• 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

  • 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