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We have investigated the relationship between hydrated layer formation during aqueous corrosion of silicates and retention of heavy elements (Fe, REE, actinides). Our approach is based on the comparison of the dissolution behaviour of silicate glasses, silicate minerals implanted with increasing doses of lead ions (1×E+12 to 1×E+15 ions/cm2), sorption experiments on silica surfaces and direct precipitation of hydrosilicates. The characterization of reacted surfaces was performed by combining Rutherford backscattering spectrometry (RBS) for profiling heavy elements with Resonant Nuclear Reaction Analysis (RNRA) for hydrogen profilimetry. The accumulation of these elements does not necessarily imply a selective dissolution and can be explained by the “precipitation” of hydroxides or hydrosilicates.
The comparative leaching behavior of a soda-lime glass and of a simulated nuclear glass has been investigated through H and Na depth profiles obtained with resonant nuclear reaction analysis. It is shown that glass surface hydration involves both H+/Na+ ion exchange and permeation of molecular water, the first process being dominant at low temperature and solution ionic strength and the second for high values of these two parameters. The shape of the H profile as well as the response of H retention to thermal treatment indicate that on the nuclear glass, most of the molecular water is more weakly bonded than on the soda-lime glass.
Metal Oxide Semiconductor (MOS) capacitors with ultra-thin oxides have been irradiated with ionising particles (8 MeV electrons or Si, Ni, and Ag high energy ions), featuring various Linear Energy Transfer (LET) ranging over 4 orders of magnitude. Different oxide fields (Fbias) were applied during irradiation, ranging between flat-band and 3 MV/cm. We measured the DC Radiation Induced Leakage Current (RILC) at low fields (3-6 MV/cm) after electron or Si ion irradiation. RILC was the highest in devices biased at flat band during irradiation. In devices irradiated with higher LET ions (Ni and Ag) we observed the onset of Soft-Breakdown phenomena. Soft-Breakdown current increases with the oxide field applied during the stress.
The improvement of quantitative precipitation forecasting (QPF) is still one of the major challenges in numerical weather prediction (NWP). Despite the constant increase of computer power resources, which has allowed the development of more and more sophisticated and resolved NWP models, accurate forecasts of extreme weather conditions, especially when related to intense and localised precipitation structures, are still difficult beyond day 2 (Mullen and Buizza, 2001) and, in rare and selected cases, even at 24 hours. This limitation is due, among other reasons, to the inherently low degree of predictability typical of the relevant physical phenomena. The probabilistic approach has been recently increasingly explored to try to come to terms with the chaotic behaviour of the atmosphere and to help forecasting phenomena with low deterministic predictability.
In addition to this, almost twenty years ago Henk Tennekes, at the time member of the ECMWF (European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts) Scientific Advisory Committee, raised the question of the opportunity of producing a-priori estimates of forecast skill stating that ‘no forecast is complete without a forecast of the forecast skill’. It is not an overstatement to say that his bold assertion contributed greatly to the development, at least at ECMWF, of forecast skill studies, estimates and prediction techniques (e.g. Palmer and Tibaldi, 1988) and to the related development of statistical-dynamical prediction methods like ensemble forecasting.
Salmonellosis is a global problem caused by the international movement of foods and high incidence in exporting countries. In September 2001, in an outbreak investigation Australia isolated Salmonella Stanley from imported peanuts, which resulted in a wider investigation in Canada, England & Wales and Scotland. Patients infected with Salmonella serotypes known to be isolated from peanuts and reported to surveillance systems were interviewed to determine exposure histories. Tagged image file format (TIFF) images of pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) patterns of Salmonella isolates were shared electronically amongst laboratories. Laboratories tested packets of ‘Brand X’ peanuts from various lots and product lines. In total, 97 cases of S. Stanley and 12 cases of S. Newport infection were found. Seventy-three per cent (71/97) of S. Stanley cases were in persons of Asian ethnicity. Twenty-eight per cent of cases recalled eating Brand X peanuts and a further 13% had peanuts in their house in the previous month or had eaten Asian-style peanuts. Laboratories isolated S. Stanley, S. Newport, S. Kottbus, S. Lexington and S. Unnamed from Brand X peanuts. Isolates of S. Stanley from peanuts and human patients were indistinguishable by PFGE. This international outbreak resulted from a product originating from one country affecting several others. Rapid sharing of electronic DNA images was a crucial factor in delineating the outbreak; multinational investigations would benefit from a harmonized approach.
An outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 infections was identified in November 1999 with a fivefold increase in the occurrence of laboratory-confirmed cases of E. coli O157:H7 infection. A matched case-control study was conducted. Samples of food from cases and from retailers were analysed for the presence of E. coli O157:H7. A total of 143 cases were identified over a 12-week period with the same pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) pattern. The case-control study found that Company A salami was significantly associated with illness (Mantel–Haenszel matched odds ratio 10·0, 95% CI 1·4–434, P=0·01). Company A salami tested positive for E. coli O157:H7 and isolates had the same PFGE pattern as case isolates. An immediate voluntary national recall of Company A dry fermented meat products took place. Findings from the investigation of this outbreak suggest that the hold-and-test option may not be adequate to prevent shiga-toxigenic Escherichia coli (STEC) infection in salami consumers.
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