Revised risk assessment from DHS regarding proposed Kansas animal research facility

The DHS (Department of Homeland Security) released a revised “Site-Specific Risk Assessment” (SSRA) of the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF) on March 2nd, 2012.  The document is available as an Executive Summary, Volume I, Volume II, and Appendices (Note:  these are large PDF files, general site available here).  The new document includes “a more systematic approach to the assessment of potential accidents and characterization of uncertainties; Incorporation of tornado modeling; Additional data (susceptible populations, outbreak control measure resources, etc.) collected for the NBAF location and used in the epidemiological and economic modeling; an assessment of cumulative risk of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) release over the predicted lifetime of the NBAF; and an assessment of the unique risks of a large animal high containment laboratory (ABSL-4)”.  The risk of livestock-devastating disease (Foot and Mouth Disease) escaping in 50 years is calculated to be 0.11%.  When natural disasters such as earthquakes and tornado’s are excluded, the risk becomes 0.008%.  A previous risk assessment had put the 50 year risk of release at 70%, which authors now say was unrealistic.

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