From: Homeland Security News Wire
To: Scott Jenkins,
Subject: Safer nuke waste storage | Antibiotic action needed | National monuments at risk
Date: Mon Jun 02 11:04:30 MDT 2014
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Sunday 1 June 2014 vol. 8 no. 126

In Today's Issue

Nuclear waste
NRC will not require nuclear plants to transfer waste to dry cask storage

Cooling pools on the grounds of U.S. nuclear plants, where toxic nuclear waste is stored, are near capacity, and in 2010 the plug was pulled on the Yucca Mountain centralized national nuclear waste repository, meaning that for the foreseeable future radioactive will continue to accumulate on site at the more than 100 nuclear power plants. Lawmakers called on the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to require nuclear plants to hurry the transfer of spent fuel from the cooling pools to dry cask storage, which scientists consider much safer. The NRC, however, has decided that, at least for now, there is now reason to require nuclear plants to do so.

New theory to explain WIPP radiation leaks

The New Mexico Environment Department(NMED) has published internal Los Alamos National Laboratory(LANL) e-mails showing that the lab approved potentially inappropriate chemicals to be used in nuclear waste drums, resulting in radiation leaks which led to the shutdown of the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant(WIPP), the U.S. only underground nuclear waste repository in Carlsbad, New Mexico. Experts say the organic chemicals used are widely known to cause heat reaction when mixed with the drum's other contents.

Scientists: immediate action required to address superbugs’ threat

Scientists warn that drug-resistant superbugs demand an immediate, serious response and that the steps required to plan for these pathogens were not properly taken in previous decades. “[A] world without effective antibiotics would be ‘deadly,’ with routine surgery, treatments for cancer and diabetes and organ transplants becoming impossible,” says one scientist. The scientists warn that if action is not taken immediately, the massive health gains made since Alexander Fleming’s discovery of penicillin in 1928 will be lost forever.

Canada donates Biosafety Level 3 modular laboratory to Caribbean health authorities

The Biological Security program of Canada’s Global Partnership Program(GPP) has officially transferred a new biological containment laboratory to the Caribbean Public Health Agency(CARPHA). The Biosafety Level 3 (BSL-3) modular laboratory facility, a first in the Caribbean and located in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, improves diagnostic capabilities for human and veterinary pathogens with high epidemic potential.

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Leidos awarded DHS Plum Island biolab contract

DHS awarded Reston, Virginia-based Leidos a prime contract to support and supplement the Science and Technology (S&T) Agricultural Scientific Program at the Plum Island Animal Disease Center (PIADC). The single-award time and materials (T&M) contract has a one-year base period of performance, four one-year options, and a total contract value of approximately $12 million if all options are exercised. Work will be performed in Orient Point, New York.

Threat assessment
The five biggest threats to human existence
By Anders Sandberg

In the daily hubbub of current “crises” facing humanity, we forget about the many generations we hope are yet to come. Not those who will live 200 years from now, but 1,000 or 10,000 years from now. The word “hope” is appropriate because we face risks, called existential risks, which threaten to wipe out humanity. These risks are not just for big disasters, but for the disasters that could end history. These risks remain understudied. There is a sense of powerlessness and fatalism about them. People have been talking apocalypses for millennia, but few have tried to prevent them. Humans are also bad at doing anything about problems that have not occurred yet because of the tendency to overestimate the probability of events we know examples of, and underestimate events we cannot readily recall. There are some risks we cannot do anything at all about, such as gamma ray bursts that result from the explosions of galaxies. But if we learn we can do something, the priorities change.

Homeland Security, Criminal Justice, Law & Public Policy - Master of Science Legal Studies 100% online - CALU Global Online
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Defense planning
The Pentagon integrates climate change into military planning

With the release of the National Climate Assessment last month, a clearer picture has emerged of the official policy-related interpretation of climate change data. The debate may still go on amongst civilian branches of government, and between the administration and its critics, the Pentagon, for some time now, has already been integrating climate change-related policies into its daily operations across all branches of the military.

Coastal infrastructure
Sea level rise, not Hurricane Sandy impacts, main cause of subsequent East Coast storm flooding

Flooding in coastal areas bordering Great South Bay, New York, and Barnegat Bay, New Jersey caused by winter storms that occurred following Hurricane Sandy was not influenced by changes Sandy made to barrier islands or other bay features, according to a new U.S. Geological Survey study. “While the existing barrier island and inlet system shield the mainland to a great extent from the daily tides, most of the storm surge, and all long-term changes in water level, such as those resulting from sea level rise, reach the mainland,” say the study’s authors.

Infrastructure protection
Extreme weather events threaten U.S. national landmarks

Rising seas, floods, and wildfires are threatening the U.S. most cherished historic sites -- from Ellis Island to the Everglades, Cape Canaveral to California's César Chávez National Monument. Scientists say that today these sites face an uncertain future in a world of rising sea levels, more frequent wildfires, increased flooding, and other damaging effects of climate change. At some sites -- such as Liberty and Ellis Islands and Cape Hatteras -- steps have already been taken to prepare for these growing climate risks. At many other sites, such efforts have not yet begun.

Also noted

Toronto man convicted of terrorism charges, setting Canadian precedent | CN Rail sees U.S. banning older rail tank cars for oil in 3-5 years | U.S. can learn from Florida climate change response | Changing weather patterns mean an uncertain future and increased risks | How extreme weather is already draining the biggest U.S. companies, by the numbers | DHS secretary emphasizes strategic planning, southern border | GAO: Trusted-traveler programs are popular | DHS revises border rules to reduce deadly shootings | Apple patent reveals biometric sensor for human presence detection | Fears about facial recognition overblown | Lack of funding to close Spokane County's bioterrorism lab | NYC pharmacist admits to trying to make ricin | Foreign jihadis fighting in Syria pose risk in West | WIPP probe: Emails raise new questions | Israel solves water woes with desalination

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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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