From: Homeland Security News Wire
To: Scott Jenkins,
Subject: Colorado prepares for wild fires | Safe nuclear waste storage | Saving lives in pandemics
Date: Thu May 15 12:53:39 MDT 2014
Body:
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DAILY REPORT
Thursday 15 May 2014 vol. 8 no. 112

In Today's Issue

Fire hazard
Colorado tries to increase safety of urban development in wildfire-prone areas

Colorado continues to deal with the challenge of building new urban developments while reducing wildfire risks. There are currently 556,000 houses built in burn zones around the state, and the demand for water to sustain residents and industries continue to rise. A new study predicts that development will occupy 2.1 million acres in wildfire-prone forests by 2030, an increase from one million acres today -- just as wildfires continue to burn roughly 900,000 acres a year since 2000, compared with just 200,000 acres a year in the 1990s.

Nuclear safety
Lawmakers want safer waste storage at nuclear plants

Lawmakers on Tuesday introduced a set of bills aimed at improving the safety and security of nuclear power plants' waste in the event of a natural disaster or terrorism. One of the bills would require nuclear power plant operators to accelerate the transfer of nuclear waste stored in spent fuel pools into dry cask storage units. Current Nuclear Regulatory Commission(NRC) regulations allow spent fuel to remain in spent fuel pools until the reactor completes decommissioning, which can take as long as sixty years. Another bill would stop the NRC from issuing exemptions to its emergency response and security requirements for reactors that have been permanently decommissioned.

Radiation risks
Leaders of Chinese city delay alerting residents to deadly radiation risk

Authorities in the East China city of Nanjing delayed,for thirty-six hours, notifying residents about the loss of deadly isotope iridium-192 pellets at a local industrial plant. The pellets disappeared on Wednesday, and plant officials informed government authorities on Thursday – but did not inform city residents until Saturday. The extremely toxic pellets, the size of beans, were found the following Saturday in an open field one kilometer from the plant. The plant management detained four employees at the plant on Sunday for violating radioactive work regulations and storage rules, and they are likely to face criminal charges.The plant is using the isotope to find flaws in metal components.

Pandemics
Pandemics: who should be given life-saving treatment first? Who should make the decision?

In the event of a flu pandemic, who should have priority access to life-saving ventilators, and who should make that determination? Few disaster preparedness plans have taken community values regarding allocation into account, but a new study is aiming to change that through public engagement with Maryland residents. “In the event of a healthcare crisis, understanding the community perspective and having citizen buy-in will be critical to avoid compounding the initial disaster with further social upheaval,” says the principal investigator.

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Epidemics
Better understanding of the 1918 Flu Pandemic aids in better infectious disease response today

The 1918 Flu Pandemic infected over 500 million people, killing at least fifty million. Now, researchers have analyzed the pandemic in two remote regions of North America, finding that despite their geographical divide, both regions had environmental, nutritional, and economic factors that influenced morbidity during the pandemic. Findings from the research could help improve current health policies.

First responders
Improving gloves to enhance first responders’ safety

Firefighters wear protective gloves called “structure gloves” to keep their hands safe on the job. The structure gloves currently used by firefighters, however, are not designed for the precision movements first responders must perform. There are many different types of structure gloves available, but none fully satisfies modern firefighters’ needs. Today’s compact tools often have small buttons that require nimble movements. Bulky gloves can make it difficult for firefighters to complete simple tasks without removing their gloves and compromising their safety. As advanced textile technology and materials continue to develop, the science behind firefighter structure gloves has adapted.

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Infrastructure protection
Limiting methane emissions would more quickly affect climate than limiting CO2

When discussing climate change, scientists point to “radiative forcing,” a measure of trapped heat in Earth’s atmosphere from man-made greenhouse gases. The current role of methane looms large, they say, contributing over 40 percent of current radiative forcing from all greenhouse gases. The role of methane as a driver of global warming is even more critical than this 40 percent value might indicate, they note, since the climate system responds much more quickly to reducing methane than to reducing carbon dioxide. The implication is that while it is true that in order to slow, or even reverse, global warming we must limit emissions of both carbon dioxide and methane, it makes more sense to concentrate now on limiting methane emissions because reducing methane emissions would buy society some critical decades of lower temperatures.

Also noted

Chinese experts "in discussions" over building high-speed Beijing-U.S. railway | Vogtle 4 containment vessel bottom in place | Transport advocates want more money than Senate provides | Law enforcement officials expect "reboot" of Secure Communities | Security breach at Mineta San Jose Airport raises broader issues | Increase in Calif. earthquakes may be tied to groundwater pumping | Ricin suspect wants to take back plea | French police arrest 6 suspected Syria jihadists |France: Syria launched 14 toxic attacks since October

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Progress and Modernity in Arab Societies
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