Nuclear Policy News

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Nuclear Policy News - December 2, 2016

Nuclear Policy News – December 2, 2016

TOP NEWS

China says new North Korea sanctions not meant to harm ‘normal’ trade
Reuters

Senate Votes to Extend Iran Sanctions Authority
The New York Times

Iran says U.S. extension of sanctions act violates nuclear deal
Reuters

Donald Trump to face questions about modernizing America’s nuclear arsenal
CBSNews

EAST ASIA

U.N. slaps new sanctions on North Korea to slash cash from exports
Reuters
The U.N. Security Council imposed new sanctions on North Korea on Wednesday aimed at cutting its annual export revenue by a quarter, after Pyongyang carried out its fifth and largest nuclear test so far in September.

China says new North Korea sanctions not meant to harm ‘normal’ trade
Reuters
New U.N. Security Council sanctions on North Korea, imposed after its fifth and largest nuclear test in September, are not intended to harm "normal" trade with the isolated country nor affect civilians, China's Foreign Ministry said on Thursday.

South Korea, Japan impose new unilateral sanctions on North Korea
Reuters
South Korea and Japan said on Friday they would impose new unilateral sanctions on North Korea over its nuclear and ballistic missile programs, following a fresh U.N. Security Council resolution imposed on the reclusive country this week.

MIDDLE EAST

Senate Votes to Extend Iran Sanctions Authority
The New York Times
The Senate voted unanimously on Thursday to extend the president’s authority to impose sanctions on Iran for another decade, a largely symbolic move intended to keep pressure on Tehran to abide by the landmark nuclear accord struck last year.

Iran says U.S. extension of sanctions act violates nuclear deal
Reuters
Iran threatened on Friday to retaliate against the U.S. Senate's vote to extend the Iran Sanctions Act (ISA) for 10 years, saying it violated last year's deal with six major powers that curbed its nuclear program.

SOUTH ASIA

‘Surgical Strikes’ as Doctrinal Shift? Pakistan Is Already Adapting Its Responses
The Wire
The “surgical strikes” carried out by the Indian army’s special forces in response to attacks on military bases at the border towns of Pathankot and Uri generated a large volume of literature projecting the move as a “doctrinal shift” that would deter Pakistan from waging a sub-conventional war on India.

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

Donald Trump to face questions about modernizing America’s nuclear arsenal
CBSNews
For all the concerns raised in the presidential campaign about Donald Trump’s fitness to command America’s nuclear arsenal, the immediate questions he’s likely to face as president aren’t about launching these weapons, but modernizing them.

OPINIONS

China and Its Neighbors: A Delicate Balance
The National Interest, Liu Xuejun and Liu Jun
No one country in today’s world has as many neighbors as China does. China’s vast territory is bounded by fourteen overland countries and six maritime ones, rendering it extremely difficult to be a good neighbor to all.

No one can stop President Trump from using nuclear weapons. That’s by design.
The Washington Post, Alex Wellerstein
When Trump takes office in January, he will have sole authority over more than 7,000 warheads. There is no failsafe. The whole point of U.S. nuclear weapons control is to make sure that the president — and only the president — can use them whenever he decides to do so.

Who Killed the US-Russia plutonium agreement, and does it really matter?
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Darya Dolzikova
In early October, the Kremlin decided to suspend its implementation of the Plutonium Management and Disposition Agreement, which called for the bilateral elimination of American and Russian excess plutonium stocks.

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News - November 30, 2016

Nuclear Policy News – November 30, 2016

TOP NEWS

Draft U.N. resolution, backed by China, targets North Korea coal and metal exports
The Japan Times

U.S. Senate to vote on Iran sanctions renewal this week
Reuters

UK nuclear fusion lab faces uncertain future
BBC News

An India-Pakistan Crisis: Should We Care?
War on the Rocks, Moeed Yusuf

EAST ASIA

Draft U.N. resolution, backed by China, targets North Korea coal and metal exports
The Japan Times
North Korea faces a sharp cut in coal exports under a United Nations Security Council resolution that’s aimed at punishing Kim Jong Un’s regime for a September nuclear test by cutting off his government’s few sources of hard currency.

Nuclear envoys of Korea, US and Japan likely to meet in Dec.
The Korea Herald
Nuclear envoys of South Korea, the United States and Japan are moving to hold talks next month in Seoul to discuss cooperation in dealing with the growing nuclear threat from North Korea, diplomatic sources said Wednesday.

China military says it’s seriously concerned by Japan-South Korea pact
Reuters
China's Defence Ministry on Wednesday expressed serious concern about South Korea and Japan signing a military intelligence pact to share sensitive information on the threat posed by North Korea's missile and nuclear activities.

MIDDLE EAST

U.S. Senate to vote on Iran sanctions renewal this week
Reuters
The U.S. Senate will vote this week on a bill that would renew sanctions on Iran for 10 years, Senator Mitch McConnell, the chamber's Republican leader, said on Tuesday in remarks as he opened the daily session.

RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

UK nuclear fusion lab faces uncertain future
BBC News
The Culham Centre for Fusion Energy near Oxford is largely funded by the EU and dozens of its scientists come from outside the UK. Since the vote for Brexit, many at the centre have become "extremely nervous" amid uncertainty about future financing and freedom of movement.

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

C.I.A. Chief Warns Donald Trump Against Tearing Up Iran Nuclear Deal
The New York Times
The director of the C.I.A. has issued a stark warning to President-elect Donald J. Trump: Tearing up the Iran nuclear deal would be “the height of folly” and “disastrous.”

OPINIONS

An India-Pakistan Crisis: Should We Care?
War on the Rocks, Moeed Yusuf
The Donald Trump White House will have a fairly crowded foreign policy roster to deal with. From what has been said of the president-elect’s agenda for his initial months in office, Russia, the threat of ISIL and the ongoing turmoil in the Middle East, tensions in the South China sea, and his promises to renegotiate or abandon certain international trade pacts are likely to be his top priorities.  South Asia does not seem to have made this list.

Donald Trump’s Biggest Headache: Russia’s Nuclear Weapons
The National Interest, Jack Matlock, Jr.
The most important foreign policy task President-elect Donald Trump will face when he is inaugurated will be to restore cooperation with Russia to reduce the danger to the world posed by nuclear weapons.

How Trump Can Strengthen US Leverage Against Iran
The Diplomat, Aaron Arnold
Before trashing the Iran deal — the agreement inked last fall, which limits Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief — the incoming Trump administration should consider how a policy of soft economic engagement with Tehran could provide Washington with strategic leverage and increased bargaining power in a post-Iran deal world.

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News - November 29, 2016

Nuclear Policy News – November 29, 2016

UPCOMING EVENTS

Nuclear Explosion Monitoring: 60 Years of Science and Innovation
November 30, 2016 1:00 – 6:15 pm
http://www.rsvpbook.com/event.php?502707
Featured speakers include Lt. Gen. Frank Klotz, Sen. Tom Udall, Thomas Countryman, Ernest Moniz, and Madelyn Creedon.

PONI Winter Conference
December 6-7, 2016
https://www.csis.org/events/poni-2016-winter-conference

TOP NEWS

U.N. Security Council to vote Wednesday on North Korea sanctions: diplomats
Reuters

China’s Future SSBN Command and Control Structure
Institute for National Strategic Studies, National Defense University

Pentagon Develops New Missile Defense Interceptor Able to Destroy Multiple ICBM Threats
Scout

Multilateralizing Approaches to North Korea: The Canadian Case
Andrea Berger, 38 North

Able Archer 83: What Were the Soviets Thinking?
Gordon Barrass for Survival

EAST ASIA

U.N. Security Council to vote Wednesday on North Korea sanctions: diplomats
Reuters
The United Nations Security Council is set to vote on Wednesday to impose new sanctions on North Korea for its fifth and largest nuclear test, slashing Pyongyang's export earnings by some $800 million, diplomats said on Monday. 

Park departure could shift regional security calculus for Japan
The Japan Times
While Japan played down any negative impact from the political upheaval in South Korea, the possible departure of President Park Geun-hye could change Japan’s calculus on both bilateral relations and the shifting regional security landscape.

China’s Future SSBN Command and Control Structure
Institute for National Strategic Studies, National Defense University
China’s ongoing modernization program is transforming the country’s nuclear arsenal from one consisting of a few liquid-fueled, silo-based missiles carrying single warheads to a larger force of more advanced mobile solid-fueled missiles, some of which are capable of carrying multiple warheads.

MIDDLE EAST

How Iran Hopes the Nuclear Deal Will Revive Its Economy
The National Interest
From the beginning of his presidency, Hassan Rouhani and his team considered the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) negotiated between Iran and several world powers in July 14, 2015, to be a first step in a grander plan to normalize Iran’s international relations with the outside world.

SOUTH ASIA

What challenges are facing Pakistan’s new army chief?
CNN
Pakistan has named a new army chief as the country faces a host of complex issues, from potential war with India, terrorism, and Donald Trump.

Can the Nuclear Deal With Japan Get India Into the Nuclear Suppliers Group?
The Diplomat
With the successful conclusion of the Indo-Japan civil nuclear deal, India has taken another big step in acquiring the status of a legitimate nuclear power among states of equal or higher status in the global stage.

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

Pentagon Develops New Missile Defense Interceptor Able to Destroy Multiple ICBM Threats
Scout
The Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency is in the early phases of engineering a next-generation “Star Wars”-type technology able to knock multiple incoming enemy targets out of space with a single interceptor, officials said.

OPINIONS

Multilateralizing Approaches to North Korea: The Canadian Case
Andrea Berger, 38 North
As North Korea began its 7th Worker’s Party Congress in May, it shepherded over 100 foreign journalists around to sites largely unrelated to the event they had come to see. One of these locations was the 326 Electric Cable Factory in Pyongyang, where the most noteworthy sight for reporters was a stack of boxes from Dow Canada—a shipment of chemicals that should have been subject to Canadian export controls when they departed for the DPRK, presumably within months of their production in August 2014.

OPLAN 2045: Preparing for nuclear disarmament
James E. Doyle, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists
Seven years after President Obama pledged to work toward a world without nuclear weapons and 25 years since the end of the political and ideological conflict between the United States and the Soviet Union known as the Cold War, the world is witnessing renewed nuclear arms competition.

Symposium: Advice to President Trump on U.S.-Russia Policy
The National Interest and Carnegie Corporation of New York
Now the central question is whether or not the possibility of warmer relations between the two sides—or even a new détente—exists? What would it take to adopt a fresh approach?

SPECIAL INTEREST

Able Archer 83: What Were the Soviets Thinking?
Gordon Barrass for Survival
The 1983 war scare was less frightening than many have claimed. Nevertheless, the Able Archer episode offers lessons on dealing with situations of great tension.

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News - November 28, 2016

Nuclear Policy News – November 28, 2016

TOP NEWS

Seoul to reinforce military organization in charge of N. Korean WMD threats
Yonhap

UN to formally adopt fresh sanctions against North Korea in response to September nuclear test
International Business Times

Trump’s finger soon will hover over the nuclear button. Will he be ready?
McClatchy

The 2016 UK PONI Papers
Royal United Services Institute (RUSI)

EAST ASIA

Seoul to reinforce military organization in charge of N. Korean WMD threats
Yonhap
The South Korean military will strengthen its preparedness against increasing North Korean nuclear and missile threats by forming a new organization, multiple government sources said Sunday.

UN to formally adopt fresh sanctions against North Korea in response to September nuclear test
International Business Times
The five permanent members of the UN Security Council are set to hold closed-doors consultations on Monday, to finalise a draft resolution seeking new and tighter sanctions against North Korea.

Technology in development to bring down N. Korean drones with EMP
Yonhap
South Korea is developing a technology to bring down unmanned North Korean aircraft using electromagnetic pulse (EMP), military officials said Sunday.

Japan Gets Serious About THAAD
The Diplomat
On Thursday, Japan’s Yomiuri Shimbun reported that Tokyo would seriously consider purchasing the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defense system from the United States.

MIDDLE EAST

Report: Nuclear material said stolen from Iran could yield 'dirty bomb'
Jerusalem Post
Radioactive material produced at Iran’s Bushehr Nuclear Plant has reportedly been stolen raising concerns about the use of a so-called dirty bomb in the future, according to London-based, Arabic language newspaper Asharq al-Awsat.

RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

Brexit’s nuclear fallout: 3,000 cubic metres of Oxfordshire waste
Financial Times
One unusual item affected by the fallout from Britain voting to leave the EU: 3,000 cubic metres of radioactive waste in rural Oxfordshire.

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

Trump’s finger soon will hover over the nuclear button. Will he be ready?
McClatchy
Sometime in the next few weeks, Donald Trump will sit down for one of the most consequential briefings of his transition, when military commanders will train him on the procedures for launching a nuclear attack or counterattack and go over potential targets.

OPINIONS

The Implications of Brexit on UK-France Defence Cooperation
Emmanuel Dupuy for European Leadership Network
The decision taken by British voters to leave the EU, the subsequent delay in invoking Article 50, and the time taken to begin the formal exit negotiations will hopefully not increase resentment towards Great Britain amongst French political, academic and think-tank leaders, most of all on defence and security terms.

Why is Cyber Defence Decades Behind Weaponized Software?
John McAfee for Newsweek
If you believe the we have any effective cybersecurity whatsoever, then you have bought—hook, line and sinker—the propaganda that our government has been feeding you.

Presidential Command and Control in the Age of Trump
Joshua Pollack for Arms Control Wonk
The outcome of the U.S. presidential election has filled many Americans, and people around the world, with bewilderment and dread. How did we get here? Where are we going? How seriously should we take President-elect Trump’s promises?

SPECIAL INTEREST

The 2016 UK PONI Papers
Royal United Services Institute (RUSI)
The 2016 UK PONI Papers examine contemporary civil and military nuclear issues and are written by emerging experts from academia, government and industry who presented at the 2016 UK Project on Nuclear Issues (UK PONI) Annual Conference.

The lasting impact of the Cuban missile crisis
CCTV
Of all the incidents in the troubled relationship between Cuba and the United States, the most critical was the Cuban Missile crisis in 1962. It was the closest the world had ever come to all-out nuclear war.

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News - November 22, 2016

Nuclear Policy News – November 22, 2016

TOP NEWS

Seoul would have to take greater defense burden if Trump demands-minister
Associated Press

US says Russian deployment of missiles 'destabilizing' to Europe
CNBC

Iran begins exporting excess heavy water to comply with nuclear deal
Deutsche Welle

New Quake Tests Resilience, and Faith, in Japan’s Nuclear Plants
New York Times

EAST ASIA

Obama, Xi reaffirms commitment to nuclear-free Korean Peninsula in last summit
The Korea Times
U.S. President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping reaffirmed their commitment to a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula as they held their last meeting on the sidelines of a regional summit, the White House said.

Seoul would have to take greater defense burden if Trump demands-minister
Associated Press
South Korea would have to embrace the idea of taking a greater share of defense costs "if there is a huge demand" for this from the future U.S. administration of Donald Trump, a South Korean minister said on Monday. 

N. Korea testing U.S. ahead of administration change: Seoul
Yonhap News
North Korea seems to be testing the United States' policy direction toward Pyongyang ahead of the administration change in Washington, South Korea's foreign ministry said Tuesday in reaction to Pyongyang's recent release of a foreign ministry memorandum.

Gov't approves controversial military intel sharing pact with Japan
Yonhap News
The South Korean government on Tuesday approved a controversial intelligence sharing pact with Japan, citing the need to expand cooperation with the neighboring country in the face of growing nuclear and missile threats from North Korea.

MIDDLE EAST

Obama Admin Covering Up Key Iran Deal Details in Final Days
Washington Free Beacon
Senior Obama administration officials are seeking to cover up key details of the Iran nuclear deal from Congress, according to documents and sources who spoke to the Washington Free Beacon.

U.K. Will Seek to Soften Trump Opposition to Iran Nuclear Deal
Bloomberg
U.K. Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said he’ll seek to work with the administration of U.S. President-elect Donald Trump to “make a success” of the 2015 deal to stop Iran from being able to develop nuclear weapons.

Iran begins exporting excess heavy water to comply with nuclear deal
Deutsche Welle
Iran has started to send heavy water to Oman to comply with the terms of its international nuclear deal. It was the second time Tehran had surpassed the 130-metric-ton threshold for heavy water.

RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

Dispute Resolution Over Alleged Russian Breaches of the INF Treaty
Rick Houghton for Lawfare
There are many concrete obstacles to a U.S. rapprochement with Russia. One is a serious dispute over the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INFT).

SOUTH ASIA

India’s no first use policy has served it well, says former national security adviser Shivshankar Menon
Times of India
India's nuclear weapons posture is determined by its ability to inflict "unacceptable damage" in a retaliatory strike. This is the reason, says Shivshankar Menon, former national security adviser, why India's no first use policy has served it well. 

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

US says Russian deployment of missiles 'destabilizing' to Europe
CNBC
Russia's deployment of its S-400 air missile defense system and ballistic Iskander missile in the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad "is destabilizing to European security," the U.S. State Department said. 

South Korea Looking to Collaborate More With U.S. in Defense Technology
US Naval Institute News
The Republic of Korea’s steady advances in robotics, autonomous systems and microelectronics could be the paths Washington and Seoul follow in future collaboration efforts in science and technology, research and development and systems production as the threat from North Korea grows.

OPINIONS

Can Trump Make a Deal With North Korea?
Joel Wit and Richard Sokolsky for The Atlantic
Donald Trump could have an opportunity early in his presidency, if he follows his instincts instead of all the wrong advice he is likely to get on how to deal with North Korea. 

What Does Donald Trump's Victory Mean for Asia?
Bruce Klingner, Heritage Foundation
Trying to predict the incoming Trump Administration’s policy toward Asia is difficult if not impossible at this point. 

Keep focused on the long game
Sharon Squassoni for the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists
Donald Trump’s inexperience with and casual attitudes about nuclear weapons during the campaign led more than a few observers to question whether he could be trusted with these ultimate extensions of the power of the US president.

SPECIAL INTEREST

New Quake Tests Resilience, and Faith, in Japan’s Nuclear Plants
New York Times
The Tokyo Electric Power Company, or Tepco, the utility that operates three nuclear plants, restored the cooling pump at the Fukushima Daini plant in about an hour and a half.

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News - November 21, 2016

Nuclear Policy News – November 21, 2016

TOP NEWS

Trump set to implement change in N. Korean policies: lawmakers
Yonhap News

Obama Seeks to Fortify Iran Nuclear Deal
The Wall Street Journal

World leaders anxious for Trump's nuclear policy
The Hill

Trump’s Nuclear Deterrence Challenge
Franklin Miller and Keith B. Payne for The Wall Street Journal

EAST ASIA

Trump set to implement change in N. Korean policies: lawmakers
Yonhap News
A group of South Korean lawmakers who visited the United States last week to meet experts with ties to U.S. President-elect Donald Trump said Monday that the new administration is set to bring various changes to North Korean policies which may potentially include dialogue. 

N.K. likely to demonstrate capability to range U.S. with nuclear missile during Trump's term: expert
Yonhap News
North Korea is highly likely to demonstrate its capability to range the United States with a nuclear missile during the first term of President-elect Donald Trump, a top American expert on Korea said Friday.

Trump's national security adviser vows to tackle North Korea nuclear threat: Yonhap
Reuters
U.S. President-elect Donald Trump's national security adviser says North Korea's nuclear program would be given a high priority under the new administration, a South Korean official who held talks with him said on Saturday.

MIDDLE EAST

Obama Seeks to Fortify Iran Nuclear Deal
The Wall Street Journal
The Obama administration is considering new measures in its final months in office to strengthen the landmark nuclear agreement with Iran, senior U.S. officials said, with President-elect Donald Trump’s first appointments foreshadowing an increasingly rocky road for the controversial deal.

RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

New Russia missiles in Kaliningrad are answer to U.S. shield: lawmaker
Reuters
Moscow will deploy S-400 surface-to-air missiles and nuclear-capable Iskander systems in the exclave of Kaliningrad in retaliation for NATO deployments, a senior pro-Kremlin lawmaker was quoted as saying on Monday. 

Putin says Russia planning ‘countermeasures’ to NATO expansion
The Washington Post
Russian President Vladimir Putin has pledged to take “countermeasures” in response to NATO expansion, a report said Monday, pointing to possible critical tests for the Western alliance and President-elect Donald Trump’s calls for outreach to Moscow. 

SOUTH ASIA

Defence Minister cannot voice personal views on nuclear policy: Shivshankar Menon
The Indian Express
Menon also said Parrikar's suggestion that India should give up its 'no first use' policy would not be in the country's interest both in terms of the strategic deterrent role of nuclear weapons as well as their role as weapon of war. 

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

World leaders anxious for Trump's nuclear policy
The Hill
Questions are swirling about whether President-elect Donald Trump will follow through on suggestions during the campaign that he might allow other countries to develop nuclear weapons. His comments on the nuclear issue have created unease among world leaders, many of whom fear a new global arms race could be triggered by a change in U.S. policy. 

Trump and the Bomb
Foreign Affairs
When U.S. President-elect Donald Trump takes office in January, he will face a global nuclear order that is increasingly unstable. 

OPINIONS

Trump’s Nuclear Deterrence Challenge
Franklin Miller and Keith B. Payne for The Wall Street Journal
America’s nuclear triad is sorely out of date, left to age by a president who saw it as a relic of the Cold War.

Whither the Iran Deal Under Trump?
Suzanne Maloney for The Atlantic
In the aftermath of Donald Trump’s upset victory, no foreign policy question looms larger than the fate of the Iran nuclear deal. The agreement—concluded in July 2015 after more than a dozen years of talks—is suddenly in jeopardy once again. 

Before the Next Mushroom Cloud
Robert Monroe for The Washington Times
The arrival of nuclear weapons on the world’s stage some 70 years ago galvanized national and international efforts to control them. Results to date have been uneven, but largely acceptable: The nations of the world have managed — by short-term decisions — to avoid a nuclear holocaust, but no one has yet come up with a viable idea of how we are to survive in the long run. 

Why India Pledges No First Use of Nuclear Weapons
Shivshankar Menon for Huffington Post India
I am often asked why India committed itself to not using its nuclear weapons first.

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News - November 17, 2016

Nuclear Policy News – November 17, 2016

TOP NEWS

Seoul, Washington gear up for bilateral panel on nuke deterrence against N. Korea
Yonhap News

Corker says Trump won't tear up Iran nuclear deal
CNN

In Private Meeting, Euro Diplomats Beseech Trump Team to Uphold Transatlantic Pacts
Foreign Policy

How President Trump Might Radically Rethink U.S. Nuclear Policy
Tom Z. Collina for Foreign Policy

EAST ASIA

UNSC expected to adopt resolution against N.K. next week: sources
Yonhap News
The United Nations Security Council is expected to adopt a much-delayed resolution aimed at penalizing North Korea for its latest nuclear test next week as the U.S. and China have narrowed their differences on proposed curbs on its coal exports, diplomatic sources said Wednesday.

N. Korean diplomats arrive in Geneva for talks with U.S. experts
Yonhap News
Two North Korean diplomats arrived in Geneva on Thursday to begin talks with American experts, a move that observers say will help Pyongyang explore the U.S. policy on the North under the new Trump administration. 

US's preemptive strike on N. Korea 'zero': Trump's aide
The Korea Times
John Bolton, considered a top candidate for secretary of state under the incoming administration of Donald Trump, said Wednesday the U.S. won't launch a preemptive strike against North Korea, according to a South Korean lawmaker.

Seoul, Washington gear up for bilateral panel on nuke deterrence against N. Korea
Yonhap News
South Korea and the United States started talks on Thursday to establish a high-level consultative body for devising extended deterrence strategies against North Korea's nuclear threat, the foreign ministry said.

MIDDLE EAST

U.N. Agency Warns Iran on Nuclear Deal
The Wall Street Journal
The head of the United Nations agency that oversees the Iranian nuclear deal warned Tehran on Thursday to stick to the accord after it was found for the second time to have breached one of its terms. The International Atomic Energy Agency said last week that Iran had stockpiled slightly more than the allowable 130 metric tons of heavy water. 

Corker says Trump won't tear up Iran nuclear deal
CNN
Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker cast doubt Wednesday that President-elect Donald Trump will reverse the Iran nuclear deal, saying such a decision would distract his fledgling administration in its first days.

Iran deal critics to Trump: Please don't rip it up
POLITICO
President-elect Donald Trump spent much of his campaign railing against the Iran nuclear deal, even raising the possibility of scrapping the agreement immediately upon taking office. But many of the deal’s most ardent critics are now saying: "Slow down."

RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

In Private Meeting, Euro Diplomats Beseech Trump Team to Uphold Transatlantic Pacts
Foreign Policy
European governments are launching a concerted appeal to persuade President-elect Donald Trump to not abandon the Iran nuclear deal or NATO’s tough stance toward Russia, warning of dire consequences that could raise the risk of war and weaken the transatlantic alliance.

SOUTH ASIA

Pakistan Unveils VLF Submarine Communications Facility
Defense News
Pakistan on Tuesday unveiled a very low frequency (VLF) communication facility that will enable it to communicate with deployed submarines. Mansoor Ahmed, a postdoctoral research fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School's Belfer Center and expert on Pakistan’s nuclear program and delivery systems, said the facility is vital for command and control of submarines carrying a nuclear deterrent patrol, and the announcement essentially confirms Pakistan has established a preliminary, sea-based arm of its nuclear deterrent.

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

Garamendi: No Halt for Nuclear Modernization Programs in Sight
Defense News
There is little hope for the non-proliferation community to slow down nuclear weapons modernization in the next few years, a Democratic lawmaker said Wednesday. Rep. John Garamendi, a California Democrat who sits on the House Armed Services Strategic Forces subcommittee, said he expects his colleagues to push ahead with the full nuclear modernization plan.

OPINIONS

What If Nuclear Weapons Are Used?
Victor Gilinsky for the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists
The world relies too much on the indefinite continuation of the post-1945 taboo on military use of nuclear weapons. 

Talking Point: United Nations anti-nuke conference plans too important to be ignored
Linley Grant for The Mercury
A momentous resolution was passed recently by the United Nations to convene a 2017 conference to negotiate a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons. Some Australians knew the resolution was being debated and were awaiting the result yet there was no mention of our Government’s decision or speeches, like those from Tasmanian Labor Senator Lisa Singh, in favour of the bid. 

How President Trump Might Radically Rethink U.S. Nuclear Policy
Tom Z. Collina for Foreign Policy
Worried about Donald Trump having his finger on the nuclear button? Don’t be, yet. His penchant for upsetting the status quo could be just what we need.

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News - November 16, 2016

Nuclear Policy News – November 16, 2016

TOP NEWS

House Votes to Extend Iran Sanctions in Bid to Ensure Nuclear Compliance
New York Times

Russia: Putting the ‘nuclear gun’ back on the table
Financial Times

10 Big Nuclear Ideas for the Next President
Ploughshares Fund

Scientists Invent Concrete That Could Stop an EMP
Popular Mechanics

EAST ASIA

Senior N. Korean diplomat set for 'Track 2' talks with U.S. experts
Yonhap News
A senior North Korean diplomat handling U.S. affairs is set to hold talks with American experts in Europe, but the meeting is nothing out of the ordinary, South Korea's foreign ministry said Tuesday.

UN General Assembly rebukes North Korean human rights violations
Nikkei
A resolution condemning human rights violations in North Korea and "expressing grave concern" about Pyongyang diverting resources in order to develop nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles was adopted by a U.N. General Assembly committee by consensus Tuesday.

S. Korean delegation, Trump team to discuss N. Korea's denuclearization, alliance
The Korea Times
South Korean security and trade officials will discuss the importance of the bilateral alliance with the United States and North Korea's growing nuclear threats with the U.S. government transition team, the government said Wednesday.

MIDDLE EAST

House Votes to Extend Iran Sanctions in Bid to Ensure Nuclear Compliance
New York Times
The House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly on Tuesday for legislation to extend American sanctions on Iran for 10 years, a move that proponents called critical economic leverage to ensure Iranian compliance with an international nuclear agreement.

Netanyahu elated at Trump’s condemnation of Iran nuclear pact
Globe and Mail
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu could hardly conceal his excitement last week on hearing the news that Donald Trump had been elected U.S. president.

Hollande says does not believe Trump will rip up Iran nuclear deal
Reuters
French President Francois Hollande said on Tuesday he did not believe U.S. President-elect Donald Trump would scrap a deal between major powers and Iran over Tehran's nuclear program.

RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

German lawmaker says Europe must consider own nuclear deterrence plan
Reuters
Europe needs to think about developing its own nuclear deterrent strategy given concerns that U.S. President-elect Donald Trump could scale back U.S. military commitments in Europe, a senior member of Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives said.

Russia: Putting the ‘nuclear gun’ back on the table
Financial Times
Russia’s willingness to use its nuclear capabilities to exert pressure leads to an alarming conclusion: the spectre of nuclear war is back 25 years after the world believed it had been buried by the end of the cold war.

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

Commander Outlines Trump’s Asia-Pacific Challenges
Washington Free Beacon
Adm. Harry Harris outlined a number of challenges facing the next administration during his remarks on Tuesday, spotlighting North Korea’s missile and nuclear programs, China’s island-building in the South China Sea, and the emergence of ISIS in Southeast Asia.

OPINIONS

10 Big Nuclear Ideas for the Next President
Ploughshares Fund
The nation is facing real challenges on the nuclear front, few of which were ever mentioned on the campaign trail. With this in mind, Ploughshares Fund invited some of the best thinkers in the field to come up with ten bold ideas to help make America safer and more secure.

Trump Could Face a Nuclear Decision Soon
Bruce Blair for Politico
In North Korea, Eastern Europe and the Middle East, escalating crises await the new commander in chief.

A renewed mobilization to reduce the danger from nuclear weapons
Frank von Hippel for the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists
A potential positive result from the election of Donald Trump as our next president could be that it will provoke a long overdue public debate over US nuclear weapons policy.

What Trump Should Do on Nonproliferation
Emily Landau and Shimon Stein for The National Interest
The direction of America’s ongoing relations and interactions with Russia and China, as well as with the prospective proliferators themselves, will determine the strategic landscape within which nuclear proliferation will either be enabled or effectively constrained.

SPECIAL INTEREST

Scientists Invent Concrete That Could Stop an EMP
Popular Mechanics
A new concrete formulation designed to keep winter surfaces ice-free also has the unexpected benefit of protecting electronics from electromagnetic attack.

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News - November 14, 2016

Nuclear Policy News – November 14, 2016

TOP NEWS

Japan, South Korea sign preliminary intelligence-sharing pact on North Korea
Reuters

Trump Faces Battle to Undo Iran Nuclear Deal
The Wall Street Journal

EU says to stick to Iran rapprochement despite Trump’s criticism
Reuters

U.S. Allies and Rivals Digest Trump’s Victory
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

EAST ASIA

Japan, South Korea sign preliminary intelligence-sharing pact on North Korea
Reuters
Japan and South Korea signed a preliminary pact to share and safeguard sensitive information on North Korea's missile and nuclear activities on Monday, a move that had already prompted anger among opposition lawmakers in Seoul.

Japan’s Nuclear Industry Finds a Lifeline in India After Foundering Elsewhere
The New York Times
Despite objections from antinuclear campaigners, Japan’s government cleared the way on Friday for companies that build nuclear power plants to sell their technology to India — one of the few nations planning big expansions in atomic energy — by signing a cooperation agreement with the South Asian country.

MIDDLE EAST

Trump Faces Battle to Undo Iran Nuclear Deal
The Wall Street Journal
A much harder task for Mr. Trump, however, is to convince other global powers to join him and dismantle a deal that President Barack Obama says has diminished the threat of another war in the Mideast and opened a path for reduced tensions in the region.

RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

EU says to stick to Iran rapprochement despite Trump’s criticism
Reuters
The European Union said on Monday it would keep pushing to restore ties with Iran in line with last year's nuclear deal, which U.S. President-elect Donald Trump has said he will rescind.

SOUTH ASIA

India and Japan sign nuclear deal – A risky business?
Deutsche Welle
The leaders of the two countries have signed a civilian nuclear cooperation, allowing exports of crucial Japanese technology to fuel India's growing economy. But concerns remain about India's non-proliferation status.

OPINIONS

Who could stop nuclear war in the Trump era? These scientists.
The Washington Post, Audra J. Wolfe
Since the end of the World War II — the only time that atomic weapons have been used in war — the policy of the United States has been to discourage nuclear proliferation, whether through defense treaties, economic sanctions or controlling international sales of uranium.

Trump win puts U.S.-Russia hostility on hold – but for how long?
Reuters, Warren Strobel and Jonathan Landay
After years of rising U.S.-Russia tensions over Ukraine, Syria, cyber attacks and nuclear arms control, Donald Trump's election as U.S. president may offer a narrow window to repair relations as he and Russian President Vladimir Putin size up each other.

The Perils of Conventional Deterrence by Punishment
War on the Rocks, Michael Petersen
Too often, discussions of how to conventionally deter Chinese or Russian aggression occur in the absence of any thinking about whether a stated deterrence strategy is feasible if a war were to break out.

Suspicious Iranian Dealings Could Imperil Nuclear Agreement
The Globalist, Elaine Grossman
U.S. intelligence agencies and their international partners are seeing a flurry of inquiries by Iran about importing potentially sensitive technologies controlled by last year’s nuclear deal – but outside of channels specifically set up to vet these goods, according to officials and experts.

SPECIAL INTEREST

U.S. Allies and Rivals Digest Trump’s Victory
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
Governments worldwide are now intensely trying to assess what a Trump presidency will mean for their relations with the United States and for international order more generally. In turn, Thomas Carothers asked a group of Carnegie’s experts to examine how these governments are digesting the news of Trump’s victory, their views and concerns related to Trump’s foreign policy, and the potential implications for their countries.

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – November 9, 2016

Nuclear Policy News – November 9, 2016

TOP NEWS

Air Force to "Cyber-Secure" Nuclear Arsenal
Scout

The Perils of U.S. Missile Defense
RealClearDefense, Rebecca Heinrichs

Tritium introduced in fusion experiments at Sandia
Phys.org

South Korea ruling party says U.S. anti-missile defence to go ahead
Reuters

EAST ASIA

Flashback to the Past: North Korea’s “New” Extended-Range Scud
38 North

At 12:14 p.m. on September 5, 2016, North Korea launched three missiles within one minute of each other from a highway south of Pyongyang. All three launches were successful; the missiles reportedly each covered a distance of 1,000 km and landed about 240 km west of Okushirito Island, part of the Japanese prefecture of Hokkaido.

South Korea ruling party says U.S. anti-missile defence to go ahead
Reuters

The deployment in South Korea of the U.S. military's THAAD system, designed to counter North Korea's missile threat, will go ahead as planned under a Trump administration, the South's ruling party chief said on Wednesday, citing the defence minister.

MIDDLE EAST

Trump election puts Iran nuclear deal on shaky ground
Reuters

Donald Trump's election as president raises the prospect the United States will pull out of the nuclear pact it signed last year with Iran, alienating Washington from its allies and potentially freeing Iran to act on its ambitions. Outgoing President Barack Obama's administration touted the deal, a legacy foreign policy achievement, as a way to suspend Tehran's suspected drive to develop atomic weapons. In return Obama, a Democrat, agreed to a lifting of most sanctions.

RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

Turkey may turn to Russia for missile system
POLITICO

Turkey will consider all options, including Russia, when it comes to procuring a missile defense system, Ismail Demir, the country’s undersecretary for defense industries, said Tuesday. Demir had earlier this week said he would consider seeking a supplier outside of Turkey if domestic development took too long, Reuters reported.

SOUTH ASIA

India Sees Deepening of Japan Nuclear Ties With Modi Visit
Bloomberg

India says it’s edging closer to a nuclear pact with Japan, which would open up one of the world’s fastest expanding power markets to vendors struggling for growth after the Fukushima disaster. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will go over the final steps of a civil nuclear treaty with his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe during a visit to Japan starting Thursday, according to Sekhar Basu, secretary at India’s Department of Atomic Energy.

MULTILATERAL ARMS CONTROL AND NONPROLIFERATION

Kazakhstani president proposes N. Korea use its denuclearization model
Yonhap News

Kazakhstani President Nursultan Nazarbayev proposed Wednesday that North Korea use the denuclearization model the Central Asian country has crafted over the last 25 years to pursue a world without nuclear weapons. In a written interview with Yonhap News Agency, Nazarbayev also called on South Korean enterprises and investors to actively join a series of Kazakhstan's business projects, saying his country is ready to offer "full support" to them.

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

Air Force to "Cyber-Secure" Nuclear Arsenal
Scout

The Air Force is seeking more interactions with private sector firms to build better networks for securing nuclear weapons computer systems, service officials said. Air Force engineers say protection of computer networks is well established in many ways, but that the service needs to widen its scope with greater focus on IT dimensions to its nuclear arsenal’s command and control apparatus.

OPINIONS

The Prompt Launch Scare
RealClearDefense, Peter Huessy

Because of the complementary legs of the American Triad—more than 500 highly survivable multiple platforms spread out over land, sea, and air—a modernized force would ensure that during a crisis, no immediate decision to launch would be required. Our deterrent force and strategy are thus jointly designed precisely to avoid any prompt launch pressures. That is why the system works. As General Larry Welch, former SAC Commander has noted, “It has worked perfectly—for 70 years.”

U.S. Support for Israel’s Nuclear Ambitions Will Come at a Price
LobeLog, Shemuel Meir

On the nuclear issue, as on the issue of the fate of the West Bank and Jerusalem, Israel seems to be pursuing a doctrine of “accustomization,” i.e. the belief that the global system will eventually grow accustomed to the existing state of affairs and simply let it be. However, for Israel to believe that this convenient status quo can be made permanent is to believe in miracles.

The Perils of U.S. Missile Defense
RealClearDefense, Rebecca Heinrichs

Aside from noting the obvious underused potential at the missile fields, the visit to the GMD site at Fort Greely reinforced just how important the mission of the system is, the dedication of the warfighters operating and preparing to launch GBIs in the event of an attack, and the pressure on the contractors maintaining the enormously complex system.

SPECIAL INTEREST

Tritium introduced in fusion experiments at Sandia
Phys.org

Researchers at Sandia National Laboratories Z Machine have opened a new chapter in their 20-year journey toward higher fusion outputs by introducing tritium, the most neutron-laden isotope of hydrogen, to their targets' fuel. When Z fires, its huge electromagnetic field crushes pre-warmed fuel, forcing it to fuse. Tritium-enriched fuel should release many more neutrons than previous maximums at Z, already among the highest in the world.

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – November 8, 2016

Nuclear Policy News – November 8, 2016

TOP NEWS

Can France Still Afford Nuclear Weapons?
The National Interest

Massive underground military nuclear plant opens to tourists in China
UPI

DLA employees supporting nuclear enterprise receive Air Force training
Defense Logistics Agency

EAST ASIA

Pentagon on THAAD deployment: 'We want to do this as quickly as possible'
Business Insider

The powerful missile defense system that has North Korea, China, and Russia spooked is expected to make its debut in South Korea as soon as possible. On Friday, Army General Vincent Brooks, commander of United States Forces Korea, said the deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system will occur within the next 8 to 10 months.

MIDDLE EAST

Next U.S. president must live up to JCPOA commitments: Iran
Tehran Times

Whoever takes office in the White House must adhere to the implementation of nuclear agreement as the Obama administration did, Qassemi told a weekly press briefing as Americans on Tuesday will decide whether Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump will take the helm. “The next U.S. president should remain committed to Washington’s obligations to the JCPOA even if he (she) doesn’t want to.”

RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

Can France Still Afford Nuclear Weapons?
The National Interest

France has a deep and abiding relationship with nuclear technology. French policy-makers have based France’s energy and military independence around nuclear programs. However, as the French government attempts to justify its budget policies in the lead-up to the presidential election in April 2017, calls for a public debate on the cost of military nuclear deterrence are increasing. This debate encompasses three main questions.

SOUTH ASIA

It Is Time for India to Stop Blaming China for Blocking Its NSG Bid
The Wire

Resentment against China has continued for far too long and gone too far. By focusing on just one issue in its ties with China, India risks having the world perceive its interests as monochromatic and emotional rather than based on realism and strategic foresight.

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

DLA employees supporting nuclear enterprise receive Air Force training
Defense Logistics Agency

About 30 employees from Defense Logistics Agency Headquarters and its field activities who are involved in supporting the Department of Defense nuclear mission attended the Nuclear Management Executive Course at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, Nov. 1-2. Taught by a mobile training team from the Air Force Nuclear College at Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico, the Secret-level course is designed for individuals involved in supporting nuclear weapons systems through product support, acquisition, sustainment, logistics, maintenance or operations activities.

OPINIONS

Spotlight on the NSG
The News International, Muhammad Umer

Granting India membership will not mean that tomorrow India will stop producing fissile material or making new nuclear weapons. There is no doubt in my mind that on November 11, at the NSG conclave in Vienna, China along with other member states will stick to their original positions and oppose India’s inclusion into the group. Instead of trying to pressure and blackmail countries to support India’s membership bid, the US should take this opportunity to work with their partners in the NSG to come up with a criteria for membership.

SPECIAL INTEREST

The Evolving U.S. Nuclear Narrative: Communicating the Rationale for the Role and Value of U.S. Nuclear Weapons, 1989 to Today
CSIS

The latest report and website from the CSIS International Security Program have been released. This study sought to not only track the historical narrative for U.S nuclear weapons as it has changed over the years, but to also articulate a simple and clear rationale for the U.S. nuclear arsenal that speaks to the U.S Air Force and Navy forces responsible for supporting and executing the U.S nuclear mission every day.

Massive underground military nuclear plant opens to tourists in China
UPI

Tourists are now welcome at a former top-secret underground plutonium and weapons processing plant, turned into a three-hour neon museum tour of China's nuclear weapons history. The site, known as China 816 Nuclear Military Plant, is in the mountains of Fuling district and was once an industrial base for raw nuclear material. The plant could withstand a magnitude-8 earthquake – or an atomic explosion on the surface.

Could We Survive a Nuclear Winter?
Gizmodo

Here’s the short answer: we probably could not survive a nuclear winter. But the long answer, well, it depends on which countries are going to war, how many nukes are being dropped, and where those bombs are being detonated.

A diver was looking for sea cucumbers. He may have found a long-lost nuclear bomb instead.
The Washington Post

The water conditions were perfect — “beautiful, clear, green” — when Sean Smyrichinsky went diving last month off the north coast of British Columbia. The 45-year-old Canadian had joined two friends for a three-week fishing expedition. Setting off on his own one day, Smyrichinsky went searching for sea cucumbers that their small crew could harvest the following day. Using a DPV, or a diver propulsion vehicle, Smyrichinsky plunged 25 to 30 feet down into the bay. Ahead of him, a mysterious object emerged.

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – November 7, 2016

Nuclear Policy News – November 7, 2016

TOP NEWS

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

A US Election Surprise? Possible but Unlikely
38 North

Bombs, Bans, and Norms
Arms Control Wonk, Michael Krepon

Diver finds object that could be 'lost nuke' missing since Cold War
The Independent

Sorry, America: North Korea Isn't Giving Up Its Nuclear Weapons
The National Interest, Daniel DePetris

EAST ASIA

Military on high alert against N.K. threats around U.S. election
Yonhap News

South Korea's military said Monday it will stay on high alert as North Korea may fire an intermediate-range ballistic missile around the U.S. presidential election scheduled for Tuesday. Military officials said Pyongyang may want to send a strong message to the new U.S. president that it will not give up its nuclear and missile development programs despite international condemnations and sanctions.

A US Election Surprise? Possible but Unlikely
38 North

While there has been speculation of a North Korean satellite launch or nuclear test occurring during the run-up to the US Presidential election, the evidence from commercial satellite imagery of the Sohae Satellite Launching Station and the Punggye-ri nuclear test site suggests it’s possible but unlikely.

THAAD deployment halts all S. Korea-China high-level defense talks
The Korea Times

South Korea's decision to deploy advanced missile defense systems on its soil has led to the suspension of all high-level defense talks with China, sources said Sunday. An official here said the planned meeting between Seoul's Defense Minister Han Min-koo and his Chinese counterpart Chang Wanquan has been put on hold. He said the military strategy policy talks chaired by vice defense minister level officials that have been held every year since 2011 has also be suspended, hinting that China has been lukewarm about talks.

MIDDLE EAST

Economic, political experts review impacts of JCPOA at Press Exhibition
Tehran Times

On Saturday - the second day of the 22nd Press Exhibition – the Tehran Times sat with three national and international experts reviewing impacts of the implementation of the nuclear deal - known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) - on both the Iranian and the global economy.

RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

Russian S-500 Attacks Cruise Missiles
Scout

Moscow has long been preoccupied with the threat posed by NATO airpower, and has fielded a variety of potent long-range surface-to-air missile systems over the years to counter it, including at the high end the S-300 (SA-10 and SA-12) and S-400 (SA-21). But the primary role of its latest design, the Almaz-Antey S-500 “Triumfator,” isn’t taking potshots at frontline fighter planes. Rather, the S-500 marks a new Russian effort to develop its own defense “shield” against cruise and ballistic missile attack.

SOUTH ASIA

Japan, India to ink controversial nuclear deal this week
DAWN

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe are set to sign a deal Friday that would allow Japan to export nuclear technology to the subcontinent, the Yomiuri Shimbun paper reported. India would become the first non-signatory to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) to agree such a nuclear deal with Japan — which was the victim of US atomic bombings in the final days of World War II.

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

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

The safety and survival of American civilians along with countless US military assets hinges, to some extent, upon the existence of a nuclear-armed, air-launched long-range stealthy cruise missile able to elude sophisticated enemy air defenses and threaten or strike targets deeply lodged in enemy territory, senior Air Force officials said.

Sole U.S. Air Force Nuclear Cruise Missile Showing Its Age
Aviation Week

The U.S. Air Force appears to be struggling to preserve its only nuclear-armed cruise missile, the Williams International F107-powered Boeing AGM-86B air-launched cruise missile (ALCM). The Air Force tells Aviation Week that the “Williams F107 engine is and continues to be very reliable,” with only two flight-test failures recorded in 1985 and 1990, respectively, but a contracting notice published on Oct. 17 paints a different picture.

Air Force Reviews Vendor Bids to Build New ICBMs Engineered With High-Tech Upgrades
Scout

The Air Force is now evaluating formal proposals from three vendors competing to build hundreds of new, next-generation Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles designed to protect the US homeland well into the 2070s and beyond, service officials said. Submissions from Northrop, Boeing and Lockheed are now being reviewed by Air Force weapons developers looking to modernize the US land-based nuclear missile arsenal and replace the 1970s-era Boeing-built Minuteman IIIs.

Joint Chiefs chairman gives U.S. Strategic Command award amid change in leadership
Omaha World-Herald

The workers at U.S. Strategic Command got more than just a new leader at last week’s change of command ceremony. They also got an award. Gen. Joseph Dunford Jr., chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, presented the Joint Meritorious Unit Award to all members of StratCom and the component commands that fall under its leadership. The award is presented for “exceptionally meritorious achievement or service in pursuit of joint military missions of great significance,” according to a Navy awards website. It is the second highest unit-level award, after the Presidential Unit Citation.

OPINIONS

Bombs, Bans, and Norms
Arms Control Wonk, Michael Krepon

How, then, would a Nuclear Ban Treaty alter the behavior of nuclear-armed states? Proponents advance three main reasons for proceeding, despite the odds. First, they argue, it is not just the right thing to do, but also a moral imperative at a time when nuclear dangers are rising. Second, negotiating this treaty will pressure nuclear-armed states to do more — and more quickly – to move in the direction of disarmament. Third, the treaty will strengthen essential norms.

Sorry, America: North Korea Isn't Giving Up Its Nuclear Weapons
The National Interest, Daniel DePetris

The next administration has a simple but vital choice on North Korea policy. It can bury its head in the sand and continue the status-quo, hoping beyond all hope that China will throw us a bone on sanctions implementation. Or it can launch a top-to-bottom, inter-agency review of U.S. North Korea policy dealing with the hard questions that need to be asked if Washington has any opening in fixing a dangerous situation.

Playing a Game of Chicken with Nuclear Strategy
War is Boring, Michael Klare

It’s clear that we’re on the threshold of a new nuclear era — a time when the actual use of atomic weapons is being accorded greater plausibility by military and political leaders globally, while war plans are being revised to allow the use of such weapons at an earlier stage in future armed clashes. As a result, the next president will have to grapple with nuclear weapons issues — and possible nuclear crises — in a way unknown since the Cold War era.

SPECIAL INTEREST

The Evolving U.S. Nuclear Narrative: Communicating the Rationale for the Role and Value of U.S. Nuclear Weapons, 1989 to Today
CSIS

The latest report and website from the CSIS International Security Program have been released. This study sought to not only track the historical narrative for U.S nuclear weapons as it has changed over the years, but to also articulate a simple and clear rationale for the U.S. nuclear arsenal that speaks to the U.S Air Force and Navy forces responsible for supporting and executing the U.S nuclear mission every day.

Diver finds object that could be 'lost nuke' missing since Cold War
The Independent

The Royal Canadian Navy is to investigate an object found by a diver, which could be a “lost nuke” missing off the coast of Canada since 1950. Sean Smyrichinsky discovered it while he was out looking for fish near Haida Gwaii, British Columbia. It is believed it could be a dummy nuclear weapon – but potentially still loaded with TNT – lost after a training flight crashed in the area, ditching its deadly cargo into the sea.

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – November 4, 2016

Nuclear Policy News – November 4, 2016

TOP NEWS

More Than Words: Why Secretary Carter’s Affirmation of the Nuclear Enterprise Matters
War on the Rocks, Rebecca Hersman, Clark Murdock, Shanelle Van

Carter Calls Strategic Command ‘Bedrock’ of U.S. Defense At Change of Command
U.S. Department of Defense

Scientists have found a way to spot nuclear smugglers—by looking at their nail clippings
Quartz

The experts on nuclear winter
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

Labor Costs, Data Questions Driving ICBM Replacement Cost Estimate
Defense News

EAST ASIA

U.S. to deploy THAAD anti-missile battery in South Korea in 8-10 months: commander
Reuters

The commander of U.S. forces in South Korea said on Friday a U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-missile system battery would be deployed to South Korea within eight to 10 months, an official from the U.S. forces in South Korea said.

Policy on pressing N.K. should be maintained, given threat level: official
Yonhap News

South Korea's unification ministry said Friday the government's inter-Korean policy should be maintained, given the gravity of North Korea's threats, despite the domestic upheaval caused by the scandal involving President Park Geun-hye's confidante.

SOUTH ASIA

India hopes its NSG bid gets China’s backing
Times of India

India says its hopeful China will see the logic of having India inside the Nuclear Suppliers Group. Briefing journalists, MEA spokesperson Vikas Swarup said, "We had fruitful talks between the disarmament and international security affairs division and Chinese lead negotiator. We remain hopeful that eventually, China will see the logic of India being inside the NSG, which ultimately will benefit the global nuclear non-proliferation regime".

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

Carter Calls Strategic Command ‘Bedrock’ of U.S. Defense At Change of Command
U.S. Department of Defense

U.S. Strategic Command remains the bedrock of American security, Defense Secretary Ash Carter said today during the organization’s change-of-command ceremony at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska. Carter officiated as Navy Adm. Cecil D. Haney handed the flag to Air Force Gen. John E. Hyten. The secretary praised the men and women of the command for their efforts, and said that funding and resources are on the way to ensure the nuclear mission remains viable.

Labor Costs, Data Questions Driving ICBM Replacement Cost Estimate
Defense News

As the US Air Force seeks to replace the Minuteman III ICBMs with a new wave of nuclear weapons that will last until 2075, the Pentagon is struggling to get a handle on just how much the new Ground Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD) will cost. The program is still years away from production, with Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and Boeing having just submitted their proposals to win a pair of 36-month technology maturation and risk-reduction contracts that would be awarded at end of 2017.

Six to be honored for nuclear weapons work
Albuquerque Journal

The Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center at Kirtland Air Force Base will induct six new members into its Order of the Nucleus at ceremonies today. The AFNWC established the Order of the Nucleus in 2011 to honor individuals and groups who have made significant contributions to the nation’s nuclear enterprise.

OPINIONS

More Than Words: Why Secretary Carter’s Affirmation of the Nuclear Enterprise Matters
War on the Rocks, Rebecca Hersman, Clark Murdock, Shanelle Van

The challenges that we face in articulating the strongest, most enduring themes of a rationale for our nuclear weapons are nuanced. But we must continue this dialogue and think deeply about these issues, because the airmen and sailors who carry out the nuclear mission every day on behalf of the American people deserve no less.

The Korea Peninsula: Time to Recognise the New Nuclear Status Quo
RealClearDefense, Bernt Berger

The acceptance of a new status quo would help to circumvent the trust deficit. The hitherto confrontation-based status quo will need to be transformed into a cooperation-based one to lay the foundation for renewed talks. Accepting a new status quo means accepting the inevitable – a North Korean missile-based nuclear-weapons capability. But it is better to make decisions now before being forced in that direction.

The Unification Cases of Germany and Korea: A Dangerous Comparison
38 North, Ruediger Frank

Germany’s unification in 1990 has remained a popular model for future Korean unification, with its precedents on issues like the transfer of legal systems and technical standards, requirements for infrastructure investment, unification costs and social aspects. A closer look, however, reveals that the differences between Germany and Korea far outweigh any similarities.

Rattling the nuclear cage, and look who is terrified
The Japan Times, Ramesh Thakur

Of the 177 countries that voted on the resolution, 34 are from Asia and the Pacific region. Of these, 26 voted in support of Resolution L41, four against (Australia, Japan, Federated States of Micronesia, and South Korea), and four abstained (China, India, Pakistan and Vanuatu). Clearly, Australia, Japan and South Korea voted in solidarity with their U.S. nuclear protector and against the overwhelming sentiment of their Asian and Pacific neighbors as well as against global opinion. Being on the wrong side of geography as well as history is not a good look.

The Pentagon is so focused on nukes, it may lose its conventional military edge
Business Insider, Alex Lockie

Pushing through with the US's plans for modernization under the guise of "catching up" to potential nuclear adversaries would "rob Peter to pay Paul," in that the funding is also desperately needed for conventional forces that have grown stagnant under sequestration. And ultimately, through trying to modernize all areas of the military at once, the bow wave actually increases costs across the board.

US to the Rest of the World: “We Can’t Eliminate Nuclear Weapons, Because We Rely on Nuclear Weapons.”
Counter Punch, Kevin Martin

Last week, the United Nations took an historic step towards global elimination of nuclear weapons, in voting to begin negotiations next year on a treaty to ban nukes. The U.S. and other nuclear weapon states, other than North Korea, declined to support the resolution, with the U.S. and its allies lobbying hard to defeat it. The contradictions in the official U.S. statement are myriad, but here are just a few.

SPECIAL INTEREST

Scientists have found a way to spot nuclear smugglers—by looking at their nail clippings
Quartz

As our nails and hair grow, they carry clues about our health: medical professionals can examine them for signs of illness or poor nutrition. They can also contain traces of the chemicals we’ve touched or ingested long ago—including enriched uranium used in nuclear power or weapons. Researchers from the University of Missouri have demonstrated (paywall) that different ratios of the radioactive element in hair and nails can distinguish people who have handled the material recently from those who haven’t.

The experts on nuclear winter
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

An in-depth interview with meteorologist Alan Robock and physicist Brian Toon, two of the seminal researchers in the field of nuclear winter.

Learn How Different Radar Defense Systems Work in Just 2 Minutes
Popular Mechanics

Should the worst happen, and someone fires an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) at the U.S. with a nuclear warhead in its nose cone, then we need to know about it as soon as possible. This is why the military invests so much in companies like Raytheon, which develops radar systems as well as other defense technologies, so we can know about an incoming threat soon enough to take action.

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – November 3, 2016

Nuclear Policy News – November 3, 2016

TOP NEWS

The UN makes history on a nuclear weapons ban. Does the US care?
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Joe Cirincione

Is North Korea’s nuclear tech for sale?
East Asia Forum

Congress’ other must-pass measure: Iran sanctions
The Washington Post

EAST ASIA

Is North Korea’s nuclear tech for sale?
East Asia Forum

As tougher sanctions are imposed, North Korea will be pressured into securing funds via alternative channels. When the state’s cash flows and resources dry up, selling nuclear technology to the highest bidder may become a tantalising option for the Kim regime.

MIDDLE EAST

Congress’ other must-pass measure: Iran sanctions
The Washington Post

When Congress returns to Washington later this month to tackle a budget impasse and a massive defense policy bill, there will be one more contentious item on its agenda: extending sanctions on Iran. At the end of the year, the Iran Sanctions Act (ISA) expires — and with it, the regime of existing U.S. sanctions lawmakers say are essential to ensure Washington can “snap back” punitive measures against Tehran should Iranian leaders violate the terms of the nuclear deal that went into effect earlier this year.

RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

Russia Will Start Constructing New Ballistic Missile Submarine in December
The Diplomat

Russia will begin construction of an improved variant of the Project 955 Borei-class (“North Wind”) aka Dolgorukiy-class nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine (SSBN), designated Project 955A Borei II, in late December, according to a Russian defense industry source.

SOUTH ASIA

NSG meet in Vienna: Why India is unlikely to bag the Nuclear Suppliers Group membership, for now
The Financial Express

India is unlikely to bag the crucial Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) membership during the Vienna meet on November 11-12. But, that does not mean that all doors for the country are closed. According to a report in ToI, Rafael Grossi, the special envoy appointed by NSG is expected to propose a two-step process which would allow for the membership of non-NPT (Nuclear Proliferation Treaty) members.

MULTILATERAL ARMS CONTROL AND NONPROLIFERATION

UN votes for global nuclear weapons ban negotiations in 2017
The Independent

The United Nations General Assembly has voted to begin negotiations on a unilateral nuclear weapons ban next year. In its 71st session, the Assembly voted 123 in favour of negotiations with 38 countries voting against and 16 abstaining.

OPINIONS

The UN makes history on a nuclear weapons ban. Does the US care?
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Joe Cirincione

If a treaty rises in the United Nations and US media don’t notice, does the treaty make a difference? This is the situation confronting proponents of the process begun October 27, when—by a vote of 123 for, 38 against, and 16 abstaining—the First Committee of the UN agreed “to convene in 2017 a United Nations conference to negotiate a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons.” It was a historic moment. Despite dozens of nuclear crises and war scares, UN members have never in the 71-year history of the body voted for such a sweeping measure. Yet no major US paper covered the vote.

Let’s Reduce the U.S. Nuclear Arsenal
Counter Punch, Lawrence Wittner

At present, nuclear disarmament seems to have ground to a halt.  Nine nations have a total of approximately 15,500 nuclear warheads in their arsenals, including 7,300 possessed by Russia and 7,100 possessed by the United States.  A Russian-American treaty to further reduce their nuclear forces has been difficult to secure thanks to Russian disinterest and Republican resistance. Yet nuclear disarmament remains vital, for, as long as nuclear weapons exist, it is likely that they will be used.

Japan’s hypocritical nuclear stance
The Japan Times

Japan’s vote at the United Nations last week to oppose a resolution to start talks on a treaty outlawing nuclear weapons is regrettable. It contradicts the nation’s long-standing call for the elimination of such weapons as the sole country to have suffered nuclear attacks.

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – November 2, 2016

Nuclear Policy News – November 2, 2016

TOP NEWS

Navy Weighs New Build Plan for Nuclear-Armed Subs
Scout

North Korea preparing for another ballistic missile test: report
The Japan Times

Ahead of NSG Meeting, Austria, Ireland and China Still Oppose India’s Membership Bid
The Wire

Disarmament Education: The Role of Survivors and Youth
UNODA

EAST ASIA

Report: SBX-1 Radar Operated Near North Korea
USNI

The ultra-sensitive radar the U.S. uses to track ballistic missile targets was deployed off North Korea in September, according to local press reports. Sea-Based X-Band Radar (SBX-1) an oil-derrick sized phased array radar was deployed off the Korean peninsula for about a month, according to a report in the South Korean newswire Yonhap.

North Korea preparing for another ballistic missile test: report
The Japan Times

North Korea is readying to launch another intermediate-range missile within the next three days, a report said Tuesday, the latest in a spate of tests by the isolated country. Citing two unidentified U.S. government officials, Fox News said Tuesday that the North would test-fire one of its Musudan midrange missiles within the next 24 to 72 hours.

RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

Nuclear weapons workers vote to strike over pensions
BBC

Staff working at a nuclear weapons factory in Berkshire have voted to strike over changes to their pensions. Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) is contracted by the government to provide and maintain nuclear warheads. The Prospect union said members "cared deeply" about national security and did not want to take action "that could impact on the UK's continuous sea deterrent".

SOUTH ASIA

Pakistani nuclear forces, 2016
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

Pakistan has a nuclear weapons stockpile of 130–140 warheads and appears to have plans to increase its arsenal further. With several delivery systems in development, four plutonium production reactors, and expansion of uranium enrichment facilities, the country’s stockpile will likely increase over the next 10 years, but by how much will depend on many things. Two key factors will be how many nuclear-capable launchers Islamabad plans to deploy, and how much the Indian nuclear arsenal grows.

Ahead of NSG Meeting, Austria, Ireland and China Still Oppose India’s Membership Bid
The Wire

With still at least three countries continuing to insist on drawing up a general criteria for non-NPT entrants, next week’s meeting of officials from Nuclear Suppliers Group member countries in Vienna is not expected to allow India into the group immediately, but would only provide another occasion for general stock-taking of the mood in the cartel.

MULTILATERAL ARMS CONTROL AND NONPROLIFERATION

Disarmament Education: The Role of Survivors and Youth
UNODA

The Permanent Mission of the Republic of the Marshall Islands and the NGO Peace Boat held a side event in New York on the role of atomic bomb survivors and their connections with youth, as part of disarmament education. The event was held on 21 October, 2016 during the 71st Session of the General Assembly First Committee and was moderated by Mr. Akira Kawasaki from Peace Boat, a member of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN).

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

Navy Weighs New Build Plan for Nuclear-Armed Subs
Scout

The Navy's new deal to produce the first 22 missile tubes for it new Columbia-class nuclear-armed ballistic missile submarines comes at time when the service is considering new build strategies for the submarines to address a massive funding shortfall for the top-priority program, Congressional and Navy officials explained.

OPINIONS

The Russian Nuclear Weapons Buildup and the Future of the New START Treaty
RealClearDefense, Mark B. Schneider

In September 2016, Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter pointed out the danger that Russia may resort to “to smaller but still unprecedentedly terrible attacks…to try to coerce a conventionally superior opponent to back off or abandon an ally during a crisis.” Hopefully, the likely Putin’s post-election provocation will not go beyond words.  However, wishful thinking is not an effective deterrence policy.  We need to enhance our deterrence posture promptly to minimize the chance of a major Russian miscalculation.

North Korean and Chinese Nuclear Weapons Development: Two Peas in a Pod?
38 North, Charles Lee

North Korea’s rapid nuclear and missile development has intensified the debate over the efficacy of US and South Korean policies toward Pyongyang. Comparing North Korea’s weapons development to China’s own arms activities can contextualize these discussions, in part by highlighting the remarkable speed with which North Korea has accomplished its recent technical milestones. Moreover, two other considerations drive this comparison: allegations of recent Chinese technical assistance to the North and their common geopolitical interests.

North Korea’s Nuclear Ticket To Survival
Eurasia Review, Edward Hunt

In recent months, a number of U.S. officials have begun to reassess their understanding of why the North Korean government wants nuclear weapons. Rather than repeating the standard claim that the North Korean government is taking extreme measures to intimidate its enemies into making concessions, some officials have begun to suggest that the North Korean government desires nuclear weapons for defensive purposes.

Australia and A Nuclear Weapons Ban
Australian Institute of International Affairs, John Tilemann

The advocates of accelerated disarmament would much prefer more practical steps but none are currently on offer. Officials say no decision has been made on Australian participation in the negotiations. But Australia and other sceptics should participate and try to achieve something useful out of an admittedly not hugely promising process.

The nuclear ban treaty and its possible ramifications
International Institute for Strategic Studies, Paulina Izewicz

Frustration at the slow pace of nuclear-disarmament efforts has fueled a drive to establish a nuclear ban treaty. While the initiative could put pressure on nuclear-weapons states to move towards disarmament at a quicker pace, Paulina Izewicz argues that any attempt to decouple their perceived need to retain nuclear weapons from the broader strategic context may prove to be an exercise in futility.

SPECIAL INTEREST

Learning About Nuclear South Asia
Arms Control Wonk

Two new sections are now ready for consumption of the Stimson Center’s free, open, online course, Nuclear South Asia: A Guide to India, Pakistan, and the Bomb. These sections cover India and Pakistan’s nuclear doctrines and postures, as well as their place in the global nuclear order.

Scoutmaster trained WWII spies who destroyed Adolf Hitler's nuclear weapons programme
The Independent

A middle-aged Scottish scoutmaster trained the special operatives who destroyed Adolf Hitler's nuclear weapon programme, a new book has revealed. John Skinner Wilson was 52 when he was asked to quit his post in the Boy Scouts movement to help select and train candidates Winston Churchill's covert outfit, the Special Operations Executive (SOE) during the Second World War. His tough selection process is still used as the basis of all those used by British special forces organisations such as the Special Air Service and the Royal Marine Commandos.

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – November 1, 2016

Nuclear Policy News – November 1, 2016

TOP NEWS

US Navy ballistic missile submarine arrives in Guam
IHS Jane’s 360

Nuclear CSI: Noninvasive procedure could identify criminal nuclear activity
Phys.org

Creative Santa Fe Announces Santa Fe Nuclear Weapons Summit
Los Alamos Daily Post

Norway is now a nuclear target over US Marines posted there, senior Russian politician warns
The Independent

Will first seek solution to admit non NPT states in nuclear suppliers group: China
Financial Express

EAST ASIA

S. Korea, U.S. military brass discuss strategic cooperation in Guam
Yonhap News

South Korea's top military officer visited Guam and exchanged views with top U.S. brass on ways to further strengthen their alliance against North Korea's evolving nuclear and missile threats, Seoul's Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said Tuesday.

US sends message to adversaries with nuclear sub visit, drills
CNN

The US military is sending a double-barreled message this week to potential adversaries in the Pacific. A US Navy submarine carrying nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles is visiting Guam for the first time since the late 1980s and US and Japanese troops will practice amphibious landings on Pacific islands. The submarine USS Pennsylvania (SSBN 735) is making what the Navy formally calls a "scheduled port visit" to the US territory in the Pacific, according to a Navy press statement.

South Korea scandal could affect THAAD, Chinese media says
UPI

As South Korea grapples with a political scandal revolving around President Park Geun-hye, Chinese state media is revisiting the issue of THAAD deployment on the peninsula. Chinese Communist Party newspaper People's Daily had stated on Saturday Park is experiencing a "major political crisis" that could mean the South Korean leader's position on THAAD is not guaranteed to lead to deployment.

RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

Norway is now a nuclear target over US Marines posted there, senior Russian politician warns
The Independent

Norway is now a nuclear target due to the deployment of 330 US Marines in its borders, a senior Russian politician has warned. Frants Klintsevitsj, the deputy chairman of Russia's defence and security committee, told TV2 Norwegian citizens “will suffer” from US military presence in the country. Mr Klintsevitsj said: “This is very dangerous for Norway and Norwegians. How should we react to this? We have never before had Norway on the list of targets for our strategic weapons.”

SOUTH ASIA

Will first seek solution to admit non NPT states in nuclear suppliers group: China
Financial Express

China today said it will first find a solution that applies to all non-NPT countries seeking entry into NSG and will then discuss India's application, a day after the two country's held talks over India's bid for membership of the elite grouping.

MULTILATERAL ARMS CONTROL AND NONPROLIFERATION

Speech by the IAEA Director General at Qatar University
IAEA, Yukiya Amano

Implementing safeguards to verify that countries are not diverting nuclear material for military purposes is a key IAEA function. Agency inspectors visit nuclear facilities all over the world to keep track of nuclear material. In recent years, two major issues have topped our list of concerns – the nuclear programmes of Iran and North Korea.

Japan, India to sign energy pact on condition of no nuclear tests
The Asahi Shimbun

Japan and India will sign a nuclear energy pact in mid-November that allows Tokyo to opt out if the South Asian nation tests its nuclear weapons, sources said. The agreement, the first by Japan with a nation that has not ratified the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, will be signed when Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visits Japan later this month, a high-ranking Foreign Ministry official said.

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

US Navy ballistic missile submarine arrives in Guam
IHS Jane’s 360

USS Pennsylvania, a US Navy Ohio-class nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine, arrived on 31 October at Apra Harbor in Guam for a scheduled port visit, according to a statement by the US Joint Region Marianas military command.

OPINIONS

Rejection of UN Nuke Ban Not Enough, Administration Must Do More to Maintain Arsenal
The Daily Signal, Michaela Dodge, Brett Schaefer

Computers are unable to fully replicate the reality of a nuclear explosion, properties of aging materials, and changes introduced into weapons due to new materials. The nation must be able to conduct a nuclear test should circumstances require it. The Senate rejected an effort to ban nuclear weapons tests in the late 1990s for these and other reasons. The security situation has only gotten worse and more unpredictable since. The administration should take the next step and recognize that an option to test the most important weapons in the U.S. arsenal must remain available.

SPECIAL INTEREST

Creative Santa Fe Announces Santa Fe Nuclear Weapons Summit
Los Alamos Daily Post

Creative Santa Fe (CrSF), Nuclear Threat Initiative, and N Square announced The Santa Fe Nuclear Weapons Summit, designed to engage a new type of discussion about nuclear security and proliferation. Over the course of three days, 20-30 next generation leaders in a wide variety of fields will travel to New Mexico to be immersed in the history of nuclear weapons, discuss present day nuclear threats and - most importantly - explore ‘what if’ scenarios about the future of global security.

Nuclear CSI: Noninvasive procedure could identify criminal nuclear activity
Phys.org

Determining if an individual has handled nuclear materials, such as uranium or plutonium, is a challenge national defense agencies currently face. The standard protocol to detect uranium exposure is through a urine sample; however, urine is able to only identify those who have been exposed recently. Now, scientists at the University of Missouri have developed procedures that will better identify individuals exposed to uranium within one year. Scientists and homeland security experts believe this noninvasive procedure could identify individuals who may be smuggling nuclear materials for criminal purposes.

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – October 27, 2016

Nuclear Policy News – October 27, 2016

TOP NEWS

Nuclear-Armed Foes Unite Against a UN Call to Shed Their Weapons
Bloomberg

Exercises help NATO fill gaps in air and missile defenses: general
Reuters

Spending Bill Delay Would Trip Up Nuclear Missile Sub: CR Vs. ORP
Breaking Defense

The Importance of Building Long Range Stand-off Cruise Missiles
The New York Times, Adam Lowther

How China can address the world's nuclear disorder
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Rajesh Rajagopalan

EAST ASIA

China's cooperation essential to effective sanctions on N. Korea
The Korea Times

International sanctions on North Korea won't be effective without cooperation from its long-time ally China, a state-run think in Seoul said Thursday. "It won't be easy to produce similar outcomes if the method of reinforcing sanctions against Iran is applied to the case of North Korea," according to the report released by state-run think tank Korea Development Institute (KDI).

S. Korea, U.S., Japan discuss tighter sanctions on N. Korea
Yonhap News

Senior diplomats from South Korea, the United States and Japan on Thursday discussed slapping joint sanctions on North Korea over its latest nuclear test and working together to respond to Pyongyang's military provocations going forward.

RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

Exercises help NATO fill gaps in air and missile defenses: general
Reuters

Short-notice military exercises and forthcoming deployments will help NATO fill gaps in its air and missile defenses as it revamps its approach to deter Russia in eastern Europe, a top U.S. general said. This week, for instance, some 100 U.S. forces received "shock" orders to move a Patriot missile defense system from Germany to Romania by rail for a joint exercise to be carried out in early November with 100 Romanian soldiers.

SOUTH ASIA

'Multi-pronged strategy better for Indo-Pak relations'
The Times of India

Experts in the field of foreign policy and advocacy were consensual about adopting a multi-pronged strategy in dealing with nuclear efficient Pakistan, instead of just relying on military action in future incidents like Pathankot and Uri.

MULTILATERAL ARMS CONTROL AND NONPROLIFERATION

Nuclear-Armed Foes Unite Against a UN Call to Shed Their Weapons
Bloomberg

For all the divisions among world powers, one concern unites Russia and the U.S., India and Pakistan, North Korea and Israel at the United Nations: Keeping their nuclear weapons. Those nuclear-armed states and the three others -- China, France and the U.K. -- are working to head off a resolution calling for a global conference to establish a binding “legal process” to ban the manufacture, possession, stockpiling and use of the weapons. They’re bucking a popular cause backed by 50 nations, from Ireland to Brazil, which say the measure could win as many as 120 votes in the 193-member General Assembly.

Japan playing ‘victim’ in nuclear abolition motion, says China
The Japan Times

China again plans to vote against a Japan-led resolution calling to abolish nuclear weapons on the grounds that Tokyo is using the atomic bomb survivors to present itself as a victim of World War II, according to a Chinese envoy. “This goes back to our position that there is no need to highlight Hiroshima and Nagasaki in this exercise, in this nuclear disarmament resolution, because their real intention, in our view, is not for nuclear disarmament,” Chinese Ambassador for Disarmament Affairs Fu Cong told Kyodo News in a recent interview.

Japan won't support U.N. resolution urging nuclear weapons ban
Japan Today

Japan has decided not to support a draft U.N. resolution urging the start of negotiations in 2017 to outlaw nuclear weapons, a senior Japanese official and other sources close to the matter said. Japan, the world’s sole victim of atomic bombings, will consider either abstaining or voting against the draft at the General Assembly this week because it would only “further deepen the rift between nuclear and non-nuclear states and meaningful treaty negotiations cannot be expected,” the senior official said.

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

Spending Bill Delay Would Trip Up Nuclear Missile Sub: CR Vs. ORP
Breaking Defense

If Congress doesn’t pass the annual defense spending bill — already 26 days overdue — by January 1st, the Navy’s top priority program may miss its sailing date 14 years from now. The Ohio Replacement SSBN submarine, which will carry 70 percent of American nuclear warheads, “will come to almost a screeching halt” without a proper spending bill, warned Vice Admiral Joseph Mulloy, the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations.

OPINIONS

The Importance of Building Long Range Stand-off Cruise Missiles
The New York Times, Adam Lowther

One of the modernization programs the United States is undertaking is the development of the Long Range Stand-off Cruise Missile (LRSO), which will replace the AGM 86 nuclear cruise missile. LRSO is a favorite target of nuclear abolitionists who argue that the United States does not need a nuclear cruise missile, but this upgrade is absolutely necessary. Our current Reagan-era nuclear cruise missiles are unlikely to reach their targets in the event they are needed, because those targets are heavily defended by advanced air defense networks that can shoot down the missile.

For nuclear weapons, self-interest rules
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Raymund Jose G. Quilop

For the United States, it would be sheer naiveté to adopt no-first-use and expect others to follow. Unless all members of the nuclear club agreed to no-first-use ahead of time, Washington could have no expectation that its commitment would be reciprocated by other nuclear-armed states.

A Trillion-Dollar Nuclear Weapon Modernization Is Unnecessary
The New York Times, Barry Blechman

The U.S. armed forces are exceptionally capable, trained like no others, prepared, and highly equipped. We do not need large numbers of nuclear weapons; let’s not let a politically driven nuclear modernization program divert the resources we need to retain our essential conventional superiority.

Failing to take the lead
The Indian Express, Mani Shankar Aiyar

Late tonight or in the wee hours of tomorrow morning, the First Committee of the UN General Assembly is going to take a vote on a resolution, numbered L.41, co-sponsored by some 60 countries worldwide, seeking UN approval to start negotiations early next year on the prohibition on nuclear weapons. Indications are that India will abstain, thus denying itself an historic opportunity to resume a leadership position in the campaign for disarmament that was the raison d’etre of the UN, which is why the First Committee was established to deal exclusively with disarmament affairs.

An American Nuclear Umbrella Means a Lot to Northeast Asia
The New York Times, Sue Mi Terry

What would happen if South Korea were to go nuclear? Japan would follow suit. And then we would be in the midst of a dangerous and destabilizing nuclear-arms race involving Japan, South Korea, North Korea and China, similar to the nuclear competition that already exists between India and Pakistan. The chances of a catastrophic conflict would greatly increase. That would not be in the interests of Northeast Asia or in the interests of America.

Why the CTBT remains an elusive goal
Observer Research Foundation, Rakesh Sood

This paper argues that the reason for the CTBT’s elusiveness is that during negotiations, some key states sought to convert the treaty into more of an instrument of non-proliferation, rather than a first step towards ending the nuclear arms race. In the process, international legal norms were violated. This holds important lessons for the future of arms control and disarmament negotiations.

President Obama’s Plan Is Effective for Deterrence
The New York Times, Stephen Rademaker

Some say we need not worry about the future, because nuclear weapons will soon be abolished. But wishful thinking is never a sound basis for policy, especially in matters potentially involving our national survival. Can we afford to modernize? Pointing to the 30-year price tag is a tactic intended to induce sticker shock. The more relevant measure is the annual cost as a percentage of the defense budget. Looked at that way, the cost comes in substantially below what we spent on nuclear forces during the Cold War. In truth, we can’t afford not to modernize.

How China can address the world's nuclear disorder
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Rajesh Rajagopalan

Today's disorder in the nuclear arena provides China an opportunity to demonstrate multilateral normative leadership even as it promotes its own security. But taking this opportunity will require Beijing to absorb a simple truth: China cannot become more secure by making other nations less so.

We Should Be Strategic About How the Nuclear Arsenal Is Modernized
The New York Times, Rachel Bronson

A new president would be right to undertake a serious review of the U.S. modernization program that will hurtle the U.S. toward massive financial commitments at a time when resources are badly needed elsewhere. Without further discussion of what deterrence looks like in the 21st century, and how conventional investments might otherwise achieve them, the U.S. risks an expensive 21st modernization plan that reinforces an antiquated 20th century strategic approach.

Obama’s Nobel-winning vision of ‘world without nuclear weapons’ is still distant
The Conversation, Makoto Takahashi

Even now, Barack Obama is being hailed as a transformer for the vision of a “world without nuclear weapons” he articulated during his first year in office. The 44th US president has left an indelible mark on the nuclear debate, but his policies have failed to live up to the hope he has inspired.

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – October 26, 2016

Nuclear Policy News – October 26, 2016

TOP NEWS

China Chafes at North Korea's Nuclear Program
Stratfor

Smaller Nuclear Weapons And Power Plants Under Development Hold Promise And Peril
Forbes, Vincent Ialenti, Annie Tomlinson

Russia's New ICBM Could "Wipe Out Texas"
Popular Mechanics

Checks and Balances: Thermal Imagery Analysis of Yongbyon
38 North

Tributes paid to anti-Trident activist John Ainslie
The National

EAST ASIA

Getting North Korea to give up nuclear bomb probably 'lost cause': U.S. spy chief
Reuters

The U.S. policy of trying to persuade North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons "is probably a lost cause" and the best that could be hoped for is a cap on the country's nuclear capability, the Director of U.S. National Intelligence James Clapper said on Tuesday.

CSIS chief: China made 'colossal' mistake on THAAD
Yonhap News

China has made a "colossal" mistake by opposing the planned deployment of the U.S. THAAD missile defense system in South Korea, the head of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) said Tuesday. John Hamre, a top security expert who is president and CEO of CSIS, made the remark during a forum on Korean Peninsula issues, saying he conveyed such a view when he met with Chinese Ambassador to the U.S. Cui Tiankai earlier in the day.

Checks and Balances: Thermal Imagery Analysis of Yongbyon
38 North

Given the lack of access to North Korea’s nuclear facilities at Yongbyon, outside observers rely on a variety of tools to monitor what is happening throughout the complex. High resolution commercial satellite imagery is useful for detecting movement as well as external signs and developments. Thermal imagery indicates variances in the heat signatures of buildings versus their surroundings, helping to identify when specific facilities are operational.

N. Korea unlikely to give up nukes without crushing sanctions: ex-presidential advisor
Yonhap News

North Korea is unlikely to give up its nuclear weapons program in the absence of all-out international sanctions on the country, a former presidential advisor said Wednesday, making his case for tougher actions against Pyongyang.

Denuclearization of Korean Peninsula is U.S. policy: State Department
Reuters

U.S. policy is to achieve a verifiable denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, a State Department spokesman said on Tuesday, shortly after a senior U.S. official said trying to persuade Pyongyang to give up nuclear weapons was a lost cause.

Senior diplomats of S. Korea, U.S., Japan to discuss N.K. nuclear issue
Yonhap News

Senior foreign ministry officials from South Korea, the United States and Japan will meet in Tokyo this week to discuss cooperation in dealing with North Korea's nuclear and missile threats, the foreign ministry said Wednesday.

MIDDLE EAST

U.S. House to vote on Iran Sanctions Act renewal as soon as November
Reuters

The Republican leaders of the U.S. House of Representatives plan a vote as soon as mid-November on a 10-year reauthorization of the Iran Sanctions Act, congressional aides told Reuters on Tuesday, setting up a potential showdown with the White House and Senate. The Iran Sanctions Act, or ISA, which expires on Dec. 31, allows trade, energy, defense and banking industry sanctions over Iran's nuclear program and ballistic missile tests.

RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

Russia's New ICBM Could "Wipe Out Texas"
Popular Mechanics

Russia has begun testing of its new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), the RS-28 Sarmat. Sarmat can carry a payload of up to ten tons of nukes. The missile system is set to enter service in 2018. The RS-28 Sarmat is the first entirely new Russian ICBM in decades. The heavyweight missile weighs 100 tons and can boost 10 tons. Russia claims the Sarmat can lift 10 heavyweight warheads, or 16 lighter ones, and Russian state media has described it as being able to wipe out an area the size of Texas or France.

Russia’s Missile Deployment Adds to NATO’s Worries in the Baltic
The Daily Signal

In an extremely worrying development for NATO, Russia earlier this month deployed several nuclear-capable Iskander mobile ballistic missile launchers in the Kaliningrad region. The location is a small Russian enclave on the Baltic between Poland and Lithuania that is home to Russia’s Baltic Fleet and several major military installations. The deployment is widely seen as a countermove to NATO’s announcement that it will deploy more troops and missile defense systems to Poland and the Baltics, which Russia views as a direct threat to its security.

SOUTH ASIA

New Zealand promises "constructive approach" to India’s NSG entry bid
The Hindu

In a bid to strengthen bilateral ties, New Zealand on Wednesday pledged a “constructive approach” to India’s bid to enter the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), even as both sides held talks on preventing “global uncertainties”.

OPINIONS

China Chafes at North Korea's Nuclear Program
Stratfor

As North Korea's actions have grown less predictable and more provocative under Kim Jong Un's rule, Beijing has become increasingly estranged from its longtime ally. This, coupled with rising international concerns over Pyongyang's nuclear program, has renewed debate among Chinese policy circles about Beijing's options for dealing with its unruly ally.

China, the increasingly responsible nuclear stakeholder
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Hua Han

Before the late 1990s, when China was the only nuclear weapon state in Asia, Beijing pursued nonproliferation goals in its own way: by issuing no nuclear threats, basing no nuclear weapons on other countries' soil, extending no nuclear umbrella to other countries, and relying on nuclear weapons only to deter nuclear attacks. Today, given the changed geopolitical landscape around China's periphery, and also given China's growing international influence, Beijing has come to appreciate nuclear nonproliferation more than in years past.

Smaller Nuclear Weapons And Power Plants Under Development Hold Promise And Peril
Forbes, Vincent Ialenti, Annie Tomlinson

Smaller may be seen as smarter. Technologies, designed to be more customizable, may better respond to more targeted, context-driven energy or military goals. Users may gain more control over a bomb or power generation facility’s energy release. Nuclear weapons and energy progress may be associated less with bigness, badness, and expansion and more with efforts to make them more nimble, lean, precise, and flexible.

How to Fix the National Laboratories
The National Interest, Laura Diaz Anadon, Gabriel Chan, Amitai Bin-Nun, Venkatesh Narayanamurti

The management practices of the Labs have created a climate where the high-risk, high-reward R&D necessary to meet DOE’s energy innovation mission is too often avoided. The climate instead favors R&D that delivers predictable results over short horizons to satisfy Congress and DOE. One exception where high-risk, high-reward R&D thrives in the Lab ecosystem is the Laboratory-Directed Research and Development (LDRD) program.

SPECIAL INTEREST

Tributes paid to anti-Trident activist John Ainslie
The National

MSPs from SNP, Labour and the Greens have joined campaigners to pay tribute to the veteran anti-Trident activist John Ainslie who died last week. Bill Kidd, the SNP MSP, who is co-president of Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament (PNND), put down a motion in Holyrood yesterday highlighting the work Ainslie had done since taking up the post of Scottish organiser of CND more than 20 years ago.

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – October 25, 2016

Nuclear Policy News – October 25, 2016

TOP NEWS

Stratcom Commander Addresses Strategic Deterrence in 21st Century
U.S. Department of Defense

America and Britain's War over Cold War Missiles
The National Interest, Steve Weintz

North Korean Coal Windfall Boosts Nuclear Advance
The Wall Street Journal

Poland HEU Removal: Behind the Scenes
Nuclear Threat Initiative

No-first-use: One step toward peace
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Ta Minh Tuan

EAST ASIA

Nuke-armament advocates gaining support amid Pyongyang's provocations
Yonhap News

South Korean politicians and scholars advocating the development of nuclear weapons are no longer remaining silent as Pyongyang's provocations, including its fifth nuke test, are sparking growing calls in Seoul for more aggressive countermeasures, pundits here said Tuesday.

North Korean Coal Windfall Boosts Nuclear Advance
The Wall Street Journal

North Korean coal prices have surged by 40% in value recently, boosting funds for Pyongyang’s advancing nuclear program and undermining U.S.-led efforts to force it into talks by choking its finances. The price rise for North Korea’s biggest export item gives fresh significance to negotiations between the U.S. and China about tightening sanctions on North Korea in response to its nuclear activities.

North Korea slams threat of "criminal" sanctions over missile and nuclear tests
CBS News

North Korean officials lashed out Monday at efforts in the United Nations to strengthen sanctions following the North’s latest missile launches and nuclear test in September. The officials told an Associated Press Television crew in Pyongyang that sanctions targeting the nuclear and missile tests are “criminal documents” and accused the United States of orchestrating the condemnation.

MIDDLE EAST

Kerry-Zarif win diplomatic prize for Iran nuclear deal
Al-Arabiya

US Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif have won an international diplomatic prize for their part in a historic agreement on Iran’s nuclear program, organizers announced Monday. The two officials, who negotiated the deal face-to-face and together with counterparts from the P5+1 powers (the United States, China, Russia, France, Britain and Germany) between 2013 and 2015, won the Chatham House Prize “in recognition of their crucial roles” to resolve “one of the most intractable diplomatic stand-offs in international affairs in the 21st century.”

RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

Russians Conduct Nuclear-Bomb Survival Drills as Cold War Heats Up
The Wall Street Journal

Russian authorities have stepped up nuclear-war survival measures amid a showdown with Washington, dusting off Soviet-era civil-defense plans and upgrading bomb shelters in the biggest cities. At the Kremlin’s Ministry of Emergency Situations, the Cold War is back. The country recently held its biggest civil defense drills since the collapse of the U.S.S.R., with what officials said were 40 million people rehearsing a response to chemical and nuclear threats.

SOUTH ASIA

‘India has capacity to produce hundreds of new nuclear bombs’
DAWN

A new study indicates that India has sufficient material and the technical capacity to produce between 356 and 492 nuclear bombs. The study titled ‘Indian Unsafeguarded Nuclear Program’ which was published by the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI) and was co-authored by four nuclear scholars, unveils a new and comprehensive assessment of India’s nuclear weapon capacity The launch of the study at the ISSI on Monday was attended by foreign diplomats, scholars, journalists and students.

MULTILATERAL ARMS CONTROL AND NONPROLIFERATION

Making It Happen: Trade Union Movement Backs A World Without Nuclear Weapons
Huffington Post

UNI Global Union and its 20 million members in 150 countries welcome the discussions taking place on the draft UN General Assembly resolution to start negotiations on a treaty banning nuclear weapons. We call on governments to get behind this resolution because we can imagine a world without nuclear weapons and believe in making it happen.

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

Stratcom Commander Addresses Strategic Deterrence in 21st Century
U.S. Department of Defense

Global security threats today must be viewed in a transregional, multidomain and multifunctional context, the commander of U.S. Strategic Command said Oct. 21. Speaking at Kansas State University’s Landon Lecture Series, Navy Adm. Cecil D. Haney addressed U.S. military strategic deterrence in the 21st century. Haney discussed Russia, China, North Korea, Iran and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant as the five evolving challenges the military faces, and he emphasized that strategic deterrence capabilities are used every day to maintain strategic stability.

OPINIONS

America and Britain's War over Cold War Missiles
The National Interest, Steve Weintz

Mark Twain probably didn’t make the famous quip, “History doesn’t repeat itself but it rhymes,” but the phrase’s sentiment often feels right. In discussing British independence, U.S. nuclear policy, strategic-weapons upgrades and a fraying “special relationship,” we could be discussing current events—or those of a half-century ago.

No-first-use: One step toward peace
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Ta Minh Tuan

Where a technology as destructive as nuclear weapons is concerned, someone must take the first step. Nations that sign on to a treaty such as the NPT do so in the belief that other nations will do likewise for the sake of international peace. Over the years, this attitude has largely been rewarded.

US nuclear secrets trial cools co-operation with China
Financial Times, Lucy Hornby, David Lynch

Mr Ho, born in Taiwan and a US citizen since 1983, was charged with violating a statute designed to prevent American scientists from helping other countries develop an atomic bomb. The case comes during an era of unprecedented nuclear co-operation between the west and China, but also a time of growing trade friction and accusations of cyber crime and espionage. After his arrest in April, Mr Ho’s imprisonment for six months in a maximum security cell in Tennessee has chilled Chinese technical co-operation with the international nuclear industry and raised accusations of racial profiling in the US.

A Dangerous Decade: The North Korean Nuclear Threat
The National Interest, Robert Cantelmo

There is no magic bullet for dealing with North Korea’s nuclear weapons: to date, only South Africa has abolished their weapons program after crossing the nuclear threshold. However, as North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic technology becomes increasingly sophisticated and tensions continue to rise in the Asia-Pacific the threat is growing. The challenge is daunting, but the first step will be making North Korea – and Asia-Pacific nuclear security – a priority.

SPECIAL INTEREST

Poland HEU Removal: Behind the Scenes
Nuclear Threat Initiative

At the 60th International Atomic Energy Agency General Conference, U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernie Moniz announced the successful repatriation of 61 kilograms of Russian-origin highly enriched uranium (HEU) from the Maria research reactor in Poland. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, this most recent removal makes Poland the 31st country, plus Taiwan, to completely remove its HEU. It was the culmination of steady work that required eleven separate shipments over the course of a decade.

Russia's Super Secret Spy Submarine Returns to Sea
The National Interest

Earlier this month, a Russian ballistic missile submarine (SSBN) called Podmoskovie slipped out of its pier at Severodvinsk for the first time in 16 years. But BS-64 Podmoskovie—which was commissioned in 1986 as a Project 667BDRM Delfin-class (NATO: Delta IV) SSBN designated K-64—is no ordinary boomer. Over the course of nearly two decades, the massive submarine was modified to conduct special missions. But exactly what those missions might be remains somewhat of a mystery.

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – October 24, 2016

Nuclear Policy News – October 24, 2016

TOP NEWS

Mr. Putin plays troublemaker on nuclear security
The Washington Post, Editorial Board

Father of the Atomic Age
The New York Times

66 countries submit implementation reports on N.K. sanctions
Yonhap News

NNSA, Pentagon Tracking Nuclear Infrastructure Bills
Defense News

Why an Iran-Style Deal Isn't Possible with North Korea
The National Interest, Ali Wyne

EAST ASIA

Park reaffirms sanctions to end N. Korea nuke program
The Korea Times

President Park Geun-hye Monday reaffirmed South Korea's policy stance to impose sanctions on North Korea to press the communist country to give up its nuclear weapons program. "The Korean Peninsula is currently faced with a security situation which is unprecedentedly grave and grim," Park said in her speech delivered at the National Assembly, intended to outline the government's budgetary requirements for 2017.

66 countries submit implementation reports on N.K. sanctions
Yonhap News

One third of United Nations member states have submitted their implementation reports on the latest set of international sanctions adopted against North Korea, a news report said Saturday. The Voice of America report said 66 countries have submitted their own implementation reports since the U.N. Security Council adopted Resolution 2270 in March to punish the North for its nuclear and ballistic missile tests early this year.

Another North Korean IRBM launch fails
IHS Jane’s 360

North Korea conducted another unsuccessful launch of what appeared to be a Musudan intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM) on 20 October, according to US, Japanese, and South Korean officials. "US Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM) systems detected what we assess was a failed North Korean missile launch" at 0700 h local time on 20 October near the country's northwestern city of Kusong, North Pyongan Province, said the command in a statement.

RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

U.S. allies worry: Russia's missile exercise may be tip of nuclear iceberg
USA Today

Russia deployed nuclear-capable missiles this month to its territory in the Baltic Sea, its latest aggressive move with nuclear weapons that alarms the West. Worrisome signs include increased talk about using nuclear weapons, more military maneuvers with nuclear arms, development of advanced nuclear munitions and public discussion of a new war doctrine that accelerates the use of such weapons.

SOUTH ASIA

PM Narendra Modi may raise issue of entry into NSG to New Zealand PM John Key on his India visit
The Indian Express

When New Zealand Prime Minister John Key visits India next week, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to raise the issue of India’s entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG). New Zealand, which is a member of the 48-member NSG and has a traditional strong position on nuclear non-proliferation, has been one of those countries which had expressed reservations on India’s application.

Pakistan neither wants, nor engaged in arms race in South Asia: envoy
Dawn

In her remarks, Ambassador Janjua said efforts to eliminate nuclear weapons must not give way to an unworkable imbalance of conventional weapons similar to those that had triggered two world wars. Spending on conventional arms had surpassed $1.7 trillion, she said, adding that the total budget of the United Nations was around 3 per cent of world military expenditures and that 33 times more money was being spent on fuelling and exacerbating conflicts than on preventing them.

MULTILATERAL ARMS CONTROL AND NONPROLIFERATION

U.S. Seeks to Scupper Proposed Ban on Nuclear Arms
Foreign Policy

Almost eight years after President Barack Obama pledged in a landmark speech in Prague to seek “a world without nuclear weapons,” U.S. diplomats are mounting an aggressive campaign to head off a bid by non-nuclear states to ban such atomic arms. American diplomats say the increasing belligerence of China and Russia — from the South China Sea to Syria to the Baltic — as well as the advancing pace of North Korea’s nuclear weapons development, make it untenable for the United States and its allies to support such a far-reaching commitment to scrap their nukes.

Hibakusha join activists at U.N. event in calling for nuke ban treaty
The Japan Times

Atomic bomb survivors from Hiroshima and Nagasaki joined anti-nuclear activists in New York Thursday where they voiced their concerns ahead of a General Assembly meeting that will vote on whether to ban nuclear weapons.

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

NNSA, Pentagon Tracking Nuclear Infrastructure Bills
Defense News

As the Pentagon seeks to modernize the nuclear enterprise, the majority of the focus has been on the creation of new delivery systems like the B-21 Raider bomber, the replacement for the Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine, and the next ICBM design. But undergirding all that is an aging nuclear infrastructure, one that those in charge of handling America’s nuclear arsenal worry is not getting the attention it deserves. Over the last few budget cycles, military construction and facility maintenance has suffered in favor of training and modernization of equipment.

OPINIONS

Mr. Putin plays troublemaker on nuclear security
The Washington Post, Editorial Board

Mr. Putin made a crude attempt to turn nuclear security into a bargaining chip. He complained about “unfriendly actions” by the United States, and demanded an end to all sanctions against Russia over the war in Ukraine; compensation for the damage they caused; repeal of the Magnitsky Act, which penalizes Russian officials involved in human rights violations; and pullback of U.S. forces from the new members of NATO. This is a misguided gambit. The nuclear security agreements were not created as a favor to the United States; rather they made the world a bit safer and helped avoid a potential catastrophe.

Nuclear Buying Power
Atlantic Council, James Hasik

On 11 October, the US Air Force received prospective contractors’ proposals its its Ground-Based Strategic Deterrence (GBSD) program, its effort to begin replacing its Boeing LGM-30 Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) by 2030. The USAF is sufficiently concerned about its choices for cost-effective replacement that the service’s request for proposals restricted its contractors from exclusive dealing. At least one of two subcontractors thus lost an opportunity for a one-time payout from a prime contractor, and it’s possible that both did.

The strategic illusion of No First Use policy
East Asia Forum, Hugh White

The idea that the United States can credibly threaten to use nuclear weapons first is a key pillar of the wider illusion that the United States enjoys unchallengeable military preponderance against major adversaries like China and Russia. That wider illusion in turn encourages the United States as well as allied policymakers and analysts to underestimate the likelihood that these regional rivals would risk a military conflict. It leads them to assume that Moscow and Beijing also believe that US military power is unchallengeable and so can be relied upon to avoid a confrontation.

US Right to Affirm Necessity of Missile Defense in South Korea
The Daily Signal, Bruce Klingner

Advancements in North Korea’s SLBM and mobile IRBM are particularly worrisome because both are harder to detect than fixed systems and thus more difficult to detect and defend against. South Korea currently does not have any effective defense against an SLBM and the Musudan would be able to attack Guam, a key U.S. node for Pacific contingencies.

Why North Korea's September Nuclear Test Is Different
The National Interest, Alexander Kim

It’s a situation that has played out all too often. North Korea detonates a nuclear bomb. Washington responds by calling for stronger sanctions. The trite repetitiveness of the exchange makes one question whether it even qualifies as “breaking news” any more. But this time, things are different. North Korea’s latest nuclear test on September 9 was reportedly more powerful than the detonation of the Hiroshima bomb. It also came with a chilling statement from the regime’s state news agency, to the effect that the DPRK has successfully miniaturized a nuclear weapon into a missile warhead.

Are Sanctions Enough to Stop North Korea's Provocative Behavior?
Voice of America, Steve Miller

Rodger Baker, VP of Strategic Analysis for Stratfor.com, says it's "fairly clear" the sanctions in place are not achieving their goals. "They are not preventing the North from pursuing a nuclear program or a missile program,” Baker said. “In fact, they may be accelerating that program as the North sees a need to create another layer of protection for itself as it sees itself increasingly isolated by the international community."

Why an Iran-Style Deal Isn't Possible with North Korea
The National Interest, Ali Wyne

Unlike Iran, which plays an important role in the world economy—it has the fourth-largest proven crude oil reserves and second-largest natural gas reserves—North Korea would likely be consigned to strategic irrelevance without its nuclear program. As such, it is difficult to imagine a set of conditions under which the regime would scale back, let alone eliminate, that program, which it frames as its only defense against U.S. military action.

It’s Time to Drop Preconditions and Re-Open Talks with North Korea
Foreign Policy In Focus, Frederick Carriere, Louis Kriesberg, Stuart Thorson

The United States should drop all preconditions for restarting talks with North Korea, including demands for the country to take prior steps of denuclearization. Also, the United States should get South Korea on board and then announce a cessation in the U.S.-ROK joint military exercises with a review in 18 months. This would be a belated, if unspoken, positive response to the DPRK offer last spring to halt nuclear tests in exchange for a moratorium on these joint military exercises.

Confronting North Korea: Friendly Proliferation May Be Safer for America than Holding a Nuclear Umbrella
Huffington Post, Doug Bandow

It is one thing for Washington to use nuclear weapons, including preemptively, to protect America. It is quite different to do so for allies. Alliances are a means, not an end, that is, a mechanism to help defend the U.S. A North Korean attack on the ROK would be awful, a humanitarian tragedy. But American security would not be directly threatened. Certainly there is no threat warranting the risk of nuclear retaliation on the U.S.

Iran Nuke Deal Will Spawn More Proxy Attacks Like The Ones In Yemen
USNI, Sean Liedman

Recent events in the Middle East illustrate the continued expansion of Iranian influence, and the lifting of economic sanctions in January 2016 as part of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA, the “Iran Nuclear deal”) will accelerate this strategic trend by reviving Iran’s economic health. The nuclear provisions of the JCPOA might work to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear weapons state in the next ten years; however, Iran has demonstrated with certainty that it will use the infusion of cash to further support proxy groups to achieve its interests in the region.

Pakistan’s Compulsion Is Not A Choice
Arms Control Wonk, Adil Sultan

Pakistan opted to pursue the nuclear-weapons path out of its security compulsion, as it did not have any other choice. Pakistan’s nuclear journey has been difficult, but the development of an effective deterrent has helped it to neutralize an existential threat that it faced from its eastern neighbor. Pakistan neither has the ambition of a global power, nor the resources to engage in an arms race with any other country

SPECIAL INTEREST

Father of the Atomic Age
The New York Times

Fermi, almost single-handedly, had dragged Italian physics research into the modern age of quantum theory and relativity, and his emigration left Mussolini without the one scientist who might have given him a nuclear weapon. But if things had gone a little differently, might Fermi have done for Il Duce what Werner Heisenberg attempted for the Führer? After reading Gino Segrè and Bettina Hoerlin’s superb biography, “The Pope of Physics,” I am left with the nagging thought: maybe.

Modernizing the format of nuclear data
Phys.org

When atomic nuclei collide with other nuclei or subatomic particles, a large number of reactions can occur, resulting in many possible products. High-quality data describing these nuclear reactions are essential for many important scientific, engineering, and commercial applications. These applications include nuclear reactor design and safety, radioactive waste disposal, stockpile stewardship of nuclear weapons, medical radioisotope therapy and diagnostics, fusion energy experiments, astrophysics, nuclear forensics, and more.

Read more…

Friday's Top Nuclear Policy News

TOP NEWS

Draft U.N. resolution, backed by China, targets North Korea coal and metal exports
The Japan Times

U.S. Senate to vote on Iran sanctions renewal this week
Reuters

UK nuclear fusion lab faces uncertain future
BBC News

An India-Pakistan Crisis: Should We Care?
War on the Rocks, Moeed Yusuf

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