasible, researchers and health officials have sought tools that can quickly and reliably distinguish genetically modified organisms from those that are naturally occurring. Following the emergence of SARS-CoV-2, the world at large became aware of this need. Now, such tools are being built. The development of new tools to detect modified bacteria, viruses, and cells has bolstered national security against biological threats.

  • RECONNAISSANCEHow Reliable and Robust Is Human Ability to Recognize Suspicious Activity?

    Security procedures at large public venues and transportation hubs rely upon vigilant and engaged security officers who are tasked, in part, with timely and appropriate responses to suspicious behavior of potential hostile actors. But how capable are individuals at detecting suspicious behavior?

  • EXPLOSIVES THREATBetter Resources to Mitigate Explosive Threats

    Every second counts when responders encounter an explosive device, and critical decisions must be made quickly in order to neutralize the threat while also ensuring the security of civilians, property, and the responders themselves.

  • INFRASTRUCTUREAging Bridge Detection Through Digital Image Correlation

    Researchers have developed a novel and practical method of assessing the mechanical properties of structures, with potential application to structural health monitoring of large structures such as bridges and viaducts.

  • NUCLEAR MATTERSUsing Artificial Mussels to Monitor Radioactivity in the Ocean

    Amid the global concern over the pollution of radioactive wastes in the ocean, researchers have conducted a study which has found that “artificial mussels” (AMs) can effectively measure low concentrations of radionuclides in the sea. It is believed that this technology can be applied as a reliable and effective solution for monitoring radioactive contamination around the world.

  • PUBLIC HEALTHScent Dogs Can Detect COVID-19 More Rapidly, Accurately Than Current Tests

    Scent dogs may represent a cheaper, faster and more effective way to detect COVID-19, and could be a key tool in future pandemics, a new review of recent research suggests. The review found that scent dogs are as effective, or even more effective, than conventional COVID-19 tests such as RT-PCR.

  • THREAT DETECTIONSoftware System Finds, Tracks Moving Objects as Small as a Pixel

    A new patented software system developed at Sandia can find the curves of motion in streaming video and images from satellites, drones and far-range security cameras and turn them into signals to find and track moving objects as small as one pixel. The developers say this system can enhance the performance of any remote sensing application.

  • NUCLEAR PROLIFERATIONRobots Could Help Verify Compliance with Nuclear Arms Agreements

    By Raphael Rosen

    Ensuring that countries abide by future nuclear arms agreements will be a vital task. Inspectors may have to count warheads or confirm the removal of nuclear weapons from geographical areas. Those hotspots could include underground bunkers and require confirmation that no weapons exist in a location at all. Now, researchers have devised an automated way to ensure compliance.

  • NUCLEAR INCIDENTSTraining for Nuclear Incidents and Preparing WMD Responses

    By Justin S. Griffin

    “Radiological material can end up in almost any location or any place and take on almost any shape and form,” an expert told participants a few weeks ago at the first Sandia Lab’s Weapons of Mass Destruction Counterterrorism and Incident Response Showcase. Preparing for nuclear incidents is not dealing with hypotheticals. “It is not practice. It is not an exercise. It is real life stuff,” he said.

  • Iran’s ThreatThe Iran Threat Geiger Counter: Moving Toward Extreme Danger

    By The Institute for Science and International Security

    The Iran Threat Geiger Counter from the Institute for Science and International Security measures on a regular basis Iran’s hostile intentions toward the United States and U.S. allies, and its capability to turn these hostile intentions into action. As with the radiation levels measured by a Geiger counter, any level above zero represents a degree of danger, and over the last six months, the threat posed by Iran has increased. As of May 2023, the Institute assigns Iran a total threat score of 140 out of 180, up from 130 in October 2022, and assessed as High Danger.

  • RADIATION DETECTIONExploring Feasibility of Using Drones to Survey Sites for Low Levels of Radiation

    By Allan Brettman

    Drones are tools for search and rescue, traffic monitoring, weather monitoring, and perhaps even package hauling. One day, they may work with humans to augment the task of conducting surveys to detect low levels of radiation—information that could contribute to the decommissioning of sites no longer needed for nuclear-related energy production or research.

  • ARGUMENT: SAFER VIROLOGICAL RESEARCHWe Could Easily Make Risky Virological Research Safer

    Lab Accidents happen, and they aren’t especially rare. A new book — appropriately titled Pandora’s Gamble — offers a shocking accounting of the problem, identifying more than a thousand accidents reported to federal regulators from 2008 to 2012. David Wallace-Wells, referring to the recommendations from the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity on how to minimize the risks from research biolabs, writes: “These suggestions would not eliminate the risk of lab accidents, but they would reduce the risk — and fairly simply.”