Biosecurity legislation for 2006

Here I detail the two major pieces of biosecurity legislation up for consideration by Congress this year, S.1873, The Biodefense and Pandemic Vaccine and Drug Development Act of 2005 and S.1880, The National Biodefense and Pandemic Preparedness Act of 2005. They both address similar issues relating to the nation's ability to develop countermeasures against emerging public health threats including bioterrorism agents and avian influenza. However, there are fairly significant differences between them. My understanding is that the Republicans and Democrats have not gotten together to discuss these two bills yet. Please feel free to get in touch with me directly if you have any questions. mstebbins@fas.org

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Global Nuclear Energy Partnership

The President did not mention the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership in the State of the Union Address. He did give a half sentence to nuclear power, along with windmills, but…

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Will the President address science policy, education and biosecurity in his State of The Union?

FAS hopes the President will take the opportunity to send the right message to the American public and ditch political rhetoric in his State of the Union. FAS is deeply concerned that the nation is headed in the wrong direction on critical science issues that affect our health, national security, environment and economic future. The President has an opportunity to change that starting with his State of the Union address on January 31st. Specifically, we would like the President to take scientific research funding, science education funding, and biosecurity more seriously then he has in the past.

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Plutonium getting a mention in State of the Union Address?

A couple of articles in the energy trade press [link] have said that President Bush may announce a major new energy initiative in the State of the Union Address. This is a program that has been in planning for over a year. Originally it was called the Global Nuclear Energy Initiative, or GNEI, pronounced "genie," but apparently the Administration decided that acronym was a bit too cute, with too many "getting out of the bottle" snipes. More recent articles in the Washington Post [link] and Wall Street Journal report that the program has been renamed the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP) and is not quite ready for prime time so will probably not appear in the Address but will be unveiled in a couple of months. [link] If it does get a mention, I will return to this on Wednesday. By all accounts, the centerpiece of GNEP will be plutonium reprocessing and recycling. This is one of those ideas that is great in theory but doesn't work in practice. The plan is to reduce nuclear waste by repeatedly recycling it through a new (in the US at least) type of power reactor, a fast neutron reactor. [more]

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