• 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?

  • How serious is the threat of an "EMP Pearl Harbor"?

    In 1962 the United States conducted a high-altitude nuclear test above Johnston Island, 825 miles southwest of Hawaii; detonated 400 kilometers above the island, the resulting nuclear blast knocked out street lights across Hawaii and tripped circuit breakers, triggered burglar alarms, and damaged a telecommunications relay facility on the island of Kauai; could terrorist, or a nuclear-armed rogue state, launch an EMP Pearl harbor against the United States?

  • A U.S. attack on about a half-dozen nuclear facilities would "defang" Iran

    Iran has many potential nuclear weapons-related targets, but only about a half-dozen facilities are so critical that, if destroyed, would set back the program significantly; John Pike of Global Security.org: “Almost all [the high-value targets] are in isolated areas where civilian casualties would not be much of a problem. Most of them have co-located staff housing. Bomb the housing, kill the staff, set back the program by a generation”

  • U.S. intensifies covert campaign against Iran's nuclear weapons program

    Since 1960, Israel relied on covert — and, at times, less covert — campaign to prevent Egypt, Iraq, and Syria from acquiring nuclear weapons; Libya, too, was persuaded to abandon its pursuit of nuclear weapons; during the past decade and half, both the United States and Israel have been directing their covert anti-nuclear efforts toward the Iranian nuclear program; one analyst notes that sabotage campaign is a tactic, not a diplomatic strategy — but the history of successful non-proliferation efforts is often a history of kicking the nuclear can down the diplomatic road until new leadership comes to the conclusion that it has more to gain by abandoning illicit nuclear activity than by acquiring a bomb

  • Iran shipped advanced radar systems to Syria

    Iran has supplied Syria with advanced radar system which would make it more difficult for Israel to over-fly Syrian air space in the event of an Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear weapons facilities; the radar would also offer protection to thousands of Hezbollah medium- and long-range missiles warehoused on Syrian soil just across the border with Lebanon

  • U.S. has no plan to keep nuclear bomb materials from crossing border

    In 2006 the George W. Bush administration announced a $1.2 billion project to deploy thousands of scanners for screening vehicles and cargo at U.S. ports to block the importation of radioactive materials that could be used to make a bomb to protect the United States; the scanners — known as the advanced spectroscopic portal (ASP) machines — proved a failure, and in February, following one setback after another, officials abandoned full-scale deployment of the machines; GAO says that the attention and resources invested in the ill-fated ASPs delayed the creation of a “global nuclear detection architecture” to protect the United States

  • Scientist says nuclear weapons best bet for saving Earth from asteroids

    Scientists argue that the best way to prevent a large asteroid from doing grave damage to Earth is to blast the asteroid with nuclear weapons; the sheer power of a nuclear explosion may make it the most practical and cost-effective option for deflecting or fragmenting asteroids, compared with alternatives such as chemical fuel or laser beams; for one thing, a nuclear explosive would be cheaper to launch into space due to its large amount of energy per unit mass; in contrast, a non-nuclear blast might require several launches for an equivalent amount of power

  • Iran takes a major step toward bomb

    Iran has publicly admitted that it has taken a major step toward building nuclear weapons: enriching uranium to 20 percent; the Brazil-Turkey-Iran deal of two months ago was supposed to address this issue: Iran would deliver to Turkey 1,200 kg of low-enriched uranium and, in return, would receive sufficient amounts of uranium enriched to 20 percent to operate a small research reactor; Iran did not wait for the ink to dry on its signature on the deal before violating it

  • Political summits should be held in remote locations

    Canadian security expert says that holding the G8 summit in Toronto makes no sense; bringing world leaders to an urban setting escalates cost — and risk; “it is overwhelmingly easier to get a device such as a powerful dirty bomb into Toronto than it would have been into Kananaskis [Alberta],” where the 2002 G8 summit was held

  • Myanmar's nuclear ambitions exposed

    Robert Kelley, an experienced former inspector for the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), analyzed materials smuggled to the West by a scientists who defected from Myanmar, and wrote that the kind of nuclear research work Myanmar is doing leads to the inescapable conclusion that such work is “for nuclear weapons and not civilian use or nuclear power”