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Hospital Preparedness, Nuclear R&D Funding, UT Health’s Biosafety Program

Topics in this issue include federal funding for advanced nuclear R&D, chemical vapor protection at Hanford, and hospital preparedness for mass casualties.

Hanford Union Group Issues Demands for Chemical Vapor Protection

The Hanford Atomic Metal Trades Council has issued a list of demands to Hanford nuclear reservation officials for immediate actions to better protect workers from chemical vapors. “The council believes the time for requests, suggestions and/or recommendations has long since passed and that a more aggressive approach and immediate actions are required,” said HAMTC in a letter delivered Monday to the Department of Energy. Tri-City Herald >>

UTHealth Awarded Grant for Biosafety and Infectious Disease Training Program

A multi-institutional collaboration, including The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) School of Public Health, has been awarded a $1.3 million federal grant for the Biosafety and Infectious Disease Training Initiative. The training program is an initiative of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. Global Biodefense >>

Current and Future Risks of Inadvertent U.S.-Russian Nuclear War

In the post–Cold War era, it is tempting to see the threat of nuclear war between the United States and Russia as remote: Both nations’ nuclear arsenals have shrunk since their Cold War peaks, and neither nation is actively threatening the other with war. Understanding how miscalculations and misperceptions can lead to the use of nuclear weapons is an important step toward reducing the probability of an inadvertent nuclear conflict. RAND >>

Surprise Nuclear Strike? Here’s How We’ll Figure Out Who Did It

Last summer, an atomic bomb detonated in a city on the U.S. Eastern seaboard, killing tens of thousands and plunging the nation into despair. As first responders and the military grappled with the aftermath, elite teams of scientists raced to analyze the blast for clues to precisely what kind of bomb had gone off and who bore responsibility for the act. Science >>

A New Material Can Clear Up Nuclear Waste Gases

An international team of scientists at EPFL and the US have discovered a material that can clear out radioactive waste from nuclear plants more efficiently, cheaply, and safely than current methods. Nuclear energy is one of the cheapest alternatives to carbon-based fossil fuels. But nuclear-fuel reprocessing plants generate waste gas that is currently too expensive and dangerous to deal with. Nuclear Power Daily >>

Au Revoir QDR

Whatever version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) emerges from the House-Senate conference process later this year, it seems likely that the 20-year old Quadrennial Defense Review process will be replaced by something else. Rather than confront a strategic planning process that is already partially baked when he or she walks in the door, the next secretary of defense may have to design one from the ground up. War on The Rocks >>

How Can Hospitals Possibly Prepare for Disasters? With Practice and Planning

The tragic shooting in Orlando brought dozens of victims to emergency rooms. Now, several of those people have been admitted and are clinging to life. Many across the nation are praying for them and other victims. Without quick response and high-quality emergency medical care, many more than the 49 already reported may have died. The Conversation >>

Federal Funding for Advanced Nuclear Technology R&D

Over $82 million in nuclear energy research, facility access, crosscutting technology development and infrastructure awards were announced yesterday by the U.S. DOE. Overall, 93 projects were selected to receive funding to help push innovative nuclear technologies towards commercialization. World Nuclear News >>

Atomic Arsenic: Food Insights

Researchers in Argentina have developed an optimized flow injection hydride generation atomic absorption spectroscopy (FI-HGAAS) method for the determination of total arsenic concentration in various foods. The water and food supply in many parts of the world are affected by arsenic contamination. Unfortunately, there is no quick remedy to decontamination because the toxic arsenic salts solubilized from the underlying bedrock are a natural phenomenon. Spectroscopy Now >>

The UK Had Serious Plans to Use Live Chickens to Help Keep Nuclear Land Mines in Working Order

The Cold War spawned decades’ worth of bizarre weapon ideas as the West and the Soviet Union strove towards gaining the strategic upper hand over their superpower rival. The US was responsible for at least seven nuclear weapon designs during the Cold War that now seem outlandish or ill-advised. But the US wasn’t alone in its willingness to build seemingly absurd weapons systems to gain some kind of advantage over the Soviets. Business Insider >>

How Much Radiation Damage Do Astronauts Really Suffer in Space?

Space is a really inhospitable place to live – there’s no breathable air, microgravity wastes away your bones and muscles and you’re subjected to increased doses of radiation in the form of high-energy charged particles. These can cause damage to the cells in your body by breaking up the atoms and molecules that they’re made of. But what are these sources of radiation and exactly how much is an astronaut on the International Space Station exposed to over the course of a six-month stay? The Conversation >>

Retiring General to Lawmakers: Keep the Nuclear Triad

Retiring Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh weighed in on the debate in Congress over the need to update the country’s nuclear force on Thursday when he said eliminating ground-based intercontinental ballistic missiles would gain nothing. Of course, Welsh said, the U.S. military would follow suit if lawmakers decide to change policy regarding the nuclear triad, but the current system of land, sea and air delivery has proven itself, he said. Defense Tech >>

Social Engineering Seen as Rising Cyber Threat to Nuclear Industry

Nuclear plant operators have agreed to improve cyber security across all facilities by collaborating with national organizations and other industries to share best practices and information on prevented and detected incidents. Nuclear Energy Insider >>

Man Pleads Guilty to Exporting Specialty Metal Used for Nuclear Weapons to Iran

A Turkish businessman from Queens pleaded guilty to conspiring to export a specialty metal to Iran that is used in nuclear applications, the Department of Justice announced Wednesday. Erdal Kuyumcu, 44, a U.S. citizen and CEO of Global Metallurgy LLC, in Woodside, Queens, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act. He attempted to send to Iran, without a license, 1,000 pounds of a specialty metallic powder containing cobalt and nickel. UPI >>

Federal Funding for Advanced Nuclear Technology R&D

Over $82 million in nuclear energy research, facility access, crosscutting technology development and infrastructure awards were announced yesterday by the US Department of Energy. Overall, 93 projects were selected to receive funding to help push innovative nuclear technologies towards commercialization. World Nuclear News >>

The Top 5 Chemicals Involved in Injury-Causing Accidents

Between 1999 and 2008, an estimated 57,975 incidents involving chemicals were reported the Hazardous Substances Emergency Events Surveillance (HSEES). An analysis of that data by the CDC revealed a closer look at what went wrong in those accidents and which chemicals were the most frequently involved. Chem.info >>

‘It Brought Back All the Feelings’: Medics in Past Tragedies Grapple with Orlando Shooting

When surgeon Dr. Jeffrey Kalish heard about the Orlando shooting, he flashed back to the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings, when he rushed to save victims’ legs. “The entire thing is playing out exactly as the marathon did,” said Kalish, a doctor at Boston Medical Center. “First, there’s complete sadness, complete disbelief. Then you see names with faces; you start realizing who these people are.” STAT News >>

The Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Turns 20. It’s an Anniversary Worth Celebrating

I caught up with my guest today, Arms Control Association president Daryl Kimball from his hotel in Vienna. Daryl, along with hundreds of diplomats around the world were gathered for the 20th anniversary of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. UN Dispatch >>

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