• Countries' Shortcomings in Tackling Antibiotic Resistance Spotlighted

    A new report indicates that while the world’s leading economies have been talking a good game when it comes to addressing antimicrobial resistance (AMR), they have yet to translate that talk into substantive action.

  • Iran Says It Foiled “Sabotage Attack” on Nuclear Building

    State media said the attack occurred near Karaj, some 40 kilometers west of Tehran. Iran has experienced a series of suspected sabotage attacks targeting its nuclear program in recent months.

  • Reflections on Iran’s Production of 60% Enriched Uranium

    As of about June 14, Iran had reportedly produced 6.5 kg 60% enriched uranium (hexafluoride mass) or 4.4 kg uranium mass only. Iran has produced 60% enriched uranium at an average daily rate of 0.126 kg/day since May 22. Iran’s activity must be viewed as practicing breakout to make enriched uranium for use in nuclear weapons.

  • Let Scientific Evidence Determine Origin of SARS-CoV-2: Presidents of the National Academies

    Earlier this week, the leaders of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine issued a statement about the ongoing debate regarding the origins of the COVID-19 virus. “We urge that investigations into the origins of SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 be guided by scientific principles, including reliance on verifiable data, reproducibility, objectivity, transparency, peer review, international collaboration, minimizing conflicts of interest, findings based on evidence, and clarity regarding uncertainties” they write.

  • The Future of U.S. Pandemic Preparedness

    On May 26, 2021, the National Biodefense Science Board (NBSB) held a (virtual) public meeting that discussed actions that the United States needs to take to be better prepared for the challenges posed by public health emergencies such as pandemics, “Disease X,” and other biological threats.

  • Securing Transportation of Ammonia

    Ammonia is used in many cleaning products, and it also fertilizes most of the U.S. agricultural crops. It will soon be used as emission free green fuel to power ships. With all of the many benefits, there are risks as well, as ammonia is the most produced and widely distributed toxic inhalation hazard chemical in the United States. If released in large quantities, it poses a significant risk to life and the health of those exposed.

  • Use of Radioactive Materials in Commercial Applications Has Increased

    The use of high-risk radioactive materials in medical, research, and commercial applications has increased by about 30 percent in the U.S. in the last 12 years, and the government should improve security, tracking, and accountability to reduce health and security risks — while also supporting the development of nonradioactive alternatives to replace them — says a new report.

  • Invisible Scourge: The Investigation, Legacy, and Lessons of the 2001 Anthrax Attacks

    The anthrax incidents of 2001 represented a major milestone for the national security community, in that they highlighted the vulnerabilities of the United States to a very unique domestic threat. While the number of initial casualties were few, the anthrax-filled letters created a nation-wide panic because they were unattributed, and the biological agent was perhaps the most dangerous organism that had been weaponized. This “invisible scourge” also shook the public health community, which was not prepared to respond to deliberate biological threats.

  • IAEA Warns on North Korea and Iran

    IAEA Director Rafael Grossi issued dire warnings, saying Pyongyang may be reprocessing plutonium and that Iran’s lack of compliance is hurting prospects for salvaging the JCPOA (the 2015 nuclear deal). Pyongyang has continued to pursue its nuclear ambitions since that time and detonated its last nuclear device in 2017, while working with Iran was “becoming increasingly difficult.”

  • New Material Could Aid in Nuclear Nonproliferation

    A newly discovered quasicrystal that was created by the first nuclear explosion at Trinity Site, N.M., on July 16, 1945, could someday help scientists better understand illicit nuclear explosions and curb nuclear proliferation. The newly discovered material was formed accidentally in the blast of the first atomic bomb test, which resulted in the fusion of surrounding sand, the test tower, and copper transmission lines into a glassy material known as trinitite.

  • The Civilian Toll of Explosives, 2011-2020

    A new repot finds that, over the last ten years, when explosive weapons were used in populated areas, 91% of those killed and injured were civilians. This compares to 25% in other areas. Incidents of explosives being used were recorded in 123 countries and territories around the world in the ten years.

  • Iran Nuclear Inspection Deal with UN Watchdog Extended by One Month

    Iran and the UN’s nuclear watchdog say they have agreed to extend by one month an agreement to monitor Tehran’s nuclear activities, a move that will give more time for ongoing diplomatic efforts to salvage the country’s tattered nuclear deal with world powers.

  • Improving the Safety of Next-Generation Reactors

    On 11 March 2011, in response to a massive earthquake, the nuclear reactors at Fukushima-Daiichi automatically shut down, as designed. The emergency systems, which would have helped maintain the necessary cooling of the core, were destroyed by the subsequent tsunami. Because the reactor could no longer cool itself, the core overheated, resulting in a severe nuclear meltdown. Since then, reactors have improved exponentially in terms of safety, sustainability and efficiency. Unlike the light-water reactors at Fukushima, which had liquid coolant and uranium fuel, the current generation of reactors has a variety of coolant options, including molten-salt mixtures, supercritical water and even gases like helium.

  • Nuclear Terrorism Could Be Intercepted by Neutron-Gamma Detector

    Scanning technology aimed at detecting small amounts of nuclear materials was unveiled by scientists. The technology can be used in airports and seaports for routine inspection of passengers and goods.

  • New Biodefense Lab to Focus on Food Security

    The University of Nebraska has launched a 5-year project to help safeguard the U.S. food supply. The project will address agricultural and natural resources security, defense, and countermeasures; biological defense in support of the U.S. Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security and other government stakeholders; development and deployment of biosurveillance, biodetection and diagnostic tools; and pandemic preparedness related to human, livestock and crop plant diseases that could result in disruptions to the U.S. and global food systems.