• Getting the Nukes Out of Turkey: A How-To Guide

    Almost as soon as Turkish troops began their invasion of Syria, old debates resurfaced about whether or not the United States should withdraw the roughly 50 B61 nuclear gravity bombs at Incirlik Air Base in Turkey also began resurfacing. Unlike in years prior, however, this time such a move may actually be in the offing. Pulling the nuclear weapons out of Turkey may seem like a bold step, but the United States has been reducing the number of tactical nuclear weapons in Europe and consolidating the remaining ones at ever fewer bases since the end of the Cold War.

  • U.S. Nuclear Weapons at Incirlik Air Base, in effect, “Erdogan’s hostages”: U.S. Official

    Trump announced his hasty decision to withdraw U.S. troops from northern Syria in a series of Tweets on Sunday, following a phone call with Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan – despite months of warnings from the Pentagon, the NSC, the U.S. intelligence community, and the Department of State. As a result, no plans were made to deal with the fifty or so tactical nuclear weapons kept under U.S. control at the Incirlik Air Base in south-central Turkey, which the United States shares with Turkey. One official told the New York Times that the nuclear bombs at the base were now effectively Erdogan’s hostages.

  • India-Pakistan Nuclear War Could Kill Millions, Lead to Global Starvation

    A nuclear war between India and Pakistan could, over the span of less than a week, kill 50-125 million people—more than the death toll during all six years of World War II, according to new research. The researchers calculated that an India-Pakistan war could inject as much as 80 billion pounds of thick, black smoke into Earth’s atmosphere. That smoke would block sunlight from reaching the ground, driving temperatures around the world down by an average of between 3.5-9 degrees Fahrenheit for several years. Worldwide food shortages would likely come soon after. Today, India and Pakistan each have about 150 nuclear warheads at their disposal, and that number is expected to climb to more than 200 by 2025.

  • How to Dismantle a Nuclear Bomb: Team Successfully Tests New Method for Verification of Weapons Reduction

    How do weapons inspectors verify that a nuclear bomb has been dismantled? An unsettling answer is: They don’t, for the most part. When countries sign arms reduction pacts, they do not typically grant inspectors complete access to their nuclear technologies, for fear of giving away military secrets. Now MIT researchers have successfully tested a new high-tech method that could help inspectors verify the destruction of nuclear weapons. The method uses neutron beams to establish certain facts about the warheads in question — and, crucially, uses an isotopic filter that physically encrypts the information in the measured data.

  • North Korea Using Companies Registered in Britain to Bypass Nuclear Sanctions

    North Korean efforts to evade international sanctions have been aided by companies registered in Britain, according to an investigation by the London-based Royal United Services Institute. The report explains how Britain-registered companies are being used to operate cargo ships smuggling coal out of North Korea, which is the country’s biggest export. Income from the trade provides crucial funds for Pyongyang’s nuclear and ballistic missile program, according to the United Nations Security Council.

  • New Estimates of Iran’s Breakout Capabilities at Declared Sites Using a New, Simple-to-Use Breakout Calculator

    A new report from the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) presents and applies a breakout calculator to several theoretical cases in which Iran increases its stocks of low enriched uranium (LEU) above the limits allowed in the Iran nuclear deal, or Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). “During the next many months, breakout times at Natanz and Fordow appear long enough to make an Iranian decision to break out risky,” and, therefore, unlikely, the Institute says. “However, even in the case in which Iran takes no action other than to increase its stocks of up to 3.67 and 4. 5 percent enriched uranium, breakout times could shrink precipitously during the next two years. The potential for relatively rapid decreases in breakout times argues for relatively quick action against Iran’s noncompliance with the JCPOA limits.”

  • IAEA: Iran Expands Enrichment in New Breach of Nuclear Deal

    Iran has started using advanced centrifuges to enrich uranium, the UN’s nuclear watchdog says, in a further breach of its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers. Advanced centrifuges “were accumulating, or had been prepared to accumulate, enriched uranium,” the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said in the report to member states cited by Western news agencies on September 26.

  • Blast from the Past

    Shortly before sunrise on 22 September 1979, a U.S. surveillance satellite known as Vela 6911 recorded an unusual double flash as it orbited the earth above the South Atlantic. At Patrick Air Force Base in Florida, where it was still nighttime on 21 September, the staff in charge of monitoring the satellite’s transmissions saw the unmistakable pattern produced by a nuclear explosion—something U.S. satellites had detected on dozens of previous occasions in the wake of nuclear tests. The possibility that Israel or South Africa, which had deep clandestine defense ties at the time, had tested a nuclear weapon threatened to tarnish what President Jimmy Carter regarded as his administration foreign policy achievements ahead of the 1980 election. And the fact that South Africa’s own nuclear weapons program, which the Carter administration was seeking to stop, was not yet sufficiently advanced to test such a weapon left just one prime suspect: Israel. Leading figures within the administration were therefore keen to bury the story and put forward alternative explanations. On the 40th anniversary of the Vela event, Foreign Policy has assembled a team of experts to revisit the 22 September 1979 mysterious event.

  • Tweet May Have Inadvertently Revealed India’s Next-Gen Nuclear Weapons Platform with Global Reach

    Politicians’ tweets can sometimes reveal new intelligence about their own country’s military capabilities and programs. On August 28 the official Twitter account of the Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu, tweeted photos of his visit to the country’s Naval Science & Technological Laboratory. Among the missiles and unmanned vehicles is a sub-scale model of a submarine. And it appears to be not just any submarine – the model may offer the first visual clues to India’s next-generation ballistic missile submarine, the S-5 Class.

  • Iran Threatens to Take Steps to Stockpile of Uranium for Nuclear Weapons

    Iran said Saturday it had accelerated its nuclear research work and threatened to take fresh steps within a month that could allow it to expand its stockpile of enriched uranium, a material that can be used to fuel a nuclear weapon. The move comes after Europe failed to meet a deadline Iran set in July to offset the impact of U.S. sanctions.

  • North Korea Missile Tests, “Very Standard” to Trump, Show Signs of Advancing Arsenal

    As North Korea fired off a series of missiles in recent months — at least 18 since May — President Trump has repeatedly dismissed their importance as short-range and “very standard” tests. And although he has conceded “there may be a United Nations violation,” the president says any concerns are overblown. Kim Jong-un, North Korea’s leader, Mr. Trump explained recently, just “likes testing missiles.” American intelligence officials and outside experts have come to a far different conclusion: that the launchings downplayed by Mr. Trump, including two late last month, have allowed Mr. Kim to test missiles with greater range and maneuverability that could overwhelm American defenses in the region.

  • Iranian Nuclear Facility “Has Never Been Repurposed” as Promised under 2015 Nuclear Deal

    Iran’s underground Fordow uranium-enrichment facility has not followed the 2015 nuclear deal. Apparently, it has “never been repurposed” in that “everything required to enrich uranium to weapons grade could be quickly reconstituted in the underground portion of the facility,” continued the report.

  • How Israel and Iran Joined Forces to Kill a Nuclear Weapons Program

    At dawn on 30 September 1980 four American-made F-4E Phantom jets screamed low over central Iraq, each laden with air-to-air missiles and three thousand pounds of bombs. The skimming Phantoms climbed briefly to higher altitude so as to appear on Iraqi radars, before ducking back down to hit the deck. But while two decoy Phantoms maintained their trajectory towards Baghdad, the other two veered southwards towards the real target: Iraq’s Osirak light-water nuclear reactor. The jets were undertaking the first air-strike against a nuclear reactor, and the first preemptive air-strike attempting to prevent a country from developing nuclear weapons capability. Now, the famous Israeli Operation Opera that destroyed the Osirak reactor was still nine months away. The Phantoms soaring towards the reactor in 1980 belonged to the Iranian Air Force.

  • The State of the Deal: How the Numbers on Iran's Nuclear Program Stack up

    When it comes to the state of the Iran nuclear deal, there are enough figures flying around to make your head spin like atoms in a first-generation gas centrifuge. Here’s a little guide to help you keep track of the score.

  • IAEA confirms Iran enriching uranium in excess of 2015 nuclear deal limit

    The United Nations atomic watchdog agency has confirmed that Iran has surpassed the limits on how much it was allowed to enrich uranium under the 2015 international nuclear deal. The International Atomic Energy Agency said its inspectors verified Monday that Iran has passed 4.5 percent enrichment, breaching the 3.67 percent limit set in the accord aimed at restraining Tehran’s nuclear weapons development.