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Biological Warfare Defense Research at LLNL

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Biological Warfare Defense Research at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory: the Proposed BSL-3 Facility

In July 2002, the Department of Energy circulated an Environmental Assessment for a Biosafety Level 3 (BSL-3) Laboratory to be built at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL). The proposed lab will allow LLNL to expand its biological warfare defense work. The laboratory will be able to handle a wide array of biological agents. According to the Environmental Assessment, “The proposed facility would have the unique capability within DOE/NNSA to perform aerosol studies to include challenges of rodents using infectious agents or biologically derived toxins (biotoxins).”

If built, this facility will allow LLNL to do increased biological warfare defense research. Some kinds of defensive research can also provide increased offensive biological warfare capabilities. This raises the possibilities that dangerous materials may be stolen or diverted, and that new technologies or techniques useable for offensive purposes may become more widely known. Because of the offensive potential of facilities and some techniques used in defensive research, rapid expansion of U.S. biological warfare defense programs may also induce other states to intensify their own biological warfare research.

WSLF believes that there should be a broad, public review of biological warfare defense programs, with careful attention to alternative or additional ways of protecting the public, including increased investment in overstretched and underfunded U.S. public health functions such as emergency medical care and infectious disease tracking. This review should include both programmatic environmental review of impacts of proposed biological warfare research facilities and a public review of the impacts of expanded research programs on the global nonproliferation climate for biological weapons.

DOE Biological Warfare Research and related Biological Warfare Resources
Draft Environmental Assessment for the Proposed Construction and Operation of a Biosafety Level 3 Facility at LLNL

Western States Legal Foundation Comment on the Environmental Assessment for the Biosafety Level 3 Facility at LLNL
The Department of Energy also is proposing a new BSL-3 laboratory at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico. Nuclear Watch of New Mexico has an excellent set of resources on the proposed Los Alamos facility and on their lawsuit for adequate environmental review.

The Sunshine Project provides research and facts about biological weapons and biotechnology. This includes a Bioweapons Newsline with current press items on related topics.

Federation of American Scientists Chemical and Biological Arms Control Program
With links to a variety of resources.
Other Bay Area groups working on the LLNL BSL-3 Lab issue
Tri-Valley CAREs, Livermore

Check their site for updates on the BSL-3 project and its impacts.

San Francisco Bay Area chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility
The Biological Weapons Convention
The Proposed Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) Compliance Protocol--Chair's Text

Issue brief on the history of the Compliance Protocol
by Jonathan Tucker, Director, CNS Chemical and Biological Weapons Nonproliferation Program

Resources Page on the Biological Weapons Convention Compliance Protocol, Monterey Institute Center for Nonproliferation Studies (CNS), provided via the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI).

-- links to a variety of useful web sites, articles, and government documents. Also linked to this page are other research materials from the NTI research library, including country by country overviews of WMD history and capabilities and other resources.

Sunshine Project Biological Weapons Convention page

Briefing papers, news release, and links to other resources.
U.S. government sources

The Department of the Army, as executive agent for the DoD Chemical/Biological Defense Program (CBDP), on the CBDP on Jun 04, 2001 announced its intent to prepare a Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS). The CBDP PEIS will assess the potential environmental impacts associated with the execution of this program.
Chemical/Biological Defense Program PEIS home page

PEIS documents page, including useful Chemical and Biological Warfare research links

1989 Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement, Biological Defense Research Program
Department of Defense Counterproliferation and Chemical and Biological Defense Programs Reports Page
A wide variety of Department of Defense documents on Chemical and Biological Warfare Defense, including program annual reports to congress, congressional testimony by DoD officials, and joint DoD/DOE program plans.

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