News Releases

Sens. Moran and Roberts: New DHS Report Confirms Safety of NBAF

Construction of NBAF critical to protect America

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) issued the following statements upon the release of the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Updated Site-Specific Risk Assessment (SSRA) for the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF) in Manhattan, Kansas. To comply with congressional requirements, DHS updated the 2010 NBAF SSRA by incorporating recommendations from the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and the most recent design plans.

“The safety of NBAF’s research is a top priority and this updated report confirms that the NBAF design is sound,” Sen. Moran said. “DHS included recommendations for reducing risk, used the latest biocontainment technology, and brought in top experts to ensure NBAF will be the safest and most modern research facility in the world. Without NBAF, our country remains at risk from foreign animal disease outbreaks. It is critical that construction of NBAF begins immediately to safeguard against these threats and the devastation they would cause.”

“I am pleased by the updated assessment’s confirmation of what we always knew, Manhattan is the safest and best place for this facility to be built,” Sen. Roberts said. “The de minimis risk of outbreak should help allay concerns from any opposition, in the public or Congress. Now that this study has been delivered to Congress, I eagerly await DHS to begin construction on the Central Utilities Plant. This report fills the Congressional requirements to release the funds and I expect DHS to do so.”

Select findings from the Updated Site-Specific Risk Assessment:


  • As part of its on-going risk management process and to comply with recent congressional requirements, DHS updated the 2010 NBAF Site-Specific Risk Assessment by: incorporating the current 65 percent design elements, and specifically addressing the NAS SSRA Committee recommendations.
  • This updated SSRA assessment indicates that the NBAF 65 percent design is sound and has no evident fundamental flaws or design features that would prohibit the implementation of the best and safest practices used in animal and zoonotic pathogen research facilities.
  • Since the 15 percent design phase and completion of the 2010 SSRA, DHS has incorporated recommendations to include additional mitigation measures for carcass disposal systems, liquid waste treatment and management, fully redundant dual-HEPA exhaust systems, and tornado hardening. In addition, DHS has continued to advance operations and response plans that also reduce risks.
  • Updated SSRA estimates the expected probability that an accidental release of viable Foot and Mouth Disease (FMDv) resulting in a subsequent outbreak during the NBAF’s 50-year operating lifetime is de minimis – approximately one tenth of one percent (0.11%).
  • The most current NBAF design provides for maintaining laboratory containment even in tornado events with winds up to ~228 mph. The biocontainment areas have been designed to a standard that is similar to that applied in the nuclear industry for structural and containment building integrity in a tornado event. As modeled, the expected return period for the catastrophic earthquake is 2,500 years and for a catastrophic tornado the expected return frequency is 14.2 million years.


The NBAF, a state-of-the-art biosecurity lab, is to be built adjacent to Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas. The facility will replace the antiquated foreign animal disease research facility at Plum Island, NY, which has a limited capacity to respond to animal disease threats. Click here to learn more about NBAF.

Click here to read a copy of DHS’ Updated Site-Specific Risk Assessment.


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