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Earthquake and Tsunami Preparedness

US Geological survey image showing the epicentre of the 6.9 magnitude earthquake south east of Fukushima US Geological Survey

US Geological survey image showing the epicentre of the 6.9 magnitude earthquake south east of Fukushima
US Geological Survey

According to the Japan Meteorological Agency, the earthquake that struck Monday off Fukushima was an aftershock of the magnitude 9.0 quake that hit in 2011 and caused a deadly tsunami in the same area. Those events were responsible for more than 15,900 deaths and 2,600 missing persons as well as physical infrastructure damages exceeding $200 billion. The earthquake and tsunami also initiated a severe nuclear accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station. Three of the six reactors at the plant sustained severe core damage and released hydrogen and radioactive materials. The explosion of the released hydrogen damaged three reactor buildings and impeded onsite emergency response efforts. Five years later, the region is still recovering from the social and economic impacts of the accident.

The publications below address preparedness and response for crisis situations like the 2011 disaster. All are free to download.

Lessons Learned from the Fukushima Nuclear Accident for Improving Safety of U.S. Nuclear Plants

The March 11, 2011, Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami sparked a humanitarian disaster in northeastern Japan. They were responsible for more than 15,900 deaths and 2,600 missing persons as well as physical infrastructure damages exceeding …

[more]

Lessons Learned from the Fukushima Nuclear Accident for Improving Safety and Security of U.S. Nuclear Plants: Phase 2

The U.S. Congress asked the National Academy of Sciences to conduct a technical study on lessons learned from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident for improving safety and security of commercial nuclear power plants in the United States. This …

[more]

Tsunami Warning and Preparedness: An Assessment of the U.S. Tsunami Program and the Nation’s Preparedness Efforts

Many coastal areas of the United States are at risk for tsunamis. After the catastrophic 2004 tsunami in the Indian Ocean, legislation was passed to expand U.S. tsunami warning capabilities. Since then, the nation has made progress in several …

[more]

National Earthquake Resilience: Research, Implementation, and Outreach

The United States will certainly be subject to damaging earthquakes in the future. Some of these earthquakes will occur in highly populated and vulnerable areas. Coping with moderate earthquakes is not a reliable indicator of preparedness for a …

[more]

Crisis Standards of Care: A Systems Framework for Catastrophic Disaster Response: Volume 1: Introduction and CSC Framework

Catastrophic disasters occurring in 2011 in the United States and worldwide–from the tornado in Joplin, Missouri, to the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, to the earthquake in New Zealand–have demonstrated that even prepared communities can be …

[more]

Healthy, Resilient, and Sustainable Communities After Disasters: Strategies, Opportunities, and Planning for Recovery

In the devastation that follows a major disaster, there is a need for multiple sectors to unite and devote new resources to support the rebuilding of infrastructure, the provision of health and social services, the restoration of care delivery …

[more]

Science on Cybersecurity Beyond the Dyn Attack

Last Friday, a distributed denial-of-service attack on Dyn caused temporary outages at some of the Internet’s most heavily trafficked websites. Dyn is a major contributor to the Web’s infrastructure, working as a middleman to ensure users can connect to the websites they are looking for. Hackers used malware to overwhelm Dyn’s servers.

In a world of increasing dependence on information technology, the prevention of cyberattacks on a nation’s important computer and communications system and networks is essential. Our report At the Nexus of Cybersecurity and Public Policy offers a wealth of information on practical measures, technical and nontechnical challenges, and potential policy responses to cybersecurity issues. In its explanation of the fundamentals of cybersecurity and the discussion of potential policy responses, this book is a call for action to make cybersecurity a public safety priority.

At the Nexus of Cybersecurity and Public Policy: Some Basic Concepts and Issues

We depend on information and information technology (IT) to make many of our day-to-day tasks easier and more convenient. Computers play key roles in transportation, health care, banking, and energy. Businesses use IT for payroll and accounting, …

[more]

Also check out our Cybersecurity Collection. These books explain the importance of increasing the usability of security technologies, recommend strategies for future research aimed at countering cyberattacks, and consider how information technology systems can be used to not only maximize protection against attacks, but also respond to threats.

40th Anniversary of First Viking Landing

Image captured by NASA's Viking lander 1 in August 1976  Credit: NASA/JPL

Image captured by NASA’s Viking lander 1 in August 1976
Credit: NASA/JPL

It’s now been 40 years since NASA’s Viking probe 1 showed us our first view of Mars’ surface. We’re proud that our reports have contributed to the ongoing agenda for the exploration and search for life on Mars. Here’s a look back at how the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine have informed Mars exploration initiatives through the years.

 

An Astrobiology Strategy for the Exploration of Mars

Three recent developments have greatly increased interest in the search for life on Mars. The first is new information about the Martian environment including evidence of a watery past and the possibility of atmospheric methane. The second is the possibility of microbial viability on Mars. …

[more]

Review of the MEPAG Report on Mars Special Regions

Planetary protection is a guiding principle in the design of an interplanetary mission, aiming to prevent biological contamination of both the target celestial body and the Earth. The protection of high-priority science goals, the search for life and the understanding of the Martian organic …

[more]

Preventing the Forward Contamination of Mars

Recent spacecraft and robotic probes to Mars have yielded data that are changing our understanding significantly about the possibility of existing or past life on that planet. Coupled with advances in biology and life-detection techniques, these developments place increasing importance on the need …

[more]

Biology and the Exploration of Mars

Until recent years the origin of life and its possible occurrence elsewhere in the universe have been matters for speculation only. The rapid growth of molecular biology since 1940 has, to be sure, made it possible to discuss life’s origins in far more precise and explicit terms than was …

[more]

Assessment of Mars Science and Mission Priorities

Within the Office of Space Science of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) special importance is attached to exploration of the planet Mars, because it is the most like Earth of the planets in the solar system and the place where the first detection of extraterrestrial life …

[more]

Assessment of NASA’s Mars Architecture 2007-2016

The United States and the former Soviet Union have sent spacecraft to mars as early as 1966, with Mars’ exploration being priority for NASA spacecraft. Both sides, however, have failed as well as succeed. The inability to determine if life exists on Mars is considered one of NASA’s failures and …

[more]

Safe on Mars: Precursor Measurements Necessary to Support Human Operations on the Martian Surface

This study, commissioned by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), examines the role of robotic exploration missions in assessing the risks to the first human missions to Mars. Only those hazards arising from exposure to environmental, chemical, and biological agents on the …

[more]

Happy Earth Day!

Credit: Landsat 7 Science Team and NASA GSFC

Credit: Landsat 7 Science Team and NASA GSFC

Last year the world saw record-breaking temperatures and 2015 became the warmest year on record. Human activities largely determine the future evolution of the Earth’s climate, which not only impact the next few decades, but the coming centuries and millennia.

Climate change poses significant risks for a broad range of human and natural systems. Our reports inform many of the 21st century choices for responding to climate change through improving understanding of the causes and consequences.

A special 25% Earth Day discount applies through April 29, 2016. Use discount code EARTH when you order online.

Climate Change: Evidence and Causes

Climate Change: Evidence and Causes is a jointly produced publication of The US National Academy of Sciences and The Royal Society. Written by a UK-US team of leading climate scientists and reviewed by climate scientists and others, the …

[more]

Attribution of Extreme Weather Events in the Context of Climate Change

As climate has warmed over recent years, a new pattern of more frequent and more intense weather events has unfolded across the globe. Climate models simulate such changes in extreme events, and some of the reasons for the changes are well …

[more]

The Arctic in the Anthropocene: Emerging Research Questions

Once ice-bound, difficult to access, and largely ignored by the rest of the world, the Arctic is now front and center in the midst of many important questions facing the world today. Our daily weather, what we eat, and coastal flooding are all …

[more]

Arctic Matters: The Global Connection to Changes in the Arctic

Viewed in satellite images as a jagged white coat draped over the top of the globe, the high Arctic appears distant and isolated. But even if you don’t live there, don’t do business there, and will never travel there, you are closer to the Arctic …

[more]

Abrupt Impacts of Climate Change: Anticipating Surprises

Climate is changing, forced out of the range of the past million years by levels of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases not seen in the Earth’s atmosphere for a very, very long time. Lacking action by the world’s nations, it is clear that …

[more]

Climate Intervention: Reflecting Sunlight to Cool Earth

The growing problem of changing environmental conditions caused by climate destabilization is well recognized as one of the defining issues of our time. The root problem is greenhouse gas emissions, and the fundamental solution is curbing those …

[more]

Climate Intervention: Carbon Dioxide Removal and Reliable Sequestration

The signals are everywhere that our planet is experiencing significant climate change. It is clear that we need to reduce the emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases from our atmosphere if we want to avoid greatly increased risk of …

[more]

Commercial Motor Vehicle Driver Fatigue

Source: nyctruckinsurance.com

Source: nyctruckinsurance.com

There are approximately 4,000 fatalities in crashes involving trucks and buses in the United States each year. While many factors play a role in these crashes, estimates suggest that possibly 10 to 20 percent might have involved fatigued drivers. The stresses associated with their particular jobs (irregular schedules, etc.) and the lifestyle that many truck and bus drivers lead, puts them at substantial risk for insufficient sleep and for developing short- and long-term health problems.

Commercial Motor Vehicle Driver Fatigue, Long-Term Health and Highway Safety assesses the state of knowledge about the relationship of such factors as hours of driving, hours on duty, and periods of rest to the fatigue experienced by truck and bus drivers while driving and the implications for the safe operation of their vehicles. This report evaluates the relationship of these factors to drivers’ health over the longer term, and identifies improvements in data and research methods that can lead to better understanding in both areas.

Commercial Motor Vehicle Driver Fatigue, Long-Term Health, and Highway Safety: Research Needs

There are approximately 4,000 fatalities in crashes involving trucks and buses in the United States each year. Though estimates are wide-ranging, …

[more]

Flood Resilience

(Aaron M. Sprecher/AFP/Getty Images)

(Aaron M. Sprecher/AFP/Getty Images)

Recent flooding in Louisiana and Texas call attention to the importance of our nation’s infrastructure established to manage our water resources and mitigate the effects of flooding. Advances in engineering can reduce the risk of levee and dam failure, but levees and dams cannot remove the risk of flooding. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine Report, Dam and Levee Safety and Community Resilience: A Vision for Future Practice, explores how dam and levee safety programs might be broadened to consider community- and regional-level priorities in decision making to help reduce the risk of, and increase community resilience to, potential dam and levee failure. Collaboration between dam and levee safety professionals at all levels, persons and property owners at direct risk, and the social and environmental networks in a community would allow all stakeholders to better understand risks, shared needs, and opportunities, and would ultimately lead them to make more informed decisions to support community resilience.

Our Flood Resilience collection offers guidance for multiple sectors involved in community planning and the flood recovery process.

Dam and Levee Safety and Community Resilience: A Vision for Future Practice

Although advances in engineering can reduce the risk of dam and levee failure, some failures will still occur. Such events cause impacts on social and physical infrastructure that extend far beyond the flood zone. Broadening dam and levee safety programs to consider community- and regional-level …

[more]

Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Disaster

Source: New York Times - Toru Hanai/Reuters

Source: New York Times – Toru Hanai/Reuters

On this day five years ago, the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami sparked a severe nuclear accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station. Three of the six reactors at the plant sustained severe core damage and released hydrogen and radioactive materials. Explosion of the released hydrogen damaged three reactor buildings and impeded onsite emergency response efforts. The accident prompted widespread evacuations of local populations, large economic losses, and the eventual shutdown of all nuclear power plants in Japan. It wasn’t until August 2015 that Japan began the controversial return to nuclear power generation.

Lessons Learned from the Fukushima Nuclear Accident for Improving Safety and Security of U.S. Nuclear Plants is a study of the Fukushima Daiichi accident. This report examines the causes of the crisis, the performance of safety systems at the plant, and the responses of its operators following the earthquake and tsunami.

Lessons Learned from the Fukushima Nuclear Accident for Improving Safety of U.S. Nuclear Plants

The March 11, 2011, Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami sparked a humanitarian disaster in northeastern Japan. They were responsible for more than 15,900 deaths and 2,600 missing persons as well as physical infrastructure damages exceeding $200 billion. The earthquake and tsunami also …

[more]

Privacy vs. Security

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Source: CNN

Privacy is a growing concern in the United States and around the world. The vast reaches of the Internet and the seemingly infinite options for collecting, saving, sharing, and comparing information trigger legitimate apprehension. The recent FBI request of custom access to an iPhone used by one of the two terrorists who killed 14 people in San Bernardino brought the debate surrounding privacy vs. security to the forefront. Our reports examine the state of privacy in the information age and the policies that currently exist to protect personal user privacy.

Privacy Research and Best Practices: Summary of a Workshop for the Intelligence Community

Recent disclosures about the bulk collection of domestic phone call records and other signals intelligence programs have stimulated widespread debate about the implications of such practices for the civil liberties and privacy of Americans. In …

[more]

Bulk Collection of Signals Intelligence: Technical Options

The Bulk Collection of Signals Intelligence: Technical Options study is a result of an activity called for in Presidential Policy Directive 28 (PPD-28), issued by President Obama in January 2014, to evaluate U.S. signals intelligence …

[more]

Protecting Individual Privacy in the Struggle Against Terrorists: A Framework for Program Assessment

All U.S. agencies with counterterrorism programs that collect or “mine” personal data — such as phone records or Web sites visited — should be required to evaluate the programs’ effectiveness, lawfulness, and impacts on privacy. A framework is …

[more]

Engaging Privacy and Information Technology in a Digital Age

Privacy is a growing concern in the United States and around the world. The spread of the Internet and the seemingly boundaryless options for collecting, saving, sharing, and comparing information trigger consumer worries. Online practices of …

[more]

Zika Virus

zik-world-map_active_01-26-2016_web_2

On Thursday, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced the Zika virus was “spreading explosively” and estimated that as many as four million people could be infected by the end of the year. The WHO will be holding an emergency meeting on Monday to determine whether this outbreak should be declared an international health emergency. This decision would allow countless resources to be mobilized towards more effectively combating this global health crisis.

We’ve collected our resources that provide an overview of infectious diseases and address this growing global challenge. All are free to download.

Photo Source: CDC

Rapid Medical Countermeasure Response to Infectious Diseases: Enabling Sustainable Capabilities Through Ongoing Public- and Private-Sector Partnerships: Workshop Summary

Emerging infectious disease threats that may not have available treatments or vaccines can directly affect the security of the world’s health since these diseases also know no boundaries and will easily cross borders. Sustaining public and …

[more]

International Infectious Disease Emergencies and Domestic Implications for the Public Health and Health Care Sectors: Workshop in Brief

Emerging infectious disease events present a threat to U.S. national security, and we need improved efforts to coordinate a response both domestically and with global partners. The most recent outbreak of the Ebola virus disease in West Africa is …

[more]

Emerging Viral Diseases: The One Health Connection: Workshop Summary

In the past half century, deadly disease outbreaks caused by novel viruses of animal origin – Nipah virus in Malaysia, Hendra virus in Australia, Hantavirus in the United States, Ebola virus in Africa, along with HIV (human immunodeficiency …

[more]

Infectious Disease Movement in a Borderless World: Workshop Summary

Modern transportation allows people, animals, and plants–and the pathogens they carry–to travel more easily than ever before. The ease and speed of travel, tourism, and international trade connect once-remote areas with one another, eliminating …

[more]

Global Health Risk Framework: Resilient and Sustainable Health Systems to Respond to Global Infectious Disease Outbreaks: Workshop Summary

Since the 2014 Ebola outbreak many public- and private-sector leaders have seen a need for improved management of global public health emergencies. The effects of the Ebola epidemic go well beyond the three hardest-hit countries and beyond the …

[more]

Global Health Risk Framework: Pandemic Financing: Workshop Summary

Since the 2014 Ebola outbreak many public- and private-sector leaders have seen a need for improved management of global public health emergencies. The effects of the Ebola epidemic go well beyond the three hardest-hit countries and beyond the …

[more]

Global Health Risk Framework: Governance for Global Health: Workshop Summary

Since the 2014 Ebola outbreak many public- and private-sector leaders have seen a need for improved management of global public health emergencies. The effects of the Ebola epidemic go well beyond the three hardest-hit countries and beyond the …

[more]

Global Health Risk Framework: Research and Development of Medical Products: Workshop Summary

Since the 2014 Ebola outbreak many public- and private-sector leaders have seen a need for improved management of global public health emergencies. The effects of the Ebola epidemic go well beyond the three hardest-hit countries and beyond the …

[more]

The Neglected Dimension of Global Security: A Framework to Counter Infectious Disease Crises

Since the 2014 Ebola outbreak many public- and private-sector leaders have seen a need for improved management of global public health emergencies. The effects of the Ebola epidemic go well beyond the three hardest-hit countries and beyond the …

[more]

2015 Climate Change

201512

The unusual warmth of December seems like a distant memory after this weekend’s blizzard on the east coast. However NOAA’s most recent State of the Climate report revealed that 2015 was the Earth’s warmest year by the widest margin on record. The globally averaged temperature over land and ocean surfaces for 2015 was the highest among all years since record keeping began in 1880, and the December combined global land and ocean average surface temperature was the highest on record for any month in the 136-year period.

Explore our reports on climate change to learn more. All are free to download.

Climate Change: Evidence and Causes

Climate Change: Evidence and Causes is a jointly produced publication of The US National Academy of Sciences and The Royal Society. Written by a UK-US team of leading climate scientists and reviewed by climate scientists and others, the …

[more]

Abrupt Impacts of Climate Change: Anticipating Surprises

Climate is changing, forced out of the range of the past million years by levels of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases not seen in the Earth’s atmosphere for a very, very long time. Lacking action by the world’s nations, it is clear that …

[more]

Linkages Between Arctic Warming and Mid-Latitude Weather Patterns: Summary of a Workshop

The Arctic has been undergoing significant changes in recent years. Average temperatures are rising twice as fast as they are elsewhere in the world. The extent and thickness of sea ice is rapidly declining. Such changes may have an impact on …

[more]

Climate Intervention: Reflecting Sunlight to Cool Earth

The growing problem of changing environmental conditions caused by climate destabilization is well recognized as one of the defining issues of our time. The root problem is greenhouse gas emissions, and the fundamental solution is curbing those …

[more]

Climate Intervention: Carbon Dioxide Removal and Reliable Sequestration

The signals are everywhere that our planet is experiencing significant climate change. It is clear that we need to reduce the emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases from our atmosphere if we want to avoid greatly increased risk of …

[more]