• Artificial Intelligence and Critical Infrastructure

    What is the technology availability for AI applications in critical infrastructure in the next ten years? What risks and scenarios (consisting of threats, vulnerabilities, and consequences) is AI likely to present for critical infrastructure applications in the next ten years?

  • How Prepared Is Taiwan for Earthquakes?

    Taiwan sits on a boundary of tectonic plates, and its long history of catastrophic quakes has forced the island to improve its building construction and design-related technologies. Newly constructed buildings in Taiwan have become “increasingly earthquake-resistant.”

  • Balancing Act: Can Precariously Perched Boulders Signal New York’s Earthquake Risk?

    The trouble with big earthquakes is that their subterranean root systems can lurk for centuries or millennia before building enough energy to explode. Among many places, this is true of the New York City area, where scientists believe big quakes are possible—but probably so rare, it is hard to say exactly how often they come, or how big they could be.

  • Engineers Fortifying Critical Infrastructure

    In a bid to protect the nation’s energy sector against cyber attacks, engineers are creating a digital twin to help weed out threats and fix software and firmware vulnerabilities. If left unchecked, these weaknesses could allow ransomware attacks that could cause severe havoc to critical U.S. energy systems.

  • Where Did All the Water Go? New Study Explores Water Use in the Colorado River Basin.

    The final 100 miles of the Colorado River is a shell of its former self — nearly 10 miles wide at the turn of the century, farmers had more water than they knew what to do with. Now, a weave of concrete canals brings water to sprawling industrial farms situated in the Mexicali Valley, with much of the natural riverbed dry and the wildlife sparse. Where did all the water go?

  • States and Tribes Scramble to Reach Colorado River Deals Before Election

    There are three main forces driving the conflict on the Colorado River. The first is an outdated legal system that guarantees more water to seven Western states than is actually available in the river during most years. The second is the exclusion of Native American tribes from this legal system. The third is climate change, which is heating up the western United States and diminishing the winter snowfall and rainwater that feed the river. Landmark agreements would cut big states’ water usage for decades and deliver water to the Navajo Nation.

  • Plan B: Keeping Nuclear Power Plants Cool in a Warmer, Drier Climate

    Waterways — tried and true cooling sources for nuclear power plants — could get warmer due to global climate change. Climate scientists and nuclear science and engineering experts are joining forces to develop a plan B for nuclear power.

  • Strike Looms at Nuclear Power Plants

    Security officers at nuclear power plants operated by Constellation energy company may go on strike after the union representing them and the company have so far failed to reach an agreement on a new contract. Under federal law, nuclear plants must operate under a costly contingency plan in the run-up to and during a strike, and the union highlights the fact that cost of the contingency plan far exceeds the cumulative cost to the company of the annual wage increases to the security officers during the life of the contract. 

  • Domestic Violent Extremists’ Threat to U.S. Nuclear Facilities

    Nuclear security in the U.S. has historically understood threat as “other,” – for example, foreign states or terrorists — leaving practitioners, facilities, and physical protection systems vulnerable to threats from within. There is a need for an urgent change to the nuclear security norms and understanding of threat to include not only foreign agents, but also domestic violent extremist groups and homegrown violent ideologies, is needed to strengthen the resiliency and effectiveness of the national nuclear security regime.

  • What Is Volt Typhoon? A Cybersecurity Expert Explains the Chinese Hackers Targeting U.S. Critical Infrastructure

    Volt Typhoon is a Chinese state-sponsored hacker group. The United States government and its primary global intelligence partners, known as the Five Eyes, issued a warning on March 19, 2024, about the group’s activity targeting critical infrastructure. The warning echoes analyses by the cybersecurity community about Chinese state-sponsored hacking in recent years.

  • Could April’s Eclipse Impact the Power Grid? Energy Expert Says Not to Worry

    On April 8, a total solar eclipse will be visible across parts of North America, following a narrow track from Mexico through the U.S. and all the way to Canada. There have also been concerns about how the eclipse might impact areas that rely on solar power along the way.

  • Artificial Reef Could Protect Marine life, Reduce Storm Damage

    MIT engineers designed a sustainable and cost-saving structure which aims to dissipate more than 95 percent of incoming wave energy using a small fraction of the material normally needed.

  • I’ve Captained Ships into Tight Ports Like Baltimore, and This Is How Captains Like Me Work with Harbor Pilots to Avoid Deadly Collisions

    The accident which caused the collapse of the bridge in Baltimore is the third such accident in as many months, with big ships hitting, and causing the collapse, of bridges in China and Argentina. These incidents have highlighted what engineering experts say is the urgent need to improve or protect old bridges to accommodate larger modern vessels – and what maritime experts say is the growing difficulty ship pilots face when helping navigate big ships through tight places.

  • Major Bridge Accidents Caused by Ships and Barges

    Experts say there is much to be done in improving bridges which were built for smaller vessels in a different era, even with modern regulations and design codes in place. The $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill passed in 2021, which includes $110 billion for roads, bridges and major infrastructure projects, was a step in the right direction, but that it is far from the $4.5 trillion that studies have suggested are needed to upgrade American infrastructure to the target level of safety and efficiency.

  • Small Nuclear Reactors May Be Coming to Texas, Boosted by Interest from Gov. Abbott

    A nuclear power plant hasn’t been built in Texas in decades because of cost and public fears of a major accident. Now the governor wants to find out if smaller reactors could meet the state’s growing need for on-demand power.