• IranEU said to reject ballistic missile penalties on Iran

    Members of the European Union are balking at imposing sanctions on Iran for its ballistic missile program. EU members Spain, Italy and Austria rejected proposed penalties by the United Kingdom, France, and Germany, which would penalize Iran for its continued ballistic missile program and support for the Assad regime in Syria’s civil war. These penalties would include freezing assets as travel bans on 15 individuals, companies, and groups involved in these endeavors.

  • Nuclear detection Remotely monitoring nuclear reactorsRemotely monitoring nuclear reactors

    A new U.S. Department of Energy project to develop the first detector able to remotely monitor nuclear reactors will also help physicists test the next generation of neutrino observatories. Nuclear reactions produce telltale antineutrinos – the antimatter counterpart of neutrinos. The new detectors will be designed to measure the energy of such antineutrinos and the direction from which they come, allowing monitoring of reactors from a distance of 25 kilometers to verify nonproliferation agreements.

  • Middle East nukesFormer IDF intel chief: Bombing of Syrian reactor shows Israel will act alone to survive

    Maj-Gen. (Ret.) Amos Yadlin, Israel’s chief of military intelligence in 2007 said in a press briefing that the Israeli Air Force’s destruction of a Syrian reactor shows that when Israel is faced with “a very serious threat” to its existence, “Israel is going to act, and act even if Israel has to act alone.”

  • Middle East nukesIsrael admits destroying Syrian reactor in move seen aimed at Iran

    The Israeli military has formally acknowledged for the first time its destruction of a suspected Syrian nuclear reactor in 2007, saying the air strike removed a major threat to Israel and was a “message” to others. Israel’s announcement on 21 March about Operation Out of the Box is widely seen as a veiled warning to arch-enemy Iran as it builds up its military presence in Syria. Syria, with North Korean help, secretly built the reactor in the desert near Deir al-Zor in north-east Syria, in violation of the 1970 Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT). North Korea planned to use the facility for separating weapon-grade plutonium from spent uranium, a nuclear-weapon related activity prohibited by the 1994 U.S.-North Korea nuclear Framework Agreement.

  • Spy lizardsKhamenei military adviser: West uses lizards to spy on Iran’s nuclear program

    Saying that their skins absorb “atomic waves,” a top military adviser to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei charged that Western countries use “lizards, chameleons” to spy on Iran’s nuclear program. Hassan Firuzabadi, a former chief-of-staff for Iran’s army, said that the spy lizards were released in various places in Iran to find out where inside the Islamic republic of Iran we have uranium mines and where we are engaged in atomic activities.”

  • Missile launch alertsLawmakers want to give the federal government the sole responsibility for missile alerts

    Following the false emergency alert that went out across Hawai‘i on 13 January and caused widespread panic, U.S. Senators Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i), Kamala Harris (D-California), and Cory Gardner (R-Colorado) introduced the Authenticating Local Emergencies and Real Threats (ALERT) Act, legislation that would improve the emergency alert system and give the federal government the sole responsibility of alerting the public of a missile threat, prohibiting state and local governments from doing so.

  • Radiation detectionNew radiation detectors developed at Sandia used for New START inspections

    Sandia National Laboratories designed, tested, and delivered new radiation detection equipment for monitoring under the New START Treaty. Defense Threat Reduction Agency inspectors recently used this equipment for the first time in Russia for a New START inspection. New START, or the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, is a treaty between the United States and Russia that, among other limits, reduces the deployed nuclear warheads on both sides to 1,550 by 5 February. These limits will be maintained for as long as the treaty remains in force. The treaty includes regular on-site inspections of warheads and delivery systems.

  • Nuclear launchVice president, House speaker should be included in nuclear launch decisions: Experts

    The U.S. protocol for ordering a nuclear attack should be revised to require not only an order from the president, but consent by the next two officials in the presidential chain of succession — the vice president and speaker of the House of Representatives, three experts argue in a new paper. “No one person should be able to order a nuclear attack,” said one of the paper’s authors. “There’s no reason to maintain this dangerous policy, since there are viable alternatives that would allow other officials to take part in any decision to use nuclear weapons, whether it’s a first use or a launch responding to a nuclear attack.”

  • Doomsday machineDraft U.S. document confirms Russian plans for “Doomsday” weapon

    Some two years ago, Western intelligence and military experts scrambled to make sense of a strange new Russian weapon whose designs were glimpsed briefly in a mysterious report on Russian state TV. The weapon was a nuclear-capable underwater drone that would be launched from a submarine. The description accompanying a picture of the drone said such vehicles or weapons would be pilotless and capable of attacking enemies and creating “zones of extensive radioactive contamination unfit for military, economic or other activity for a long period of time.” Now, for the first time there are public indications that U.S. intelligence have not only confirmed Russian intentions for the weapon, but are also trying to figure out how to respond to it.

  • Nuclear reactorsThorium reactors could dispose of large amounts of weapons-grade plutonium

    Scientists are developing a technology enabling the construction of high-temperature, gas-cool, low-power reactors with thorium fuel. The scientists propose to burn weapons-grade plutonium in these units, converting it into power and thermal energy. Thermal energy generated at thorium reactors may be used in hydrogen industrial production. The technology also makes it possible to desalinate water. 

  • Explosion detectionBalloon-borne infrasound sensor array detects explosions

    Infrasound is sound of very low frequencies, below 20 hertz, which is lower than humans can hear. African elephants produce infrasound for long-distance communication at around 15 hertz. For comparison, a bumblebee’s buzz is typically 150 hertz and humans hear in the range of 20 to 20,000 hertz. Infrasound is important because it’s one of the verification technologies the U.S. and the international community use to monitor explosions, including those caused by nuclear tests. Traditionally, infrasound is detected by ground-based sensor arrays, which don’t cover the open ocean and can be muddled by other noises, such as the wind. Sandia Lab scientists is using sheets of plastic, packing tape, some string, a little charcoal dust, and a white shoebox-size box to build a solar-powered hot air balloon for detecting infrasound.

  • Iran nuke dealObama administration ended program targeting Hezbollah drug smuggling to secure nuke deal with Iran

    The Obama administration obstructed a campaign by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to monitor and prosecute Iranian-backed terrorist group Hezbollah, in order to solidify the 2015 nuclear accord with the Islamic Republic, according to a news report. The campaign, called Project Cassandra, launched in 2008, was aimed at disrupting Hezbollah’s weapons and drug trafficking practices, which included smuggling cocaine into the United States. Over the years, the Lebanese-based terror organization had morphed from a Middle East-focused military and political group into an international crime syndicate.

  • WMDDHS establishes the Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction office

    Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen last week announced the establishment of the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction (CWMD) Office. DHS says that the CWMD Office will elevate and streamline DHS efforts to prevent terrorists and other national security threat actors from using harmful agents, such as chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear material and devices to harm Americans and U.S. interests.

  • IranMiddle Eastern countries pushed U.S. to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities: Kerry

    Former Secretary of State John Kerry on Tuesday said that that he Israel, Egypt, Saudi Arabia were pushing the United States to bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities rather than join other powers in signing the 2015 deal. Speaking at a Washington, D.C. forum, Kerry said he believed that Egypt and Saudi Arabia – and other Middle Eastern countries agitating for a U.S. military strike against Iran – would have publicly criticized the United States if it went ahead and attacked Iran.

  • Nuclear warIf Trump wants nuclear war, virtually no one can stop him

    By Dennis Jett

    The general in charge of America’s nuclear arsenal, John Hyten, recently said he would resist carrying out an illegal order from the president to use those weapons. His comments echoed the ones made a few days earlier by one of his predecessors, retired Air Force Gen. Robert Kehler. While the generals are no doubt military men of integrity, my four decades of experience as a diplomat and scholar of American foreign policy suggest there is no law that would make a presidential order to launch a preemptive nuclear strike on North Korea illegal. The bottom line is that a nuclear war won’t be prevented by military officers refusing to obey an order they consider illegal. And such a situation won’t be avoided by congressional action. The legislative branch is paralyzed by partisan politics. Using the bomb is up to the discretion of a president who came to office with no experience in the military, government or foreign affairs beyond real estate deals in other countries. And after ten months of on-the-job training, he seems no better prepared for such a responsibility.