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        • PPESecond Skin Protects against Chem, Bio Agents

          Recent events such as the COVID-19 pandemic and the use of chemical weapons in the Syria conflict have provided a stark reminder of the plethora of chemical and biological threats that soldiers, medical personnel and first responders face during routine and emergency operations. Researchers have developed a smart, breathable fabric designed to protect the wearer against biological and chemical warfare agents. Material of this type could be used in clinical and medical settings as well.

        • Nuclear powerAn Atomic Catch 22: Climate Change and the Decline of America's Nuclear Fleet

          By Eric Scheuch

          Nuclear energy in the United States has become deeply unprofitable in the last decade, driven by a combination of aging infrastructure and other electricity sources like renewables and natural gas simply becoming cheaper to build and operate. While some in the environmental community may cheer nuclear’s decline, others are concerned. Love it or hate it, nuclear plays a unique role in the American electric sector, one for which we currently have no market-ready replacement, and its decline will likely make other environmental issues, particularly climate change, harder to solve.

        • Nuclear detectionCatching Nuclear Smugglers: Fast Algorithm Enable Cost-Effective Detectors at Borders

          Nations need to protect their citizens from the threat of nuclear terrorism. Nuclear security deters and detects the smuggling of special nuclear materials—highly enriched uranium, weapons-grade plutonium or materials that produce a lot of radiation—across national borders. A new algorithm could enable faster, less expensive detection of weapons-grade nuclear materials at borders, quickly differentiating between benign and illicit radiation signatures in the same cargo.

        • Nuclear disastersConsequences Remain Decades After Chernobyl Disaster: UN

          The United Nations says persistent and serious long-term consequences remain more than thirty years after the explosion and fire at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine. The world body is marking International Chernobyl Disaster Remembrance Day on 26 April, the 34th anniversary of the accident that spread a radioactive cloud over large parts of Belarus, Ukraine, and Russia. The anniversary is being marked after fires recently burned in the 30-kilometer exclusion zone around the plant, raising concerns about the potential release of radioactive particles into the air.

        • DetectionSelf-Powered X-Ray Detector Improves Imaging for Medicine, Security, Research

          A new X-ray detector prototype is on the brink of revolutionizing medical imaging, with dramatic reduction in radiation exposure and the associated health risks, while also boosting resolution in security scanners and research applications. 2-D perovskite thin films boost sensitivity 100-fold compared to conventional detectors, require no outside power source, and enable low-dose dental and medical images.

        • Iran’s nukesIran’s Nuclear “Breakout” Time Reduced to 3-4 Months

          In May 2018, when President Trump announced that the United States was withdrawing from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, Iran “breakout” time was estimated to be 12-16 months. Breakout is defined as the time Iran would need to produce 25 kilograms of weapon-grade uranium (WGU), enough for a nuclear weapon. A new report says that Iran’s breakout time now is 3.1 to 4.6 months.

        • Nuclear safetyMaintaining Nuclear Safety and Security During the COVID-19 Crisis

          By William Tobey, Simon Saradzhyan, and Nickolas Roth

          Every major industry on earth is struggling to adapt in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes nuclear facilities and nuclear-powered vessels, which count among the critical infrastructure of dozens of nations now struggling with the pandemic, representing more than half the world’s population. Meanwhile, ISIS has already announced its intent to exploit the pandemic while a number of other violent extremist organizations are also taking pains to exploit the crisis. Without implementing extraordinary measures to maintain safety and security, nuclear installations risk compounding the crisis with a large-scale radiation release.

        • Nuclear detectionHow Lasers Can Help with Nuclear Nonproliferation Monitoring

          Scientists developed a new method showing that measuring the light produced in plasmas made from a laser can be used to understand uranium oxidation in nuclear fireballs. This capability gives never-before-seen insight into uranium gas-phase oxidation during nuclear explosions. These insights further progress toward a reliable, non-contact method for remote detection of uranium elements and isotopes, with implications for nonproliferation safeguards, explosion monitoring and treaty verification.

        • Nuclear detectionLasers to Detect Weapons-Grade Uranium from Afar

          It’s hard enough to identify nuclear materials when you can directly scan a suspicious suitcase or shipping container. But if you can’t get close? A technique for detecting enriched uranium with lasers could help regulators sniff out illicit nuclear activities from as far as a couple of miles away.

        • First respondersBolstering Realistic Radiation Training

          The Radiation Field Training Simulator (RaFTS) technology provides a first responder training solution that can be used to protect against acts of radiological or nuclear terrorism and to deal with their subsequent aftermath.

        • Radiation detectionSafe, Fast Radionuclide Detection

          In the event of a radiological release, such as from an improvised nuclear device, immediately assessing the threat to public safety would be critical. Rapid detection of radioactive materials can save lives, reduce the environmental impact of such an event and save taxpayer dollars. Current hand-held detection methods, however, are unreliable at detecting very low levels of alpha radiation from actinides, such as uranium, due to environmental influences.

        • Bomb disposalWater Cannon Technology Disarms IEDs

          Improvised explosive devices (IEDs) are a constant and ever-changing threat to the security of our nation. Their extreme destructive potential demands innovative solutions. That’s where the Reverse Velocity Jet Tamper (ReVJeT) comes in. ReVJeT breaks apart IEDs by targeting a stream of high-velocity liquid, such as water. It does not detonate the device, but rather disarms it from a distance and allows bomb technicians do their jobs faster, safer, and more effectively.

        • Nuclear warNuclear War Could Be Devastating for the U.S., Even If No One Shoots Back

          By Joshua M. Pearce

          The White House’s 2021 budget calls for $28.9 billion for the Pentagon for nuclear weapons and a 20 percent increase to $19.8 billion for the National Nuclear Security Administration. Yet the U.S. already has over 3,000 nuclear weapons. The U.S. could only safely use a fraction of them without killing Americans with an unintended adverse series of cascading environmental effects: Soot from the burning of cities following numerous nuclear blasts would cause a significant drop in global temperature, blocking the sunlight from reaching the Earth’s surface. This would cause a drop in precipitation, increased ultraviolet radiation resulting from a badly damaged atmosphere, and a breakdown in supply chains and food production. In short, a nuclear attack using only a few nuclear weapons would be exceedingly damaging for the aggressor nation.

        • Nuclear clean-upNew Materials Could Help Clean-Up Chernobyl and Fukushima

          Engineers have developed materials that could be used to help decommission the Chernobyl and Fukushima nuclear power stations. The materials, created in collaboration with colleagues in Ukraine, simulate Lava-like Fuel Containing Materials (LFCMs) – hazardous substances left behind by a nuclear meltdown. The development paves the way for the safe analysis of hazardous materials left behind at Chernobyl and Fukushima.

        • Nuclear wasteMaterials Currently Used to Store Nuclear Waste Accelerate Corrosion

          The materials the United States and other countries plan to use to store high-level nuclear waste will likely degrade faster than anyone previously knew because of the way those materials interact, new research shows. The findings show that corrosion of nuclear waste storage materials accelerates because of changes in the chemistry of the nuclear waste solution, and because of the way the materials interact with one another.

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