• 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

  • Civil wars in Africa have no link to climate change

    Some researchers have argued that environmental variability and shocks, such as drought and prolonged heat waves, drive civil wars in Africa; a new paper investigates the empirical foundation for the claimed relationship in detail, and concludes that climate variability is a poor predictor of armed conflict; instead, African civil wars can be explained by generic structural and contextual conditions: prevalent ethno-political exclusion, poor national economy, and the collapse of the cold war system

  • Russia cancels S-300 delivery to Iran

    The Russia-made S-300 is the most sophisticated air defense system in the world, and Iran signed a contract to buy them in order to protect its nuclear weapons facilities; Russia has now decided to abrogate the contract — meaning that Iran’s nuclear facilities remain exceedingly vulnerable to destruction from the air, and that the option of attacking these facilities is less daunting than would have been the case otherwise

  • U.S. much safer today than it was in 2001

    Leading analyst says the United States is much safer today than it was in 2001; the successful policies of the Bush and Obama administrations have whittled al Qaeda “central” down to about 400 fighters; the real threat of al Qaeda was that it would inspire some percentage of the world’s 1.57 billion Muslims, sending out unstoppable waves of jihadis; in fact, across the Muslim world, militant Islam’s appeal has plunged; the real danger is America’s overreaction, both abroad and domestically

  • UN: Iran accelerates nuclear weapons work, hampers monitoring

    Iran has now built up a stockpile of 2,803 kilograms of low-enriched uranium, despite being ordered by the UN to cease all such activity until the IAEA can determine the true nature of Tehran’s nuclear drive; at the end of August, a total 8,856 uranium-enriching centrifuges had been installed at Natanz, up from 8,528 in May; the number of machines being fed with UF6 — uranium hexfluoride — had declined to 3,772 from 3,936, though, owing to on-going technical difficulties (some of which caused by Israeli and U.S. covert sabotage campaign); Iran has now produced at least 22 kilograms of higher-enriched uranium, bringing the Islamic republic closer to levels needed to make the fissile material for a nuclear bomb

  • Small thorium reactors could lead to fossil-fuel-free world within five years

    An argument is made that nuclear reactors which use thorium as an accelerator (hence the technical name: Accelerator Driven Thorium Reactors, or ADTR) could lead to fossil-fuel-free world within five years; thorium is an abundant mineral deposit, with 3 to 5 times more thorium in the world than uranium; more importantly, virtually all of the thorium mined can be used as fuel compared to only 0.7 percent of the uranium recovered in its natural state, this means, in energy terms, that one ton of thorium mined is equivalent to 200 tons of uranium mined, which is equivalent to 3.5 million tons of mined coal; ADTRs also enjoy proliferation resistance advantages compared to other reactor systems

  • U.S. persuades Israel Iran nuclear threat is at least a year away

    American officials say the Obama administration, citing evidence of continued troubles inside Iran’s nuclear program, has persuaded Israel that it would take roughly a year — and perhaps longer — for Iran to complete what one senior official called a “dash” for a nuclear weapon; “We think that they have roughly a year dash time,” one of Obama’s top adviser on nuclear issues says; “A year is a very long period of time”

  • Iran gearing up for a post-attack retaliatory campaign in Western Hemisphere

    In February 2007, Iran Air launched flight 744 — a bimonthly flight that originates in Tehran and flies directly to Caracas with periodic stops in Beirut and Damascus; passengers cannot book a seat on the flight because it has never been opened to the public; U.S. intelligence services have been worried for a while now that the flight is used for two purposes: first, for smuggling nuclear weapons-related materials into Iran, and, second — in cooperation with Venezuela — for setting up a network of Iranian operatives to retaliate against U.S. targets and Jewish communities in the Western Hemisphere in the event of a U.S. or Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear weapons facilities

  • Bolton: Israel should attack Iran's reactor by this week's end

    Since 1960, Israel relied on covert — and, at times, less covert — campaign to prevent Egypt, Iraq, and Syria from acquiring nuclear weapons; in the cases if Iraq (1981) and Syria (2007), Israel destroyed these countries’ nuclear reactors before they became critical; the reason: destroying nuclear reactors before they become critical eliminates the risk of radioactive radiation from the destroyed reactor spreading over large areas, as was the case with the Chernobyl reactor following the 1986 accident; Russian state firm Rosatom announced last week that it would be starting loading nuclear fuel into the Bushehr facility on 21 August, and that the plant would become operation on that day; will Israel launch a strike against the plant before that date?