The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is scouting places to build a $451 million, 500,000 square feet, high-security biolab to replace the 55-year-old animal disease lab it operates on Plum Island, just off the northern tip of Long Island, New York. The proposed National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF) will help modernize homeland security, "to meet the needs that are current, not the needs of the 50s when the current programs were initiated and the facilities, for the most part, originally designed," Harley Moon, chair of the National Academy of Sciences committee on animal diseases and a former director of the Plum Island Animal Disease Center, told The Scientist.Most of the buildings at Plum Island ? the only US laboratory capable of handling large cattle in Biosafety Level three (BSL-3) security -- were constructed in the early 50s, and are aging badly. In addition, a government report two...

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