BYU statistician to evaluate bioweapon stockpiles

The National Academy of Science recently asked Brigham Young University statistician and professor Shane Reese to join a panel that will examine U.S. chemical and biological weapons stockpiles.

The panel will specifically study how to destroy the stockpiles in a way that is safer for those involved and for the environment, according to

“I do think what we’re doing has an impact and removes the need for gathering data using traditional testing that has adverse impacts on human and environmental health,” Reese said, reports. “It at least helps us manage the uncertainty.”

Reese is best known for using statistical analyses to determine the reliability of aging U.S. nuclear weapons.

Along with colleagues from the Los Alamos National Laboratories, Reese recently determined that if the U.S. cut monitoring its stockpile by half, confidence in the level of reliability of the weapons would drop from 95 percent to 80 percent in just seven years. Stopping the monitoring program all together would soon drop the reliability level to nearly 50 percent.

“It’s commonly suggested that we turn off data collection or slow down data collection,” Reese said, according to “When you are fairly certain that you have an aging stockpile, our study shows that ignoring the problem by not collecting data is a huge mistake.”