Morning Security Brief: Explosives Found Near Nuclear Power Plant, New Biodefense Centers, and More
Explosives found near Swedish nuclear power plant . Reflections of Fukushima. HHS awards contracts for biodefense labs. And more.
►An explosives detection dog discovered explosives on a truck during a routine check at the southwestern Ringhals atomic power station in Sweden. The driver of the truck was unaware of the explosives and police suspect sabotage. The explosives had no detonator so there was no chance of an explosion, bomb technicians said.
►The operator of Japan's Fukushima Daiichi power plant admitted Wednesday that it was not fully prepared for the nuclear disaster . "All who were related to the nuclear plant could not predict an occurrence of the event which was far beyond our expectation. We did not have enough measures to prevent the accident," said Masao Yamazaki, executive vice president of Tokyo Electric Power Co. Read more from CNN’s coverage of Yamazaki’s Wednesday press conference.
►The Department of Health and Human Services has awarded contracts to start work on three new biodefense centers . The contracts total about $400 million and include expansion of Emergent BioSolutions facilities in Maryland and Novartis facilities in North Carolina, and lab improvements and a new center dedicated to pandemic flu research at Texas A&M. “On an everyday basis these centres are going to be helping other developers of medical counter-measures for chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear threats, on the same hand if there’s an emergency then we’ve got to be able to respond to things like pandemic influenza or other threats,” said HHS Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority Director, Robin Robinson. “HHS projects that the centres will be able to produce 25 percent of the country’s pandemic flu vaccine supply within four months of an outbreak,” Nature reports.
►In other news, reports are mixed on the health condition of former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak . One news agency reported that he was clinically dead on Tuesday. A defense official says he isn’t dead, but his health is quickly deteriorating. Another source said he should make a full recovery in three days. ♦ The United Nations is encouraging talks between Sudan and South Sudan to reduce violence on their shared border and clashes over the disputed Abyei area. ♦ And so far, Bit9 is the only company to report that it can prevent Flame from successfully executing an attack . “During an eight-month custom persistent attack on one of its customers Bit9's technology prevented Flame from running and executing on the customer's endpoints, laptops, and servers,” according says a release from Bit9.