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Counter-IED in Culverts, Anthrax Vaccines, Fukushima Contamination

Topics in this issue include Fukushima and agriculture contamination, chemical weapons use alleged in Sudan, counter-IED in culverts, and a next-generation anthrax vaccine for the national stockpile.

Vladimir Putin Exits Nuclear Security Pact, Citing ‘Hostile Actions’ by U.S.

Saying relations with the United States have deteriorated in a “radically changed environment,” President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia withdrew Monday from a landmark nuclear security agreement, in a troubling sign that the countries’ cooperation in a range of nuclear areas could be threatened. NY Times >>

Food Contamination After the Accident at the Fukushima Dai-Ichi Nuclear Power Plant

present study is focused on the concentrations of radionuclides in agricultural products of Fukushima and sea-foods collected off Fukushima after the accident. The overall activity of radiocesium in these products was found to be within the limit of tolerance in respect to Japanese and also international regulations, but there is still radiocesium found at activities greater than this level in edible wild plants, wild mushrooms and game such as boar meat. Radiation Protection Dosimetry >>

US DOE Awards Depleted Uranium Contract

The US Department of Energy has awarded Mid-America Conversion Services, a joint venture of Atkins, Fluor and Westinghouse, a $318 million five-year contract to operate facilities to convert depleted uranium hexafluoride (DUF6) at its plants at Paducah, Kentucky and Portsmouth, Ohio. World Nuclear News >>

Five Myths About Nuclear Weapons

Nukes have been shrouded in myth since they were credited — improperly, many say — for ending World War II by destroying two Japanese cities. Seventy-one years later, and decades after the end of the Cold War, these weapons continue to bedevil diplomacy, discourse and the planet itself. Washington Post >>

France Wants Investigation Into Alleged Sudan Chemical Weapons Use

France said on Friday it wanted an international investigation to decide whether Sudanese government forces had used chemical weapons in Darfur after allegations in a “worrying” report by Amnesty International. The rights group said on Thursday the government has carried out at least 30 likely chemical weapons attacks in the Jebel Marra area of Darfur since January using what two experts concluded was a probable blister agent. Reuters >>

NuThrax: HHS Backs Next-Gen Anthrax Vaccine with 198M Contract

The contract consists of a five-year base period of performance valued at $199M to develop NuThrax for post-exposure prophylaxis of anthrax disease and to deliver to the Strategic National Stockpile an initial two million doses following Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) pre-approval by the FDA. The contract also includes procurement options for the delivery of an additional 7.5 million to 50 million doses of NuThrax to the SNS, valued from approximately $255 million to up to $1.4 billion. Global Biodefense >>

U.S. Wants to Build Idaho Facility for Warships’ Nuclear Waste

The Navy and U.S. Department of Energy want to build a $1.6 billion facility at a nuclear site in eastern Idaho that would handle fuel waste from the nation’s fleet of nuclear-powered warships through at least 2060. The new facility is needed to keep nuclear-powered aircraft carriers and submarines deployed, according to an environmental impact statement made public Friday. Navy Times >>

Countering Enemy IEDs in Culverts

Culverts are creeks or streams that run under roads to prevent flooding, and that terrorists often use these areas to kill soldiers. The Joint Improvised-threat Defeat Agency (JIDA) challenge, held 13-21 September at Fort Benning, tested industry vendor equipment from around the United States in order to counter enemy improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in culverts. HSNW >>

Study: Radioactive Metal Could Help Neutralize Nuclear Waste

Chemists from the University of Manchester say a recent study could offer a path toward effective treatment of radioactive waste from nuclear power plants. A research group in the university’s Centre for Radiochemistry Research examined how phosphorus and other so-called “soft” elements interacted with thorium, a radioactive metal that can be used as fuel in nuclear energy production. >>

Afghanistan: UN Condemns Killings of 19 Civilians by Explosive Devices Planted on Roads

The UN mission in Afghanistan has condemned two improvised explosive device (IED) detonations on civilian vehicles that killed 19 people in Helmand and Badghis provinces in recent days. “The terrible toll on civilian life caused by indiscriminate pressure-plate IEDs is intolerable and their use may constitute a war crime,” said Tadamichi Yamamoto, head of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan. UN News Centre >>

The Apartheid Bomb: First Comprehensive History of South Africa’s Nuke Program

The Institute for Science and International Security has today (Friday) released a new book, Revisiting South Africa’s Nuclear Weapons Program: Its History, Dismantlement, and Lessons for Today, by David Albright with Andrea Stricker. It is the first comprehensive, technically oriented history of South Africa’s nuclear weapons program and its dismantlement. HSNW >>

Sudan Has Been Accused of Using Chemical Weapons Against Civilians

Scores of survivors and caregivers have provided Amnesty International with substantial testimonial and photographic evidence strongly suggesting that the government of Sudan has used chemical weapons throughout its campaign in Jebel Marra. They described a wide variety of ailments that victims experienced during the hours and days after exposure to the alleged chemical weapons agents, including very severe, often fatal, gastrointestinal and respiratory problems. Time >>

Plutonium: NMR Examines Electrons

When it comes to plutonium, things are complicated. The radioactive element comes with a lot of technical and regulatory baggage. Now, a team at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and Washington State University have used fluorine-19 nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy to take a close look at the element’s inner electronic secrets when it finds itself in the superficially simple compound plutonium tetrafluoride. Spectroscopy Now >>

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