Beginning in January 2009, Bulletin subscribers began receiving the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists magazine in its new digital format only. To save on the steeply rising costs of paper and postage, the Bulletin announced in late 2008 that it would no longer produce a print edition of the magazine.
Month: December 2008
When Kazakhstan’s Parliament ratified a treaty establishing a nuclear-weapon-free zone in Central Asia earlier this month, the effort to ban nuclear weapons from the region took its final step. Throughout the Cold War, Central Asia had been the epicenter of the Soviet nuclear testing program–with the Soviet military conducting 456 nuclear tests in Kazakhstan alone. Appropriately then, the treaty was signed by representatives from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan in September 2006 at Semipalatinsk, the main Soviet test site in Kazakhstan.
Earlier this year, I wrote about preparations for the December 5th meeting between States Parties to the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BWC). I warned that in addition to agreeing to a broad agenda, the States Parties needed to begin acting to make this agenda a reality.
The list of issues that qualify as biosecurity concerns is expanding. Protecting against accidental disease outbreaks; the introduction of genetically modified crop plants, or foreign animal or plant diseases; food defense (formerly known as food safety); and controlling natural outbreaks of disease have all recently fallen under the biosecurity umbrella. This broadening scope has the potential to bring renewed attention to certain public health issues, but it also could tie public health too closely to national security agendas and may threaten the freedom of scientific research.
–“Jesters do oft prove prophets,” William Shakespeare, King Lear –“When one is legendary, one must do legendary things,” Ed Grothus
As the United States waits for a new administration to take office in January, expectations are high that arms control talks with Russia will be revitalized shortly thereafter. Parties in both countries–no matter political persuasion–think Washington and Moscow should move quickly to devise a new disarmament agreement that would replace the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), which expires in December 2009.
Despite the clinical importance of medical isotopes, used in an estimated 18 million procedures per year in the United States alone, the world’s supply is increasingly unreliable due to antiquated reactors. At one point in August, all five of the most important medical isotope-producing reactors, all located outside of the United States, were inoperable. The simultaneous shutdowns resulted in supply interruptions, causing a rationing of medical procedures in some areas. Problems are likely to persist for months because one of the largest reactors requires significant repairs.
Editor's note: The opinions expressed below are solely those of the author and not his employer.Advice on how President-elect Barack Obama and his advisers should proceed with the country's nuclear policy, starting with the Reliable Replacement Warhead (RRW) Program:
Global warming necessitates the development of new forms of low-emissions, base-load power generating capacity. To assess the financial, regulatory, and proliferation concerns confronting nuclear energy and to develop strategies for addressing the barriers to the deployment of new reactors, in late September 2008, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists convened nearly 40 scientists, policy makers, industry representatives, and nongovernmental experts from around the world.
The November 2007 National Nano Engineering conference in Boston on advanced nanotechnology applications for commercial and military space systems included dozens of speakers and presentations on cutting-edge space applications. Hundreds of people attended, with nearly every seat in the hotel’s grand ballroom filled for the first session.
As of December 9, 2008, 53 years of Bulletin content is now available online for free at Google Books. This archive begins with the first issue of the magazine–originally published in December 1945–and includes every year thereafter until 1998.
Of the many ways in which the United States is unprepared to deal with an infectious disease outbreak or bioterrorist attack, here’s one of the most problematic: The responsibility for public health is a state concern.
Editor's note: The opinions expressed below are solely those of the author and not his employer.The Reliable Replacement Warhead (RRW) Program proposes to redesign the nuclear explosive package of U.S. nuclear warheads using advanced computer simulations and the experience gleaned from previous weapons tests. The advertised aim of RRW is to enhance warhead safety and security while improving confidence in the stockpile's long-term reliability–allegedly, without any new nuclear explosive tests.1