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Nuclear Policy News – August 30, 2016

Nuclear Policy News – August 30, 2016

TOP NEWS

The Nuclear Cost Debate Gets Even Uglier
The National Interest, Todd Harrison

Descending From the Summit: The Path Toward Nuclear Security 2010–2016 and Beyond
The Stanley Foundation, William Tobey

Nuclear arms control beyond the U.S. and Russia
The Brookings Institution, James Tyson, Steven Pifer

Rethink old think on no first use
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Kingston Reif, Daryl G. Kimball

The Mixed Legacy of Virtual Nuclear Weapons Testing
Ploughshares Fund

EAST ASIA

North Korea Denounces UN Condemnation, Warns US of Action
The New York Times

North Korea has denounced a U.N. Security Council statement condemning its four latest ballistic missile launches, calling it "a hostile act" perpetrated by the United States and warning that it could precipitate America's "self-destruction."

U.S., China, to discuss North Korea provocations ahead of G20 meeting
UPI

The United States and China are expected to meet to discuss North Korea's nuclear provocations a day before the G20 meeting. Ben Rhodes, the White House deputy national security advisor, said Monday more pressure needs to be applied to North Korea, South Korean news agency Yonhap reported.

Ruling party officially backs THAAD deployment plan
Yonhap News

The ruling Saenuri Party on Tuesday adopted an official stance to support the planned deployment of a U.S. anti-missile system to South Korea, saying it is the "least" Seoul can do to counter Pyongyang's evolving nuclear and missile threats.

South Korea Seeks Indigenous Missile Defense System To Deal With North, Raises 2017 Defense Budget
International Business Times

The South Korean government on Tuesday raised the country’s 2017 defense budget to build a homegrown missile defense system to better counter growing N Korean missile and nuclear threats. The announcement came nearly a week after Pyongyang test-fired a submarine-launched ballistic missile in an apparent response to the annual Seoul-Washington military drill that will continue till Friday.

North Korea to Build New Ballistic Missile Submarine
Voice of America

North Korea could soon develop a new submarine that will incorporate ongoing ballistic missile advances being made and increasing the military’s capability to carry out a nuclear strike from the sea.

North Korea could soon conduct test of nuclear warhead, analysts say
UPI

South Korea's military and local analysts say North Korea's next step may involve the testing of a miniaturized nuclear warhead mounted on a ballistic missile. Although the South Korean forecasts are largely speculative, Kim Jong Un has previously stated the launch of nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles should be pursued and made similar remarks last Wednesday, Newsis reported.

MIDDLE EAST

US concerned about missile defense system at Iranian uranium facility
The Hill

The State Department said Monday it is concerned about Iran state media reports that the country has deployed an advanced missile defense system around its Fordow underground uranium facility. The S-300 surface-to-air missile system was sold to Iran by Russia over U.S. objections, after an international accord was reached last July that lifted sanctions on Iran in exchange for limits to its nuclear program.

Iran looks to Latin America to revive missile infrastructure
The Hill

With the presidential campaign in full swing, U.S. media may be forgiven for downplaying the news of Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif's six-nation tour of Latin America last week. His visit, however, should elicit concern in Washington. Iran has long relied on Latin America to evade Western sanctions, including, critically, on ballistic missiles technology.

SOUTH ASIA

India's participation in global nuke weapons free conference in Kazakhstan significant, says envoy
Business Standard

India's participation in a day-long international conference being held in Astana, Kazakhstan, on Monday on the theme "Building a nuclear weapon free world, has been declared as significant by that country's envoy to New Delhi, Bulat Sarsenbayev.

MULTILATERAL ARMS CONTROL AND NONPROLIFERATION

On World Day, top UN officials call for prompt entry into force of nuclear test ban treaty
UN News Center

Marking the International Day against Nuclear Tests, senior United Nations officials today called for the entry into force of a multilateral treaty that bans all nuclear explosions, for both civilian and military purposes, in all environments.

International Day Against Nuclear Tests
CTBTO Preparatory Commission

A verification regime is being built by the CTBTO, to monitor compliance with the Treaty. The CTBTO's global monitoring network is now 90% complete, with around 300 stations, some in the most remote and inaccessible areas of the Earth and sea. The network captures four types of data: seismic, hydroacoustic, infrasound and radionuclide.

Forging legally binding UN deal banning nuclear weapons 'unrealistic'
The Korea Times

A recent U.N. panel's proposal to launch negotiations to ban nuclear weapons is "unrealistic" as it fails to take the international security environment into consideration, a State Department nonproliferation official said Monday.

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

Building Towards a Nuclear Weapon Free World
U.S. Department of State

Even as the United States builds upon decades of pragmatic steps to reduce the role and number of its nuclear weapons, a group of countries are pursuing a polarizing and unverifiable nuclear weapons ban treaty that could actually end up harming the proven, practical, and inclusive efforts that have achieved tangible results on disarmament and will continue to do so.

NNSA Announces Elimination of Highly Enriched Uranium (HEU) from Indonesia
NNSA

The U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (DOE/NNSA), Indonesian Nuclear Industry, LLC (PT INUKI), the National Nuclear Energy Agency (BATAN), and the Nuclear Energy Regulatory Agency (BAPETEN) of the Republic of Indonesia announced the completion of a collaborative effort to down-blend Indonesia's stocks of highly enriched uranium to low enriched uranium.

OPINIONS

The Nuclear Cost Debate Gets Even Uglier
The National Interest, Todd Harrison

The cost of nuclear forces is an important part of this debate, but both sides should acknowledge that the numbers are not really in dispute—they are each wielding stylized versions of the same costs as weapons to suit their policy agendas.  Rather than debating a point where there is no real disagreement, they should be discussing the more difficult issues at stake: the role of nuclear weapons in U.S. defense strategy and the best ways to deter the use and proliferation of nuclear weapons in the future.

Nuclear arms control beyond the U.S. and Russia
The Brookings Institution, James Tyson, Steven Pifer

In recent years, Russia has signaled its desire to include other nuclear weapons states—such as Britain, France, and China. Though it is unlikely that other states will agree to reduce or even cap their nuclear stockpiles without further reductions by the United States and Russia, it is useful to identify prospective entrants to the global arms control regime, as well as possible concrete means of pursing arms control on a multilateral basis.

Descending From the Summit: The Path Toward Nuclear Security 2010–2016 and Beyond
The Stanley Foundation, William Tobey

The circumstances that provoked the nuclear security summit meetings were unusual, if not unique, but their innovations in summitry and global governance will likely endure. These innovations include the state and multilateral voluntary commitments, progress reports, and an ongoing contact group.

North Korea: Friendly Proliferation May Beat a Nuclear Umbrella
Cato Institute, Doug Bandow

Dealing with nuclear weapons is never easy. Washington’s best alternative may be to withdraw from Northeast Asia’s nuclear imbroglio. Then America’s allies could engage in containment and deterrence, just as America did for them for so many years.

Rethink old think on no first use
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Kingston Reif, Daryl G. Kimball

As President Obama said in Hiroshima earlier this year about of the first use of nuclear weapons seven decades ago: “… we have a shared responsibility to look directly into the eye of history and ask what we must do differently to curb such suffering again.” It is past time for the president to reduce the risk of nuclear conflict by adopting a clear no-first-use policy.

The Mixed Legacy of Virtual Nuclear Weapons Testing
Ploughshares Fund

Any anti-testing initiative has to be part of a broader effort to limit and ultimately reduce the size of global arsenals. Taking our weapons off hair-trigger alert and making a no-first-use declaration would be excellent initial steps in this multi-stage process.

Reconsider THAAD
The Korea Times, Choi Sung-jin

South Korea will enter into a presidential election season before long. THAAD and the inter-Korean relationship should be the biggest issue, even bigger than the economic issue, because security should always come ahead of prosperity. I hope to see a candidate who can at least push for a negotiated settlement of the North's nuclear issue, persuading far larger diplomatic partners, and use the peace dividends for making better lives for all Koreans, south or north.

Why Australia should support negotiations for a nuclear weapon ban
The Interpreter, John Carlson

Australia has drawn criticism for opposing UN negotiations to prohibit nuclear weapons.  Foreign Minister Julie Bishop argues: 'We must engage, not enrage nuclear countries', and dismisses the proposal for a ban as an 'emotionally appealing' approach that would only 'divert attention from the sustained, practical steps needed for effective disarmament.'  Is Ms Bishop right, will the proposed negotiations be counter-productive, will they enrage nuclear-armed countries?

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – August 29, 2016

Nuclear Policy News – August 29, 2016

TOP NEWS

The nuclear weapons debate we need
The Washington Post, Editorial Board

THAAD seen through eyes of China, Russia, US
The Korea Times, Oh Young-jin

Boeing's Art of the Iran Deal
Foreign Affairs, Omar S. Bashir, Eric Lorber

Iran deploys long-range missiles to Fordo nuclear site
The Times of Israel

Why the International Day Against Nuclear Tests Is Special This Year
TIME, Julia Zorthian

EAST ASIA

North Korea’s SLBM Program Progresses, But Still Long Road Ahead
38 North

The success of North Korea’s latest submarine-launched ballistic missile test suggests the program may be progressing faster than originally expected. However, this does not mean it will be ready next week, next month, or even next year. Rather, the pace and method of the North’s SLBM testing would suggest possible deployment in an initial operational capability by the second half of 2018 at the earliest.

Security Council strongly condemns DPRK missile launches
United Nations

The United Nations Security Council has strongly condemned the Democratic People's Republic of Korea's (DPRK) launch of a ballistic missile from a submarine on 23 August, which follows a series of recent tests and launches the Council said is a “grave violation” of the DPRK's international obligations and “in flagrant disregard” of repeated calls to halt such activity.

N. Korea Says UN Condemnation of Missile Tests Are 'Provocation'
Military.com

North Korean Foreign Ministry official Jon Min Dok told Associated Press Television News in an interview that the U.S.-led discussions at the U.N. were a "terrible provocation" and that the country is developing nuclear weapons because of "outrageous nuclear intimidation" by the United States.

Foreign, defense ministers of U.S., S. Korea to meet over N. Korea
Yonhap News

South Korea's foreign and defense ministers plan to travel to Washington in October to meet their U.S. counterparts for discussions on ways to better handle North Korea's growing threats, Seoul's foreign minister said Sunday.

MIDDLE EAST

Iran deploys long-range missiles to Fordo nuclear site
The Times of Israel

Tehran has deployed a recently delivered Russian-made long-range missile system to central Iran to protect its Fordo nuclear facility, state television said Sunday. Protecting nuclear facilities is paramount “in all circumstances” General Farzad Esmaili, the commander of Iran’s air defenses, told the IRIB channel.

RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

Our commitment to getting rid of nuclear arms still firm, MSP Bill Kidd to tell international conference
The National

Kidd will state the SNP and Scottish Government’s case against nuclear weapons in strong terms: “The SNP is clear that on achieving independence we will have all nuclear weapons removed as quickly and safely as possible from Scotland – but the fight does not stop there. Our party believes firmly in international solidarity and would continue to make the case for a world free of these immoral weapons of mass destruction.”

MoD police spend £74m guarding Trident
Herald Scotland

More than £74 million of public money is spent every year to guard Trident warheads and nuclear submarines on the Clyde and across the UK, the Sunday Herald can reveal. Nearly half the total budget for the MDP goes on armed police protecting the nuclear bases at Faslane and Coulport near Helensburgh, bomb factories in Berkshire and the nuclear convoys that shuttle between them.

SOUTH ASIA

U.S. to help India in NSG entry
The Hindu

The U.S. will push for India’s membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group when the issue is taken up later this year at the “highest levels”, U.S. Ambassador to India Richard Verma said.

Pak envoy approaches US to seek support for NSG bid
The Times of India

Pakistan's Ambassador to the United States Jalil Abbas Jilani has approached the White House, the State Department, important Congress leaders and significant think-tanks and opinion makers in the United States to support Pakistan's bid for membership in the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).

MULTILATERAL ARMS CONTROL AND NONPROLIFERATION

Kazakhstan leader calls to reduce and fully ban nuclear weapons
TASS

Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev has proposed to set up a crisis management system in relations between major powers and assume new obligations on international nuclear safety treaties. "We need to create a crisis management system in relations between major powers," he said speaking at an international conference "Building a world without nuclear weapons." "It is also important to tighten control over the proliferation of conventional weapons and new military technologies."

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

The United States Is Getting More and More Irritated at Russia’s Nuke Treaty Violation
War Is Boring

Russia continues to rattle the United States with its alleged breach of a 1987 bilateral agreement aimed at eliminating medium-range ground-based missiles, according to a senior State Department official. “We have made it very clear to our Russian colleagues that our patience is not indefinite,” said Frank Rose, the State Department’s top diplomat for arms control, compliance and verification. “We will work closely with our allies to ensure that Russia does not gain any benefit from its violation.”

OPINIONS

Why the International Day Against Nuclear Tests Is Special This Year
TIME, Julia Zorthian

The International Day Against Nuclear Tests serves as a reminder of the 1996 Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty that the U.N. adopted, but has not yet entered into force. The treaty would ban all nuclear testing or explosions in any setting, yet eight states in the world have not signed or ratified it yet: China, Egypt, India, Iran, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan and the United States.

The nuclear weapons debate we need
The Washington Post, Editorial Board

Mr. Obama’s early vision of a world without nuclear weapons is a long way off. It is time to work on present-day reality: What kind of strategic nuclear weapons do we need, at what cost and to deter what kind of threats? The campaign could use a debate that acknowledges this and grapples with it.

Boeing's Art of the Iran Deal
Foreign Affairs, Omar S. Bashir, Eric Lorber

Last week, representatives from Boeing visited Tehran to hammer out the details of a proposed multibillion-dollar sale of commercial aircraft to Iran. The possible sale of these planes has sparked fierce debate in the U.S. Congress, with many on both sides of the aisle rightly concerned that the Iranian government and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps may use these planes to send arms and illicit goods to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces or to the international terrorist group Hezbollah.

How Iran's Revolutionary Guards Learned to Love the Nuclear Deal
The National Interest, Farhad Rezaei

The statistical data indicate that it was financial desperation that led the Revolutionary Guards to accept the nuclear deal, as some observers have stipulated. Equally, the same data provide a possible clue to the guards’ decision not to spoil the JCPOA, at least at the formal political level.

On this International Day against Nuclear Tests
Daily Times, Maimuna Ashraf

The contour of the subject is that there is still a possibility to modernize the nuclear warhead components, verify the reliability of aging nuclear stockpiles and stimulate the environmental effects even if all 44 states ratify the CTBT because it does not stop them from hydronuclear subcritical test through computer simulation; and it allows NWS to qualitatively improve their arsenals at sub-zero.

THAAD seen through eyes of China, Russia, US
The Korea Times, Oh Young-jin

Why is China so upset at South Korea's decision to allow the advanced U.S. anti-missile battery on its soil as to threaten all-out retaliation? Is Beijing's position identical to that of Russia, its former Cold War ally and rival, now being on the same side once again against the U.S.? Are the interests of Seoul and Washington as coincidental as they appear? These questions are pivotal to understanding the changing the dynamic triggered by the Seoul-Washington decision to deploy the THAAD system.

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – August 26, 2016

Nuclear Policy News – August 26, 2016

TOP NEWS

Long Live the Long-Range Standoff Nuke
The Wall Street Journal, Matthew Costlow

Why Japan and South Korea Should Fear North Korea's Underwater Nuclear Weapons
The National Interest, Dave Majumdar

Time may be right for a Northeast Asia nuclear-weapon-free zone
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Chung-in Moon

North Korean Sub-Launched Missiles Threaten US Allies
The Daily Signal, Bruce Klingner

Should America Be The First To Use Nuclear Weapons, Again?
Forbes, James Conca

EAST ASIA

Upgraded Security at North Korea’s Sohae Satellite Launching Station
38 North

Recent commercial satellite imagery indicates that North Korea has upgraded security measures for the Sohae Satellite Launching Station and surrounding area. While the upgrades are likely tied to the master construction plan, they may also indicate that the launch facility could soon be occupied by NADA and KPA scientists, engineers, technicians and support personnel.

North Korea claims it’s now able to nuke the US mainland
PRI

Joel Wit, a former US nuclear negotiator with North Korea, says he's concerned, but not worried. "Because — despite this success — we’re not within striking range of their nuclear weapons." The threat to the US mainland does not yet exist; there's no evidence North Korea has yet been able to miniaturize its nuclear weapons to fit into a warhead.

North Korea sub-based missiles still a work in progress
Nikkei Asian Review

North Korea may claim that its successful launch Wednesday of a missile from a submarine demonstrated Pyongyang's full mastery of the technology, but Pyongyang likely faces a number of obstacles before it can actually deploy the weapons.

North Korea Could Deploy Submarine-Launched Missiles ‘Within Weeks’
TIME

Recent and apparently successful test launches of ballistic missiles from North Korean submarines has Seoul fearing the weapons may be deployed within months or even weeks.

Pyongyang Faces More-Punitive Sanctions
The Wall Street Journal

The top U.S. and South Korean officials for North Korea policy agreed to consider new punitive action against Pyongyang for its latest missile launch.

Experts Speculate on North Korea’s Motive for Ballistic Missile Test
Voice of America

North Korea’s submarine-launched ballistic missile test on Wednesday is prompting analysts in Seoul to speculate about what might have motivated Pyongyang to conduct it. The missile flew 500 kilometers, an apparent leap forward for Pyongyang's technical efforts to achieve SLBM capability, which it has been pursuing since early 2015.

MIDDLE EAST

Confrontations reveal Obama’s nuclear deal having little effect on Iran’s behavior
The Washington Times

A pair of dangerously close encounters between the Iranian and U.S. navies in the Persian Gulf this week have raised fresh questions about Tehran’s intentions, a year after Obama administration officials hoped the much-touted nuclear deal would moderate the behavior of the Islamic republic and its military.

SOUTH ASIA

NSG membership push to be focus of annual talks with US
Hindustan Times

India would make a strong push for greater US support in getting membership to the nuclear suppliers group (NSG) during the forthcoming strategic and commercial dialogue which would focus among others, business ties, defense cooperation and clean energy initiatives.

MULTILATERAL ARMS CONTROL AND NONPROLIFERATION

Reinforcing Nuclear-Test-Ban With Security Council Resolution
IDN

The proposed UN Security Council resolution on nuclear testing and the test ban is a win-win for the international community. It will help refocus international attention on the value of the CTBT, the importance of the de facto test moratorium, and recommit states to continue to support the CTBTO’s international monitoring regime.

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

New ICBM reaches development milestone
Great Falls Tribune

The Air Force has approved the Milestone A for the ground-based strategic deterrent, meaning the new weapon system meant to replace the Minuteman III, including those at Malmstrom Air Force Base, remains on track.

OPINIONS

Long Live the Long-Range Standoff Nuke
The Wall Street Journal, Matthew Costlow

As his presidency enters its final months, President Obama is considering sweeping changes to U.S. nuclear policy. One consequential choice is whether to cancel the Long-Range Standoff (LRSO) weapon, a nuclear air-launched cruise missile. The president should resist the temptation. Canceling the LRSO would weaken America’s nuclear deterrent and give up future negotiating leverage, making the president’s vision of a “nuclear free world” even less plausible.

Why Japan and South Korea Should Fear North Korea's Underwater Nuclear Weapons
The National Interest, Dave Majumdar

Though the North Korean SLBM is not likely to pose a direct threat to the United States, it will create additional headaches for the U.S. Navy because the service will have to maintain track of Pyongyang’s ballistic missile submarines.

Time may be right for a Northeast Asia nuclear-weapon-free zone
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Chung-in Moon

Establishing a nuclear-weapon-free zone in Northeast Asia might sound excessively idealistic. But amid acute military confrontation on the Peninsula and the threat of catastrophic war, what's so realistic about endless cycles of stalled negotiations?

Should America Be The First To Use Nuclear Weapons, Again?
Forbes, James Conca

Adopting a No First Use policy would be an important final nuclear step in The Obama Presidency. Unfortunately, support seems evenly split amongst the leaders of the world and security experts. My general sense is that at this time, with all the changes in the world’s security, it is best to leave this policy alone – at least until after our elections in November, and probably after the next president’s periodic Nuclear Posture Review.

North Korean Sub-Launched Missiles Threaten US Allies
The Daily Signal, Bruce Klingner

North Korea continues its relentless quest to augment and refine its nuclear weapons arsenal and missile delivery capabilities. The international community should maintain a comprehensive effort of augmented sanctions for North Korea’s repeated violations of U.N. resolutions and international law.

SPECIAL INTEREST

Watch Experts Explore the Wreckage of a Nuked Aircraft Carrier
Popular Mechanics

An American aircraft carrier that fought in World War II and was then used as a target during postwar atomic testing has been located and explored. The carrier, sunk off the coast of San Francisco, was largely forgotten…until now.

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – August 25, 2016

Nuclear Policy News – August 25, 2016

TOP NEWS

South Korean Nukes: Less Risky to America than Extended Deterrence
The National Interest, Doug Bandow

The common-sense fix that American nuclear policy needs
The Washington Post, Jeffrey Lewis, Scott Sagan

Third-Country Nuclear Forces and Possible Measures for Multilateral Arms Control
The Brookings Institution, Steven Pifer, James Tyson

A No First Use Policy Reduces the Risk of Nuclear War
Real Clear Defense, Ramesh Thakur

Monitoring the Threat: a Timeline of North Korean Missile Tests 2013-2016
38 North

EAST ASIA

Monitoring the Threat: a Timeline of North Korean Missile Tests 2013-2016
38 North

In a simpler time, it was sufficient to google “North Korean 2006 Missile Test” and find that, yes, the North Koreans conducted a single missile test in 2006 along with all the accompanying data known. But things aren’t that simple anymore. Now if you search for information on “the North Korean 2014 missile test,” 15 separate events pop up. To address this new complexity, 38 North has developed a timeline of North Korea’s missile tests from 2013 to the present to help understand and track trends in the North’s missile development.

Kim Jong-un Hails Firing of Submarine Missile as ‘Greatest Success’
The New York Times

The North Korean leader Kim Jong-un said his country’s test of a submarine-launched ballistic missile this week had achieved the “greatest success.” He claimed that the continental United States, as well as American military bases in the Pacific, were now within the striking range of his missiles, according to the North’s state media on Thursday.

UN Security Council seeking to adopt statement to condemn N. Korea's SLBM launch
The Korea Times

The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) is seeking to adopt a press statement to condemn North Korea's latest launch of a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM), officials said Wednesday following an emergency meeting on the issue.

China, South Korea fail to bridge rift over missile defense
Nikkei Asian Review

China and South Korea remained deeply divided over the planned deployment of an advanced U.S. anti-missile system in the South at their foreign ministers' meeting Wednesday. South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se greeted Chinese counterpart Wang Yi with a smile when the latter arrived for the meeting. But Wang's expression was stiff, and he maintained a tough stance during the talks as well.

South Korean Nuclear Proponents: Conventional Deterrence is Failing
Voice of America

South Korean advocates of nuclear deterrence say the government in Seoul must pursue its own nuclear weapons programs to defend against North Korea’s growing nuclear and ballistic missile capabilities. While some supporters contend that a nuclear South Korea would exert pressure on North Korea or China, opponents argue it would actually dissipate international support for North Korean sanctions.

FBI Files Say China Firm Pushed U.S. Experts for Nuclear Secrets
Bloomberg

A state-owned Chinese power company under indictment in the U.S. pressed American nuclear consultants for years to hand over secret technologies and documents they weren’t supposed to disclose -- and in some cases it got them, several of the consultants have told the FBI.

SOUTH ASIA

India, Pakistan urged to sign CTBT
DAWN

The United States has welcomed Pakistan’s proposal to conclude a nuclear non-testing arrangement with India and encouraged both countries to sign a UN-adopted treaty to achieve this goal.

MULTILATERAL ARMS CONTROL AND NONPROLIFERATION

US and Russia share many of the same nuclear non-proliferation goals
Russia Direct

Laura Holgate, the new U.S. Representative to the IAEA, discusses the approach of the U.S. and Russia when it comes to the issue of nuclear non-proliferation.

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

DOE IG: Room for Improvement in B61-12 Program Management
Exchange Monitor

The National Nuclear Security Administration’s (NNSA) B61-12 life-extension program management faces some issues with scheduling, risk mitigation, quality assurance, and reserve funding, the Department of Energy’s Inspector General’s Office (IG) found in a report released Tuesday.

Sandia Labs director talks jobs, technology, modernizing nuclear stockpile
Albuquerque Business First

Jill Hruby, director of Sandia National Laboratories, doesn't regularly give talks focused specifically on New Mexico, so details that emerge on the labs' overall operations here provide a fascinating look at the priorities of both the organization and its federal government parent, the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration.

OPINIONS

South Korean Nukes: Less Risky to America than Extended Deterrence
The National Interest, Doug Bandow

There are plenty of good reasons to oppose proliferation, even among friends. The more nuclear powers, the greater the potential for instability, proliferation and use. However, the alternative in this case is not stability, nonproliferation and nonuse. Rather, it is entangling Washington in the middle of other nations’ potential conflicts involving all of Asia’s threatening powers, China, Russia and N. Korea.

The common-sense fix that American nuclear policy needs
The Washington Post, Jeffrey Lewis, Scott Sagan

It is time to turn nuclear common sense into national policy. A declaration that the United States would never use nuclear weapons when conventional weapons could destroy the target could reduce the number of nuclear weapons we need for legitimate deterrence purposes.

 

Third-Country Nuclear Forces and Possible Measures for Multilateral Arms Control
The Brookings Institution, Steven Pifer, James Tyson

This paper puts forward possible concrete measures to advance multilateral arms control, with the assumption that Russia will insist that at least some third-country nuclear weapons states begin to engage in the nuclear arms control process.

A No First Use Policy Reduces the Risk of Nuclear War
Real Clear Defense, Ramesh Thakur

The only rational strategy is to threaten but not actually use nuclear weapons first. But if carrying out the threat would be national suicide, the threat cannot be credible and a non-credible threat cannot deter. Thus what is important, and China and India have internalized, is not a first-use policy, but credible second-strike capability.

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – August 24, 2016

Nuclear Policy News – August 24, 2016

TOP NEWS

The Assurance and Deterrence Conversation in the 21st Century
Huffington Post, Rebecca Hersman

What if you don’t trust the judgment of the president whose finger is over the nuclear button?
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Louis René Beres

Preparations for North Korean Missile Test Caught on Satellite Imagery
38 North

Why a Common Missile Nuclear Missile Design is Poor Acquisition Strategy
Defense News

At Security Council, Ban calls for eradicating weapons of mass destruction ‘once and for all’
UN News Centre

EAST ASIA

North Korea test fires ballistic missile from submarine
CNN

North Korea test fired a submarine-based ballistic missile from its east coast on Wednesday, South Korean authorities said. The launch took place at 5:30 a.m. local time, according to a statement from the South Korean Foreign Ministry.

Preparations for North Korean Missile Test Caught on Satellite Imagery
38 North

At approximately 5:30 AM local time on August 24, 2016, North Korea conducted what appears to be a successful test of a Bukkeukseong-1 (Polaris-1, KN-11) submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM). The missile was launched from the country’s sole GORAE-class experimental ballistic missile submarine that was submerged off the port city of Sinpo and reportedly flew approximately 500 km before impacting the East Sea (Sea of Japan)—within Japan’s Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ).

S. Korea convenes NSC session over N.K. SLBM launch
Yonhap News

The presidential office Cheong Wa Dae on Wednesday held an emergency standing committee session of the National Security Council to discuss North Korea's submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) launch.

S. Korea says nuclear program will hasten N. Korea's self-destruction
The Korea Times

North Korea's obsession with nuclear weapons development will only hasten the country's self-destruction, South Korea's foreign ministry said Wednesday, denouncing the communist country's latest test-firing of a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM).

S. Korea, China, Japan vow to lead global efforts against N.K. provocations
Yonhap News

The top diplomats of South Korea, China and Japan on Wednesday vowed to spearhead global efforts against North Korea's continued missile provocations as they held a trilateral meeting to discuss cooperation and other pending issues of mutual concern.

U.S. tracked North Korean submarine-launched missile: defense official
Reuters

The United States detected and tracked a North Korean submarine-launched missile which flew about 300 miles (480 km) before splashing into the Sea of Japan, a U.S. defense official said on Tuesday.

MIDDLE EAST

The Iran nuclear deal and the case for keeping Tehran out of the WTO
The Jerusalem Post

The Iran deal is signed, nuclear-related sanctions are lifted and Iran has announced its intent to pursue full World Trade Organization (WTO) membership. Some WTO members, like Switzerland and the UK, are already expressing support for Iran’s bid. The United States, however, should not be one of them. The US should oppose Iranian membership until the Iran deal’s restrictions expire.

SOUTH ASIA

US asks India, Pakistan to sign, ratify CTBT
Hindustan Times

Encouraging India and Pakistan to engage in talks and exercise restraint for improving strategic stability, the US has asked the two countries to sign and ratify Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT).

Pakistan fulfilling nuclear non-proliferation responsibilities: Maleeha
The Express Tribune

Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the United Nations Maleeha Lodhi said on Tuesday that the nation had been fulfilling its nuclear non-proliferation responsibilities.

India warns against nukes by terrorists, asks nations at UN to be responsible
Hindustan Times

India has warned of the “catastrophic dangers” of terrorists getting weapons of mass destruction and said that nations have a responsibility to prevent nuclear material from falling into their hands. Speaking at the UN Security Council debate on weapons of mass destruction (WMD) on Tuesday, India’s deputy permanent representative Tanmaya Lal said: “We are fully cognizant of the catastrophic dangers that the transfer of weapons of mass destruction to non-State actors and terrorists could entail.”

MULTILATERAL ARMS CONTROL AND NONPROLIFERATION

At Security Council, Ban calls for eradicating weapons of mass destruction ‘once and for all’
UN News Centre

Recalling that eliminating weapons of mass destruction was one of the founding principles of the United Nations and was in fact the subject of the first resolution adopted by the UN General Assembly, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today stressed the need to seriously refocus attention on nuclear disarmament.

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

Why a Common Missile Nuclear Missile Design is Poor Acquisition Strategy
Defense News

In sum, a common design for the new ICBMs and SLBMs would do little in the way of cost savings, but do much in spoiling the chances of delivering a timely, effective, and affordable replacement for the Minuteman III. A good acquisition strategy outfits the warfighter with needed capabilities at acceptable prices.  A smart acquisition strategy would achieve the same capability at lower than expected costs.

OPINIONS

The Assurance and Deterrence Conversation in the 21st Century
Huffington Post, Rebecca Hersman

The global security landscape is bending under extraordinary strain from many directions. Those of us in the nuclear enterprise must ask ourselves: Can we be heard? Are we listening? Are we understood? I fear the answer to these questions is increasingly no. The assurance-deterrence conversation of previous decades may not suffice for the decades to come.

What if you don’t trust the judgment of the president whose finger is over the nuclear button?
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Louis René Beres

Back in the 1960s, a popular movie genre was centered on the assorted risks of nuclear war. At that time, however, there was never any hint that the critically weak link in the nuclear decision chain could ever be the American president himself. Now it is conspicuously this highest link that warrants our special concern and appropriately corrective action. No aspect of the current presidential campaign could possibly be more urgent.

Does N. Korea have nuclear suicide-bomber corps?
The Korea Times, Lee Jin-a, Park Si-soo

North Korea's military is said to have established a "nuclear backpack" corps whose members are trained to infiltrate South Korea to detonate a nuclear bomb. Radio Free Asia (RFA) reported the corps' establishment on Wednesday, citing unidentified sources in North Hamgyong Province. Details of the unit are unknown and the credibility of sources is questionable.

NSG and China’s Grand Strategic Flip-flops: Some Plausible Explanations
Institute for Defense Studies and Analyses, A. Vinod Kumar

Is a quid pro quo possible or tenable for India, especially since the SCS and NSG have emerged as strategic arenas for both powers to grapple with each other in their power balancing quests? The answer may lie in understanding China’s recent grand strategic behavior, including why it blocked India’s NSG bid.

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – August 23, 2016

Nuclear Policy News – August 23, 2016

TOP NEWS

The Second Coming of MIRVs: The Future of Strategic Arms Competition
War on the Rocks, Sameer Lalwani, Travis Wheeler

The dangers of no-first-use
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Franklin Miller, Keith Payne

America Must Be Ready to Nuke Back Fast
The National Interest, Gordon Chang

Missile proliferation: Treat the disease
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Sitki Egeli

Russia’s Nuclear Paranoia Fuels Its Nuclear Propaganda
Foreign Policy

EAST ASIA

Majority of S. Koreans support THAAD, worry about impact on ties with China: survey
The Korea Times

A majority of South Koreans are in favor of the government's recent decision to place a U.S. missile defense system on its soil, saying it is necessary to counter North Korea's growing nuclear and missile threats, a survey showed Tuesday.

RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

Russia’s Nuclear Paranoia Fuels Its Nuclear Propaganda
Foreign Policy

Even if the Russians — or some Russians — know that the EurActiv story is hokum, they may genuinely be worried about the idea that the United States would convert missile defense interceptors into INF-like weapons that could kill the Russian leadership with little or no warning.

SOUTH ASIA

Pakistan launches fresh push for NSG membership
The Indian Express

Pakistan has launched a fresh drive to gather support for its NSG membership bid with a top official today embarking on a visit to Belarus and Kazakhstan to gain their backing. Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Syed Tariq Fatemi is undertaking visits to Belarus and Kazakhstan from August 23 to 27 as a special envoy of Premier Nawaz Sharif, the Foreign Office said in a statement.

MULTILATERAL ARMS CONTROL AND NONPROLIFERATION

Nuclear Test Ban Key for Other Disarmament, Regional Security Measures, Secretary-General Says in Message for International Observance
United Nations

On this Day, I call on all countries and peoples to work for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty’s entry into force as soon as possible so that we may advance toward a nuclear-weapon-free world.

DHS Prototypes Wearable Nuclear Detection Devices
Nextgov

Last year, DHS made a broad agency announcement soliciting proposals for so-called Wearable Intelligent Nuclear Detection, or WIND, technology. Employees would wear the products to ensure nuclear devices weren't secretly being transported in areas like marine vessels, metro systems, or other public areas, according to DHS.

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

The U-2 Spy Plane Could Get a New Job: Missile Destroyer
Popular Mechanics

America's longest-flying spy plane could pick up a new mission that would keep it flying for several more decades. First flown in the mid-1950s, the iconic U-2 "Dragon Lady" is being considered as a missile defense platform to shoot down enemy ballistic missiles as they ascend to low earth orbit.

Navy Investigating USS Louisiana Nuclear Submarine Collision into MSC Ship
USNI News

The Navy is still determining the level of damage incurred on a nuclear ballistic missile submarine and a Military Sealift Command support vessel following a collision last week, service officials told USNI News on Monday.

OPINIONS

The Second Coming of MIRVs: The Future of Strategic Arms Competition
War on the Rocks, Sameer Lalwani, Travis Wheeler

The second coming of MIRVs contains broader implications for international security. Whether MIRV developments escalate into arms races over the next decade will depend on the influence of five critical variables: perceptions, doctrine, management, deliberations, and costs.

The dangers of no-first-use
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Franklin Miller, Keith Payne

The spectrum of military threats to the United States and our allies has expanded considerably as Russia and China have pursued military buildups and aggressive policies in Europe and Asia respectively. US adoption of a no-first-use policy now would only reflect willful US detachment from these global realities, and would be perceived as such by friends and foes alike.

America Must Be Ready to Nuke Back Fast
The National Interest, Gordon Chang

Today, nobody remembers September 26, 1983, and for that we have Lt. Col. Petrov to thank. Yet at this moment the primary nuclear risk is not accidental launch but failure of deterrence, and so the U.S. must leave each potential attacker in no doubt it will be obliterated soon after launching against the American homeland.

Missile proliferation: Treat the disease
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Sitki Egeli

 Missile proliferation is really a symptom of a much deeper ailment—nations' keen interest in weapons of mass destruction, which in turn is a ramification of the maladies that characterize inter-state relations. Efforts to curb missile proliferation—as is always the case when treatments address symptoms and not underlying diseases—can hope to achieve no more than limited success.

'No first use' nuclear pledge bad for US standing in Asia
The Straits Times, Hugh White

The reality is that while it might make perfect sense in the light of new strategic realities, and perhaps even help to move the world towards nuclear disarmament, an NFU declaration would weaken America's standing in Asia by amplifying the message that it no longer has the will to stand up to China.

Nuclear disorder
The News International, Rizwan Asghar

As Pakistan renews its proposal for a bilateral agreement on non-testing of nuclear weapons, the world community remains mum on the issue. This issue has held up progress on the non-proliferation agenda for more than two decades now.

Twisted stance on nuclear weapons
The Japan Times

Two recent developments concerning nuclear weapons highlighted Japan’s twisted position — of advocating the abolition of nuclear arms as the sole nation in history to have experienced atomic attacks while depending on the “umbrella” of the nuclear arsenals of its ally, the United States, for its own security.

SPECIAL INTEREST

Star Trek Phasers May Lead to Missile Defense Breakthrough
Nerdist

Smithsonian Channel has posted a clip from its upcoming special, Building Star Trek, which places the focus on Dr. Rob Afzal, a laser scientist at Lockheed Martin and an unabashed Trekker as well. One of Afzal’s goals is to create “a defensive weapon as powerful as Star Trek‘s phaser.”

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – August 22, 2016

Nuclear Policy News – August 22, 2016

TOP NEWS

Australia attempts to derail UN plan to ban nuclear weapons
The Guardian

S. Korea, US start drills despite N. Korea's nuclear threat
Business Insider

Senator Corker and The CTBT
Arms Control Wonk, Michael Krepon

No, the U.S. Is Not Moving Its Nukes From Turkey to Romania
Foreign Policy

A ‘no first use’ policy’ is safer
The Japan Times, Ramesh Thakur

EAST ASIA

Pyongyang threatens pre-emptive nuclear strike on US-South Korea military drill
International Business Times

North Korea has yet again threatened to mount a pre-emptive nuclear strike on the US-South Korea joint military exercise, which is set to kick off on 22 August. Tens of thousands of South Korean and American troops are already in the Korean peninsula to take part in the two-week-long annual drill.

S. Korea, US start drills despite N. Korea's nuclear threat
Business Insider

South Korea and the United States began annual military drills Monday despite North Korea's threat of nuclear strikes in response to the exercises that it calls an invasion rehearsal. The North's military said in a statement Monday that it will turn Seoul and Washington into "a heap of ashes through a Korean-style pre-emptive nuclear strike" if they show any signs of aggression toward the North's territory.

South Korea to Add More Missiles Capable of Hitting All of North Korea
The Diplomat

According to the sources, Seoul is working on a plan to simultaneously eliminate all North Korean missile bases in the event of a conflict. “To accomplish this, the South needs more ballistic missiles at its disposal,” a government official said in August.

S. Korea condemns Pyongyang for resuming nuclear fuel reprocessing
The Korea Times

South Korea expressed deep concern on Monday over North Korea's resumption of nuclear fuel reprocessing, saying that it is a clear violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions and that it will never tolerate Pyongyang owning nuclear weapons.

Rising threat due to N. Korea missile launches
The Japan News

North Korea is intensifying its military provocations through repeated launches of ballistic missiles. On Aug. 3, a warhead from what appeared to be a Rodong intermediate-range ballistic missile was fired into Japan’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) for the first time. Here, we consider the present state of North Korea’s missile development and the problems it poses for Japan, along with analysis from Hideaki Kaneda, director of the Okazaki Institute and a former admiral in the Maritime Self-Defense Force.

Abe denies conveying concern to U.S. commander over ‘no first use’ nuke policy
The Japan Times

“We had no exchange whatsoever about no first use of nuclear weapons,” Abe told reporters Saturday in Tokyo before boarding a plane to go to Brazil to attend the Rio Olympics closing ceremony. “I have no idea why it was reported that way.”

MIDDLE EAST

Iran releases images of new missile defense system
The Times of Israel

Iran released images of its first domestically built long-range missile defense system on Sunday, a project started when the country was under international sanctions. The system was designed to intercept cruise missiles, drones, combat aircraft and ballistic missiles, according to earlier statements by Dehghan.

RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

US doubts over Trident spark fury
The Times

Alex Salmond reacted angrily after it was revealed that United States diplomats had questioned the SNP’s commitment to the immediate withdrawal of Trident if Scotland had become independent. The former first minister said that anybody who questioned the SNP’s position did not understand the Nationalist movement.

Russia didn’t demand to use İncirlik air base, Turkish PM says
Hürriyet Daily News

Russia had no demands to use İncirlik air base in the southern province of Adana, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım has said, as he commented on a recent report stating that Moscow asked Ankara to use the base.

SOUTH ASIA

Pakistan bids to join Nuclear Suppliers Group
The Korea Herald

Pakistan, one of nine states worldwide to possess nuclear weapons, aspires to be a member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group, an association of 48 nations that oversees the international trade of atomic and atomic-related materials and technologies with a shared commitment to global nonproliferation.

Turkey confirms support for India's membership in NSG
The Economic Times

Turkey on Friday confirmed its support for India's membership in NSG in what is a shot in the arm for the Modi government ahead of key meeting of the group in Vienna in November that would discuss Delhi's case.

MULTILATERAL ARMS CONTROL AND NONPROLIFERATION

Australia attempts to derail UN plan to ban nuclear weapons
The Guardian

Australia has attempted to derail a ban on nuclear weapons at a UN meeting on disarmament, by single-handedly forcing a vote on a report that had been expected to pass unanimously. The report, which recommended negotiations begin in 2017 to ban nuclear weapons, was eventually passed by 68 votes to 22.

U.N. panel backs starting negotiations to ban nuclear weapons
The Japan Times

A U.N. working group on nuclear disarmament on Friday adopted a report recommending to the General Assembly that negotiations to outlaw nuclear weapons begin in 2017. The report, adopted on the last day of discussions at the U.N.’s European headquarters, says widespread support exists among member states for the start of the negotiations.

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

No, the U.S. Is Not Moving Its Nukes From Turkey to Romania
Foreign Policy

An obscure website published a vague report Thursday making the dramatic claim that relations between Washington and Ankara had deteriorated so badly that the United States had begun moving nuclear weapons from Turkey to Romania. The problem is that there doesn’t seem to be any basis at all for the report, which alleged B61 nuclear weapons were on their way to Romania’s Deveselu base.

A look at America's top missile defense systems
Business Insider

The THAAD, Patriot, and Aegis platforms are America's top missile-defense systems, using powerful radars, an advanced network of sensors, and missiles that can hunt incoming targets. Here's a brief look at how these systems create a layered defense against enemy ballistic missiles.

OPINIONS

Senator Corker and The CTBT
Arms Control Wonk, Michael Krepon

Senator Bob Corker, the Republican Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, has taken issue with the Obama Administration’s decision to co-sponsor a UN Security Council Resolution and a companion P-5 statement reaffirming national moratoria against nuclear testing. This non-legally binding initiative would also urge the Treaty’s entry into force, now delayed for two decades, as well as funding for the global monitoring and data-sharing system established by the CTBT Organization in Vienna.

Why the Ayatollah Thinks He Won
The Wall Street Journal, Jay Solomon

The U.S. hoped that the nuclear deal would boost Iran’s moderates, but after more than a year, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and his allies seem to be the big winners.

Will states acquire nuclear weapons to deter regime change by US?
Asia Times, Christina Lin

America’s senseless pursuit of regime change has destroyed lives and ruined nations in the Middle East and Africa. Drawing lesson from what had happened to former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, countries blacklisted by Pentagon will now go nuclear like North Korea and Pakistan to prevent US from toppling their governments.

A ‘no first use’ policy’ is safer
The Japan Times, Ramesh Thakur

A no first use policy no more guarantees non use than a first use policy guarantees use. But a no first use nuclear policy does lower nuclear temptations, deepens strategic stability and reduces nuclear threats by comparison to first use. Few real risks, some significant strategic benefits: a small step forward for Obama, a giant leap for humanity. A no first use nuclear policy should be a no brainer.

Why Did Australia Try to Block a Ban on Nuclear Weapons at the UN?
VICE, Katherine Gillespie

The Australian Government says pushing for a ban alone "would divert attention from the sustained, practical steps needed for effective disarmament" because it doesn't engage countries with nuclear weapons, or address the underlying reasons why they believe they need nuclear weapons to be safe. "We need to create an environment where all countries, including the nuclear-armed states and those who rely on their nuclear umbrellas, believe themselves to be more secure without nuclear weapons."

SPECIAL INTEREST

How John Hersey's Hiroshima revealed the horror of the bomb
BBC

At the end of this month 70 years will have passed since the publication of a magazine story hailed as one of the greatest pieces of journalism ever written. Headlined simply Hiroshima, the 30,000-word article by John Hersey had a massive impact, revealing the full horror of nuclear weapons to the post-war generation.

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – August 19, 2016

Nuclear Policy News – August 19, 2016

TOP NEWS

Why Obama should declare a no-first-use policy for nuclear weapons
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Ramesh Thakur

US ‘No First Use’ Pledge Would Degrade Allied Defense
Daily Signal, Bruce Klingner

Neglecting nuclear security in the 2016 election
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Jeff Murphy, Chris Kruckenberg

The Stolen Soviet Tech in SOCOM’s New Missile
Defense One

IAEA holds first nuclear security school in Egypt
World Nuclear News

EAST ASIA

Japan, S. Korea oppose Obama’s push for ‘no first use’ nuke pledge
The Asahi Shimbun

Japan and South Korea have expressed alarm over a potential landmark declaration by vital ally United States of a “no first use” nuclear weapons policy, in light of repeated nuclear and missile tests by North Korea. But scores of former top government officials of Japan, Australia and other nations in the Asia-Pacific region are endorsing President Barack Obama’s drive to pledge that the United States will not be the first to use nuclear weapons.

Seoul conducts massive military drill as North Korea condemns U.S. bombers
UPI

South Korea conducted a massive artillery drill near the demilitarized zone in a bid to warn the North against any future provocations as Pyongyang slammed the United States for deploying stealth bombers to Guam. The South Korean exercises were held Thursday, a day prior to the one-year anniversary of North Korean shelling that took place after Kim Jong Un declared a "quasi-state of war" last August.

MIDDLE EAST

Egypt Can't Make Up Its Mind about Iran's Nuclear Program
The National Interest

Egypt’s attitude toward Tehran’s nuclear project has differed from that of Saudi Arabia and Israel in ways that make it complex and occasionally contradictory. Egypt’s ambivalence toward nuclear energy in general and nuclear weapons in particular goes a long way toward explaining this complexity.

RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

Russia Test Fires Nuclear-Capable Ballistic Missile in Far East
The Diplomat

The Russian military has test fired the short-range nuclear-capable 9K720 Iskander-M (NATO reporting name SS-26 Stone) ballistic missile during a large-scale military exercise in Russia’s Far East this week, according to local media reports.

SOUTH ASIA

NSG top of mind as India may host New Zealand Prime Minister John Key in October
The Economic Times

India is in talks for a visit by New Zealand Prime Minister John Key, possibly in early October, with an eye on securing support for membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group ahead of its Vienna meeting in November. New Zealand, an NSG member, had raised questions about India's entry into the exclusive club, based on its stand that only signatories of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty are eligible to join the group. India hasn't signed the NPT treaty.

MULTILATERAL ARMS CONTROL AND NONPROLIFERATION

IAEA holds first nuclear security school in Egypt
World Nuclear News

Young professionals from 14 countries attended the first Arabic-language international school on nuclear security held in Cairo, Egypt as part of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) efforts to promote awareness of nuclear security amongst young professionals.

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

10 of the Longest-Serving U.S. Combat Weapons
Scout

The B-52 was designed to deliver nuclear weapons against the Soviet Union during the height of the Cold War. Despite never having to conduct this mission, the B-52 has been the workhorse of conventional bombing campaigns for more the 60 years. The Minuteman intercontinental ballistic missile has served as part of the U.S. nuclear triad since entering service in 1962.

The Stolen Soviet Tech in SOCOM’s New Missile
Defense One

U.S. Special Operations Command has Dynetics building a new small bomb with technology copied from Soviet intercontinental ballistic missiles, called the Small Glide Munition. The technology is called grid fins, which are lattice-like structures that fold out from the bottom of a rocket, bomb, or missile and steer it toward a target. “If we hadn’t been in the reverse engineering business, we wouldn’t have been able to exploit a particular technology,” said Steve Cook, the firm’s VP of corporate development.

OPINIONS

Why Obama should declare a no-first-use policy for nuclear weapons
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Ramesh Thakur

The world currently faces two existential threats: climate change and nuclear Armageddon. Those who doubt the existence of the first are generally derided as denialists, while those who play down the likelihood of the second are generally praised as realists.

US ‘No First Use’ Pledge Would Degrade Allied Defense
Daily Signal, Bruce Klingner

That a critically important ally is contemplating the necessity of replacing the U.S. nuclear guarantee and several allies have expressed concerns over the ramifications to their security of a U.S. no first use pledge is worrisome. The U.S. should be taking steps to affirm its unwavering commitment to its allies rather than calling it into question.

North Korea’s Sanctions Luck
The Wall Street Journal

North Korea confirmed Wednesday that it has restarted plutonium production for its illicit nuclear weapons program, which is no surprise. What’s harder to answer is why the U.S. hasn’t sanctioned a single Chinese entity involved in the various weapons, goods and money-laundering rackets that sustain the Kim regime.

Why We’ve Never Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
Slate, Mike Pesca, Dan Zak

Are the nation’s most dangerous warheads secure if a rag-tag troika of peaceniks can break through the storage facility’s back door? On The Gist, Washington Post reporter Dan Zak considers the good and not-so-good arguments for nuclear weapons.

Neglecting nuclear security in the 2016 election
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Jeff Murphy, Chris Kruckenberg

Regardless of who the next president is, progress made on nuclear security under Obama needs to continue. Two interns should not be the only ones raising these questions; would-be leaders owe all of us some explanation as to how they would facilitate this process, especially those who would be president. So, candidates: What keeps you up at night, and what are you going to do about it?

Abe should be backing Obama’s ‘no first use’ nuclear proposal
The Asahi Shimbun

Japan, which has first-hand experiences of the ravages of nuclear attacks, should never take action that hinders any global trend toward a world without nuclear weapons. Japan’s foreign policy should be focused on efforts to realize a security system not dependent on the nuclear umbrella. Tokyo should declare its will to pursue that goal and hold serious negotiations with Washington to achieve it.

SPECIAL INTEREST

Yorkshire Air Museum gifted Cold War bomber by French
BBC

The 31-tonne Dassault Mirage lVA was gifted to Yorkshire Air Museum, in Elvington, and is expected to go on display later this year. "This is the first time that a strategic nuclear bomber has been gifted directly to an independent museum of a different nation, and reflects the reputation of the museum and its close connections with the French Air Force," he said.

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – August 18, 2016

Nuclear Policy News – August 18, 2016

TOP NEWS

Pentagon: We’re Closer Than Ever to Lasers That Can Stop Iranian, North Korean Missiles
Defense One

Looking from space for nuclear detonations
Phsy.org

Obama's Dangerous Drive to Ban Nuclear Weapons Testing
The National Interest, Stephen Rademaker

To Address Nuclear Threat, We Must Talk To North Korea
Huffington Post, Lee H. Hamilton

The Looming Extinction of Humankind, Explained
VICE

EAST ASIA

US: North Korea shrinks warning time for nuclear attack on America
CNN

The US government is increasingly concerned that advances in North Korea's weapons program have dramatically decreased the warning time for a nuclear attack on America or its allies, according to US officials.

N. Korea threatens attacks on US military bases in Pacific over bombers deployment
The Korea Herald

North Korea denounced the United States' forward deployment of additional nuclear bombers to Guam on Wednesday, threatening that American military bases in the Pacific region will face "ruin" in the event of reckless acts.

US: N. Korean Plutonium Reprocessing Violates UN Resolutions
Voice of America

The United States expressed fresh concern about North Korea after Pyongyang indicated renewed nuclear activity that would allow it to churn out at least enough plutonium for one bomb annually.

S. Korea in talks with allies to counteract N. Korea's plutonium production
Yonhap News

South Korea is in discussions with its allies on how to counteract North Korea's claimed resumption of weapons-grade plutonium production, a government official said Thursday.

MIDDLE EAST

Arab States Won't Demand Vote on Israel's Nuclear Arms at IAEA Conference in September
Haaretz

The Arab states, led by Egypt, plan to refrain this year from seeking a vote on a resolution regarding the oversight of Israel’s nuclear facilities during the International Atomic Energy Agency’s general conference next month, according to a cable sent to several Israeli embassies abroad, whose contents reached Haaretz.

RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

Bucharest Denies Reports That U.S. Is Moving Nukes From Turkey To Romania
RFE/RL

The Romanian Foreign Ministry has rejected media reports that the United States was moving nuclear weapons from a base in Turkey to one in Romania. The ministry's August 18 statement said it "firmly dismisses the information." The website Euractiv.com published a report citing two unidentified sources saying that the United States had started transferring nuclear weapons from Turkey's Incirlik air base to the Deveselu air base in Romania.

MULTILATERAL ARMS CONTROL AND NONPROLIFERATION

Looking from space for nuclear detonations
Phsy.org

From the start, GPS satellites were seen as an ideal platform to look for nuclear detonations. Gomez said the sheer numbers planned meant there always would be many GBD systems in space, a detection redundancy highly prized during the Cold War. Today, GPS satellites are important for treaty verification and countless civilian uses, including timing signals for communications networks, financial markets and power grids, ship navigation and even pinpointing where crops might need more water or fertilizer.

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

Pentagon: We’re Closer Than Ever to Lasers That Can Stop Iranian, North Korean Missiles
Defense One

The Pentagon is looking to lasers as a cheaper, more effective way to shoot down long-range missiles fired at the United States by North Korea and Iran. After experimenting with the technology for more than a decade, U.S. military officials said “directed energy” is near the point where they could use it on the battlefield.

OPINIONS

Obama's Dangerous Drive to Ban Nuclear Weapons Testing
The National Interest, Stephen Rademaker

The Senate wisely chose in 1999 not to foreclose the possibility of testing America’s nuclear weapons if necessary to maintain confidence in their reliability. It is not only constitutionally dubious, but also dangerous, for Obama to ask the UN Security Council to supersede that judgment.

To Address Nuclear Threat, We Must Talk To North Korea
Huffington Post, Lee H. Hamilton

For the United States, North Korea’s nuclear program should be cause for alarm but not panic. We can’t do much to influence such an isolated country, but we should not ignore the options we do have. We urgently need to pursue a political process aimed at freezing North Korea’s nuclear weapons program. And like it or not, we can’t solve the problem of a nuclear-armed North Korea without talking to them.

SPECIAL INTEREST

The Looming Extinction of Humankind, Explained
VICE

While nuclear weapons constitute the greatest current risk to human survival, they may be among the least of our concerns by the end of this century. Why? Because of the risks associated with emerging fields like biotechnology, synthetic biology, and nanotechnology. The key point to understand here is that these fields are not only becoming exponentially more powerful, but their products are becoming increasingly accessible to groups and individuals as well.

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – August 17, 2016

Nuclear Policy News – August 17, 2016

TOP NEWS

Mutually Assured Benefit: Why America Must Stay in Korea
The National Interest, Khang Vu

Stop whining about North Korea
The Korea Times, Doug Bandow

Cold War relic or necessary evil? U.S. ‘no first use’ nuclear proposal stirs divisions in Asia
The Japan Times, Jesse Johnson

Pakistan offers nuclear non-testing agreement to India
The Indian Express

Air Force Ballistic Missile Upgrade Said to Be Stalled Over Cost
Bloomberg

EAST ASIA

North Korea says it has resumed plutonium production: Kyodo
Reuters

North Korea says it has resumed plutonium production by reprocessing spent fuel rods and has no plans to stop nuclear tests as long as perceived U.S. threats remain, Japan's Kyodo news agency reported on Wednesday.

MIDDLE EAST

Iran Post-Sanctions: Oil Surges, People Still Suffer
Bloomberg

It's been 13 months since Iran struck a nuclear deal with six global powers. Has it led to greater stabilization in the Middle East? Oil output is nearing pre-sanction levels, but Iran's President Hassan Rouhani is under a lot of pressure to improve the standard of living ahead of the May 2017 election. In an interview with Bloomberg TV Canada's Rudyard Griffiths, Stratfor analyst Emily Hawthorne explains why the economic benefits of the deal have yet to trickle down to average Iranians.

RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

Modernized Russian bombers will be able to fly in the stratosphere
UPI

At the end of 2016, the Russian Defense Ministry will receive the first delivery of the renewed NK-32 engines for the Tu-160M2 strategic missile-carrying bombers. According to the developers, the new engine will help the plane fly up to the stratosphere at an altitude of 60,000 feet. According to military experts, the Tu-160M2 will be used not only as a deterrent weapon but also for meeting the current challenges of the Defense Ministry.

SOUTH ASIA

Pakistan offers nuclear non-testing agreement to India
The Indian Express

For the second time within a week, Pakistan on Tuesday offered India a bilateral arrangement for not conducting a nuclear test, saying it will send a positive signal to the NSG where both the countries have applied for membership. Pakistan’s offer to India for a bilateral arrangement on non-testing of nuclear weapons was initially announced by the Prime Minister’s Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz on August 12.

MULTILATERAL ARMS CONTROL AND NONPROLIFERATION

Japanese student addresses U.N. Conference on Disarmament, emphasizes inhumanity of nuclear weapons
The Japan Times

Japanese high school student addressed the U.N. Conference on Disarmament in Geneva on Tuesday, stressing the need to pay attention to the inhumanity of nuclear weapons.

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

Air Force Ballistic Missile Upgrade Said to Be Stalled Over Cost
Bloomberg

The U.S. Air Force’s program to develop and field a new intercontinental ballistic missile to replace aging Minuteman III weapons is stalled over Pentagon concerns the service underestimated the cost by billions of dollars, according to a defense official familiar with the program.

Predator Bs Tested for Ballistic Missile Defense
Aviation International News

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI) said it performed a missile-tracking test using two MQ-9 Predator B remotely piloted aircraft during a recent naval exercise in Hawaii. The Pacific Dragon exercise was conducted June 20-28 from the Pacific Missile Range Facility in Kauai, Hawaii.

OPINIONS

Too late to counter missile proliferation?
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

Missiles are a critical component of a country’s nuclear weapons arsenal, which is one reason why concern over missile proliferation is widespread among policy experts. Yet, there is no consensus on how to respond to the WMD missile challenge.

Mutually Assured Benefit: Why America Must Stay in Korea
The National Interest, Khang Vu

The Republic of Korea’s economic miracle story of the late twentieth century has often been hailed as strong evidence of the United States’ success with its post–World War II East Asia policy. Washington’s security commitment to Seoul has undeniably provided a strong foundation for the latter to survive and thrive on a divided peninsula, whose peace is under constant threats from both sides of the DMZ.

Why the U.S.-South Korea Missile Shield Could Provoke China to Develop Advanced Weaponry
Huffington Post, Ian Armstrong

Regardless of the Pentagon’s intentions, the Chinese perceive the agreement on THAAD as a demonstration that the United States does not value strategic stability with China. Beijing will be motivated to restore its nuclear and ballistic credibility by developing missile technologies that make the AN/TPY-2’s early warning potential irrelevant.

Stop whining about North Korea
The Korea Times, Doug Bandow

Washington long has told the rest of the world what to do. But the world usually pays little attention. When ignored, U.S. officials typically talk tougher and louder, with no better result. That describes American policy toward North Korea. It would be better for Washington to say less than frantically denounce every provocation.

Blowing Up America's Nuke Policy
U.S. News & World Report, James Robbins

President Barack Obama is considering making a "no first use" declaration regarding U.S. nuclear weapons. Under this framework, it would be the policy of the United States not to resort to using nuclear weapons in a potential crisis unless another country did first. This is widely seen as a legacy move in the final months of Obama's presidency, a way to cement his anti-nuclear reputation in history.

Cold War relic or necessary evil? U.S. ‘no first use’ nuclear proposal stirs divisions in Asia
The Japan Times, Jesse Johnson

As Obama weighs a change in strategic doctrine in the coming days and weeks, to declare that the U.S. would never be the first to use nuclear weapons, Asian security experts, academics and top officials across the globe remain divided over the issue: Is maintaining the first use option an outdated Cold War relic or a necessary evil, crucial for protecting American allies on the continent?

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – August 16, 2016

Nuclear Policy News – August 16, 2016

TOP NEWS

Obama’s Last Chance to Terminate US Nuclear Policy (Thanks to Trump)
Defense One, Joe Cirincione

Will South Korea go nuclear?
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Robert Einhorn, Duyeon Kim

The Outdated Arguments Against National Missile Defense That Could Get Us All Killed
The National Interest, Loren Thompson

Stop Eating the Seed Corn: The Growing Squeeze on Missile Defense R&D
Defense News, Thomas Karako

US Debated Deploying Nuclear Weapons in Iceland
Iceland Review

EAST ASIA

Top U.S. Army General Seeks to Assure China on Missile Defense System
The Wall Street Journal

The U.S. Army’s top general, on a swing through Asia this week, stopped here to meet his counterpart and assure the Chinese military that a deployment of a controversial missile defense system in South Korea didn't amount to a threat to China.

After THAAD, What's Next in South Korea's Missile Defense Plans?
The Diplomat

South Korea is considering fitting its Sejong the Great-class guided missile destroyers with the Raytheon Standard Missile-3 ballistic missile defense system. South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reports that the United States and South Korea will begin discussing the transfer soon.

South Koreans shave heads in protest at THAAD anti-missile system
BBC

More than 900 South Koreans have shaved their heads in a show of protest at the US anti-missile system to be installed in the south-eastern Seongju region. Residents have expressed opposition to the plan, saying it makes Seongju a potential target.

Abe tells U.S. of Japan’s concerns over ‘no first use’ nuke policy being mulled by Obama
The Japan Times

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has expressed concern over the possible nuclear weapons policy of “no first use” being considered by the Obama administration, according to a column in the Monday edition of the Washington Post.

MIDDLE EAST

US government sued over aid to ‘nuclear’ Israel
RT

A Washington DC non-profit group is suing the US government challenging its authority to provide Israel with foreign aid, arguing that its status – a nuclear power which didn’t sign the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty – means that aiding it contravenes US law.

RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

Russia Building New Underground Nuclear Command Posts
The Washington Free Beacon

Russia is building large numbers of underground nuclear command bunkers in the latest sign Moscow is moving ahead with a major strategic forces modernization program. U.S. intelligence officials said construction has been underway for several years on “dozens” of underground bunkers in Moscow and around the country.

Report Questions Necessity of Nuclear Weapons in Europe
Defense News

Citing both costs and security concerns, a new report questions whether the US should continue to keep tactical nuclear weapons in Europe. The report from the Stimson Center also argues that the US should curtail its planned refresh of the B61 nuclear weapon to only those needed to arm the new B-21 long range strike bombers, rather than procure enough weapons for use on fighter jets, in part because of the small likelihood that tactical nuclear weapons would ever be used in a conflict.

SOUTH ASIA

Indian Inclination Towards Uranium Ores
Eurasia Review

Indian aspirations of uranium treasury could be best seen in the statement made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi who described uranium as “not just a mineral but an article of faith for India.” The on-going uranium sales to India is at its peak since 2005 right after the US announced its budding strategic partnership with India.

Over NSG, India Is Its Own Rival
Modern Diplomacy

Despite support from the US, India could not get Nuclear Suppliers Group membership during the two-day plenary at Seoul in June. New Delhi’s eagerness to gain a seat at the table that controls the global nuclear commerce fizzled and it has tried to place onus of sour grapes on Beijing’s so-called procedural hurdles. This is an untruth.

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

Alarm at Obama wish to ban first nuclear strikes
The Times

A proposal favored by President Obama for the US to pledge never to use nuclear weapons first has alarmed allies, amid fears it might further embolden a belligerent Russia. British officials are believed to have made it known to the White House that they are “deeply opposed” to any move by Mr. Obama to make a no-first-use declaration as part of his legacy. He leaves office in January.

US ponders bomb-grade uranium shipment to Belgium, as critics cite security concerns
RT

The US nuclear regulator is to decide whether to continue supplying highly enriched uranium (HEU) to a Belgian research reactor that produces radioactive isotopes for medicine, but critics have been calling for a switch to uranium not suitable for bombs.

Congress was briefed on possibly moving the US's nuclear weapons from Turkey's Incirlik Air Base
Business Insider

Business Insider previously reported on power being cut to Turkey's Incirlik Air Base during the failed July 15 coup and the situation of some 50 B61 nuclear bombs there, but a new report from the Congressional Research Service shows that Congress was also briefed on the matter. The brief may be the most official confirmation of the location of the bombs on record, and it goes into detail on why and how the bombs are stored.

OPINIONS

Stop Eating the Seed Corn: The Growing Squeeze on Missile Defense R&D
Defense News, Thomas Karako

Over the past fifteen years, missile defense has gone from an idea largely restricted by treaty, to a kind of infancy with initial defensive capability, to what now might be termed a kind of adolescence. Along the way, the combination of several trends has put the Missile Defense Agency budget under increasing but underappreciated strain.

The Outdated Arguments Against National Missile Defense That Could Get Us All Killed
The National Interest, Loren Thompson

Washington spends more money each month defending Afghanistan than it does in a year trying to defend against the one challenge that could destroy American civilization. The reason for this seemingly perverse arrangement of military priorities lies in a series of assumptions about nuclear threats that won acceptance from Western elites during the Cold War. Here are the five most important assumptions shaping official thinking about national missile defense, and what's wrong with them.

Obama’s Last Chance to Terminate US Nuclear Policy (Thanks to Trump)
Defense One, Joe Cirincione

No matter who is elected in November, these weapons and policies pose unacceptable dangers. Obama should do all he can to ensure that no single person will say “hasta la vista, baby” to all of human civilization.

Russian Violations of the INF and New START Treaties
National Institute for Public Policy, Mark Schneider

There is new evidence of possible Russian violations of the INF and New START Treaties. Unfortunately, the Obama administration is not open with the American people about Russian noncompliance, despite the legal requirement under U.S. law, 22 U.S.C. 2593a.

Will South Korea go nuclear?
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Robert Einhorn, Duyeon Kim

North Korea’s fourth nuclear test in January led to renewed calls in South Korea for the country to build its own nuclear arsenal. Comments by high-profile politicians, conservative media outlets, and some academics are a source of much concern in Washington and the international security community. But these highly publicized, pro-nuclear reactions from a small minority provide a misleading impression of the likelihood that the Republic of Korea will actually pursue its own nuclear capability.

Evading the Constitution to Ban Nuclear Tests
The Wall Street Journal, Jon Kyl, Douglas Feith

A future U.S. president could, in effect, unsign the CTBT, but that doesn’t make it proper for Mr. Obama to abuse international legal mechanisms to inflate his executive power at the expense of the Senate. In this particular presidential election season, it’s especially important to show respect, not contempt, for the Constitution.

The Korean compromise to come
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Andrei Lankov

There will be no resolution of the North Korean nuclear impasse as long as denuclearization is cast as the only acceptable solution. Sure, proponents of sanctions and pressure will peddle their arguments for years and even decades to come. Believers in an "Iranian-style" diplomatic solution will do the same. But one can be fairly certain by now that no degree of economic pressure, no economic reward, will persuade North Korean decision makers to surrender their nuclear weapons.

SPECIAL INTEREST

Lager, pretzels and nuclear threats: inside North Korea's first ever beer festival
The Telegraph

North Korea has begun its first ever beer festival in an apparent bid to soften its image following months of bitter dispute with the international community over its nuclear weapons programme. The festival began just days after North Korean leader Kim Jong-un threatened to launch a nuclear strike on the United States, which he accused of attempting to invade the country.

US Debated Deploying Nuclear Weapons in Iceland
Iceland Review

Newly declassified US documents reveal that during the Cold War, US authorities contemplated deploying nuclear weapons in Iceland without alerting Icelandic authorities. The documents, dating back to 1960, show that US Ambassador to Iceland Tyler Thompson opposed all such plans. He expressed his belief that if Icelanders found out about such a deployment, they might leave NATO.

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News - August 15, 2016

Nuclear Policy News – August 15, 2016

TOP NEWS

South Korean Leader Vows Strength on Issues of National Security
Voice of America

Obama Admin Gives Green Light for Iran to Build Two New Nuclear Plants
The Washington Free Beacon

India makes fresh attempt to gain entry into NSG
The Times of India

End the First-Use Policy for Nuclear Weapons
The New York Times, James E. Cartwright and Bruce G. Blair

EAST ASIA

South Korean Leader Vows Strength on Issues of National Security
Voice of America

South Korean President Park Geun-hye defended her decision to deploy the THAAD missile defense system and put new emphasis on North Korean human rights violations during her address to the nation Monday.

MIDDLE EAST

Obama Admin Gives Green Light for Iran to Build Two New Nuclear Plants
The Washington Free Beacon

Iran is permitted to pursue the construction of two newly announced nuclear plants under the parameters of last summer’s nuclear agreement, Obama administration officials informed the Washington Free Beacon, setting the stage for Tehran to move forward with construction following orders from President Hassan Rouhani.

RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

Russia Building New Underground Nuclear Command Posts
Washington Free Beacon

Russia is building large numbers of underground nuclear command bunkers in the latest sign Moscow is moving ahead with a major strategic forces modernization program.

SOUTH ASIA

India makes fresh attempt to gain entry into NSG
The Times of India

India has restarted its diplomatic initiative to gain membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG). On Saturday, the Chinese foreign minister was given a detailed explanation.

OPINIONS

End the First-Use Policy for Nuclear Weapons
The New York Times, James E. Cartwright and Bruce G. Blair

Throughout the nuclear age, presidents have allowed their senior commanders to plan for the first use of nuclear weapons. Contingency plans were drawn to initiate first strikes to repel an invasion of Europe by the Soviet Union, defeat China and North Korea, take out chemical and biological weapons and conduct other missions.

U.S. allies unite to block Obama’s nuclear ‘legacy’
The Washington Post, Josh Rogin

President Obama’s last-minute drive for a foreign-policy legacy is making U.S. allies nervous about their own security. Several allied governments have lobbied the administration not to change U.S. nuclear-weapons policy by promising never to be the first to use them in a conflict.

Better THAAD than Dead
The Japan Times, Richard Weitz

South Korea is moving forward with plans to host an advanced missile-defense system — known as Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD — in partnership with the United States Army. The decision by South Korean President Park Geun-hye has sparked controversy, with China and Russia objecting, and some commentators predicting the start of a “new Cold War.”

Obama’s Nuclear Test Moratorium Is Common Sense
The National Interest, Daryl Kimball

Twenty years ago, the United States took a leading role in negotiations to ban the practice of conducting nuclear-weapon test explosions, which enables states to prove new and more deadly nuclear-warhead designs. The result was the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, which was opened for signature on September 24, 1996.

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – August 12, 2016

Nuclear Policy News – August 12, 2016

TOP NEWS

New Report Details Why Russia Fears America's (Future) Hypersonic Weapons
The National Interest, Dave Majumdar

Why Russia values a non-nuclear Iran more than higher oil prices
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

Nuclear Supply Chain: DOE Should Assess Circumstances for Using Enhanced Procurement Authority to Manage Risk
U.S. Government Accountability Office

How the U.S. got caught between two nuclear neighbors
Reuters, Jason Fields

Continued Unidentified Activity at Site of North Korea’s Last Nuclear Test
38 North

EAST ASIA

Continued Unidentified Activity at Site of North Korea’s Last Nuclear Test
38 North

Recent commercial satellite imagery from August 4, 2016 shows continued activity at the Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site, specifically at the North Portal, site of North Korea’s fourth nuclear test conducted in January 2016.

Support for THAAD deployment up 6 points to 56%: survey
The Korea Herald

Support for the planned deployment of an advanced U.S. anti-missile defense system in South Korea stands at 56 percent, up 6 percentage points from a previous poll last month, an opinion survey showed Friday.

Park voices concern about national division over THAAD
Yonhap News

President Park Geun-hye on Friday voiced her concern again over national division due to the planned deployment of an advanced U.S. anti-missile system to South Korea, saying there would be "no compromise or concession" over the crucial security issue.

MIDDLE EAST

Why Russia values a non-nuclear Iran more than higher oil prices
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

One of the key questions that remain unanswered more than one year after the signing of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action—the Iran nuclear deal—is why Russia supported it.

RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

Military experts: Modernization of U.S. nuclear forces in Europe no new threat to Russia
UPI

According to Vladimir Dvorkin, a chief researcher at the Institute of World Economy and International Relations, the modernization of U.S. tactical nuclear weapons is a routine process that does not pose new threats to Russia's security.

SOUTH ASIA

Pakistan ready for nuclear non-testing agreement with India: Aziz
The Hindu

Pakistan was ready for an agreement with India on bilateral moratorium on nuclear non-testing, the country’s top diplomat said on Friday. “We have declared a unilateral moratorium on further testing. Pakistan is prepared to consider translating its unilateral moratorium into a bilateral arrangement on non-testing with India,” the Prime Minister’s Advisor on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz said.

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

Nuclear Supply Chain: DOE Should Assess Circumstances for Using Enhanced Procurement Authority to Manage Risk
U.S. Government Accountability Office

DOE, through NNSA, is responsible for ensuring the safety and reliability of the nation’s nuclear weapons stockpile, among other nuclear weapons-related activities. GAO recommends that DOE assess the circumstances that might warrant using the enhanced procurement authority and take additional actions based on the results, such as developing processes to use the authority, if needed, and examining whether resources for doing so are adequate. DOE concurred with the recommendation.

LANL plutonium project called ‘a house of cards’
Albuquerque Journal

The U.S. Government Accountability Office is raising questions about whether a project underway at Los Alamos National Laboratory can meet a mandate to ramp up production of plutonium triggers for nuclear weapons – a key part of the federal government’s effort to modernize the nation’s nuclear arsenal over the next two decades.

Espionage arrest of nuclear engineer fuels US suspicions of Chinese tactics
The Guardian

A string of cases have fueled suspicions in the US and beyond that some Chinese firms will resort to any measures to obtain valuable intellectual property that could give them a technological leg-up.

OPINIONS

New Report Details Why Russia Fears America's (Future) Hypersonic Weapons
The National Interest, Dave Majumdar

Russia is worried that American developments in intercontinental-range hypersonic weapons—known in Pentagon parlance as Conventional Prompt Global Strike—could give Washington the ability to disarm Moscow without resorting to a nuclear first-strike. Meanwhile, the Russians are developing their own hypersonic strategic weapons to ensure their nuclear deterrence remains intact.

Chinese Foot-dragging on North Korea Thwarts U.S. Security Interests
The Heritage Foundation, Bruce Klingner

China has taken encouraging steps, just as it did after each previous North Korean nuclear test. But Chinese compliance lasted only a few months each time, so there is reason for skepticism. The U.S. should not only fully enforce its own laws, but also take steps to induce Chinese enforcement of measures against its ally.

Western Whining Won't Stop North Korea's Nukes
The National Interest, Doug Bandow

It would be better for Washington to say nothing than to frantically denounce every provocation. The United States and its allies typically respond with angry complaints and empty threats, which only encourages the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to provoke again.

How the U.S. got caught between two nuclear neighbors
Reuters, Jason Fields

It's a situation where the United States has interesting choices to make. India and Pakistan are often at each other's throats. Both want U.S. support. Both are allies of necessity for the United States. Both have nuclear weapons.

SPECIAL INTEREST

Entombed Cold War-era US military base may be exposed by climate change
PRI

Camp Century was built in 1959, during the height of the Cold War, to support Project Iceworm — a way to explore the "feasibility of deploying ballistic missiles on rail cars just beneath the surface of the Greenland Ice Sheet," says Colgan, an assistant professor at York University in Toronto. The project was abandoned when scientists discovered the ice sheet was moving more rapidly than previously thought.

Nuclear Bomb Pulses Reveal 400-Year-Old Greenland Shark is World's Longest Living Vertebrate
Nature World News

Greenland sharks, who can live up to 400 years old, have recently broken records as a team of international scientists discovered that this species is officially the world's longest living vertebrate. In order to determine the Greenland sharks' age, scientists used the shark's rate of growth. They also used another very unusual method -- carbon dating from pulses left by nuclear bombs.

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – August 11, 2016

Nuclear Policy News – August 11, 2016

TOP NEWS

The Potential for Radiological Terrorism by al-Qaeda and the Islamic State
The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Michael Eisenstadt, Omar Mukhlis

To reduce missile threats, think outside the silo
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Waheguru Pal Singh Sidhu

U.S. Nuclear Weapons in Europe
Nukes of Hazard, Erin Connolly

Better THAAD than dead
The Korea Herald, Richard Weitz

'THAAD can intercept missiles 100 percent'
The Korea Times

EAST ASIA

'THAAD can intercept missiles 100 percent'
The Korea Times

Vice Adm. James Syring, director of the U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA), said Thursday that his country's advanced anti-missile defense system, scheduled to be deployed in South Korea next year, is capable of shooting down enemy missiles 100 percent of the time.

Are UN Sanctions Against North Korea Working?
Voice of America

It continues to be difficult to gauge the effectiveness of the United Nations sanctions imposed on North Korea in March for conducting its fourth nuclear test and launching a long range rocket earlier this year. While prices for essential goods in the North remain stable, there are reports that business is stagnating at the economic development zones set up to attract foreign investment.

North Korea: U.S. to blame for Pyongyang's nuclear weapons policy
UPI

North Korea blamed the United States on Wednesday for pushing Pyongyang toward becoming a nuclear weapons state, citing sanctions and U.S. nuclear threats as underlying causes.

China's objection to THAAD will not weaken joint int'l efforts to press N. Korea: foreign ministry
Yonhap News

The international community's joint efforts to tighten the screws on North Korea will not be weakened by China's objection to the deployment of an advanced U.S. missile defense system in South Korea, the foreign ministry's spokesman said Thursday.

MIDDLE EAST

No permanent strategic bombers & nukes in Syria but Khmeimim base to be enlarged
RT

Russia’s military base in Khmeimim, Syria, will be converted to make it a permanent site, a Russian senator has said. After various questions are agreed with the Syrian authorities, the base will have extended operational capabilities.

A Year After the Iran Nuclear Deal
USNI News

Whether for or against the deal, a clear-eyed view of the facts leads one to conclude that the JCPOA has reduced the threat of war, or a nuclear arms race, in the region—for the time being at least. A swing to the right in United States or in Iranian politics would most certainly roll back the measurable progress of the past year, and raise the threat of war.

RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

Nuclear espionage charge for China firm with one-third stake in UK's Hinkley Point
The Guardian

The Chinese company with a major stake in the proposed Hinkley Point C nuclear power station has been charged by the US government over nuclear espionage, according to the US justice department.

SOUTH ASIA

Is Pakistan Developing a Naval Launch System?
Quwa

It does not appear that the Pakistan Navy is planning to utilize its surface warships for deterrence purposes. With the purported value of its purchase from China being $4-5 billion U.S., and the inherent low-detectability and low-observability advantages of conventional submarines, one would expect to see Pakistan prioritize a sub-surface deterrence element above that of surface ships.

Russia to develop India’s nuclear power industry
RT

Two years ago Russia and India signed an agreement to construct the NPP’s second stage, including the third and fourth blocks. During Modi’s visit to Moscow in December the sides decided to develop a road map for cooperation in nuclear energy which envisages the construction of 15 nuclear reactors in India, including at the Kudankulam site.

MULTILATERAL ARMS CONTROL AND NONPROLIFERATION

As Japan marks atomic bombings, Abe condemned for inaction
The Japan Times

As Japan marked the 71st anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki this month, the mayors of the two cities urged world leaders to follow in the footsteps of U.S. President Barack Obama’s trip to Hiroshima in May, and act to rid the world of nuclear arms.

The No Nukes Mantra Between Hope and Despair
IDN

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s mantra “No more Hiroshimas - No more Nagasakis - Never again”, chanted to commemorate the anniversaries of the devastating atomic bombings of two Japanese cities has yet to usher in a nuclear-weapon-free world.

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

Air Force 3-Star: Nuclear-Armed Cruise Missile, LRSO, Essential to Saving US Lives & Preventing Major Power War
Scout

Lt. Gen. Jack Weinstein, Deputy Chief of Staff for Strategic Deterrence and Nuclear Integration, said that the emerging Long-Range Stand-Off weapon, or LRSO, is intended to function as a critical element of the US military nuclear arsenal.

OPINIONS

The Potential for Radiological Terrorism by al-Qaeda and the Islamic State
The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Michael Eisenstadt, Omar Mukhlis

So-called dirty bombs would probably not produce large numbers of casualties but could yield big headlines, impose heavy costs, and terrorize more effectively than is possible with conventional explosive devices.

Remarkable achievements: North Korean missile programs are far from bluff
NK News, Uzi Rubin

While skeptics correctly point out that some of their major missiles programs still a long way to go until maturity, they turn a blind eye to the remarkable achievements to date.

Climate science, nuclear strategy, and the humanitarian impacts debate
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, William Ossoff

It is possible that further research could reinforce current assumptions: that long-term climate effects would only result from a major nuclear conflict, one that either involves hundreds of attacks on military targets or the destruction of cities.

U.S. Nuclear Weapons in Europe
Nukes of Hazard, Erin Connolly

Despite NATO’s recent affirmation of its nuclear commitment, the U.S. and NATO should progress towards a conventional dependence that would foster international security while nuclear weapons in Europe are reduced and eventually removed.

To reduce missile threats, think outside the silo
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Waheguru Pal Singh Sidhu

Establishing international norms and instruments to prevent missile proliferation is unlikely to succeed as long as such efforts are seen as discriminatory and lack near-universal adherence. Attempts will also fail as long as missiles, whether conventional or armed with weapons of mass destruction, remain integral to the security of nations.

Better THAAD than dead
The Korea Herald, Richard Weitz

The decision by South Korean President Park Geun-hye has sparked controversy, with China and Russia objecting, and some commentators predicting the start of a “new Cold War.” But China and Russia should welcome THAAD, because it alleviates the need for South Korea or Japan to pursue other defense options, which could include the development of nuclear weapons.

SPECIAL INTEREST

The Secret Race To Get Congo’s Ore That Destroyed Hiroshima
Huffington Post

At the outset of World War II, when the U.S. launched the extraordinarily secret Manhattan Project, uranium from North America and most of the rest of the world was less than one percent uranium oxide, considered inadequate to build the first atom bombs. But there was one mine in the world where, through a freak of nature, the ore contained up to an unheard of 75% uranium oxide: Shinkolobwe mine in the present-day Democratic Republic of Congo.

Bikini Atoll nuke test video declassified on 70th anniversary
RT

The US National Security Archives has declassified previously secret material related to a series of nuclear bomb tests on Bikini Atoll in the Pacific in 1946 that exposed many US servicemen to radiation and left the island uninhabitable forever. 

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – August 10, 2016

Nuclear Policy News – August 10, 2016

 

TOP NEWS

The nuclear mission must stay manned
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Alexander Velez-Green

The History of Stuxnet: The World’s First True Cyberweapon
VICE

The US Military's Ultimate Cold War Missile Could Have Been a Flying Chernobyl
The National Interest

Solar Storm Almost Triggered Nuclear War In 1967 Between US And Soviet Union
International Business Times

U.N. censure of North Korea missile thwarted
Reuters

EAST ASIA

U.N. censure of North Korea missile thwarted
Reuters

The United Nations Security Council has been unable to condemn the launch of a missile by North Korea that landed near Japan because China wanted the statement to oppose the planned deployment of a U.S. anti-missile defense system in South Korea.

US deploys 3 B-2 bombers to Guam amid tensions with N. Korea
The Korea Times

The United States deployed three B-2 stealth bombers to Guam on Tuesday, the Strategic Command said, as tensions are running high on the Korean Peninsula in the wake of North Korea's latest missile launches.

MIDDLE EAST

3 Reasons the Iran Nuclear Deal Is Flaring Up Again
The Fiscal Times

After being briefly out of the spotlight, the nuclear deal the U.S. signed with Iran is once again in the election-year glare. A new rift between the White House and Israel has been ignited, and Tehran hanged a nuclear scientist and alleged spy once, which once again brings scrutiny to Hillary Clinton’s use of email when she was Secretary of State.

Iran Improving Cyber Abilities Since Nuclear Deal, Pentagon Says
Bloomberg

Iran has gradually improved its offensive cyber abilities and developed more advanced ballistic missiles since signing an accord last year to curb its nuclear program, the U.S. Defense Department said.

RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

Ukraine accuses Russia of deploying nuclear weapons carriers near border
International Business Times

Russian and Ukrainian forces are reportedly beefing up their forces in the border region even as Kiev accuses Moscow of mobilizing nuclear weapons carriers. The military build-up has come on the heels of Kiev saying that Russia could invade Ukraine "at any moment".

SOUTH ASIA

As Obama Seeks UNSC Resolution to Support CTBT, India Keeps Its Options Open
The Wire

With India highly unlikely to give any firm commitment to sign the CTBT and China keeping mum on the ratification, Sharma said that during the NSG process India should highlight that it has tested only twice in the last 42 years. “For most of the time, we have not tested. In the same period, others have conducted thousands of tests”.

MULTILATERAL ARMS CONTROL AND NONPROLIFERATION

IAEA stresses differences on nuclear-free Mideast
KUNA

Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Yukiya Amano acknowledged on Tuesday that there hasn't been so far an agreement amongst Middle East countries regarding establishing a zone free of nuclear weapons

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

LANL’s nuclear bomb trigger production questioned
Sante Fe New Mexican

A new report by a congressional advisory agency raises questions about federal efforts to aggressively restart production of nuclear bomb triggers at Los Alamos National Laboratory, saying the plan has shortcomings ranging from the accuracy of cost estimates to uncertainty about the lab’s ability to complete the project.

OPINIONS

The nuclear mission must stay manned
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Alexander Velez-Green

A lot of things can and should be automated—but nuclear bombers are not one of them. Unfortunately, it’s not clear that Moscow agrees. Reports surfaced in July that Russia has begun development of a hypersonic nuclear bomber that can deliver nuclear strikes from outer space. Unnamed officials quoted in the semi-official Russian news organ Pravda say that the bomber will have an unmanned variant.

Diplomacy, Not Force, Was the Best Choice With Iran
The National Interest, Daniel DePetris

The American people are incredibly fortunate to have the most technology superior, professional, knowledgeable and courageous military force on the planet. But before that military is unleashed, America's equally professional and knowledgeable diplomats should expend all their energies to solving the problem

Congress REALLY Shouldn’t Threaten to Cut Funding for Nuclear Explosion Monitors Around the World
UN Dispatch, Mark Leon Goldberg

The technical assessments of an ostensibly neutral UN-body carry a great deal more diplomatic weight in than the conclusions of a national intelligence service, like the CIA, which other countries might suspect in having ulterior motives. A world in which these monitoring stations did not exist (or, if congress makes good on its threat, only work in limited capacity) is a world in which it is harder to detect a nuclear test. And that, in turn, makes for a less safe world.

Lessons of Euromissile crisis
The Korea Times, John Burton

In the early 1980s, Western Europe was engulfed in a political crisis over the U.S. deployment of Pershing II and cruise missiles to counter a move by the Soviet Union to base SS-20 theater ballistic missiles in Eastern Europe. I'm reminded of the lessons that event, known as the Euromissile crisis, holds as South Korea confronts China's opposition over the planned deployment of the THAAD anti-missile system to counter North Korea's nuclear program.

The US has no good defense against cruise missiles — and it's a huge problem
Business Insider, Alex Lockie

Missile defense for the US has traditionally focused on fending off ballistic missiles that arch across the sky and fly in a somewhat predictable path, but recently the proliferation of cruise missiles have created a new threat to the US for which there is no current solution.

SPECIAL INTEREST

The History of Stuxnet: The World’s First True Cyberweapon
VICE

On July 16, 1945, the United States detonated a completely new kind of weapon, the atomic bomb, and changed the world forever. Sometime in 2009, someone launched another completely new kind of weapon. Unlike the one detonated in New Mexico more than fifty years earlier, this wasn’t a physical weapon, but a malicious computer program, a virus or malware. But unlike any other malware before it, it was capable of causing real-world, physical damage.

The US Military's Ultimate Cold War Missile Could Have Been a Flying Chernobyl
The National Interest

It was the perfect airborne death machine—a supersonic drone of nearly unlimited range, loaded with hydrogen bombs zooming around Earth at more than 2,500 miles per hour. To the engineers who worked on its development, it was “technically sweet” and the high point of their careers. Developed between 1957 and 1964, the Supersonic Low Altitude Missile was one of the craziest, deadliest nuclear weapons systems ever pursued.

Solar Storm Almost Triggered Nuclear War In 1967 Between US And Soviet Union
International Business Times

Almost half a century ago, a powerful solar storm disrupted radar and radio communications at the height of the Cold War. Had experts not monitored the sun’s activity at the time, the United States could have ended up with a disastrous military conflict, leading to a nuclear war between the U.S. and the Soviet Union, a new study revealed.

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – August 9, 2016

Nuclear Policy News – August 9, 2016

TOP NEWS

Now’s Not the Time to Lower America’s Nuclear Guard, Mr. President
War on the Rocks, Andrew Shearer

Does the US Need to Adopt a No-First-Use Position to Placate Allies?
The Wire, Michael Krepon

U.S. Nuclear Policy: A Matter for The Next President
Real Clear Defense, Rebeccah Heinrich

Will Nagasaki be the last use of nuclear weapons?
Open Democracy, Rebecca Johnson

US Air Force Wants New City-Killer Nuclear Missiles—to Prevent a War
The National Interest, Kris Osborn

EAST ASIA

Little Activity at North Korea’s Sinpo South Shipyard; Recent Media Reports of New Submarine Pens Nearby Incorrect
38 North

The Yuktaeso-ri Peninsula facility is, however, clearly maritime related and its proximity to the Sinpo South Shipyard strongly suggests that it is associated with that shipyard. If and how this new facility will be associated with the GORAE-class ballistic missile submarine or future ballistic missile submarines is currently unclear. If it is to be associated with those programs, it is more likely to play a maintenance or construction role.

Japan's military on alert to intercept N. Korean missiles
RT

Japan’s first ever female defense minister, Tomomi Inada, has ordered the country's military to be ready to take down any North Korean missiles dangerously approaching national airspace, NHK broadcaster reported. When asked to elaborate on the command by AFP, a Defense Ministry spokesperson declined to do so.

China Backlash Over U.S. Missile Shield Puts North Asia on Edge
Bloomberg

Under the fluent Mandarin speaker’s watch, South Korea had seen improved ties with China, drawn together in part by concern about Japan’s wartime past and the military ambitions of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Now, relations that were hailed by both countries as the best in history have soured, and Park may get a frosty reception in China next month for the Group of 20 summit.

MIDDLE EAST

U.S. Cash Shipment Unrelated to Nuclear-Deal Talks, Senior Iran Official Says
The Wall Street Journal

A $400 million cash payment by the U.S. to Iran early this year, a step toward resolving a dispute over a decades-old arms deal, wasn’t related to nuclear diplomacy occurring around the same time, a senior Iranian official said Monday.

 

Israel ministry ‘clarifies’ the critical comments on Iran nuclear deal
The Indian Express

Israel’s defense ministry on Monday sought to “clarify” controversial comments it made last week criticizing the Iran nuclear deal and likening it to the 1938 Munich agreement with Nazi Germany.

SOUTH ASIA

India to Test Fire Nuclear-Capable Cruise Missile From Fighter Jet
The Diplomat, Franz-Stefan Gady

The Indian Air Force (IAF) will test fire a nuclear-capable BrahMos-A supersonic cruise missile from a Sukhoi Su-30 MKI multirole air superiority fighter jet in November or early December of this year, The New Indian Express reports. The test firing will be preceded by a drop test in August to validate the aircraft’s release mechanism, according to the missile’s manufacturer.

MULTILATERAL ARMS CONTROL AND NONPROLIFERATION

Geneva Conference Moves Ahead to Ban the Bomb
IDN

The final session of the UN nuclear disarmament working group (OEWG) opened in Geneva on August 5, as nuclear abolition campaigners around the world were gearing up for Hiroshima and Nagasaki Day actions.

Nagasaki urges world to draw on wisdom to abolish nuclear weapons
Japan Today

Nagasaki Mayor Tomihisa Taue urged the international community on Tuesday to draw on its “collective wisdom” to realize a world without nuclear weapons, as the southwestern Japan city marked the 71st anniversary of its atomic bombing by the United States in World War II.

For peace: Youth call for end to nuclear weapons
The Express Tribune

Several Global Zero activists marked the 71st anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Lahore on Sunday, calling for an end to the nuclear threat. They organized similar activities in Karachi, Faisalabad and Islamabad.

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

Missile Defense Agency Sees Its Research Focus Drop
Defense News

The Missile Defense Agency’s original mission was to conduct long-term research and development to outpace evolving missile threats, but the agency’s research and development account is shrinking and the funding actually going toward true R&D is a tiny sliver within that account, according to a think tank's deep dive into the budget.

Who Wants To Replace U.S.’s Aging Nuclear ICBMs?
Aviation Week

U.S. defense heavyweights are rallying to the U.S. Air Force’s call for a new-generation intercontinental ballistic missile under the banner of Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD), with Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman already confirming their candidacy for a three-year technology maturation phase.

Obama’s plan to call for U.N. ban on nuclear tests ‘extremely troubling’ to Congress
The Washington Times

President Obama’s plan to call for a United Nations resolution to end nuclear testing is a largely symbolic move that won’t sway North Korea’s belligerence and has further antagonized Congress, analysts say.

OPINIONS

Now’s Not the Time to Lower America’s Nuclear Guard, Mr. President
War on the Rocks, Andrew Shearer

Ronald Reagan detested nuclear weapons and famously almost bargained them away with Mikhail Gorbachev. But he didn’t. Instead his legacy was the peaceful defeat and collapse of Soviet expansionism and the end of the Cold War. A U.S. president today looking to burnish his own legacy would be well advised to follow Reagan’s example and think again.

Does the US Need to Adopt a No-First-Use Position to Placate Allies?
The Wire, Michael Krepon

The time to abandon a first-use posture is after Trump is defeated and while the predicates for a no-first-use posture are moving into place. The time to prepare for this transition is now. Why go to this bother when it will cause consternation in some allied capitals? Because the defense of allies is too important to rest on a fictional construct. And because it is a good idea to curtail dangerous belief systems about the utility of nuclear weapons.

U.S. Nuclear Policy: A Matter for The Next President
Real Clear Defense, Rebeccah Heinrichs

After years now of bipartisan consensus to fully invest in the triad, bipartisan consensus to move forward with the LRSO and GBSD, after the Obama administration maintained a policy of strategic ambiguity in the Nuclear Posture Review, and when the U.S. Senate is definitely opposed to a test ban treaty, the Obama administration should throw in the towel. It has done enough damage and the clock has all but run out.

Will Nagasaki be the last use of nuclear weapons?
Open Democracy, Rebecca Johnson

Though the escalating costs of Trident, democracy and jobs were important in Scotland, the principal argument against Trident was, in the words of Angus Robertson, an "immoral, obscene and redundant weapons system". This, together with the apparent inability of nuclear-armed states to reduce their nuclear dependency of their own volition, is why the majority of UN Member states are now backing multilateral negotiations to commence in 2017 on a globally applicable Nuclear Ban Treaty.

US Air Force Wants New City-Killer Nuclear Missiles—to Prevent a War
The National Interest, Kris Osborn

Nuclear weapons therefore, in some unambiguous sense, can be interpreted as being the antithesis of themselves; simply put – potential for mass violence creates peace – thus the conceptual thrust of nuclear deterrence. It is within this conceptual framework, designed to save millions of lives, prevent major great-power war and ensure the safety of entire populations, that the U.S. Air Force is now vigorously pursuing a new arsenal of land-fired, Inter-Continental Ballistic Missiles, or ICBMs

Legacy quest for a safer world
The Hindu, R. Rajaraman

One does not know which, if any, of these arms control steps the President will decide to take. Presumably when the White House put out word of these proposed changes, it was not done merely to test the waters but with the serious intent of going ahead with at least some of them. That is worth doing even if the measures end up not surviving beyond the Obama presidency. Let the onus of repealing them lie with the incoming leadership.

A complex nuclear situation, in a complicated world
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Robert Gallucci

President Obama said that it was important to commemorate, to mourn, to think about what it must have been like that terrible day in Hiroshima. Today, we should do the same in Nagasaki. Some here may even be able to remember—or, more likely, cannot forget—what it was like so many years ago.

White House Plans to Bypass Senate On Test Ban Treaty
The Foreign Policy Initiative, David Adesnik

With only five months remaining in President Obama’s tenure, the White House is likely to clarify soon how it hopes to address the CTBT issue. In light of competing views within the administration, there is reason to hope that it will continue to favor a cooperative approach, while approaching the U.N. for help with implementing existing agreements, not in order to bypass the Senate.

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – August 8, 2016

Nuclear Policy News – August 8, 2016

 

TOP NEWS

Japan remembers Hiroshima and urges world get rid of nuclear weapons
International Business Times

What would Reagan do? Republicans and the Iran nuclear deal.
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Lawrence J. Korb

The Nuclear Button U.S. Presidents Can Push at Will
Bloomberg, Eric Roston

Iranian nuclear scientist Shahram Amiri executed for treason
BBC

Is the World Creeping Towards a Ban on Nuclear Weapons?
The National Interest

EAST ASIA

Geolocating the June 22 Hwasong-10 Test: The Kalma Firing Position
38 North

While the exact location of the June 22 Hwasong-10 (Musudan) ballistic missile test was not reported by North Korean state media, comparison of the ground photos published and recent commercial satellite imagery indicate that the test took place on the east side of the Kalma International Airport.

Japan remembers Hiroshima and urges world get rid of nuclear weapons
International Business Times

Japan marked the 71st anniversary of the Hiroshima tragedy on 6 August, urging world leaders to work towards ridding the world of nuclear weapons. Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe addressed a crowd of roughly 50,000 people at the Peace Memorial Park where a moment of silence was held in honor of the who were killed.

Abe denies possibility of considering Japan’s possession of nuclear weapons
The Japan News

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Saturday flatly denied the possibility that the country will consider possessing nuclear weapons. “It’s impossible for Japan to possess nuclear weapons or even consider holding them,” Abe told a press conference in Hiroshima where he attended a memorial ceremony on the 71st anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombing of the city.

China: First nuclear security emergency drill held on Sunday
The Indian Express

China has successfully held its first comprehensive nuclear security emergency drill as the country embarks on a major expansion of nuclear power, a civilian ministry has said. Code-named as “Fengbao-2016,” the drill was held to test and improve China’s security-incident response mechanism, the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defence said yesterday.

Pyongyang accuses US of plotting preemptive nuclear strikes, calls bluff
RT

Pyongyang has accused Washington of aligning its nuclear forces closer to North Korea to increase its chances of conducting a pre-emptive strike, as Pacific Air Forces dispatched speedy and low-flying B-1B bombers to Guam for the first time in 10 years. Blaming Washington of becoming “all the more pronounced” to topple the North Korean communist regime by “mobilizing all nuclear war hardware,” Pyongyang warned the US against exacerbating tensions in the region that could ignite a nuclear war.

‘Purely defensive’: Seoul discards China’s concerns over US’ THAAD system
RT

South Korea has defended its decision to allow the US to place Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system on its soil, urging China to drop criticism over the issue and play a bigger role in securing the region from “threats” stemming from Pyongyang.

MIDDLE EAST

Iranian nuclear scientist Shahram Amiri executed for treason
BBC

An Iranian scientist who provided the US with information about the country's nuclear programme has been hanged for treason, the government has confirmed. Shahram Amiri was executed for giving "vital information to the enemy", a judiciary spokesman said.

Nuclear deal allows Iran to access its frozen assets
PolitiFact

Giuliani is right that Iran ranks as the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism. The billions of dollars released to Iran was already Iran’s money, but could only be released with U.S. consent. On the last part of Giuliani’s claim, experts have said it’s difficult to know whether Iran has used any of the money to sponsor terrorist groups.

RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

Trident plans 'in doubt', says government watchdog
Herald Scotland

The UK’s £31 billion programme to replace Trident submarines is in major doubt, according to a high-level government spending watchdog. A report by the Infrastructure and Projects Authority (IPA) to the Treasury and Cabinet Office has warned that the plan to build four new nuclear weapons submarines for the Clyde is in danger because of a number of "major risks in key areas".

Nuclear weapons deal ‘could hold the key to Scotland staying in EU’
The Times

The SNP may be forced to soften its opposition to nuclear weapons as a condition of Scotland’s continued membership of the EU, a leading academic has warned.

SOUTH ASIA

Govt corners Pakistan over Hizbul chief Salahuddin’s nuclear threat
Hindustan Times

Union minister M Venkaiah Naidu lashed out at Syed Salahuddin on Monday for threatening nuclear attack on India. Naidu said the Hizbul Mujahideen chief’s assertion was aimed at gaining publicity and asked Pakistan to seriously ponder whether it was right to encourage such people.

MULTILATERAL ARMS CONTROL AND NONPROLIFERATION

Is the World Creeping Towards a Ban on Nuclear Weapons?
The National Interest

Frankly, nuclear disarmament looks harder now than it did 20 years ago. Much of the first task—some describe it as ‘filling the legal gap’ in the NPT—has turned upon the question of whether the time’s ripe for a treaty banning nuclear weapons. That would be a huge step, made more challenging by the fact that none of the nine current nuclear weapon states seems at all engaged in the UN process.

Countries Which “Value Nuclear Weapons for Their Security” Undermine Progress in Nuclear Disarmament
Center for Research on Globalization

On Friday, 5 August 2016, the open-ended working group (OEWG) to take forward nuclear disarmament negotiations met in Geneva for its third and final session. The first day gave participants the opportunity to share their general views on the Chair’s zero draft of the report before going into more detail during the first collective reading of the report.

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

Navy Builds Nuclear Missile Submarine Tubes
Scout

The Navy has begun early construction and prototyping on a new class of nuclear-armed ballistic missile submarines designed to help ensure global peace by deploying massive destructive power under the sea. The Ohio Replacement Program, a so-called SSBN, is scheduled to begin construction by 2021.

OPINIONS

A Nuclear Legacy Within Reach
The New York Times

There are other legacy-building moves Mr. Obama can take before he leaves office, not least rolling back the Pentagon’s outsize plans to modernize the entire nuclear arsenal over the next 30 years, including aircraft, submarines and warheads, at an estimated $1 trillion. The cruise missile and the intercontinental ballistic missile are just a part of those plans.

What would Reagan do? Republicans and the Iran nuclear deal.
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Lawrence J. Korb

As President Reagan understood, acknowledging that American power is both awesome but still limited by constraints inherent to the international system is not a sign of weakness, but in fact represents the foundation upon which successful statecraft is built. It is long past time for Republicans who worship President Reagan to acknowledge and incorporate this crucial part of his legacy into their understanding of the Iran deal.

The Nuclear Button U.S. Presidents Can Push at Will
Bloomberg, Eric Roston

Despite political obstacles, scientists have made nuclear weapons testing increasingly harmless to humans and the environment. The countries that benefit from such advances, especially those that signed the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, are probably less interested in what the U.S. does about making sure testing stays in the lab than they are about who gets the real nuclear button come November.

Dynamics of No First Use
The Statesman, Neha Kumar Tiwari

The declaration of NFU policy alone by the US would not result in the end of nuclear proliferation. In fact, the conventional domination of the US is an impediment in achieving the process of nuclear disarmament.

Hiroshima and Nagasaki
Japan Today, Jonathan Bethune

There is no single issue that better divides Americans and Japanese than the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Americans believe the bombings were necessary to end a horrific war they did not start. Japanese believe it was an unconscionable war crime. As the 71st anniversary of the bombings comes and goes, it occurs to me that both viewpoints can be correct to a degree.

Israel's Job Number One: Avoiding A Second Auschwitz
The National Interest, Louis René Beres

 Soon, especially if Israel should somehow fail to maintain its essential deterrence posture, certain of Israel's enemies could begin to contemplate effectively genocidal attacks upon the Jewish State. It follows, from all this, that Israel's nuclear strategy could ultimately represent nothing less than the final Jewish bulwark against another Auschwitz.

SPECIAL INTEREST

On the anniversary of Hiroshima, this graphic reveals the power of US nuclear bombs
Business Insider

The nuclear weapons in the US stockpile these days — which still number around 7,200 — are generally smaller, typically in the 100,000-ton range. Modern nuclear weapons are smaller and more easily aimed at strategic targets, creating less collateral damage than the mega bombs could have had.

This is What The Site of Britain's Largest Non-Nuclear Explosion Looks Like 70 Years Later
Gizmodo

The Hanbury Crater, which is around 300 feet deep and around a quarter of a mile in diameter, marks the massive indentation in the landscape, but has also been filled in and reclaimed by the land over time. Since the government claims that there are still live bombs in the facility, entrances have been closed off and there is a gate surrounding the area.

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – August 5, 2016

Nuclear Policy News – August 5, 2016

TOP NEWS

American Nuclear Diplomacy
Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School, Daniel Poneman

America's Nuclear Arsenal Can Stand on Just Two Legs
Bloomberg, Tobin Harshaw

That Time a Defense Contractor Wanted to Load Up 747s With ICBMs
Popular Mechanics

Why the United States did not demonstrate the Bomb's power, ahead of Hiroshima
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Frank von Hippel, Fumihiko Yoshida

Bringing South Asia’s Nuclear Debate Out of the Shadows
BRINK

EAST ASIA

China to the US: You provoked these North Korean missile tests
Business Insider

China, Pyongyang's closest ally, said the missile tests have expanded since the bilateral decision between Seoul and Washington to deploy a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) battery to the region. "If you look at the factors contributing to the tension in the Korean peninsula I think the answer is self-evident," China's UN ambassador, Liu Jieyi, said.

South Korea Fears China Trade Hit Over Missile System
Bloomberg

China’s anger at South Korea for deciding to deploy a U.S. missile shield has officials in Seoul increasingly concerned about the risk of economic retaliation.

NK missile capable of striking western US
The Korea Times

North Korea appears to have secured technology to launch a long-range ballistic missile that can hit the U.S. mainland, according to Japan's latest defense white paper.

What happens to North Korea missiles fired into the sea?
AP

North Korea has fired a barrage of missiles, artillery pieces and rockets into the waters off its east coast, including a medium-range ballistic missile that fell near Japan's territorial waters this week. The launches are meant to test its weapons systems, express anger in times of standoffs with South Korea and the United States, or prove it has the capability to attack its archrivals. But little is known about what happens to those weapons.

US, South Korean Naval Leaders Meet Day after North Fires Missiles
Military.com

The U.S. Navy's top officer told the head of the South Korean Navy on Thursday that the two leaders should communicate "as brothers" amid heightened tensions in the Pacific. Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson met with Adm. Jung Ho-sub of South Korea at the Pentagon during Jung's week-long trip to the United States as both nations participate in the Rim of the Pacific multinational exercise.

MIDDLE EAST

How Safe are US Nuclear Weapons in Turkey?
Voice of America

U.S. B61 nuclear bombs are equipped with "Permissive Action Links" or PALs, which prevent arming and using the weapon without an authorization code. They are kept on special racks, inside secure underground vaults, inside protected aircraft shelters, inside a heavily guarded area, surrounded by two layers of fencing, lighting, cameras and intrusion detection devices, on protected airbases.

The Nuclear Deal is a Chance to Change Iran's Behavior
The National Interest

The years during which the nuclear agreement has kept a distance between Iran and the bomb must not go to waste without bringing about a real change in its policy. The economic achievements so desired by the public in Iran must not help the regime perpetuate its brutality in the regional theater and towards its own public.

RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

What Makes Russia’s New Tu-160M2 Blackjack Supersonic Bomber Special
The National Interest

For the Russian Air Force, the bomber’s payload of cruise missiles is far more important than the bomber itself. The stealthy new Kh-101—which proved itself over Syria—and its Kh-102 nuclear-tipped variant are both designed to penetrate into heavily defended enemy airspace—allowing the bomber to strike from afar.

SOUTH ASIA

Bringing South Asia’s Nuclear Debate Out of the Shadows
BRINK

The leading powers in Southern Asia—India, Pakistan, and China—are engaged in an emerging triangular arms competition, which will intensify in the coming years. While a narrow set of elites, military leaders and defense scientists in India and Pakistan make consequential decisions about developing and inducting nuclear weapons, most of the strategic community, politicians and civil society remain unengaged; apathy is dangerous.

MULTILATERAL ARMS CONTROL AND NONPROLIFERATION

Towards a humanitarian ban on nuclear weapons
International Review of the Red Cross

Over the past six years, a concerted effort by committed States, international organizations and civil society to reframe the international discourse on nuclear weapons around humanitarian considerations has gathered significant support. Momentum is now building towards the negotiation of a treaty to comprehensively prohibit nuclear weapons due to their unacceptable humanitarian consequences.

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

Obama will bypass Congress, seek U.N. resolution on nuclear testing
The Washington Post

President Obama has decided to seek a new United Nations Security Council resolution that would call for an end to nuclear testing, a move that leading lawmakers are calling an end run around Congress.

Debate Over Trump’s Fitness Raises Issue of Checks on Nuclear Power
The New York Times

Is there any check on a president’s power to launch nuclear arms that could destroy entire cities or nations? The short answer is no, though history suggests that in practice, there may be ways to slow down or even derail the decision-making process. No one disputes, however, that the president has an awesome authority.

OPINIONS

American Nuclear Diplomacy
Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School, Daniel Poneman

Today, we face two existential threats: nuclear annihilation and catastrophic climate change. Each stems from human origins. Both must be fought aggressively. In this report, American Nuclear Diplomacy: Forging a New Consensus to Fight Climate Change and Weapons Proliferation, Poneman outlines a diplomatic strategy and tough-minded, bipartisan policies to get us there.

North Korea's nuclear weapons: What now?
Bulletin of Atomic Scientists

This week we begin the third and final round of the Development and Disarmament Roundtable on North Korea as tensions and rhetoric continue to escalate on the Korean Peninsula. Since the beginning of June, three distinguished experts have weighed in on the challenges that dog the international community regarding a nuclear North Korea.

Reinforcing the Taboo on Nuclear Testing is in the United States' National Security Interests
Arms Control Association, Daryl Kimball

The initiative that the administration is seeking, while not legally binding, would have tremendous political value in reinforcing the global norm against testing and reduce the risk that other nations might use nuclear testing to improve or develop nuclear weapons capabilities that threaten U.S. and global security.

America's Nuclear Arsenal Can Stand on Just Two Legs
Bloomberg, Tobin Harshaw

It is possible to have too much of a necessary thing. Case in point is a new plan by the Air Force to spend $62 billion for research and development of new nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missiles to replace the aging Minuteman IIIs now in silos in the northern Great Plains.

America Should Consider Friendly Nuclear Proliferation
Cato Institute, Doug Bandow

There are hints of possible interest in acquiring nuclear weapons in both South Korea and Japan, especially since the rise of Donald Trump. Such a policy shift would be neither quick nor easy. Yet the presumption that the benefits of nuclear nonproliferation are worth the costs of maintaining a nuclear “umbrella” is outdated.

Connecting the Nuclear Dots
Gatestone Institute, Peter Huessy

Iran seeks to do us grave harm, potentially with ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons. The threat warnings are clear and we have strong evidence -- Iran has attacked us repeatedly over the past 30 years But instead of heeding the nuclear missile "dots" that are emerging all around us, we are busy promoting trade with Iran, downplaying its violations of the nuclear deal, simply ignoring its ballistic missile developments and dismissing the growing evidence of its terrorist past.

The need to reform the nuclear weapons launch approval process
The Hill, Rep. Ted Lieu

Congress must work to reduce the structural defects in America’s nuclear launch protocols.  One reform would be to require more people—who are not beholden to the President—to concur prior to launching a nuclear strike, such as the Speaker of the House and the Senate Majority Leader.  It is time to put appropriate checks and balances on the one decision that could annihilate civilization as we know it.

Democratic Deficit and Missile Defense in South Korea
The Diplomat, Katharine H.S. Moon, Andrew I. Yeo

If South Korean citizens continue their fight against THAAD deployment, North Koreans, Chinese, and Russians can use that opposition to press their own criticism against Washington and Seoul. The last thing Washington needs is for the populist and isolationist pockets in the American public to grow partly in response to protests in South Korea and demand retrenchment in U.S. alliance commitments.

Why the US needs to spend $450 billion on nuclear modernization
Business Insider, Alex Lockie

Today, the US relies on a the "nuclear triad" for deterrence, which means they can launch nuclear missiles from silos based on land, submarines based in the sea, and bombers flying in the sky. But that triad is under attack. The argument, mainly emanating from democrats in the House and Senate, is that we should not waste billions on weapons systems we're likely to never use.

Why the United States did not demonstrate the Bomb's power, ahead of Hiroshima
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Frank von Hippel, Fumihiko Yoshida

Would non-use at the end of a brutal total war have created a taboo against the use of nuclear weapons as strong as resulted from the demonstrated horror of their effects against the two Japanese cities? Perhaps not. But, of course, we’ll never know for sure.

Obama’s Nuclear Farewell
The Wall Street Journal

With his time in office winding down, President Obama plans to make a valedictory round of changes to U.S. nuclear weapons policy. The aim is to cement his cherished “Prague agenda,” named for the Czech city where in 2009 he set out his vision for a nuclear-free world. The moves would more likely cement his legacy for arms-control illusions that are producing a new era of nuclear proliferation.

SPECIAL INTEREST

That Time a Defense Contractor Wanted to Load Up 747s With ICBMs
Popular Mechanics

An interesting concept for America's nuclear deterrent recently emerged on the Internet. A former employee for a US defense contractor describes an idea to launch intercontinental ballistic missiles from midair…using a civilian jetliner. The idea was ultimately shelved, but is reminiscent of a current DoD program for conventional weapons.

Hiroshima prepares for A-bomb anniversary; peace activists meet
Japan Today

The Hiroshima city government said Thursday representatives from 91 nations and the European Union are scheduled to attend its annual ceremony on Saturday to commemorate the U.S. atomic bombing in 1945, while peace activists held annual conferences.

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – August 4, 2016

Nuclear Policy News – August 4, 2016

TOP NEWS

As the Iranian nuclear deal loses a crucial backer, is it in danger of disintegration?
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Ariane Tabatabai

America Must Be Ready to Nuke First
The National Interest, Guy B. Roberts

Rethinking Nuclear Deterrence: Korea and No First Use
Union of Concerned Scientists, Gregory Kulacki

Nervous about nukes again? Here’s what you need to know about The Button. (There is no button.)
The Washington Post

A secret group bought the ingredients for a dirty bomb — here in the U.S.
The Washington Post

EAST ASIA

N.K. fires off 2 Rodong missiles, one falls in Japan’s EEZ: military
The Korea Times

North Korea on Wednesday fired off two mid-range Rodong ballistic missiles with one presumed to have landed in waters controlled by Japan, the South Korean military said. The missiles were launched from near the southwestern county of Eunyul at 7:50 a.m., South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said, adding that one of them flew about 1,000 kilometers before falling into Japan’s exclusive economic zone.

Park meets ruling party lawmakers for talks over THAAD
Yonhap News

President Park Geun-hye on Thursday met nearly a dozen lawmakers of the ruling Saenuri Party to solicit their views on the planned deployment of an advanced U.S. anti-missile system to the peninsula, her office Cheong Wa Dae said.

North Korea warns of nuclear race, opposes THAAD deployment
UPI

North Korea again voiced its opposition to the deployment of THAAD on the peninsula. Pyongyang's state-controlled KCNA issued a message from the state's Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland that warned against the placement of the U.S. anti-missile defense system in South Korea.

Conservative lawmakers, inter-Korean experts call for S. Korea's nuke armament
Yonhap News

Conservative lawmakers from the ruling Saenuri Party and inter-Korean relations experts on Thursday called on South Korea to take strong action in the face of growing threats from North Korea, including the acquisition of nuclear weapons for self-defense.

Gov't can consider new site in Seongju for THAAD deployment
The Korea Times

President Park Geun-hye on Thursday said her government can consider deploying an advanced U.S. antimissile system to a new location within the southern county of Seongju rather than an already designated spot, amid strong opposition by residents.

Paradigm-shift vital for N. Korean nuke: Saenuri lawmaker
Yonhap News

South Korea needs to establish its own capabilities to defend itself from Pyongyang's missile provocations, including the option to build its own nuclear weapons, a five-term Saenuri lawmaker said Thursday.

Chinese newspaper's criticism of THAAD not based on objective facts: gov't official
Yonhap News

A recent decision by South Korea and the United States to place an advanced missile defense system on Korean soil is aimed at countering threats from North Korea, a government official said Thursday, saying that it's regrettable to see criticism by a Chinese state-run newspaper not based on objective facts.

MIDDLE EAST

Critics of Iran Nuclear Deal Attack U.S. Cash Payment
The Wall Street Journal

Disclosure of a $400 million cash payment from the U.S. to Tehran at the time four Americans were released in January has reignited a political furor over the Iran nuclear deal, potentially complicating White House efforts to fortify it.

RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

Russia worried less powerful US nuke will be ‘more tempting’ to use
RT

Russia says the global security situation could change after the US National Nuclear Security Administration decided to upgrade its B61 nuclear weapon. Moscow also fears that as the new bomb will be less powerful, there could be greater temptation to use it.

SOUTH ASIA

Instability in Pakistan could impact safety of nuclear weapons: CRS
The Indian Express

Continued instability in Pakistan could impact safety of its nuclear weapons and materials, a latest US Congressional report has said as it described the sale of two nuclear reactors by China to Pakistan a violation of the NSG guidelines.

Supply of nuclear reactors to Pakistan under NSG norms: China
The Hindu

Defending its nuclear cooperation with its close ally Pakistan, China on Thursday said its supply of reactors to Islamabad were in accordance with the principles of NSG and under the supervision of U.N.’s nuclear watchdog.

MULTILATERAL ARMS CONTROL AND NONPROLIFERATION

A secret group bought the ingredients for a dirty bomb — here in the U.S.
The Washington Post

The clandestine group’s goal was clear: Obtain the building blocks of a radioactive “dirty bomb” — capable of poisoning a major city for a year or more — by openly purchasing the raw ingredients from authorized sellers inside the United States.

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

US Air Force Secretary Skeptical of No-First-Use Nuclear Policy
Air Force Times

Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James would be "concerned" if the US implemented a formal no-first-use policy for nuclear weapons, at a time when the White House reportedly is considering such a move.

OPINIONS

Donald Trump, Perhaps Unwittingly, Exposes Paradox of Nuclear Arms
The New York Times, Max Fisher

Donald J. Trump’s remarks on nuclear weapons have brought him, at times, to a question: Why should he be constrained from ever using them? The question has, like so many of Mr. Trump’s comments, sent shock waves. But nuclear experts say it is shocking not just for the statements themselves, but for the uncomfortable truths they expose, perhaps unwittingly, about nuclear weapons.

As the Iranian nuclear deal loses a crucial backer, is it in danger of disintegration?
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Ariane Tabatabai

More than a year after the deal was signed in Vienna, though, Khamenei is increasingly distancing himself from it, this week issuing his harshest criticism yet. In other words, the nuclear deal may be losing its most powerful advocate in Iran, who until now was able to shield moderate President Hassan Rouhani, whose government negotiated the agreement, from critics.

Five Steps NATO Should Take To Deter Russia
The National Interest, Dan Goure

Today, NATO needs forces on the ground, particularly in Eastern Europe and the Baltics that can prevent an early, one-shot victory. Russia cannot fight a large-scale or protracted conventional conflict. Nor can it stand nuclear exchange. Therefore, Moscow must be made to realize that it will have no easy, cheap military victories. The risk of escalation must be on Russia’s back.

America Must Be Ready to Nuke First
The National Interest, Guy B. Roberts

One of the proposals being seriously considered is to declare “no first use” (NFU). This is unwise, inherently dangerous and could very well have the opposite effect by substantially weakening the ability of the United States and its allies to effectively deter aggression.

Rethinking Nuclear Deterrence: Korea and No First Use
Union of Concerned Scientists, Gregory Kulacki

The Korean War is not a minor outlier in the history of nuclear deterrence. It is a defining event that shaped the political and security contours of Asia during the Cold War with a legacy that remains relevant today. The US experience in Korea shows how attempting to use nuclear threats to deter large-scale conventional attacks can fail, and that one of the potential consequences of failure is nuclear proliferation.

Deployment of US THAAD Nuclear Missiles in South Korea Threatens China’s Security
Center for Research on Globalization, Bingxin Li

As tensions mount in the Korean peninsula, it is irreproachable that South Korea wants to pursue a stronger sense of security. However, things will be different if its policy negatively affects the regional strategic balance and undermines the security interests of other countries. South Korea must bear in mind that state-to-state relationships are by no means a game, especially when it comes to security issues involving core national interests.

SPECIAL INTEREST

Nervous about nukes again? Here’s what you need to know about The Button. (There is no button.)
The Washington Post

In a presidential campaign, America confronts its own destructive power and the single person entrusted with it: Whose finger is on the button? Fact check: There is no button. There is a briefcase, though. It follows the president everywhere — onto Air Force One, onto the golf course, onto elevators. Inside is a manual for conducting nuclear war. A how-to, really.

China Makes Song and Dance Over Missile Defense in South Korea
The Wall Street Journal

Seoul’s decision to deploy a U.S. missile-defense system over Beijing’s objections has put one of its biggest assets in the crosshairs: the singing and dancing stars of K-pop. In recent days, the Chinese government has quietly blocked some of South Korea’s up-and-coming actors and singers from attending promotional events in China, where their popularity has been growing.

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – August 3, 2016

Nuclear Policy News – August 3, 2016

TOP NEWS

Latest North Korea missile launch lands near Japan waters, alarms Tokyo
Reuters

The Divide Over the Nuclear Deal in Iran
TIME, Kay Armin Serjoie

Missiles May Shoot Down Korea-China Love Affair
Variety

Iranian President Says World Powers Must Fulfill Nuclear Deal
RFE/RL

US Military's Revolutionary Master Plan To Annihilate Enemy Missiles
The National Interest

EAST ASIA

Latest North Korea missile launch lands near Japan waters, alarms Tokyo
Reuters

North Korea launched a ballistic missile on Wednesday that landed in or near Japanese-controlled waters for the first time, the latest in a series of launches by the isolated country in defiance of United Nations Security Council resolutions.

Tokyo: North Korea can miniaturize nuclear weapons
UPI

Japan is raising concerns about North Korea's nuclear warhead miniaturization capabilities. In its annual Defense White Paper published Tuesday, Tokyo stated there is a possibility North Korea has mastered long-range ballistic missile technology and has developed nuclear warheads that weigh under a ton.

N.K. missile provocation bolsters case for THAAD deployment: foreign minister
Yonhap News

North Korea's latest missile provocation will bolster the case for South Korea and the United States to place an advanced missile defense system on the peninsula as it demonstrates the threats from Pyongyang's pursuit of weapons of mass destruction, Seoul's top diplomat said Wednesday.

Leaders of South Korea, Russia to discuss North Korea’s nuclear program
The Indian Express

South Korea’s president will visit Russia next month to attend an economic forum and discuss North Korea’s nuclear program with President Vladimir Putin, her office said Wednesday.

MIDDLE EAST

Iranian President Says World Powers Must Fulfill Nuclear Deal
RFE/RL

Iranian President Hassan Rohani has criticized world powers for not fulfilling all of their commitments under a historic nuclear deal signed last year. Rohani said on state television on August 2 that the failure to lift all sanctions against Iran had harmed the country's economic growth.

RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

More than 400 government files missing from National Archives
BBC

More than 400 government documents have gone missing from the National Archives in the last four years. They include Foreign Office files from the 1970s on "military and nuclear collaboration with Israel" and a 1947 letter from Winston Churchill.

SOUTH ASIA

Asia’s nuclear stockpile is worryingly growing
Indian Defense Research Wing

China will be the nuclear threat of most concern to New Delhi for at least another decade, the latest report by the Arms Control Association says. Greg Thielmann and David Logan - authors of the report titled The complex and increasingly dangerous nuclear weapons geometry of Asia - say that that the nuclear arsenals and ambitions of India, Pakistan, and China pose significant dangers and deserve more attention.

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

US Military's Revolutionary Master Plan To Annihilate Enemy Missiles
The National Interest

The Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency is now reviewing industry proposals to engineer a next-generation “Star Wars”-type technology able to knock multiple incoming enemy targets out of space with a single interceptor, officials said.

OPINIONS

U.S. Nuclear Weapons in Turkey
Federation of American Scientists, Amy Woolf

The United States could consider moving the weapons to other NATO nations with bases equipped with the vaults needed to store B61 bombs and aircraft that could deliver the weapons in a crisis. However, this move might not only raise concerns about the U.S. commitment to Turkey's defense, but would also require the approval of the new host government.

The Divide Over the Nuclear Deal in Iran
TIME, Kay Armin Serjoie

The Iran nuclear deal has emerged as a point of contention in the U.S. presidential election, with Republican candidate Donald Trump saying the deal has been “disastrous” for the U.S., even as Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton has vowed to uphold it. But the deal is controversial in Iran as well.

Imminent danger of no first use policy
Center for Security Policy, Peter Huessy, Keith Payne

In this podcast, Peter Huessy and Dr. Keith Payne discuss the implications of a “no first use” policy in the context of a variety of nuclear issues ranging from North Korea, Iran, Russia, arms control, etc.

SPECIAL INTEREST

Missiles May Shoot Down Korea-China Love Affair
Variety

The love-in between the Chinese & Korean film and TV industries that has fueled dozens of remakes and the inclusion of a token K-pop idol in multiple Chinese shows, may be taking an enforced relationship break. Multiple sources point to the action as a Chinese reprisal against South Korea for agreeing to the deployment of the U.S.-made Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-missile system.

Chernobyl Nuclear Zone to Become World's Largest Solar Power Farm
Big Think

The site of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear plant’s reactor explosions, which caused dozens of deaths, thousands of contaminations, and a no-humans-allowed zone around the sarcophagus containing the radiation-spewing reactor, might be turned into the world’s largest solar plant.

Every baby born in 2016 contains atom bomb radiation — here's why
Tech Insider

Nuclear explosions produce radioactive substances that are rare in nature — like carbon-14, a radioactive form of the carbon atom that forms the chemical basis of all life on earth. Once released into the atmosphere, carbon-14 enters the food chain and gets bound up in the cells of most living things. There's still enough floating around for researchers to detect in the DNA of humans born in 2016. If you're reading this article, it's inside you.

Read more…

Monday's Top Nuclear Policy News

TOP NEWS

The nuclear weapons debate we need
The Washington Post, Editorial Board

THAAD seen through eyes of China, Russia, US
The Korea Times, Oh Young-jin

Boeing's Art of the Iran Deal
Foreign Affairs, Omar S. Bashir, Eric Lorber

Iran deploys long-range missiles to Fordo nuclear site
The Times of Israel

Why the International Day Against Nuclear Tests Is Special This Year
TIME, Julia Zorthian

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