Nuclear weapons proliferation

  • Countdown begins to attack on Iran

    On Tuesday in Moscow, the third round of talks between the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the Security Council plus Germany) and Iran over Iran’s nuclear program ended with the gap between the two sides as wide as ever; there are no plans for more  meetings; this means that on 1 July, a new, crippling round of sanctions will be imposed on Iran; the previous round of sanctions de-linked Iranian banks and companies from the international banking system; the coming round of sanctions – which includes, among other things, the removal of insurance from tankers carrying Iranian oil – will bring an end to nearly all of Iran’s oil sales, sales which account for nearly 80 percent of Iran foreign revenues; planning, in both Israel and the United States, for an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities has now shifted to a higher gear; Congress holds hearings on Israel’s Iran-specific military equipment needs

  • Security increases around Pennsylvania nuclear disposal site

    Security around a nuclear waste site in western Pennsylvania has been upgraded, with DHS armed security guards replacing private guards around the site; the reason for the elevated security is the finding, by the Army Corps of Engineers, of more “complex” nuclear materials on the site; it was originally believed that the site contains only low-level nuclear material

  • Crisis deepens as third round of nuclear talks with Iran begins today in Moscow

    As the delegations of the six Western powers and Iran get set to open the third round of nuclear talks in Moscow today, diplomats involved in the talks say that the coming two days of talks are not quite the last chance for a diplomatic solution to the gathering crisis, but that we are getting uncomfortably close; Western diplomats insist “that there can be no repeat of Baghdad, where [the head of the Iranian delegation, Saeed] Jalili showed readiness to orate but not to bargain, and that they are not interested in continuing ‘talks for the sake of talks’”

  • Experts: stronger regulation of military, civilian nuclear programs required

    All nuclear energy and weapons programs should be independently regulated and subject to rigorous peer review, according to three experts on nuclear policy who held high office in different U.S. administrations; they note that despite international diplomatic efforts to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons and ensure that nuclear material is protected against theft, there is growing apprehension about terrorists acquiring weapons or nuclear material

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  • Near economic collapse, Iran tries to buy time for its nuclear weapons program

    From the Iranian perspective, talks and negotiation are meant to achieve only one goal: buy the Iranian nuclear weapons program more time – time that can be used to enrich more uranium, enrich uranium to a higher level, conduct more ballistic missile tests, and refine nuclear war-head designs; this Persian bazaar-like approach to negotiations increasingly runs up against the ever-more-dire economic reality in which Iran finds itself in as a result of the tightening sanctions imposed on the country because of its recalcitrance

  • Nuclear weapon simulations show performance in molecular detail

    U.S. researchers are perfecting simulations that show a nuclear weapon’s performance in precise molecular detail, tools that are becoming critical for national defense because international treaties forbid the detonation of nuclear test weapons

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  • Talks with Iran: window for peaceful resolution closing

    The second round of talks between the five permanent members of the Security Council plus Germany and Iran over the military dimensions of Iran’s nuclear program opened yesterday in Baghdad; the time frame for the talks between the six powers and Iran is tacitly accepted by all sides: if the current round of talks fails, and the harsher sanctions on Iran, which go into effect on 1 July, do not persuade Iran, by the end of the year, to cease and desist its nuclear weapons activities, then the path will be clear for a military attack on Iran – by Israel, the United States, or both – sometime during the first three or four months of 2013

  • Detecting a North Korea nuclear test

    The monitoring tools that scientists have available to them to detect a nuclear test have improved in quality and quantity since North Korea last tested a nuclear weapon in 2009; the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) has a total of 287 detection facilities available, consisting of 157 seismic monitoring stations, forty-five infrasound stations, sixty-five radionuclide stations, and ten hydroacoustic stations

  • Study looks at an unexamined component of the nuclear age: nuclear engineers

    On the twenty-sixth anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster, a new study of nuclear engineers has shown how they were shaped by secrecy and the shifting goals of nuclear research; first defined by the Second World War’s Manhattan Project, these engineers marked out a new field

  • Threat of imminent Israeli, U.S. attack on Iran appears to recede

    The New York Times reports today that analysts inside and outside the Obama administration believe that there is less likelihood now – relative to how things looked in the winter — that either Israel or the United States would launch a military strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities. The reasons: the economic sanctions on Iran are slowing the Iranian economy, with more draconian sanctions coming in July; the mood in the first round of talks between Iranian and Western representative, who met in Ankara two weeks ago, was positive, and there is some optimism that the next round, to be held in Baghdad in a month time, may yield Iranian concessions on the issue of uranium enrichment; also, there is a growing schism in Israel between, on one side, political leaders – namely, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak – and, on the other side, both former and current military and intelligence officials about the wisdom of attacking Iran now, before diplomacy and tough sanctions have been given a chance.

  • Sanctions unlikely to affect Iran’s nuclear aim

    The likelihood of economic sanctions persuading the Iranian leadership to abandon its quest for nuclear weapons is very low; the record of economic sanctions is not good: long-standing international sanctions remain in place against North Korea, Ivory Coast, and Somalia without noticeable effects on their policies; embargoes against Serbia and Libya ended, as with Iraq, only after military intervention forced change

  • Fusion presents low proliferation risk

    American researchers have shown that prospective magnetic fusion power systems would pose a much lower risk of being used for the production of weapon-usable materials than nuclear fission reactors and their associated fuel cycle

  • A nuke blast in D.C. would not destroy city: report

    A study finds that a 10-kiloton bomb detonated in Washington, D.C. would destroy many buildings and kill many people, but it would not completely destroy the city; says one expert: “If you are thinking about (a city) being wiped off the face of the earth, that’s not what happens”

  • Nuclear summit focuses on terrorist nukes

    The Seoul nuclear summit focused on the risk of nuclear terrorism; there are two risks: first, fissile materials, which terrorists may use to construct a dirty bomb, is kept at thousands of medical, research, and industrial facilities around the world – often without sufficient security; second, constructing a Hiroshima-type bomb is not as difficult as we may think

  • U.S, Israel employ shady organization against Iran

    Analysts have concluded that the United States and Israel may be in a strategic alliance with a former left-wing Iranian political group instrumental in the 1979 Islamic Revolution and the overthrow of Shah Rezi Pahlavi; the purpose of the alliance is to destabilize the current regime in Iran