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Security Science

High Security Animal Disease Lab Faces Uncertain Future 105

Dupple writes in with a story about the uncertain future of a proposed bio lab in the heart of cattle country. "Plans to build one of the world's most secure laboratories in the heart of rural America have run into difficulties. The National Bio and Agro defense facility (NBAF) would be the first US lab able to research diseases like foot and mouth in large animals. But reviews have raised worries about virus escapes in the middle of cattle country. For over fifty years the United States has carried out research on dangerous animal diseases at Plum Island, just off the coast of New York. However after 9/11 the Department of Homeland Security raised concerns about the suitability of the location and its vulnerability to terrorist attack."
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High Security Animal Disease Lab Faces Uncertain Future

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  • Re:Safety First (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Thursday November 15, 2012 @10:37PM (#41998279) Journal

    The scientists owe it to the people there to reduce the risk of an escaped pathogen by as much as they can. Once they do that, there really shouldn't be anything to complain about--it would just be pure, irrational fear from what I can see.

    Arguably, siting the lab in the middle of a giant supply of natural hosts for the pathogens being studied is a massive failure of risk reduction, no matter how many sci-fi airlocks they pencil in...

  • by peragrin ( 659227 ) on Thursday November 15, 2012 @10:42PM (#41998301)

    um tornado alley is easily prepared for. Just build the actual labs underground.

    just like Umbrella and look how well that turned out.


  • Re:Safety First (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Requiem18th ( 742389 ) on Friday November 16, 2012 @12:14AM (#41998775)

    Yes, if the security is perfect then there is no problem. In the same vein, putting it on an island near NY is completely safe as long as NY doesn't get hit by Tsunami or terrorist/millitary attacks. Yet they are speculating about placing it in the middle of the country precisely because you can't expect things to go alrgiht forever.

    Part of the question then is, what is more likely? Disseases escaping containment procedures or a cataclysmic event devastating NY? Before 9/11 or Sandy (and I'd wager Sandy is the real kicker here) such pondering would seem the stuff of Science Fiction. But considering this AGW problem is here to stay, you can only expect worse storms to come in the future. Relocating the lab to the iddle of the country seems like a better idea right now.

    My question here is, don't you guys have lots and lots of dessertic zones? Just put it there. Or is it packed already with too many secret millitary bases?

  • Re:Safety First (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Cassini2 ( 956052 ) on Friday November 16, 2012 @12:30AM (#41998825)

    Disease escape is a far more likely failure mode than terrorist attack. Microbes have evolved over millions of years to be easy to spread.

    In terms of terrorist attack, New York is on the eastern seaboard not far from Washington DC. A relatively close radius should contain: half of the US Navy's Atlantic fleet, huge amounts of coast guard assets, thousands of FBI agents, and a pretty massive city police presence. No where else in America is safer.

Beware of Programmers who carry screwdrivers. -- Leonard Brandwein