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Since the year 2000, Synroc has evolved from the titanate full-ceramic waste forms developed in the late 1970s to a hot isostatic pressing (HIP) technology platform that can be applied to produce glass, glass–ceramic, and ceramic waste forms and where there are distinct advantages over vitrification in terms of, for example, waste loading and suppressing volatile losses. This paper describes recent progress on waste form development for intermediate-level wastes from 99Mo production at ANSTO, spent nuclear fuel, fluoride pyroprocessing wastes and 129I. The microstructures and aqueous dissolution results are presented where applicable. This paper provides perspective on Synroc waste forms and recent process technology development in the nuclear waste management industry.
Partisan identification is a fundamental force in individual and mass political behavior around the world. Informed by scholarship on human sociality, coalitional psychology, and group behavior, this research argues that partisan identification, like many other group-based behaviors, is influenced by forces of evolution. If correct, then party identifiers should exhibit adaptive behaviors when making group-related political decisions. The authors test this assertion with citizen assessments of the relative physical formidability of competing leaders, an important adaptive factor in leader evaluations. Using original and novel data collected during the contextually different 2008 and 2012 U.S. presidential elections, as well as two distinct measures obtained during both elections, this article presents evidence that partisans overestimate the physical stature of the presidential candidate of their own party compared with the stature of the candidate of the opposition party. These findings suggest that the power of party identification on political behavior may be attributable to the fact that modern political parties address problems similar to the problems groups faced in human ancestral times.
Synroc has evolved over the last 40 years from the titanate full-ceramics developed in the late 1970s to a technology platform that can be applied to produce glass, glass–ceramic, and ceramic waste forms and where there are distinct advantages in terms of waste loading and suppressing volatile losses.
A first of a kind Synroc plant for immobilizing intermediate level waste arising from Mo-99 production is currently in detailed engineering at ANSTO.
Since the year 2000, Synroc has evolved from the titanate full-ceramics developed in the late 1970s to a technology platform that can be applied to produce glass, glass–ceramic, and ceramic waste forms and where there are distinct advantages in terms of waste loading and suppressing volatile losses. Furthermore recent efforts have focused strongly on waste form development for plutonium-bearing wastes in the UK, for different options for the immobilization of Idaho calcines and most recently developing an engineered waste form for the intermediate level wastes arising from 99Mo production, for the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO). A variety of other studies are currently in progress, including engineered waste forms for spent fuel and investigating the proliferation risks for titanate-based waste forms containing highly enriched uranium or plutonium. This paper also attempts to give some perspective on Synroc waste forms and process technology development in the nuclear waste management industry.
In the midwestern United States, biotypes of giant ragweed resistant to multiple herbicide biochemical sites of action have been identified. Weeds with resistance to multiple herbicides reduce the utility of existing herbicides and necessitate the development of alternative weed control strategies. In two experiments in southeastern Minnesota, we determined the effect of six 3 yr crop-rotation systems containing corn, soybean, wheat, and alfalfa on giant ragweed seedbank depletion and emergence patterns. The six crop-rotation systems included continuous corn, soybean–corn–corn, corn–soybean–corn, soybean–wheat–corn, soybean–alfalfa–corn, and alfalfa–alfalfa–corn. The crop-rotation system had no effect on the amount of seedbank depletion when a zero-weed threshold was maintained, with an average of 96% of the giant ragweed seedbank being depleted within 2 yr. Seedbank depletion occurred primarily through seedling emergence in all crop-rotation systems. However, seedling emergence tended to account for more of the seedbank depletion in rotations containing only corn or soybean compared with rotations with wheat or alfalfa. Giant ragweed emerged early across all treatments, with on average 90% emergence occurring by June 4. Duration of emergence was slightly longer in established alfalfa compared with other cropping systems. These results indicate that corn and soybean rotations are more conducive to giant ragweed emergence than rotations including wheat and alfalfa, and that adopting a zero-weed threshold is a viable approach to depleting the weed seedbank in all crop-rotation systems.
Boarding admitted patients decreases emergency department (ED) capacity to accommodate daily patient surge. Boarding in regional hospitals may decrease the ability to meet community needs during a public health emergency. This study examined differences in regional patient boarding times across the United States and in regions at risk for public health emergencies.
A retrospective cross-sectional analysis was performed by using 2012 ED visit data from the American Hospital Association (AHA) database and 2012 hospital ED boarding data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Hospital Compare database. Hospitals were grouped into hospital referral regions (HRRs). The primary outcome was mean ED boarding time per HRR. Spatial hot spot analysis examined boarding time spatial clustering.
A total of 3317 of 4671 (71%) hospitals were included in the study cohort. A total of 45 high-boarding-time HRRs clustered along the East/West coasts and 67 low-boarding-time HRRs clustered in the Midwest/Northern Plains regions. A total of 86% of HRRs at risk for a terrorist event had high boarding times and 36% of HRRs with frequent natural disasters had high boarding times.
Urban, coastal areas have the longest boarding times and are clustered with other high-boarding-time HRRs. Longer boarding times suggest a heightened level of vulnerability and a need to enhance surge capacity because these regions have difficulty meeting daily emergency care demands and are at increased risk for disasters. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2016;10:576–582)
As herbicide-resistant weed populations become increasingly problematic in crop production, alternative strategies of weed control are necessary. Giant ragweed, one of the most competitive agricultural weeds in row crops, has evolved resistance to multiple herbicide biochemical sites of action within the plant, necessitating the development of new and integrated methods of weed control. This study assessed the quantity and duration of seed retention of giant ragweed grown in soybean fields and adjacent field margins. Seed retention of giant ragweed was monitored weekly during the 2012 to 2014 harvest seasons using seed collection traps. Giant ragweed plants produced an average of 1,818 seeds per plant, with 66% being potentially viable. Giant ragweed on average began shattering hard (potentially viable) and soft (nonviable) seeds September 12 and continued through October at an average rate of 0.75 and 0.44% of total seeds per day during September and October, respectively. Giant ragweed seeds remained on the plants well into the Minnesota soybean harvest season, with an average of 80% of the total seeds being retained on October 11, when Minnesota soybean harvest was approximately 75% completed in the years of the study. These results suggest that there is a sufficient amount of time to remove escaped giant ragweed from production fields and field margins before the seeds shatter by managing weed seed dispersal before or at crop harvest. Controlling weed seed dispersal has potential to manage herbicide-resistant giant ragweed by limiting replenishment of the weed seed bank.
Influenza A (H1N1) pdm09 became the predominant circulating strain in the United States during the 2013–2014 influenza season. Little is known about the epidemiology of severe influenza during this season.
A retrospective cohort study of severely ill patients with influenza infection in intensive care units in 33 US hospitals from September 1, 2013, through April 1, 2014, was conducted to determine risk factors for mortality present on intensive care unit admission and to describe patient characteristics, spectrum of disease, management, and outcomes.
A total of 444 adults and 63 children were admitted to an intensive care unit in a study hospital; 93 adults (20.9%) and 4 children (6.3%) died. By logistic regression analysis, the following factors were significantly associated with mortality among adult patients: older age (>65 years, odds ratio, 3.1 [95% CI, 1.4–6.9], P=.006 and 50–64 years, 2.5 [1.3–4.9], P=.007; reference age 18–49 years), male sex (1.9 [1.1–3.3], P=.031), history of malignant tumor with chemotherapy administered within the prior 6 months (12.1 [3.9–37.0], P<.001), and a higher Sequential Organ Failure Assessment score (for each increase by 1 in score, 1.3 [1.2–1.4], P<.001).
Risk factors for death among US patients with severe influenza during the 2013–2014 season, when influenza A (H1N1) pdm09 was the predominant circulating strain type, shifted in the first postpandemic season in which it predominated toward those of a more typical epidemic influenza season.
Infect. Control Hosp. Epidemiol. 2015;36(11):1251–1260
Although rates of anxiety tend to decrease across late life, rates of anxiety increase among a subset of older adults, those with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) or dementia. Our understanding of anxiety in dementia is limited, in part, by a lack of anxiety measures designed for use with this population. This study sought to address limitations of the literature by developing a new measure of anxiety for cognitively impaired individuals, the anxiety in cognitive impairment and dementia (ACID) Scales, which includes both proxy (ACID-PR) and self-report (ACID-SR) versions.
The ACID-SR and ACID-PR were administered to 45 residents, aged 60 years and older, of three long-term care (LTC) facilities, and 38 professional caregivers at these facilities. Other measures of anxiety, and measures of depression, functional ability, cognition, and general physical and mental health were also administered.
Initial evaluation of its psychometric properties revealed adequate to good internal consistency for the ACID-PR and ACID-SR. Evidence for convergent validity of measures obtained with the ACID-SR and ACID-PR was demonstrated by moderate-to-strong associations with measures of worry, depressive symptoms, and general mental health. Discriminant validity of measures obtained with the ACID-SR and ACID-PR was demonstrated by weak correlations with measures of cognition, functional ability, and general physical well-being.
The preliminary results suggest that the ACID-SR and ACID-PR can obtain reliable and valid measures of anxiety among individuals with cognitive impairment. Given the subjective nature of anxiety, it may be prudent to collect self-report of anxiety symptoms even among those with moderate cognitive impairment.
Cannabis use is high amongst young people who have recently had their first episode of psychosis, and is associated with worse outcomes. To date, interventions to reduce cannabis consumption have been largely ineffective, and it has been suggested that longer treatment periods are required.
In a pragmatic single-blind randomized controlled trial 110 participants were randomly allocated to one of three conditions: a brief motivational interviewing and cognitive behavioural therapy (MI-CBT) intervention (up to 12 sessions over 4.5 months) with standard care from an early intervention service; a long MI-CBT intervention (up to 24 sessions over 9 months) with standard care; or standard care alone. The primary outcome was change in cannabis use as measured by Timeline Followback.
Neither the extended nor the brief interventions conferred benefit over standard care in terms of reductions in frequency or amount of cannabis use. Also the interventions did not result in improvements in the assessed clinical outcomes, including symptoms, functioning, hospital admissions or relapse.
Integrated MI and CBT for people with cannabis use and recent-onset psychosis does not reduce cannabis use or improve clinical outcomes. These findings are consistent with those in the published literature, and additionally demonstrate that offering a more extended intervention does not confer any advantage. Many participants were not at an action stage for change and for those not ready to reduce or quit cannabis, targeting associated problems rather than the cannabis use per se may be the best current strategy for mental health services to adopt.
Accurate assessment of anxiety in later life is critical, as anxiety among older adults is associated with social and functional impairment and poorer quality of life. The Geriatric Anxiety Inventory (GAI) and the GAI–Short Form (GAI-SF) were designed to detect anxiety symptoms among community-dwelling older adults, but the usefulness of the GAI and GAI-SF in long-term care is unknown. The present study examined the psychometric properties of the GAI and GAI-SF among residents at a long-term care facility.
Seventy-five nursing home residents completed the GAI and measures of depression, executive functioning, and adaptive functioning. The mean age of residents was 69.60 years (SD = 10.76). Psychiatric diagnoses included dementia, psychotic disorders, mood disorders, anxiety disorders, substance abuse, sleep disorders, and mental retardation.
Internal consistency of the GAI was good (α = 0.92) and the GAI-SF was adequate (α = 0.73). GAI and GAI-SF scores were moderately correlated with depression scores, and weakly correlated with adaptive functioning scores and executive functioning scores, suggesting discriminant validity. Logistic regression analyses were conducted with GAI and GAI-SF scores predicting an anxiety disorders diagnosis. Results provided support for the predictive validity of the GAI and GAI-SF. Sensitivity, specificity, and the percentage of individuals correctly classified at various cut-off scores were also calculated.
Both the GAI and GAI-SF appear to be useful tools for assessing anxiety among nursing home residents with psychological disorders. The GAI-SF may be a viable replacement for the GAI as a screener for anxiety in long-term care.
The Whillans Ice Stream Subglacial Access Research Drilling (WISSARD) project will test the overarching hypothesis that an active hydrological system exists beneath a West Antarctic ice stream that exerts a major control on ice dynamics, and the metabolic and phylogenetic diversity of the microbial community in subglacial water and sediment. WISSARD will explore Subglacial Lake Whillans (SLW, unofficial name) and its outflow toward the grounding line where it is thought to enter the Ross Ice Shelf seawater cavity. Introducing microbial contamination to the subglacial environment during drilling operations could compromise environmental stewardship and the science objectives of the project, consequently we developed a set of tools and procedures to directly address these issues. WISSARD hot water drilling efforts will include a custom water treatment system designed to remove micron and sub-micron sized particles (biotic and abiotic), irradiate the drilling water with germicidal ultraviolet (UV) radiation, and pasteurize the water to reduce the viability of persisting microbial contamination. Our clean access protocols also include methods to reduce microbial contamination on the surfaces of cables/hoses and down-borehole equipment using germicidal UV exposure and chemical disinfection. This paper presents experimental data showing that our protocols will meet expectations established by international agreement between participating Antarctic nations.
We review the evidence that the ultra-compact dwarf (UCD) galaxies we recently discovered in the Fornax Cluster form a new, previously unknown class of galaxies and we discuss possible scenarios for their formation. We then present recent results that UCDs are also present in the Virgo Cluster, and that there is a much larger than expected population of fainter UCDs in the Fornax Cluster. The size and properties of this population may lead us to revise our original ‘galaxy threshing’ hypothesis for the formation of UCDs.
We describe a population of compact objects in the centre of the Fornax Cluster which were discovered as part of our 2dF Fornax Spectroscopic Survey. These objects have spectra typical of old stellar systems, but are unresolved on photographic sky survey plates. They have absolute magnitudes −13 < MB < −11, so they are 10 times more luminous than any Galactic globular clusters, but fainter than any known compact dwarf galaxies. These objects are all within 30 arcminutes of the central galaxy of the cluster, NGC 1399, but are distributed over larger radii than the globular cluster system of that galaxy. We suggest that these objects are either super-massive star clusters (intra-cluster globular clusters or tidally stripped nuclei of dwarf galaxies) or a new type of low-luminosity, compact elliptical dwarf (‘M32-type”) galaxy. The best way to test these hypotheses will be to obtain high-resolution imaging and high-dispersion spectroscopy to determine their structures and mass-to-light ratios. This will allow us to compare them to known compact objects and establish whether they represent a new class of hitherto unknown stellar system.
A series of uranium-containing gadolinium zirconate samples have been fabricated at 1723 K in air. X-ray diffraction and Raman spectroscopy have confirmed pyrochlore or defect fluorite structures, while diffuse reflectance, X-ray absorption near edge structure and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopies indicate a predominantly U6+ oxidation state, even when Ca2+ was added to charge balance for U4+. The results demonstrate the potential of gadolinium zirconates as host materials for actinides.
Calcium and barium zirconium phosphates were prepared by hot isostatic pressing and their thermophysical properties investigated for potential use as actinide hosts for inert matrix fuels (IMF) in light water reactors. The materials are thermally stable up to at least 1600°C in air, however they degrade above around 1400°C in an inert atmosphere. The heat capacity and thermal conductivity were measured from room temperature up to 1200°C. The thermal conductivity coefficient for both CZP and BZP at 1000°C is 1.0 W m-1 K-1, a relatively low thermal conductivity that requires NZP-type materials to be dispersed in a composite cercer or cermet IMF.
We have used single-walled carbon nanotube field-effect transistor (SWNT-FET) and chemically converted graphene field-effect transistor (CCG-FET) devices to probe the interactions between carbohydrates and their recognition lectins. Porphyrin- and pyrene-based glycoconjugates were used as receptor molecules and the target lectins were two bacterial lectins that present different carbohydrate preference, namely PA-IL, PA-IIL from Pseudomonas aeruginosa and a plant lectin Concanavalin A. The specific binding between lectin and carbohydrate can be transduced to the change in FET device conductance. An initial study with SWNT-FET noncovalently functionalized with porphyrin-based glycoconjugates showed both good selectivity and sensitivity. To compare SWNT and CCG performance, pyrene- and porphyrin-based glycoconjugates were functionalized noncovalently on the surface of CCG-FET and SWNT-FET devices, which were then treated with non-specific and specific lectins. The responses were compared and rationalized using computer-aided models of carbon nanostructure/glycoconjugate interactions. Fluorescence microscopy, atomic force microscopy, UV-vis-NIR spectroscopy and Isothermal titration microcalorimetry (ITC) measurements were used to confirm the electrical results.
Mass casualty triage is the process of prioritizing multiple victims when resources are not sufficient to treat everyone immediately. No national guideline for mass casualty triage exists in the United States. The lack of a national guideline has resulted in variability in triage processes, tags, and nomenclature. This variability has the potential to inject confusion and miscommunication into the disaster incident, particularly when multiple jurisdictions are involved. The Model Uniform Core Criteria for Mass Casualty Triage were developed to be a national guideline for mass casualty triage to ensure interoperability and standardization when responding to a mass casualty incident. The Core Criteria consist of 4 categories: general considerations, global sorting, lifesaving interventions, and individual assessment of triage category. The criteria within each of these categories were developed by a workgroup of experts representing national stakeholder organizations who used the best available science and, when necessary, consensus opinion. This article describes how the Model Uniform Core Criteria for Mass Casualty Triage were developed.
(Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2011;5:129-137)