From: Homeland Security News Wire
To: Scott Jenkins,
Subject: Nuke waste repository push | DHS mission creep | Floating solar plants
Date: Thu May 22 13:27:34 MDT 2014
Body:
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DAILY REPORT
Thursday 22 May 2014 vol. 8 no. 118

In Today's Issue

Nuclear waste
Pressure grows for building a centralized nuclear waste repository

In 2010, after $9 billion and twenty-five years of construction, the Obama administration pulled the plug on the Yucca Mountain centralized nuclear waste repository. Toxic nuclear waste continues to accumulate on the grounds of U.S. nuclear power plants, with concerns growing about the security of keeping so may tons of such toxic materials in such a dispersed manner. Concerns have been heightened lately by the wave of closing, for economic reasons, of nuclear power plants, and worries about the safety of radioactive waste remaining behind on the grounds of shuttered plants. Senate Bill 1240 calls for the development of a Nuclear Waste Administrationto take responsibility for transporting and storing nuclear waste, and find the right geological location for a new centralized repository.

Cracked lid of a nuclear waste container may be source of WIPP radiation leak

The radiation leak at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) near Carlsbad, New Mexico has been linked to a waste container shipped from Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), raising questions about the safety of other containers stored at the lab's northern New Mexico facility and at the Waste Control Specialists (WCS) site in Andrews, Texas.As a precautionary measure, LANL has been ordered to remove thousands of similar containers filled with toxic waste from outdoor storage. Critics of nuclear waste storage practices have blamed the recent radiation accidents on a diminishing culture of safety at the fifteen-year-old WIPP.

Chemical weapons detection
Mustard plants help detect use of chemical weapons

Making nations comply with the Chemical Weapons Convention requires that scientists can accurately detect the use of chemical warfare agents. Currently they carry out tests on soil from areas where use is suspected. Many nerve agents composed of organo-phosophorous compounds, however, leach from soil over time, removing the evidence of use and making verifying the deployment of chemical weapons like sarin, soman, and VX difficult. Researchers report that white mustard plants can help by allowing detection for up to forty-five days after the chemical weapons were used.

DHS
Former DHS secretary: DHS has lost its way

Former DHS secretary Tom Ridge recently said that, “[DHS has] kind of lost [its] way; the focus – the primary focus – has been substantially diminished.” Others echo Ridge’s concern, noting that the department, the budget of which has more than doubled since its inception, from $29 billion in 2003 to $61 billion next year, has been suffering from mission creep.

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Grid protection
Testing distributed computing to protect against cyberattacks on power grids

The power grid is complicated, divided up into sections that cover everything from a single municipal area (like New York City) to large regions (like the entire state of California). Each of these sections is controlled by a single control center. If that control center stops functioning, because of a cyberattack or for any other reason, it is no longer capable of monitoring and maintaining the grid, resulting in severe instabilities in the system. The SmartAmerica Challenge, which kicked off in late 2013 to highlight U.S. research in the field of cyberphysical systems, aims to address power grid security concerns.

Superbugs
Soil bacteria may offer insights into curbing antibiotic resistance

Drug-resistant bacteria annually sicken two million Americans and kill at least 23,000. Antibiotic-resistant disease now adds $20 billion to annual health-care costs and leads to eight million additional hospital treatment days in the United States. A driving force behind this growing public health threat is the ability of bacteria to share genes that provide antibiotic resistance. Bacteria that naturally live in the soil have a vast collection of genes to fight off antibiotics, but they are much less likely to share these genes, suggesting that most genes from soil bacteria are not poised to contribute to antibiotic resistance in infectious bacteria.

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Energy
Floating solar power plants offer many benefits

Water-based solar plants are at least 50 percent more efficient than a land-based solar power system.The water on which the plant floats helps extending the life of the photovoltaic panels, meaning greater efficiency and performance from the solar panel system, and the plant also prevents nearly 90 percent of the evaporation for the surface area that it covers, an important benefit in dry climates.

Also noted

Canadian terrorism expert says Boko Haram’s days are numbered | Napolitano: Focus on border backup, not more walls | Planned Homeland Security headquarters, long delayed and over budget, now in doubt | Big pharma market forces won't save us from superbugs | Pentagon looks to enlist young illegal alien ‘dreamers’ into military

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Homeland Security, Criminal Justice, Law & Public Policy - Master of Science Legal Studies 100% online - CALU Global Online
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Progress and Modernity in Arab Societies
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