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Status Brief

Developmental Milestones/Developments to Date:

Current Assessment/State of the Field:




Higham, Steve,  “Chernobyl ChallengeInternational Construction. August 2001.

  1. “Within six months, Russian and Ukrainian teams had contained the damaged reactor under a makeshift ‘tomb’. This helped plug to plug immediate radioactive leakage, but will not outlive the danger posed by its contents.”
  2. “Parts of Chernobyl’s interior have not been seen since the day of the accident—even by remote-controlled cameras. In experimental explorations, robots carrying such cameras had their electronic components destroyed instantly by the high levels of ambient radiation.”

Nuclear, Public Health, Quarantine


Editors, “Terrorism. Iodine pills, just in case.Harvard Medical School. July 2002.

  1. “People are also buying potassium iodide (KI) pills, which help protect the thyroid gland from radiation.”
  2. “Health officials worry that people who take the potassium iodide will think they’re safe and ignore evacuation orders”
  3. “If a nuclear catastrophe were to occur, the threshold for taking the pills would be lower for children and pregnant women than for other adults.”
  4. “Potassium iodide pills flood the thyroid with the stable version, lowering the uptake of the radioactive atoms, which are subsequently excreted in urine.”
  5. “One Web site,, sells 130-mg pills in packets of 14 for $9.95, but adds a hefty $6.95 shipping charge.”

Bioterrorism, Public Health, Emergency Response, Quarantine, Nuclear, Biosafety


Editors,”U.S. Customs Chief Expresses Concern About Terrorist Nuclear ThreatGlobal Security Newswire. January 12, 2005. Last Checked October 6, 2013

  1. “Al-Qaeda could acquire a nuclear device and transport it to the United States, U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Robert Bonner warned yesterday.”
  2. ““I worry most about the nuclear threat,” said Bonner. “Al-Qaeda wants to get a nuclear device. I’m very concerned that at some point they will get it.””
  3. “He added, however, that more sophisticated systems for detection of weapons of mass destruction have been installed in several overseas ports. Some 34 countries are cooperating with the United States on the Container Security Initiative and another 50 were expected to join the program this year, he said.”

Container Security, CSI, Nuclear



  1. “In the case of a medical radiation emergency, response and recovery radiation exposure limits should be established to preserve lifesaving capabilities while taking into consideration risk to staff and facility operation.” (Pg. 13)
  2. “After removal of contaminated clothing, patients should be instructed (or assisted if necessary) to immediately shower with soap and water. Potentially harmful practices, such as bathing patients with bleach solutions, are unnecessary and should be avoided” (Pg. 17)
  3. “Patient clothing should be handled only by personnel wearing appropriate personal protective equipment, and placed in an impervious bag to prevent further environmental contamination.” (Pg. 17)
  4. “Gloves should be worn when contact with blood or body fluids is anticipated. Gloves should be removed immediately, without touching non-contaminated surfaces, as soon as the patient care task is complete.” (Pg. 17- 18)
  5. “Facial protection should be worn when performing patient care tasks likely to generate splashing or spraying of blood and body fluids onto the mucous membranes of the face.” (Pg. 18)
  6. “Disposable fluid-repelling gowns should be worn to protect skin and clothing” (Pg. 18)
  7. “Hospitals should plan for decontamination operations that will not exceed their capacity, but should also develop a contingency plan for mass decontamination when patient numbers do exceed their capacity.” (Pg 19)
  8. “Ensure large quantities of water are available for decontamination in order to dilute the agent as much as possible. Direct excess waste water to the sanitary sewer and immediately notify the POTW and/or MS4.” (PG. 21)

Decontamination, Public Health, Quarantine, Nuclear, Biosecurity, Biosafety, Biotechnology, CDC, Bioterrorism, Biodefense


Dahlman, Ola, et al,”Container Security: A Proposal for a Comprehensive Code of ConductNational Defense University Center for Technology and National Security Policy. January 2005. Last Checked March 25, 2013

  1. “Approximately 95 percent of the world’s trade moves by containers, primarily on large ships, but also on trains, trucks, and barges. The system is efficient and economical, but vulnerable.”
  2. “However, the rise of terrorism and the possibility that a container could be used to transport or actually be the delivery vehicle for weapons of mass destruction (WMD) or high explosives have made it imperative that the security of the shipping container system be greatly improved.”
  3. “These include bilateral agreements involved in the Container Security Initiative (CSI) and the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI). These measures are useful, but shipping containers remain vulnerable.”
  4. “Containers are strong and their contents can be both large and heavy. Virtually any existing assembled nuclear weapon could be placed inside a container, together with shielding material to make detection difficult.”
  5. “Up to 30,000 kilos of conventional high explosives could be contained in a 40-foot container.”
  6. “The cost to New York City of the 9/11 attacks has been estimated to be at least $83 billion.”
  7. “Container seals today are not difficult to remove and can be reproduced or forged. Time permitting, seals could be circumvented by lifting off container doors or entering the container through holes that are cut out and welded back together afterwards.”
  8. “The Container Security Initiative (CSI) is a set of measures designed to move the process of container screening toward the beginning of the supply chain. It includes increased efforts to prescreen containers more effectively, to make sure that containers are more secure in transit, and to have technology in place at the port of overseas departure for inspection of high-risk containers.”
  9. “Nuclear material, especially material that might be part of a nuclear weapon or is intended to be used to produce a nuclear weapon, is of special concern. Radioactive materials give off neutrons, gamma rays and heat, which, in principle, allows them to be detected.”
  10. “An agreement on container security should significantly reduce the security risks in container traffic while facilitating fair and efficient global trade.”

Container Security, Nuclear, Radiological Surveillance


V. Valkovic´a, et al,”Fast neutron inspection of sea containers for the presence of ‘‘dirty bomb’’” Science Direct. April 21, 2007. Last checked February 27, 2013

  1. “The risk of nuclear terrorism carried out by terrorist groups should be considered not only in construction and/or use of nuclear devices, but also in possible radioactive contamination of large urban areas.”
  2. “The RDD could then be placed in or near a target facility and detonated, spreading the radiological material through the force of the explosion and in the smoke of any resulting fires.”
  3. “Probably the best way to move these materials around the globe is by using sea containers. This is because a container offers criminals the same benefits as those enjoyed by ocean carriers and shippers: efficiency and security.”
  4. “In addition, every day over 15 millions of containers are being moved over the seas or on land, or standing in yards waiting to be delivered.”
  5. “At the moment, inspectors examine less than 10% of containers and often only after containers have already traveled hundreds of miles.”
  6. “A straightforward application of the proposed approach is the coupling of the inspection by tagged neutron beams to a commercial imaging device based on either X-ray or gamma ray radiography that performs a fast scan of the container, identifies a ‘‘suspect’’ region and provides coordinates of the suspicious object to the neutron based device for the final ‘‘confirmatory’’ inspection.”
  7. “In order to investigate different scenarios of illicit trafficking of explosive and radioactive materials, the experimental setup with a 3 m long section of the real container has been installed in the neutron laboratory.”
  8. “The evaluation of the performance of the proposed two sensor instrumental portal has shown that simultaneous presence of both explosive and fissile material, hidden inside the container, could be detected.”
  9. “The detection of the explosive within a suspicious volume element inside the container is performed by gamma detection produced by the tagged neutron bombardment of the volume element.”

Container Security, Nuclear, Biosecurity, Radiological Surveillance


Wald, Matthew, L., “U.S.-Backed Russian Institutes Help Iran Build Reactor,” A3, Feb 7, 2008, NYT.

  1. Proliferation Prevention Program: “set up in 1994, after the collapse of the Soviet Union .  The program was intended to prevent newly impoverished scientists and their institutes from selling expertise to states or terrorists groups that want nuclear weapons.”
  2. Rep. Dingell: “We’ve got U.S. money providing assistance to help develop a reactor that we’re busy denouncing.”

Nuclear, Russia


Broad, William, J., “Property of Nuclear Critic Is Seized by Federal Agents,” NYT, A23, oct. 21, 2009.

  1. “Federal agents have seized six computers, two cameras, two cellphones and hundreds of files from a Los Alamos, N.M., physicist who has criticized the government’s nuclear agenda as misguided.”
  2. “The physicist, P. Leonardo Mascheroni, said he was told that the seizures were part of a criminal investigation into possible nuclear espionage.”
  3. “[He has] championed an innovative type of laser fusion, which seeks to harness the energy that powers the sun, the stars and hydrogen bombs.”
  4. “The secrets of hydrogen bombs and laser fusion can be similar, and the federal investigation appears to center on whether Dr. Mascheroni broke federal rules in discussing his proposed laser with a man who called himself a representative of the Venezuelan government.”
  5. “a man claiming to be a Venezuelan representative agreed to pay him $800,000 for a laser study.  Dr. Mascheroni said he delivered the unclassified study but was never paid.”

Law Enforcement, Nuclear, Information Policy, Venezuela, Classified


Sands, Derek, “Former DOE counterintelligence official faults security at nuclear laboratories,” Platts Inside Energy, September 29, 2008.

  1. “Terry Turchie, a distinguished FBI agent who led the “Unabomber” case and who previously served as the head of counterintelligence at DOE’s Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, charged in a letter that Congress is being misled by DOE on the “true nature” of the effectiveness of counterintelligence at the laboratories.”
  2. “In his letter, Turchie outlined problems at the labs, and said that he left DOE over the “dangerously chaotic state of counterintelligence” within the department. He said DOE’s decision to merge the intelligence and counterintelligence operations at the department and at the National Nuclear Security Administration has meant “the vulnerability of DOE personnel and facilities to hostile intelligence entities has increased exponentially.” Turchie left Livermore in September 2007.”
  3. “Gregory Wilshusen, of the Government Accountability Office, unveiled a report that praised some physical and computer security progress at Los Alamos National Laboratory, but also expressed skepticism that the progress could be sustained.”
  4. “The DOE nuclear weapons labs — Sandia, Lawrence Livermore, and Los Alamos national laboratories — have been the target of criticism from GAO and DOE’s inspectors general for years over problems securing their computer hardware and their information over networks, as well as their ability to repel possible terrorist attacks.”
  5. “There have been a number of computer-related security breaches at Los Alamos in recent years, including the theft of hard drives containing sensitive data by an employee, as well as the loss of nine data disks by lab contractors.”
  6. “The vulnerability of yellow networks has been brought into sharp relief by recent DOE security exercises, according to Glenn Podonsky, director of DOE’s Office of Health, Safety and Security. For example, a “red team” of six DOE computer experts managed to take over the yellow networks at two of DOE’s non-nuclear science labs and download over 40,000 documents, including sensitive material, Podonsky said at the Dingell hearing. The team also took over the network of a DOE lab site office, he said.”

Law Enforcement, Nuclear, Lab Security


Delury, JohnNorth Korea: 20 Years of SolitudeWorld Policy Journal Volume 25, Issue 4. Pages 75-82. Winter 2008

  1. “The current framework for dealing with North Korea evolved back in the late 1980s in the wake of two game-changing developments: the end of the Cold War and the birth of the North Korean nuclear weapons program” – page 75
  2. “The last two decades have shown that neither isolating North Korea nor halfheartedly negotiating with Pyongyang works. Instead, North Korea stands as one of the most striking failures of post–Cold War U.S. foreign policy” – page 76
  3. “…my suggestion would be for the Obama administration to dispatch a peace mission to Pyongyang. Vice President Joe Biden has a long record of working on the Korean issue, and might be a good candidate to act as the senior American emissary” – page 77
  4. “Biden would initiate substantive peace talks, including the establishment of a U.S. Liaison Office in Pyongyang. Biden could also pave the way for Pyongyang to do the same in Washington.”- page 77
  5. “The liaison offices would be initial steps in a broader initiative to peel away legal restrictions on travel and commerce between the two countries, with requisite care to restrict drug, counterfeit, and arms trade” – page 77
  6. “We are likely to see Beijing playing a steady, supportive role in the Korean peace initiative” – page 78
  7. “President Obama’s immediate task is to keep that positive momentum going, and enlist Beijing’s leadership in transforming the Six Party Talks into the Korean Peace Process.” – page 79
  8. “The conservative government in Seoul leans toward a “tough” line on the North, and Pyongyang has reciprocated with relentless invective against President Lee Myung-bak since his inauguration in February. This poses an obvious and immediate problem for the United States, as it is crucial to align our peace initiative with the democratically elected government in Seoul” – page 80
  9. “In brokering a peace, we should look for opportunities to nurture the economic synergy between the North, which is rich in mineral resources and cheap labor, with South Korea’s strengths in agriculture, exports, and services.” – page 80
  10. “Involving Japan in the endeavor to alter North Korean relations may prove trickiest of all. Prime Minister Taro Aso is a long standing hawk on North Korea. Japanese public opinion also continues to harden, centering on two concerns—the abduction issue and the security threat.” – page 81
  11. “The solution to the myriad problems created by North Korea’s long isolation is, quite simply, to end the isolation” – page 82
  12. “…a middle course of robust, determined engagement, embracing the bilateral relationship while coordinating the multilateral diplomacy, has the potential to reverse 20 years of failed foreign policy.” – page 82

Nuclear, North Korea, U.S. Foreign Policy, Export Control


Shiga, David, “Report Examines Lifesaving Measures for Nuclear StrikeNTI. July 13, 2009.

  1. “Since such an explosion would obliterate most structures and people within a roughly half-mile radius, the panel concentrated on measures that planners might employ to limit deaths outside the blast zone”
  2. “The most effective way for people to protect themselves from the deadly fallout, the panel found, was to stay indoors or underground rather than try to outrun the lethal gamma rays emitted by the explosion.”
  3. “Radiation exposure generally attacks the immune system and leaves victims extremely vulnerable to infections and uncontrollable blood loss. Recent pharmaceutical advances could mitigate these potentially deadly effects, though the need at any given hospital following an attack could easily outstrip the drug supply.”

Nuclear, Emergency Response, Bioterrorism, Public Health


Sanger, David, “Obama Pushes to Update Global Rules on Nuclear Arms,” A6, NYT, September 25, 2009.

  1. “He [Obama] pushed through a new United Nations Security resolution that would, if enforced, make it more difficult to turn peaceful nuclear programs into weapons projects.”
  2. “the White House celebrated the passage of a new Security Council resolution that ‘encouraged’ countries to enforce new restrictions on the transfer of nuclear material and technology, the measure stopped well short of authorizing forced inspections of countries believed to be developing weapons.”
  3. “the [new] resolution was less specific, as well as less stringent, than the last broad nuclear passed, in 2004 under President Bush, known as Resolution 1540.”
  4. “‘Today’s resolution had a different purpose,’ said Matthew Bunn, a nucl;ear expert at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard.  ‘It was intended to win unamious support for remaking the nonproliferation treaty, strengthening inspections and getting everyone behind the idea of securing all nuclear materials in four years.  And they got that agreement.'”

Nuclear, Dual Use, UNSCR 1540


Brumfiel, Geoff, “Particle Physicist ‘Falsely Accused’, Claims BrotherNature, online October 13, 2009.

  1. “French authorities placed Adlene Hicheur, a postdoc at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL), under formal investigation for possible ‘criminal association in relation to a terrorist undertaking’, He has been held since 8 October, after a raid at his family’s home in the town of Vienne, southeastern France.”
  2. “According to press reports, anti-terrorism police apparently have evidence that the 32-year-old may have had e-mail correspondence with ‘al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb’ -the North African branch of the terrorist organization al-Qaeda –about potential targets for terrorist attacks within France.”
  3. “Based on conversations with other family members, Halim believes that Adlene’s arrest is probably connected to a land purchase in Algeria.  Halim told Nature that just before the police raid, Adlene withdrew E13,000 (US$19,200) in cash with which to purchase land near the family’s ancestral home of Setif in northeastern Algeria.  He says that the police were initially asking about the money.”
  4. “In a statement, CERN said that it ‘does not carry out research in the fields of nuclear power or nuclear weaponry’ and that it addressed ‘fundamental questions about the nature of matter and the Universe’.  The physicist who worked with Adlene adds that there is nothing from Adlene’s high-energy physics training that could have been used in a terrorist attack.  ‘We don’t have any material or anything you could use for bad things,’ he says, ‘except maybe a hammer.’”

Law Enforcement, Academia, Nuclear, al-Qaeda, France, Algeria


Broad, William, J., “Property of Nuclear Critic Is Seized by Federal Agents,” NYT, A23, oct. 21, 2009.

  1. “Federal agents have seized six computers, two cameras, two cellphones and hundreds of files from a Los Alamos, N.M., physicist who has criticized the government’s nuclear agenda as misguided.”
  2. “The physicist, P. Leonardo Mascheroni, said he was told that the seizures were part of a criminal investigation into possible nuclear espionage.”
  3. “[He has] championed an innovative type of laser fusion, which seeks to harness the energy that powers the sun, the stars and hydrogen bombs.”
  4. “The secrets of hydrogen bombs and laser fusion can be similar, and the federal investigation appears to center on whether Dr. Mascheroni broke federal rules in discussing his proposed laser with a man who called himself a representative of the Venezuelan government.”
  5. “a man claiming to be a Venezuelan representative agreed to pay him $800,000 for a laser study.  Dr. Mascheroni said he delivered the unclassified study but was never paid.”

Law Enforcement, Nuclear, Information Policy, Venezuela, Classified


MacFarquhar, Neil, “U.S. Circulates new Iran Sanctions Draft,” NYT, A9, March 4, 2010.

  1. “The proposed sanctions would both broaden the scope and intensify three previous rounds of sanctions enacted since 2006 in an effort to persuade Iran to halt uranium enrichment and negotiate the future of its nuclear development program.”
  2. “The focus is on the Islamic Revolutionary Corps, which runs a vast array of Iranian businesses, while the oil industry is not included diplomats said.”
  3. “The new sanctions would also expand the list of individuals facing a travel ban and assets freeze for their work in the nuclear program.  Sanctions to date, which run to about six pages, have singled out companies and individuals involved in the nuclear and missle development programs or in efforts to help to finance them.  They include a ban on arms exports.”
  4. “One diplomat, expressing frustration with the level of proof demanded by China and Russia, said their negotiators went down the list as if they were expecting to get ‘a picture of each guy building the bomb.’”

Nuclear, Nonproliferation, Scientific Restrictions, Iran, China, Russia, U.S. Foreign Policy


Sanger, David, E., Baker, Peter, “Obama to Adopt Narrowed Stand on Nuclear Arms,” NYT, A1, April 6, 2010.

  1. “Mr. Obama described his policy as part of a broader effort to edge the world toward making nuclear weapons obsolete, and to create incentives for countries to give up any nuclear ambitions.”
  2. “[Obama] seekes to reshape the nation’s nuclear posture for a new age in which rogue states and terrorist organizations are greater threats than tradition al powers like Russia and China.”
  3. “For the first time, the United States is explicitly committing not to use nuclear weapons against nonnuclear states that are in compliance with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, even if they attacked the United States with biological or chemical weapons or launched a crippling cyberattack.”
  4. “White House officials said the new strategy would include the option of reconsidering the use of nuclear retaliation against a biological attack, if development of such weapons reached a level that made the United States vulnerable to a devastating strike.”
  5. “But the President said in an interview that he was carving out an exception for ‘outliers like Iran and North Korea’ that have violated or renounced the main treaty to halt nuclear proliferation.”

Nuclear, Bioterrorism, UNSCR 1540, Nonproliferation, Iran, North Korea, Russia, China, NPT


Sanger, David, E., “U.S. Releasing Nuclear Data On Its Arsenal,” NYT, A10, May 3, 2010.

  1. “The Pentagon on Monday will release long-classified statistics about the total size of America’s nuclear arsenal, part of an effort to make the case that the country is honoring its treaty commitments to shrink its inventory of weapons significantly, senior administration officials said Sunday.”
  2. “For years, American intelligence officials have objected to publishing quantitive descriptions of the nuclear arsenal, concerned that the figures might help terrorist groups calculating the minimum nuclear fuel needed for a weapon.  But administration officials said reputable Web sites that track such issues have long noted that American weapons designers need an average of around 4 kilograms of plutonium, or 8.8 pounds.”
  3. “‘It became clear there was a way to get the transparency without revealing any state secrets,’ a senior administration official said, declining to speak on the record because the numbers had not yet been declassified.”

Information Policy, Nuclear


Norris, Robert. “Global nuclear weapons inventories, 1945–2010“. The Bulletin Of Atomic Scientists. July 2010.

  1. “Nuclear weapon states shield details about their arsenals and generally have only imprecise knowledge about the size and composition of other countries’ inventories; this creates uncertainty, mistrust, and misunderstandings.” (Page 1)
  2. “We estimate that the world’s nine nuclear weapon states possess nearly 22,400 intact nuclear warheads. The vast majority of these weapons—approximately 95 percent—are in the U.S. and Russian arsenals. Nearly 8,000 warheads—nearly one-third of the worldwide total—are operational to some degree (not necessarily fully operational) and ready to launch on relatively short notice.” (Page 1)
  3. “India and Pakistan have a combined total of approximately 150 nuclear warheads, just a few more than what is carried on a single U.S. Trident submarine.” (Page 1)
  4. “We calculate that more than 128,000 nuclear warheads were built since 1945, all but 2 percent by the United States (55 percent) and the Soviet Union/Russia (43 percent).” (Page 2)
  5. “Of the more than 70,000 warheads that the United States has produced since 1945, more than 60,000 have been disassembled—more than 13,000 of these since 1990. However, the United States has retained nearly 14,000 plutonium cores (pits) from its dismantled warheads, storing them at the Pantex Plant.” (Page 3)
  6. “Russia has been decreasing its deployed/operational forces, and at the same time it has been reducing its number of intact warheads via an ongoing dismantlement effort.” (Page 3)
  7. “The majority of India’s and Pakistan’s warheads are not yet operationally deployed. Both countries are believed to be increasing their stockpiles.” (Page 4)
  8. “Despite two nuclear tests and production of enough plutonium for 8–12 nuclear bombs, North Korea has yet to demonstrate that it has operationalized any weapons.” (Page 4-6)
  9. “Yet eight of the nine nuclear weapon states continue to produce new or modernized nuclear weapons, and all nine insist that nuclear weapons are essential for their national security.” (Page 6)

Nuclear, Russia, Pakistan, North Korea, China


Reuters, “Iranian scientist leaves United States, Iran says: Tehran claims CIA kidnapped nuclear researcher who turned up Tuesday in Washington,” July 14, 2010,

  1. “An Iranian nuclear scientist who disappeared more than a year ago and mysteriously turned up in Washington is on his way back to Iran via a third country, Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman was quoted as saying by Iranian semi-official news agency ISNA.”
  2. “Tehran says Amiri was kidnapped by the CIA. He turned up Tuesday at the Iranian interests section of Pakistan’s embassy in Washington D.C. saying he wanted to return home immediately.”
  3. “Iran, which is locked in a standoff with the West over its suspected pursuit of nuclear weapons, has repeatedly accused the CIA of abducting Amiri, who worked for Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization.”
  4. “A man identifying himself as Amiri has variously said in recent videos that he was kidnapped and tortured; that he was studying in the United States; and that he had fled U.S. agents and wanted human rights groups to help him return to Iran.”
  5. “The mystery surrounding Amiri fueled speculation that he may have information about Iran’s nuclear program sought by U.S. intelligence. In March, ABC News reported that Amiri had defected and was helping the CIA.”

Iran, Nuclear, WMD, Scientist


Yong,William, “Scientist Says U.S. Wanted to Swap Him for Hikers,” NYT July 18, 2010, checked July 19, 2010.

  1. “American intelligence officers, most of whom would speak only on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the case, have described Mr. Amiri as a long-term informant. They said he provided details about how Malek Ashtar University in Tehran, where he worked, had become the covert headquarters for the organization responsible for designing nuclear weapons and warheads that could fit atop an Iranian missile.”
  2. “During that time, Mr. Amiri said, the United States arranged for him to attend a university in Virginia and supplied him with a driver’s license and Social Security number, although, he said, he had not requested either document.”

Iran, Academia, Scientist, Nuclear, WMD


Reuters, “Iran has material for 1-2 atom bombs: ex-IAEA aide” September 6, 2010, 7

  1. “In theory, it is enough to make one or two nuclear arms. But to reach the final step, when one only has just enough material for two weapons, does not make sense,” Heinonen said in the interview carried out just before he left office.”
  2. “Top Pentagon officials told the U.S. Congress in April that Iran could produce enough highly enriched uranium for a single nuclear weapon in as little as a year — but would probably need three to five years to assemble, test and deploy it.”

Iran, Nuclear, WMD


Julie Steenhuysen, “U.S. Invests in Drug to Protect Against Radiation” 17 September 2010, Reuters/Yahoo!News. Last checked 24 September 2010.

  1. “Tiny Biotech Cleveland BioLabs Inc has won a $45 million contract from the Department of Defense to conduct clinical trials of a drug to prevent cell damage in the event of a nuclear attack.”
  2. “The drug works by interfering with a process of programmed cell death called apoptosis — basically a form of cell suicide. ‘This helps the body rid itself of damaged cells’, Fonstein said, ‘interfering with this process appears to strengthen the body’s ability to recover from radiation exposure.’”
  3. “The compound is made from a salmonella protein that naturally makes cells resistant to cell suicide.”
  4. “’This is the first product that is close to completion of the scientific studies for protecting populations that might be exposed to (radiation fallout),’ Rear Admiral Craig Vanderwagen, a former official at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services who has advised the company.”
  5. “The drug is intended to protect the public in the event of a dirty bomb or a Chernobyl-like accident.”
  6. “Fonstein said the drug, known as CBLB502, could be approved for use in humans by mid-2012.”

Biotechnology, Biodevelopment, Nuclear, Vaccination, Emergency Response


Broad, William, J. “Zeal for Dream Drove Scientist in Secrets Case,” NYT, Spetember 27, 2010 Last checked September 29, 2010.

  1. “As he was snubbed by Congress and federal experts, Dr. Mascheroni, a naturalized citizen who was born in Argentina, grew increasingly frustrated and bitter. He became known in Washington for veiled threats to take his atomic expertise abroad unless the government backed his laser plan.”
  2. “A 22-count indictment against Dr. Mascheroni, made public on Sept. 17, quotes his wife, Marjorie, as saying that he would “make bombs” overseas “if they don’t listen to him in Washington.” She has been charged as a co-conspirator, and both of them have pleaded not guilty.”
  3. “Federal prosecutors have charged Dr. Mascheroni with trying to sell nuclear secrets to Venezuela as part of a complicated scheme to have that country bring his laser to life. According to the indictment, he negotiated the deal in 2008 and 2009 with the undercover F.B.I. agent, who paid him $20,000 out of an overall promise of nearly $800,000.”
  4. “That did not stop Dr. Mascheroni. The indictment against him describes clandestine meetings, tape-recorded conversations, confidential places for the transfer of documents and a pattern of false statements from Dr. Mascheroni and his wife to federal authorities.”
  5. “As part of the plot, prosecutors say, Dr. Mascheroni would build a laser for producing energy — as he had always wanted to — and would throw in a plan for Venezuela that ‘could deliver a nuclear bomb in 10 years.’”
  6. “‘I have to put my science at a higher level,’ he said, emphasizing that his responsibilities to the scientific truth extended beyond duties to care for his family. He suggested that he even might face a death sentence.”
  7. “Hugh E. DeWitt, a California physicist and veteran of the Livermore lab, suggested that Dr. Mascheroni, in approaching a man he thought was a Venezuelan agent, was probably overselling his bomb skills in an last-ditch attempt to bring his laser to life.”

Law Enforcement, Nuclear, Classified


Broad, William, A., “Lawyers Look to Exploit a Scientific Error,” NYT, A18, September 24, 2010

  1. “The spying indictment filed late last week against a former Los Alamos scientist contains evidence of tape-recorded conversations, clandestine meetings, confidential places for the transfer of documents and a pattern of false statements.”
  2. “Federal prosecutors charged the scientist, P. Leonardo Mascheroni, and his wife, Marjorie, with trying to sell classified nuclear information to a foreign power. The two were arraigned Monday in Albuquerque and pleaded innocent. If convicted, both face up to life in prison.”
  3. “According to the indictment, Dr. Mascheroni told an F.B.I. agent posing as a Venezuelan spy that a secret nuclear reactor could be constructed underground for ‘enriching plutonium,’ the fuel of most nuclear arms.”
  4. “The mistake could prove inconsequential legally, since the Department of Justice could file what is known as a superseding indictment, which adds or corrects information in the original charges. The erroneous phrase would then be removed.”
  5. “The technical error is particularly embarrassing, some lawyers said, because of the bungled case that federal prosecutors brought against Wen Ho Lee, another former scientist at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, in 1999. In that case. Dr. Lee was charged with mishandling nuclear weapon secrets with the intention of aiding a foreign power. But the criminal case unraveled after defense lawyers zeroed in on factual errors, procedural missteps and conspicuous gaps in the evidence.”

Law Enforcement, Misconduct, Scientist, Nuclear, WMD


Editors, “U.S. and Spain Equip Second Megaport With Radiation Detectors“, 27 September 2010, Global Security Newswire, Last Checked 1 October 2010.

  1. “The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) announced today the successful commencing of operations of radiation detection equipment at the Port of Valencia in Spain.”
  2. “With this equipment the Port of Valencia will now be able to scan all import and export containers passing through the port for the presence of dangerous nuclear and radioactive materials.”
  3. “‘The commissioning of the Port of Valencia underscores the continued shared commitment of the U.S. and Spain to enhance global maritime security,’ said Ken Baker, NNSA Principal Assistant Deputy Administrator for Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation. ‘This successful milestone marks continued progress in implementing President Obama’s nuclear security agenda and supports the U.S. global effort to secure vulnerable nuclear material and prevent nuclear proliferation and terrorism.’”
  4. “This effort is part of the NNSA’s Second Line of Defense (SLD) Program, which works collaboratively with foreign governments at border crossings, airports, seaports and other points of entry to install specialized radiation detection equipment and associated communications equipment.”
  5. “NNSA has installed similar equipment at more than 230 sites and at 31 Megaports around the world.”

Nonproliferation, Nuclear, Export Control, Container Security


Matishak, Martin, “Homeland Security Says Radiation Detector Decision Coming Within YearNTI. Oct. 1st, 2010.

  1. “The detection office was established by presidential directive in 2005 to coordinate federal efforts to protect the United States against nuclear terrorists and designated to be the lead agency in domestic nuclear detection.”
  2. “It has also deployed 1,500 radiation portal monitors and 3,000 hand-held detectors to the nation’s borders to support Customs and Border Protection and set up 6,500 detectors with the Coast Guard, he said”
  3. “The new machines were designed to not only detect radiation but identify the nature of its source. Proponents claimed the devices, each expected to cost approximately $822,000, would eliminate time-consuming secondary inspections to determine whether a material was in fact dangerous.”
  4. “Congressional auditors in June said a comprehensive strategic plan against nuclear terrorism could involve installing radiation detection equipment at all U.S. border crossings and ports of entry; addressing vulnerabilities and risks; identifying the mix of detection equipment that would be at various entry points and when those devices would be deployed”

Nuclear, Public Health, Biodetection, Biotechnology, Bioterrorism


Bakır, Niyazi O.,”A Stackelberg game model for resource allocation in cargo container securitySpringer Science+Business Media, LLC. September 22, 2010. Last Checked March 11, 2013

  1. “Concerns about a containerized nuclear weapon or a dirty bomb attack are shared among many academic scholars and security experts.”
  2. “Cargo transportation system involves multiple points where containers stop before the delivery at destination. Various programs and initiatives have been developed by the U.S. federal government to reduce the vulnerability at these points and deter terrorists from weaponizing cargo containers.”
  3. “In an effort to bolster security of cargo during loading and transportation phases, the U.S. Bureau of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) introduced the Customs-Trade Partnership against Terrorism initiative.”
  4. “Despite all efforts to improve security of incoming containers at U.S. seaports, vulnerabilities exist. The goal of this paper is to understand how system-wide resource allocation for container security could be improved in an attacker-defender game setting.”
  5. “Typical sites where containers stop en route are warehouses, container yards, intermodal transfer facilities and truck rest areas. It is incumbent upon the defender, who is the leader in the Stackelberg game considered here, to improve physical security at these sites and to reduce the likelihood of unauthorized tampering.”
  6. “The weapon can reach its target at a U.S. seaport if and only if interdiction through the first three security layers fail. When the weapon reaches a U.S. seaport, the attacker makes an attempt to detonate the weapon remotely before inspections take place.”
  7. “Port security has been a major theme in homeland security since the attacks upon the WorldTrade Center and the Pentagon. Terrorists may target ports mainly because of their economic significance as well as their close proximity to urban centers.”
  8. “The model accounts for the possibility of an attack before the authorities get a chance to inspect the container at the domestic port. This reduces the effectiveness of domestic seaport security.”
  9. “However, high number of inbound containers and the difficulty in enforcing security standards at foreign sites may in practice make it difficult to implement optimal resource allocation decisions”
  10. “A coordinated and a sincere effort by all nations and the private sector is required to implement high security standards to reduce the threat.”

Container Security, Nuclear
Editor, “Lawmakers Back Nuclear Weapons Budget BoostGlobal Security Newswire, 4 October 2010,, Last Checked 4 October 2010.

  1. “A continuing budget resolution to keep the U.S. government operating through early December provides a $624 million boost in nuclear weapons funding for the new budget year beyond the amount appropriated in fiscal 2010.”
  2. “The resolution enables a significant boost in spending for work on the Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Replacement building at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico.”
  3. “‘This bill is very good for Sandia and Los Alamos national labs because it strongly supports the key stockpile stewardship work they do,’ Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) said in a press release. ‘It is a sign of how important the labs are and will remain to our national security.'”
  4. “The NNSA spending increase would ‘lend strong support’ to maintenance of the U.S. nuclear arsenal as lawmakers prepare to consider ratification of a new nuclear arms control treaty with Russia.”

Homeland Security, Nuclear, Russia


Editors, “NNSA Office of Emergency Operations Develops Cutting-Edge Nuclear Terrorism SoftwareNational Nuclear Security Administration, October 18, 2010, 8 Last accessed October 21,2010.

  1. “The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) today announced that its Office of Emergency Operations has developed and delivered a new X-ray image processing capability to the nation’s emergency response community.  “
  2. “X-Ray Toolkit (XTK) is an application used by field responders and NNSA Laboratory experts to acquire, process and analyze X-ray images obtained during a potential nuclear terrorism incident.”
  3. “XTK was designed for joint use by Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) and NNSA Laboratory personnel during nuclear render safe operations, where specialized procedures, methods and tools prevent the detonation of a nuclear device. Previous software was converted for use from the medical diagnostic industry, not specifically designed for use by EOD experts.”
  4. “Accordingly, XTK provides for the intuitive and efficient transfer of data from the site of a potential incident to NNSA Laboratories. This allows for critical information to seamlessly transfer from field responders to NNSA nuclear security experts during a crisis situation.”

Homeland Security, Nuclear


Finlay, Brian; Bergenas, Johan; Tessler, Veronica, “Beyond Boundaries in the Middle East:  Leveraging Nonproliferation Assistance to Address Security/Development Needs With Resolution 1540,”  The Stimson Center and the Stanley Foundation, 2010.

  1. “Its effectiveness has been proven elsewhere around the globe, in less developed regions, including the Caribbean and Central America.  At present, more than $2 billion is spent annually on targeted nonproliferation assistance by the G-8 and partnering governments.”  page 6
  2. “However, desalination plants are extremely energy intensive, which in turn implies that these countries must also increase electricity output.  For many Middle Eastern countries, the solution is the development of nuclear power.” page 10
  3. “Like Saudi Arabia, to produce sufficient amounts of electricity for the desalination process, Jordan is pursuing nuclear energy as a critical component of its development and economic security strategy.”  page 11
  4. “In one year, the Caribbean as a region went from a 1540 black hole to a model for implementation of the resolution around the globe.  This progress was not a result of dictating legal mandates from the Security Council, but rather is a reflection of the countries’ realization that 1540 implementation is in their best interests because it not only helps to address endemic security challenges related to the flow of drugs and small arms but also promotes their plans for economic diversification through port security and other enhancements to trade.”  page 24
  5. “Recognizing the dual benefits and the funding available, the Caribbean Community has hired a full time regional 1540 coordinator, and SICA has requested funding to employ one in the Central American region.  Both positions have been facilitated by the active engagement of the Organization of American States.” p 27
  6. “However, even though general agreement exists that approaching development and security challenges in tandem is an appropriate and effective course of action, pragmatic implementation of this grand and much important realization has largely failed to materialize.  For example, in 2009, net development assistance worldwide was just shy of $120 billion, while total military expenditures exceeded $1.5 trillion.”  p 30
  7. “At present, more than $2 billion is spent annually on targeted nonproliferation assistance by G-8 and partnering governments.” p 31

UNSCR 1540, Nonproliferation, Nuclear


Editors, “Nunn-Lugar Program Deactivates 48 Strategic NukesGlobal Security Newswire Last accessed October 28, 2010.

  1. “The U.S. Cooperative Threat Reduction program since August has deactivated 48 strategic nuclear warheads, Senator Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) announced Friday (see GSN, Sept. 14).”
  2. “The Nunn-Lugar effort in that period also eliminated four ICBMs and 16 submarine-launched ballistic missiles, safeguarded three nuclear arms train shipments and supported disposal of nearly 70 metric tons of chemical warfare agents.”
  3. “Since being established in 1991 to secure and destroy weapons of mass destruction in former Soviet states, the CTR program has deactivated 7,599 strategic nuclear warheads and destroyed 791 ICBMs, 498 ICBM silos, 180 mobile ICBM launchers, 651 submarine-launched ballistic missiles, 492 SLBM launchers, 32 ballistic missile-capable submarines, 155 strategic bombers, 906 nuclear air-to-surface missiles and 194 nuclear test tunnels.”
  4. “The effort has also provided for safeguards of 493 nuclear-weapon train shipments, boosted security at 24 nuclear weapons storage facilities and constructed 20 biological agent monitoring stations. It aided the removal of all nuclear weapons from Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Belarus, nations that once respectively held the world’s third-, fourth- and eighth-largest nuclear arsenals.”
  5. “The initiative has neutralized 1,569.5 metric tons of Russian and Albanian chemical agents (U.S. Senator Richard Lugar release, Oct. 22).”

Nonproliferation, Nuclear


Editors, “U.S. Nuclear-Bomb Scan Ignored by Truckers, Boxes Go UncheckedBloomberg Businessweek Last accessed November 6, 2010

  1. “Two years after South Korea’s busiest port installed a $3.5 million scanner to check U.S.- bound shipping containers for nuclear weapons, the machine sits idle because truckers won’t drive through it due to fears of radiation exposure.”
  2. “That means about 1.9 million containers left Busan for American harbors last year without U.S.-mandated screening. Singapore and Hong Kong, the world’s busiest and third-busiest ports, also don’t participate. Nine years after the Sept. 11 attacks, less than 1 percent of the 14.5 million cargo boxes reaching U.S. shores are scanned abroad, the government said.”
  3. “The system remains very vulnerable,” said Stephen Flynn, president of the Washington-based Center for National Policy, which studies security issues. “If I were an adversary who wants to cause mass destruction to the global economy, this is the system to target.”
  4. “Two packages shipped by air-freight from Yemen and directed to Jewish institutions in Chicago were found in the U.K. and Dubai containing explosive materials in what President Barack Obama said yesterday represented a “credible terrorist threat.””
  5. “A European Commission staff working document said in February the mandate “may become a new trade barrier” and trigger reciprocal actions requiring the U.S. to scan all outbound cargo.”
  6. “It would cost 10 percent more to ship goods from Europe to the U.S., and European countries would spend 430 million euros ($595 million) initially to comply and 200 million euros annually after that, the document said.”
  7. ““The truckers have refused to conduct container screening because we are worried about being exposed to radiation,” said Cho Ik Ryeol, who leads the local union chapter. “There hasn’t been any scanning”.”

Nuclear, WMD


Editors, “U.S., Jordan Commence Operations to Prevent Nuclear Smuggling at Port of AqabaNational Nuclear Security Administration Last accessed November 11, 2010

  1. “The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) today announced the successful installation and commencement of operations of radiation detection equipment at the Port of Aqaba in Jordan.”
  2. “The specialized equipment, which scans loaded sea containers moving through the terminal for the presence of potentially dangerous nuclear and other radioactive materials, was installed as part of NNSA’s Megaports Initiative in partnership with the Jordan Nuclear Regulatory Commission (JNRC).”
  3. “NNSA has now equipped more than one-third of its goal of 100 large seaports worldwide.”
  4. ‘“Our partnership at the Port of Aqaba underscores a continued, shared commitment to combat the illicit transfer of nuclear and other radioactive material,” said NNSA Administrator Thomas D’Agostino. “With the start of operations at this port, we have now successfully installed detection equipment at one-third of the largest ports in the world, bringing us one step closer to implementing President Obama’s nuclear security agenda.”’

PSI, Nuclear, WMD


Editors, “North Korean Uranium Plant Stokes Proliferation Worries” 24 Wednesday 2010, Global Security Newswire Last Checked 26 November 2010.

  1. “It is believed that Pyongyang — further impoverished by international sanctions and in need of money — might try to support Iran’s nuclear program as the Gulf state has apparently encountered technical hurdles in its enrichment of uranium.”
  2. “In recent years, multiple North Korean-origin weapon shipments have been seized en route to Iran.”
  3. “North Korea and Iran have deepened their military ties and have cooperated in the creation of new missiles, conventional weapons and submarines.”
  4. “Pyongyang might have used China — North Korea’s historic ally and main economic benefactor — as a midshipment location for acquiring prohibited enrichment machinery, the Washington-based Institute for Science and International Security said in an October report.”
  5. “Nothing suggests Beijing is ‘secretly approving or willfully ignoring exports’ that would bolster the North’s military nuclear effort, according to the report.”
  6. “London-based proliferation specialist Mark Fitzpatrick said private Chinese citizens and companies are more likely than the government to have supported Pyongyang’s equipment procurement efforts.”
  7. “A high-ranking U.S. official said Washington is aware of the North’s potential for nuclear proliferation, but asserted that heightened U.N. Security Council measures have greatly constrained the aspiring nuclear power’s capacity to move prohibited goods to outside buyers.”

PSI, Nuclear, North Korea, Iran, China


Editors, “Georgia Nabs Alleged Radioactive Material Smugglers” November 22, 2010, Global Security Newswire  Last accessed November 26, 2010

  1. “Georgian authorities announced on Friday they had apprehended four individuals in the capital city of Tbilisi for allegedly attempting to sell an unidentified quantity of radioactive material, Agence France-Presse reported.”
  2. “”We discovered that somebody was offering cesium 137 for sale, conducted an operation and seized the substance,” Georgian Interior Ministry spokesman Shota Utiashvili said.”
  3. “Cesium 137 is produced through nuclear fission. It has industrial and medical applications but could also be employed to build a radiological “dirty bomb,” which would use traditional explosives to disperse radioactive material over a large area. Cesium 137 is a “fairly common substance,” according to Utiashvili.”
  4. “Earlier this month, Georgian officials stated that two Armenian nationals had pleaded guilty to attempting to sell in Tbilisi two-thirds of an ounce of weapon-grade uranium. That incident underlined worries that vulnerable nuclear materials in the former Soviet Union could be stolen and transported through the region’s unsecured borders and sold on the black market to terrorists.”
  5. “The case marked the third such time trafficked nuclear materials had been discovered in Georgia, a former Soviet republic that neighbors Russia and has been a major recipient of antinuclear smuggling aid from the United States (Agence France-Presse/, Nov. 19).”



Yong, William, Worth, Robert, F., “Bombings Hit Atomic Experts in Iran Streets,” November 29, 2010, NYT last checked December 1, 2010.

  1. “Unidentified assailants riding motorcycles carried out separate bomb attacks here on Monday against two of the country’s top nuclear scientists, killing one and prompting accusations that the United States and Israel were again trying to disrupt Iran’s nuclear program.”
  2. “The slain scientist, Majid Shahriari, managed a “major project” for the country’s Atomic Energy Organization, Iran’s nuclear chief, Ali Akbar Salehi, told the semiofficial IRNA news agency. His wounded colleague, Fereydoon Abbasi, is believed to be even more important; he is on the United Nations Security Council’s sanctions list for ties to the Iranian nuclear effort.”
  3. “The two scientists are among the most prominent in the Iranian nuclear world, and the brazen daylight attacks on them seemed certain to worsen tensions over the country’s controversial uranium enrichment efforts.”
  4. “Israel and the United States have often signaled that they will not tolerate a nuclear Iran. Neither has acknowledged pursuing sabotage or assassinations there, but both are widely believed to be pursuing ways to undermine the country’s nuclear program short of bombing reactor sites, including damaging the centrifuges to slow down the production of enriched uranium.”
  5. “Dr. Shahriari published dozens of esoteric conference reports and peer-reviewed articles on nuclear research, at least five of which list Mr. Salehi, the Iranian nuclear agency chief, as a co-author. He was an expert on neutron transport, a field that lies at the heart of nuclear chain reactions in bombs and reactors. Some Iranian media reports said he taught at the Supreme National Defense University, which is run by the Iranian Army.”
  6. “Mr. Ahmadinejad, speaking at a news conference, vowed that the nuclear program would continue, but acknowledged damage from the computer worm. ‘They succeeded in creating problems for a limited number of our centrifuges with the software they had installed in electronic parts,’ he said.”
  7. “A worm known as Stuxnet is believed to have struck Iran over the summer. Experts said that the program, which is precisely calibrated to send nuclear centrifuges wildly out of control, was probably developed by technicians working for a government.”
  8. “The motorcycle attackers attached the bombs to the professors’ cars, then drove off, detonating them from a distance, according to Iranian news media reports. Dr. Abbasi’s wife was also hurt, the reports said.”
  9. “Last January, a remote-controlled bomb killed a physics professor, Massoud Ali Mohammadi, outside his home. The Iranian authorities also blamed that attack on the United States and Israel, a charge the State Department dismissed as absurd. In 2007, state television said that another nuclear scientist, Ardeshir Hosseinpour, had died of gas poisoning. Both Dr. Mohammadi and Dr. Shahriari were associated with a nonnuclear scientific research unit, based in Jordan and operating under United Nations auspices, known as Sesame, for Synchrotron-light for Experimental Science and Applications in the Middle East. Unusually, its nine-member council includes representatives from Israel, along with Iran and other Muslim countries. It was not clear whether the bomb attacks on the two Iranian scientists were linked to their association with the organization.”

Sabotage, Iran, Israel, Nuclear, Academia
Broad, William, et al. “Iran Fortifies Its Arsenal With the Aid of North Korea” 28 November 2010, NYTimes Last Checked 2 December 2010.

  1. “Secret American intelligence assessments have concluded that Iran has obtained a cache of advanced missiles, based on a Russian design, that are much more powerful than anything Washington has publicly conceded that Tehran has in its arsenal, diplomatic cables show.”
  2. “Fragmentary reports surfaced that North Korea might have sold Iran missiles based on a Russian design called the R-27, once used aboard Soviet submarines to carry nuclear warheads.”
  3. “The North Korean version of the advanced missile, known as the BM-25, could carry a nuclear warhead.”
  4. “Intelligence agencies believe that the complete shipment indeed took place, and that Iran is taking pains to master the technology in an attempt to build a new generation of missiles.”
  5. “The cables say that Iran not only obtained the BM-25, but also saw the advanced technology as a way to learn how to design and build a new class of more powerful engines.”
  6. “Many arms control experts concluded that isolated components made their way to Iran, but there has been little support for the idea that complete missiles, with their huge thrusters, had been secretly shipped.”
  7. “The missile intelligence also suggests far deeper military — and perhaps nuclear — cooperation between North Korea and Iran than was previously known.”

PSI, Nuclear, North Korea, Iran


Editors, “Obama Presses China to Curb North Korea”, 6 December 2010, Global Security Newswire Last Checked 23 December 2010.

  1. “The United States has stepped up criticism of Chinese policy toward North Korea.”
  2. “Obama administration officials in recent meetings have criticized Chinese representatives for ignoring North Korea’s flouting of U.N. Security Council resolutions, global commitments and the 1953 armistice agreement with South Korea.”
  3. “Beijing is ‘enabling’ the aspiring nuclear power’s work on uranium enrichment and its military strikes on South Korea.”
  4. “An early version of a joint statement from today’s trilateral meeting would have the three nations denounce the artillery strike and call on Beijing to pressure Pyongyang to meet ‘responsibilities that had been set in the six-party talks.’”
  5. “U.S. Secretary of State Clinton on Friday voiced worries that the nuclear programs of North Korea and Iran could lead to arms buildups in their respective regions.”

U.S. Foreign Policy, Nuclear, PSI, China, North Korea


Broad, William, J., “U.S. Rethinks Strategy for the Unthinkable,” NYT, December 15, 2010.  Last checked December 16, 2010

  1. “Officials say they are moving aggressively to conduct drills, prepare communication guides and raise awareness among emergency planners of how to educate the public.”
  2. “The new wave is citizen preparedness. For people who survive the initial blast, the main advice is to fight the impulse to run and instead seek shelter from lethal radioactivity. Even a few hours of protection, officials say, can greatly increase survival rates.”
  3. “A nuclear blast produces a blinding flash, burning heat and crushing wind. The fireball and mushroom cloud carry radioactive particles upward, and the wind sends them near and far. The government initially knew little about radioactive fallout. But in the 1950s, as the cold war intensified, scientists monitoring test explosions learned that the tiny particles throbbed with fission products — fragments of split atoms, many highly radioactive and potentially lethal.”
  4. “The Department of Homeland Security financed a multiagency modeling effort led by the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California. The scientists looked at Washington, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and other big cities, using computers to simulate details of the urban landscape and terrorist bombs.  The results were revealing. For instance, the scientists found that a bomb’s flash would blind many drivers, causing accidents and complicating evacuation.  The big surprise was how taking shelter for as little as several hours made a huge difference in survival rates.”
  5. “If people in Los Angeles a mile or more from ground zero of an attack took no shelter, Mr. Buddemeier said, there would be 285,000 casualties from fallout in that region.  Taking shelter in a place with minimal protection, like a car, would cut that figure to 125,000 deaths or injuries, he said. A shallow basement would further reduce it to 45,000 casualties. And the core of a big office building or an underground garage would provide the best shelter of all.”
  6. “Soon after Mr. Obama arrived at the White House, he embarked a global campaign to fight atomic terrorism and sped up domestic planning for disaster response. A senior official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the new administration began a revision of the Bush administration’s handbook to address the issue of public communication.”
  7. “‘The most lives,’ the handbook said, ‘will be saved in the first 60 minutes through sheltering in place..”

Emergency Response, Nuclear, Decontamination, WMD







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