Gene Drives At Tipping Points

The book “Gene Drives At Tipping Points Points – Precautionary Technology Assessment and Governance of New Approaches to Genetically Modify Animal and Plant Populations”, compiled from the GeneTip project, has now been published by Springer and is available here for free download.

The book consists of 9 chapters and deals with the prospects and risks of Gene Drive applications based on the two case studies on the olive fly and oilseed rape. Special attention is paid to the role of prospective technology characterization and vulnerability analysis in the context of Self-Propagating Artificial Genetic Elements (SPAGE), currently in development. Furthermore, the book offers some modelling approaches on gene drive dynamics and recommendations on the regulatory issues of the technology.


Working paper on Nuclear Safety and Security during a Pandemic published.

The Covid-19 pandemic not only poses a major challenge to society, but has an impact on the operation of nuclear facilities too. In response to industry pressure to maintain normal output during the Covid-19 pandemic, nuclear regulators are relaxing requirements in many areas including maintenance, inspection and work-time limitations. Nuclear regulatory authorities are currently unable to carry out all planned inspections, as these pose risks to employees.

INRAG has published a working paper (link ) which shows the procedure in different countries and discusses possible consequences. INRAG points out that the pandemic must not lead to any reduction in nuclear safety standards.

The International Nuclear Risk Assessment Group (INRAG) was founded in 2014 at BOKU and is located at the Institute for Safety and Risk Sciences. The INRAG is a network of experts that bundles and makes available expertise on nuclear issues.

Comment on British Plutonium Stockpile in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientist.

Together with her colleagues Christopher Fichtlscherer and Moritz Kütt, Friederike Frieß has published a commentary  in The Bulletin which criticizes  Great Britain’s policy with regard to its civil plutonium stocks. Research and development efforts should not focus so much on possible irradiation in nuclear reactors but should give more consideration to the possible immobilization of plutonium.

The authors have already shown in an earlier scientific article that irradiation in the fast PRISM reactor would not be very effective.

Universität für Bodenkultur Wien