• Wikileaks: North Korea "helps Burma with nuclear sites"

    U.S. diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks reveal that Burma may be building missile and nuclear sites in remote locations with support from North Korea; the documents cite witnesses who say North Korean workers are helping Burma construct an underground bunker in a remote jungle; one cable reads: ‘The North Koreans, aided by Burmese workers, are constructing a concrete-reinforced underground facility that is ‘500 ft from the top of the cave to the top of the hill above’”

  • Medical isotopes no longer require weapons-grade uranium

    Highly enriched uranium (HEU) is used in nuclear weapons, but it is also used to make the radioisotopes that are injected in tiny quantities into people to diagnose and treat disease; indeed, making medical isotopes is a time-honored excuse for enriching uranium, if you want to build nuclear weapons but do not want to admit you are doing so (this is the cover Iran is using for its bomb-oriented enrichment program); South Africa’s Pelindaba reactor is now producing medical treatment-oriented molybdenum-99 (Mo-99) made from low-enriched uranium

  • FedEx loses -- then finds -- radioactive rods

    The shipment of radioactive rods sent from Fargo, North Dakota, to Knoxville, Tennessee, posed little threat, but its misplacement underscores the need to track low-hazard materials that could be used in small-scale terrorist attacks, experts say; as al Qaeda has shifted its tactics from 9/11-scale attacks to smaller attacks which aim to create fear and do economic damage, there is growing concern about low-radiation materials which are widely used in research, medical facilities, and industry; such materials may not be suitable for a nuclear bomb, but could be used to create “dirty bombs,” which cause fewer casualties but can release hazardous materials when they explode

  • IAEA: Iran forced to stop enrichment on 16 November

    The UN International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reported Tuesday that Iran’s uranium enrichment program had shut down a week ago; the stoppage of the enrichment program coincides with the release of detailed expert studies of the Stuxnet virus; the conclusion of the cyber experts is that Stuxnet was aimed not at Iran’s Bushehr nuclear reactor, as initially thought, but rather at destroying Iran’s centrifuge farms; the sustained cyber attacks has already reduced the number of operating centrifuges from 4,920 in May 2009 to 3,772 in September 2010; it appears that the covert campaign Israel and the United States has been conducting against Iran’s nuclear weapons program — a campaign which includes the assassination of Iranian scientists and engineers, blowing up of machinery and supplies, attacks on Revolutionary Guard facilities, and seizing of technology shipments to Iran — is beginning to take its toll

  • Spotting illicit nuclear activity from a distance

    French scientists unveil a plan to place antineutrino detectors off the coast of rogue nations suspected of operating clandestine nuclear reactors; their idea is to turn a supertanker into an antineutrino detector by kitting it out with the necessary photon detectors and filling it with 10^34 protons in the form of 138,000 tons of linearalkylbenzene (C13 H30); the plan is to sink the tanker in up to four kilometers of water off the coast of a rogue state, and the supertanker would then watch for the telltale signs of undeclared antineutrino activity

  • North Korea enriches enough uranium for two nuclear bombs a year

    A report by three Western visitors to North Korea says North Korea is now operating an industrial-scale centrifuge farm to enrich uranium, with up to 2,000 centrifuges; the plant could make 30 to 40 kilograms of highly enriched uranium per year, enough for one or two nuclear weapons has

  • Nuclear DUI: DOE IG finds cause for concern

    There are about 600 OST (Office of Secure Transportation) agents — that is, drivers who have permits to haul nuclear weapons, weapons components, and special nuclear material (SNM) around the country; the Department of Energy inspector general investigated reports that some of these drivers are drunk on the job; a new report found 16 incident, of which 2 were of “particular concern”

  • U.S., Kazakhstan complete secret transfer of Soviet-era nuclear materials

    In the largest such operation ever mounted, U.S. and Kazakh officials transferred 11 tons of highly enriched uranium and 3 tons of plutonium some 1,890 miles by rail and road across the Central Asian country; the nuclear material, which could have been used to make more than 770 bombs, was moved from a facility feared vulnerable to terrorist attack to a new high-security facility

  • Nuclear bomb forensics will identify who planted it

    In 2009 researchers from the Institute for Transuranium Elements in Karlsruhe, Germany, showed that when smuggled nuclear material is intercepted, its source can be deduced from details of its composition; gleaning forensic information from an exploded nuclear bomb, though, is a different matter — but scientists argue that this, too, can be done

  • Whistling past the graveyard: the Bushehr reactor

    Iran is already inching toward a uranium-based nuclear weapon, and yesterday it started loading fuel into the core of its first nuclear plant at Bushehr, thus embarking on the plutonium path to the bomb; yes, the agreement between Iran and Russia, which operates the reactor, calls for Russia to retain control of the spent uranium rods — so that Iran could not separate weapon-grade plutonium from them; but what if Iran were to renege on the agreement, keep the spent uranium, and begin to process it? Would Russia invade Iran to regain control of its uranium?

  • Bin Laden, deputy hiding in Pakistan, protected by locals, ISI

    Al Qaeada leaders do not live in a cave; rather, the organization’s top leadership lives in relative comfort, protected by locals and elements in the Pakistani intelligence services, NATO official said; he also offered a grim view of the state of the war: NATO estimates that there are 500,000 to one million “disaffected” men between the ages of 15 and 25 along the Afghan-Pakistan border region; most are Afghan Pashtuns and make up some of the 95 percent of the insurgency who carry out attacks just to earn money, rather than fight for a hard-core Taliban ideology

  • U.S. to spend $7.9 billion on nuclear nonproliferation

    A multi-million dollar U.S. program is aiming to make safe the world’s bomb-grade uranium before terrorists can get to it; the U.S. government is so concerned at the threat of nuclear terrorism that next year the budget for making bomb-grade material secure worldwide will be increased by 67 percent to $558 million dollars

  • Iran: Stuxnet part of Western sabotage campaign

    Iran claims that the Stuxnet virus which infected more than 30,000 computers used in industrial control systems in the country — many of them in Iran’s nuclear weapons facilities, especially to yet-to-become operational Bushehr nuclear power plant — is part of a covert Western plot to derail its nuclear program; this is the most direct admission by Iran that the West — read: the United States and Israel — have been engaged in a systematic covert sabotage campaign to derail Iran’s weapons program

  • Iran: Stuxnet infected industrial computers cleaned

    Iran claims that Stuxnet, the sophisticated virus which has infected more than 30,000 computers used in industrial control systems in Iran, has been removed; Iranian officials also denied that the Bushehr nuclear reactor was among the addresses penetrated by the worm

  • Norway bans testing of Israel-bound submarines

    Israel is buying additional submarines for two purposes: first, move some of its nuclear second-strike capabilities to sea in order to enhance its deterrence posture; second, have more cruise missile-carrying submarines available to position off the Iranian coast for possible attack on Iran’s nuclear weapons facilities; Norway, which is critical of Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories, has informed the German builder of the Israel-bound submarines that Norway will no longer allow deep-water testing of these submarines in the Norwegian submarine base the German company had leased