• North KoreaNK, currently with 13-30 nukes, is expanding its arsenal by 3-5 weapons per year

    As of the end of 2016, North Korea is estimated to have 33 kilograms of separated plutonium and between 175 and 645 kilograms of weapon-grade uranium. If North Korea would use 70 percent of its estimated stock of weapon-grade uranium and plutonium to produce nuclear weapons, it would have between 13 and 30 such weapons, depending on their yield. David Albright of the Institute for Science and International Security says that based on this cumulative estimate, North Korea is currently expanding its nuclear weapons at a rate of about 3-5 weapons per year.

  • Nuclear weaponsDrop of mock nuclear weapon by Sandia Lab is first of new flight tests

    Sandia’s B61-12 weapon refurbishment program consolidates and replaces four B61 variants in the nation’s nuclear arsenal. The first production unit in the weapon’s life extension program is scheduled to be completed in 2020. From a distance, the 14 March drop of a mock nuclear weapon — containing only non-nuclear components — was a mere puff of dust rising from a dry lake bed at Nevada’s Tonopah Test Range. However, it marked the start of a new series of test flights vital to the nation’s B61-12 program.

  • Nuclear proliferationNuclear expert: “Real risk” that Iran and N. Korea cooperating on nuclear matters

    There is a “real risk” that Iran and North Korea are engaged in illicit nuclear cooperation, a former United Nations weapons inspector and nuclear non-proliferation expert said. David Albright, president of the Institute for Science and International Security, called on the Trump administration to investigate any potential nuclear collaboration between the two nations.

  • Nuclear weaponsThe hollow threat of nukes

    As President Trump signals that he wants to expand the nation’s nuclear arsenal, two experts say said nuclear weapons deter aggression, but that there is no evidence to support the common view that they are also useful as a coercive tool against adversaries. “[B]efore we spend $1 trillion buying new and more capable nuclear weapons, it’s worth taking a step back and asking, what is all of that money bringing us?” they said.

  • North KoreaMissiles tested by North Korean this weekend capable of carrying 500 kg warhead to 1,000 km

    Over the weekend, North Korea launched four ballistic missiles into the Sea of Japan. The missiles reportedly traveled an average of 1,000 km (620 miles), and landed within 300 to 350 km (185 to 220 miles) of Japan. The four launches were said to be “simultaneous,” leading to speculation they were intended to be a barrage attack to overwhelm a missile defense system. The missiles appear to be Extended-Range Scud (“Scud ER”) missiles, which are modifications of short-range Scud missiles, lengthened to carry additional fuel and lightened by making the body out of aluminum rather than the usual steel. Analysis suggests the missile could carry a warhead of roughly 500 kg to 1,000 km.

  • Nuclear wastePreventing nuclear waste seepage

    Nuclear waste is a reality, whether remnants of nuclear weapons or the byproducts of nuclear power plants. While we aren’t at risk of an attack from a giant radioactive lizard, nuclear waste can still pose threats to human health. The best way to safely store and contain nuclear waste is by mixing it into a cement grout and storing it in large concrete vaults. Researchers are testing the permeability of these grout mixtures and in turn, the ability for nuclear materials to eventually flow through the solidified grout and into the environment.

  • Nuclear weaponsSandia Labs taking a modern approach to evaluating nuclear weapons

    Components of nuclear weapons age, and scientists and engineers address that through life extension programs or less comprehensive alterations. The United States last conducted underground nuclear testing in 1992 and has been in a moratorium ever since. Since then, Sandia Lab has used non-nuclear tests, experiments and computer simulations to study environments weapons might face, such as vibration, radiation or extreme cold or heat.

  • Iran’s nukesExperts: Iran advancing nuclear program with help of North Korea

    Iran is using its strategic ties to North Korea to advance its illicit nuclear weapons program, experts say. Nuclear and ballistic missile ties between the two nations are longstanding and ongoing, though unlike Iran, North Korea already has developed nuclear weapons. While Iran is temporarily constrained by the nuclear deal, it can contribute to the development of North Korea’s program by sharing its technology and through finance.

  • DoomsdayTrend: Americans building “doomsday bunkers” in large numbers

    It may be a fad of the moment, or an indication of a deeper trend, but people across the United States are building and buying “doomsday bunkers” in large numbers. It is not exactly a new business, but demand for underground bunkers is at an all-time high according to industry insiders. A Texas bunker company saw its sales increase 400 percent in the past two months.

  • Seismic eventsMay 2012 North Korean seismic event an earthquake, not nuclear test

    A tiny seismic event that occurred in North Korea on 12 May 2010 appears to have been an earthquake rather than a small underground nuclear explosion, according to a new analysis. The new study contradicts the findings of a 2015 report which concluded that the magnitude 1.5 seismic 12 May event was a small nuclear explosion.

  • Iran’s nukesIs Iran cooperating with North Korea on a nuclear weapon?

    Spurred by a letter written by Sen. Ted Cruz (R–Texas) to three senior Obama administration officials, investigative journalist Claudia Rosett on Thursday examined the possibility that Iran and North Korea are collaborating on nuclear weapons research in the wake of last year’s nuclear deal. Rosset explained that the two nations have a history of collaborating on weapons development. Usually, North Korea undertakes much of the development while Iran that foots the bill, with technicians traveling back and forth between the countries.

  • Iran’s nukesExpert: Iran falsely accusing U.S. of violating nuclear deal to gain more concessions

    Iranian warnings against the passage of the Iran Sanctions Act (ISA) reflect “a broader strategy” in pursuit of additional sanctions relief, a senior analyst at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, wrote in a policy brief on Saturday. The ISA was originally passed in 1996, targeting Iran’s energy sector and expanding U.S. secondary sanctions. The House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved a ten-year extension of the act earlier this month. In order to be renewed, the legislation must now pass the Senate and be signed into law by President Barack Obama.

  • Nuclear alarmBathroom air freshener triggers emergency response at nuclear weapons complex

    Late in the afternoon on Wednesday of last week officials at the nuclear weapons complex declared an emergency after finding what they regarded as a suspicious device in a bathroom at the Savannah River National Laboratory in South Carolina. Emergency teams determined that the suspicious device was an air freshener wrapped in paper towels with a flashing light on it.

  • Missing nukesCanada to investigate object that could be a nuke lost in 1950

    The Royal Canadian Navy is to investigate an object found by a diver off the coast of Queen Charolette Islands, suspecting it could be a “lost nuke” which was lost off the coast of Canada since 1950. On 13 February 1950, three of the engines of a U.S. Air Force B-36 bomber aircraft caught fire while flying from Alaska to Texas. The plane was on a training mission, planning to carry out a simulated nuclear attack on San Francisco. The crew decided to drop the bomb into the Pacific Ocean before bailing out because they were unsure of how close they were to populated areas.

  • ForensicsNuclear CSI: Noninvasive procedure could spot criminal nuclear activity

    Determining whether an individual – a terrorist, a smuggler, a criminal — has handled nuclear materials, such as uranium or plutonium, is a challenge national defense agencies currently face. The standard protocol to detect uranium exposure is through a urine sample; however, urine is able only to identify those who have been recently exposed. Scientists have developed a noninvasive procedures that will better identify individuals exposed to uranium within one year.