Nuclear Policy News

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Nuclear Policy News – September 26, 2016

Nuclear Policy News – September 26, 2016

TOP NEWS

It’s Time to Ban and Eliminate Nuclear Weapons
The Nation, Kazumi Matsui

Security Council adopts resolution on nuclear non-proliferation and nuclear disarmament
UN News Centre

Risk of nuclear attack rises
CBS News, 60 Minutes

North Korea Vows to Strengthen Nuclear Forces in UN Speech
RealClearDefense

Opposing nuclear weapons in the era of millennials
Al Jazeera, James Reinl

EAST ASIA

North Korea Vows to Strengthen Nuclear Forces in UN Speech
RealClearDefense

North Korea's foreign minister condemned the United States on Friday for flying supersonic bombers over South Korea earlier this week and vowed his country will strengthen its nuclear capabilities in defiance of multiple U.N. Security Council resolutions.

China investigates North Korean bank for financing nuclear weapons program imports
The Indian Express

Chinese authorities are investigating a North Korean bank suspected of financing its government’s imports of goods that might be used by the North’s nuclear weapons program, a South Korean newspaper reported Monday.

MIDDLE EAST

Iran says some sanctions under nuclear deal still in place
AP

Indirectly warning the United States, the head of Iran's atomic energy agency said Monday that his country's landmark nuclear deal with could be jeopardized by foot-dragging on sanctions relief, promised in exchange for Tehran's commitment to curb key atomic activities. But a senior U.S. official said Washington is delivering on its commitments.

No nuclear restriction except those specified in Leader’s fatwa: Shamkhani
Tehran Times

In his decree Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has officially declared the production, stockpiling and use of weapons of mass destruction including nuclear weapons as haram (religiously forbidden).

MULTILATERAL ARMS CONTROL AND NONPROLIFERATION

Security Council adopts resolution on nuclear non-proliferation and nuclear disarmament
UN News Centre

Reaffirming that proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and their means of delivery, threatens international peace and security, the United Nations Security Council today adopted a resolution urging all States who haven't done so to sign the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty.

International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement calls on States to seize unprecedented opportunity to advance nuclear disarmament
International Committee of the Red Cross

On the occasion of this year's International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement renews its call on States to begin negotiations on a treaty to prohibit the use of and completely eliminate nuclear weapons, in accordance with their existing commitments.

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

US Air Force Set to Replace Intercontinental Nuke Arsenal
Military.com

Over the next 20 years, the U.S. Air Force will switch out the entirety of its Minuteman III fleet with an as-yet-unnamed new missile known only as the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD). The Air Force estimates the cost of the GBSD, to be introduced late in the 2020s and phased in over the following decade, will be around $86 billion over the missiles' life cycle of about 50 years.

U.S. to Try Again on Missile Defenses as N. Korea Threat Grows
Bloomberg

The Pentagon’s next test of its ground-based system to destroy missiles aimed at the U.S. is tentatively scheduled for the first quarter of 2017, providing the new president evidence of whether the troubled program could stop the nuclear weapons North Korea threatens to launch.

OPINIONS

The Gathering Nuclear Storm
The Wall Street Journal, Mark Helprin

The gravest danger we face is fast-approaching nuclear instability. Many believe it is possible safely to arrive at nuclear zero. It is not. Enough warheads to bring any country to its knees can fit in a space volumetrically equivalent to a Manhattan studio apartment. Try to find that in the vastness of Russia, China, or Iran.

It’s Time to Ban and Eliminate Nuclear Weapons
The Nation, Kazumi Matsui

Sept. 26, the United Nations International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons, is a fitting time to take stock of current nuclear dangers and rededicate ourselves to the urgent task of abolishing nuclear weapons. I encourage all readers of The Nation to take this opportunity to listen to the earnest message of the atomic-bomb survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki who have been telling their tragic real-life experiences, expressed in their words that “no one else should ever again suffer as we have.”

Unthinking the Thinkable: Iran and the Bomb
The National Review, Spencer Case

Contrary to the assurances of the intelligentsia, a nuclear attack by Iran is not unthinkable. True, it would not be in accord with Iran’s national interest, as defined by Western experts. But a fanatical regime may regard “death to Israel” and “death to America” as being higher priorities.

Opposing nuclear weapons in the era of millennials
Al Jazeera, James Reinl

The mushroom clouds of nuclear explosions cast a long shadow over the 20th century. The fungal smoke stacks provoked fear of an atomic apocalypse and became a rallying symbol for anti-war activists. Their fright factor may be waning. The Cold War arms race was over by the time millennials were born. For the Instagram generation, cyber-strikes and hijacked jets hitting skyscrapers weigh heavier on the mind.

Pentagon chief is expert on nukes but says little about them
AP, Robert Burns

Carter has talked quite a lot about the nuclear weapons of other countries. He chastised Russia for nuclear "sabre rattling," endorsed the U.S. nuclear deal with Iran and criticized what he has called North Korea's nuclear "pursuit and provocations." But when it comes to America's own weapons, he has mostly limited himself to broad references to their importance.

Different kind of crisis, same need for Washington
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Jayita Sarkar

Given the strategic situation on the subcontinent, not to mention the present crisis, a bilateral nuclear test ban appears unlikely. Perhaps a bilateral no-first use agreement is possible instead. If so, it could put an end to the current state of affairs, in which each new subnational attack introduces the risk of a nuclear exchange. Such an agreement, however, will not materialize without effort from the international community. Leadership, naturally, must come from the United States.

How to deal with NK nuclear, missile threats
The Korea Times, Shin Sung-won

Through the U.N. Security Council Resolutions, international community puts pressure on the North Korean regime weakening its ability to make nuclear weapons and missiles, while at the same time strengthening the cooperation with China and Russia to find diplomatic solutions for the impending North Korean problem, employing multiple channels of strategic dialogue as well as economic cooperation.

SPECIAL INTEREST

Risk of nuclear attack rises
CBS News, 60 Minutes

For generations nuclear weapons have been seen as a last resort to be used only in extreme circumstances. But in this new Cold War the use of a nuclear weapon is not as unlikely to occur as you might think.

Here are the Names the U.S. Air Force Didn’t Pick for the B-21 Raider
The National Interest

War Is Boring submitted a Freedom of Information Act request for the rest of the submissions. On Sept. 21, after an appeal, the Air Force responded with the complete list. Many of the suggestions were serious, well in keeping with established Air Force traditions and history. Others were tongue-in-cheek or just plain insulting. Air Force public affairs official Ann Stefanek pointed out the top 15 contenders in an email accompanying the release.

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – September 23, 2016

Nuclear Policy News – September 23, 2016

TOP NEWS

DOD Assessed the Need for Each Leg of the Strategic Triad and Considered Other Reductions to Nuclear Forces
U.S. Government Accountability Office

Nuclear test ban holdouts get earful, as treaty sits for 20 years
Nikkei Asian Review

North Korea-Iran Missile Cooperation
38 North, Michael Elleman

EAST ASIA

North Korea threat looms as US meets with Asian countries at UN
CNN

The US and Asian nations gather in New York Friday with a fresh reminder of the gravest threat facing the region: North Korea's announcement this week that it had successfully tested its most powerful rocket engine yet.

As nuclear threat escalates, South Korea has concrete plans to eliminate Kim Jong-un
International Business Times

South Korean troops are reportedly on standby to "eliminate" North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un, should they feel threatened by their nuclear weapons. According to CNN International, South Korean Defence Minister Han Min-koo revealed the information in parliament on 21 September. When asked whether a special forces unit had already been put together to eliminate the North Korean dictator, Han confirmed that such a plan was already in place.

‘Sanctions not enough to bring change in NK’
The Korea Herald

Despite the tightening global squeeze on North Korea, Seoul and Washington should narrow their policy objectives and reinitiate engagement in tandem to give the communist state substantive incentives to change course, a renowned US scholar told The Korea Herald.

MIDDLE EAST

Rouhani claims the U.S. is violating its commitments under nuclear deal
The Washington Post

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Thursday accused the United States of failing to uphold its end of the historic nuclear agreement by delaying licenses for legitimate transactions and warning banks they could still run afoul of U.S. sanctions.

SOUTH ASIA

India, Pakistan could skid into nuclear war, top expert warns
The Express Tribune

Growing tensions between India and Pakistan could send the neighboring countries skidding into a nuclear war, a prominent political scientist has warned. “It could happen, and it would be catastrophic for both countries,” Shooting for a Century: The India-Pakistan Conundrum author Stephen P. Cohen said. Tensions reached boiling point over the weekend when militants attacked an army base in the Uri area near the Line of Control on Sunday morning, leaving 18 soldiers dead.

MULTILATERAL ARMS CONTROL AND NONPROLIFERATION

Nuclear test ban holdouts get earful, as treaty sits for 20 years
Nikkei Asian Review

Foreign ministers from seven countries spearheaded a push Wednesday targeting nations that have failed to ratify a global treaty banning nuclear weapons tests, as holdouts such as the U.S., China and North Korea have prevented the 20-year-old pact from coming into force.

Abe, Fidel Castro agree to a world without nuclear weapons
The Japan Times

Visiting Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Thursday agreed with former Cuban President Fidel Castro to aim to create a world without nuclear weapons.

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

DOD Assessed the Need for Each Leg of the Strategic Triad and Considered Other Reductions to Nuclear Forces
U.S. Government Accountability Office

The Department of Defense (DOD) assessed the need for each leg of the strategic triad in support of the 2010 Nuclear Posture Review and considered other reductions to nuclear forces in subsequent reviews. The department identified advantages of each leg of the triad and concluded that retaining all three would help maintain strategic deterrence and stability. The advantages DOD identified include the survivability of the sea-based leg, the intercontinental ballistic missiles' contribution to stability, and the ability of the nuclear-capable bombers to visibly forward deploy.

Pentagon Faces Challenges in Estimating Cost of New Nuclear Missiles
National Defense Magazine

A lack of reliable data makes it difficult to estimate the price tag of building a new intercontinental ballistic missile, the head of the Pentagon’s cost assessment and program evaluation office said Sept. 22. The aim of the Air Force’s ground-based strategic deterrent program, or GBSD, is to replace the nuclear-warhead carrying Minuteman-III by the 2030s.

OPINIONS

North Korea-Iran Missile Cooperation
38 North, Michael Elleman

North Korea’s ground test of a powerful, liquid-fueled engine on September 20, and the launch of three modified-Scud missiles earlier this month renewed allegations that Pyongyang and Tehran are collaborating on ballistic-missile development. The accusations are mostly speculative, based largely on the apparent similarities of ballistic missiles and satellite launchers appearing in both Iran and North Korea.

Careful, we might nuke you: The consequences of rejecting a nuclear no-first-use pledge
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, James Doyle

A no-first-use pledge should be adopted because words and declared policies matter. Nuclear deterrence is an unavoidably risky business, and nuclear war would bring on unmatched human tragedy. Evidence is mounting that nuclear deterrence is a far riskier and more fragile enterprise than previously thought.

North Korea Sanctions Depend on Cutting off Cash Flow
Huffington Post, Goh Jin-ah

Cutting off the mass flows of cash into the North is the most effective measure to pressure the North. Dr. Emanuel Pastreich, professor at Kyung Hee University, pointed out that the possibility of North Korea’s illicit cash flow is a “serious problem” in an interview with AsiaToday. He said, “Temporary measures cannot resolve the issue. While maintaining and strengthening the existing system, a new financial system should be set up.”

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – September 22, 2016

Nuclear Policy News – September 22, 2016

TOP NEWS

Why More MAD But No MAS?
The National Interest, Raymond Smith

S. Korea needs no nuclear weapons
The Korea Times

North Korea's 5th Nuclear Test: The Fallout in Seoul
The Diplomat, Kim Tae-woo

North Korea’s Largest Engine Test Yet
38 North

Barry’s Legacy and The Bomb
Arms Control Wonk, Jeffrey Lewis

EAST ASIA

North Korea’s Largest Engine Test Yet
38 North

On September 20, KCNA reported that Kim Jong Un had overseen the testing of a large new rocket engine at the Sohae Satellite Launching Station. They claimed this new engine had a thrust of 80 tons and would be use for a new space launch vehicle. Rocket engine thrust isn’t normally measured in “tons,” and there is some ambiguity in how to interpret that figure. It is also possible that the North Koreans are exaggerating; we can’t directly verify thrust from the images they released.

S. Korea needs no nuclear weapons
The Korea Times

Neither South Korea's own nuclear armament nor redeployment of U.S. nuclear weapons in the country would enhance the country's security against North Korea, a senior White House official said Wednesday.

Japan: North Korea nuclear threat has reached a 'different dimension'
CNN

North Korea's nuclear ambitions are one of the biggest threats to international peace and security, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe warned Wednesday. Speaking at the United Nations General Assembly in New York, Abe urged the Security Council to respond to the latest nuclear test "in a manner entirely distinct from our responses thus far."

Park vows to focus on new, strong sanctions to end Pyongyang's obsession with nukes
Yonhap News

South Korean President Park Geun-hye on Thursday vowed to focus on crafting "new and strong" international sanctions against Pyongyang, saying Seoul will do all it takes to end North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's "maniacal" obsession with nuclear arms.

MIDDLE EAST

JCPOA parties hold 5th Joint Commission in New York
Tehran Times

It is the fifth time in nearly 14 months after the conclusion of the deal that the signing countries are coming together, this time on the sidelines of the 71st United Nations General Assembly.  Under the JCPOA, a Joint Commission of the seven signing countries monitors the implementation of the deal to address issues arising from the enforcement of the pact.

SOUTH ASIA

In wake of Uri terrorist attack, Pakistan nukes under scrutiny
The Times of India

Pakistan's nuclear weapons program is coming under renewed scrutiny and pressure from the United States, Japan, and other aid givers this week even as the country's nervous leaders are rattling their atomic arsenal, fearing retribution from India for the Uri terrorist attack .

MULTILATERAL ARMS CONTROL AND NONPROLIFERATION

We Will Not Waver in Our Aim to Create World Free of Nuclear Weapons Secretary-General Tells ‘Group of Friends’
United Nations

Following are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks to the eighth ministerial meeting of the Friends of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), in New York today.

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

Nuke Watch: Lab cleanup report understates costs, waste amounts at Los Alamos
Albuquerque Journal

Nuclear Watch New Mexico says a highly touted new cost estimate for completing cleanup of decades’ worth of radioactive and hazardous waste at Los Alamos National Laboratory is based more on the likely stream of federal funding rather than the actual cost of dealing with the toxic materials.

OPINIONS

U.S. Security in a Proliferated World Will Require a New ICBM
The National Interest, Dan Goure

It’s really quite simple: deterrence of an attack on the United States by a hostile nation rests, ultimately, on the nuclear triad -- intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) and bombers. While each leg of the triad plays a critical role in deterring aggression, there are some circumstances in which the land-based missile force could make the difference between war and peace.  For that reason, the United States will need to develop and deploy a new ICBM.

Why More MAD But No MAS?
The National Interest, Raymond Smith

While MAD appears to have provided a level of strategic stability thus far, there have been several points at which it could have failed, with catastrophic consequences. There is a more promising alternative, although an enormously difficult one to achieve.  It requires a thorough reconceptualization of how we think about nuclear security and would entail an unprecedented level of cooperation among at least the major nuclear powers, as well as a substantial commitment of resources.  I think of it as Mutually Assured Security (MAS).

North Korea's 5th Nuclear Test: The Fallout in Seoul
The Diplomat, Kim Tae-woo

North Korea, as President Park said, has spun out of control in recent years. The regime has recklessly instilled fear not only among its own people, through a string of executions and human rights abuses, but among the people of neighboring countries, thus prompting an unproductive inter-Korean arms race and dampening peace and security in Northeast Asia. Really, the international community needs to come up with different approaches to prevent Pyongyang from going bad to worse.

To curb North Korea's nuclear program, follow the money
UPI, John Park

North Korea's goal is to miniaturize nuclear warheads and place them atop proven ballistic missiles, but it is probably still a few years from doing so. We have an opportunity now to achieve a different outcome. We can counter innovations in the North Korean regime's procurement practices with innovative measures to disrupt North Korea, Inc., centering on real cooperation with China.

No-first use would only embolden China
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Parris Chang

It would be extremely unwise for President Obama to proclaim a nuclear no-first-use policy. Chinese leader Xi Jinping would construe it as a sign of US military decline, and he would only be emboldened to pursue China's dream of supplanting the United States as the world's superpower.

Nuclear ‘no first use’: the debate continues
East Asia Forum, Ramesh Thakur

The US policy of being prepared to use nuclear weapons in response to a large-scale conventional attack on its allies is simply not credible. The logic of national survival will always trump the politics of alliance solidarity. And a non-credible threat of first use cannot deter any attack. What holds a potential aggressor in check is not the fear of nuclear retaliation but, rather, non-belligerent initial intentions or fear of the cost of conventional war.

Barry’s Legacy and The Bomb
Arms Control Wonk, Jeffrey Lewis

Like every other two term President, Barack Obama has turned attention in the final months has turned to his legacy, and what he might do on nuclear weapons policy. Aaron and Jeffrey recorded a new podcast to discuss the reports that Obama considered and rejected no first use, and what he might do as his term comes to an end.

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – September 21, 2016

Nuclear Policy News – September 21, 2016

TOP NEWS

Nominee for Top Stratcom Post Details Threats at Confirmation Hearing
U.S. Department of Defense

The Virtues of Nuclear Ignorance
The New Yorker, Alex Wellerstein

India’s Nuclear Security In Aftermath Of Uri Attack
Eurasia Review, Rajeswari Pillai Rajagopalan

Obama: N. Korea's nuclear test 'endangers all of us,' Pyongyang must face 'consequences'
Yonhap News

Finding a Nuclear Weapon: Hope Beyond the Screwdriver
The National Interest, Edward Cazalas

EAST ASIA

N. Korea finishes extracting plutonium from spent fuel
Yonhap News

North Korea appears to have finished extracting plutonium from spent nuclear fuel, gaining up to four more nuclear weapons worth of plutonium, a U.S. research institute said Tuesday.

Stratcom Nominee Gen. Hyten Warns Of North Korean Nuclear Advances
USNI News

Gen. John Hyten, currently the commander of the Air Force Space Command, said at a committee nomination hearing today that Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons and missile programs appear to be in their early stages, but he reminded the panel that the United States “had failure, after failure, after failure” before succeeding in fielding a nuclear triad.

Nuclear envoys of S. Korea, China to meet in Beijing to discuss N.K. nuke issue
Yonhap News

The nuclear envoys of South Korea and China will meet this week to discuss countermeasures against North Korea's recent nuclear provocation, the foreign ministry said Wednesday.

North Korea blames U.S. for nuclear weapons development
UPI

North Korea blamed both the Bush and Obama administrations Tuesday for "pushing" Pyongyang toward nuclear weapons development while claiming it now has the capability of striking U.S. territory. In a statement that ran in the Workers' Party newspaper Rodong Sinmun, North Korea stated its fifth nuclear test marks the "peak" of its nuclear capability.

Obama: N. Korea's nuclear test 'endangers all of us,' Pyongyang must face 'consequences'
Yonhap News

U.S. President Barack Obama said Tuesday North Korea's nuclear test "endangers all of us" and the communist nation must "face consequences." Obama made the remark during his final address to the U.N. General Assembly, as the U.N. Security Council is working on fresh sanctions on Pyongyang for its fifth nuclear test.

South Korea, US to simulate attack on nuclear facility
CNN

South Korea and the United States will conduct a mock attack on a nuclear facility next month, an official with the South Korean Defense Department told CNN. Though the official said the drills are not aimed particularly at North Korea, the announcement comes less than two weeks after North Korea claimed to have successfully tested a nuclear warhead -- its second nuclear test this year and fifth one ever. The US and South Korea will also simulate what to do in the event of a sudden missile attack.

Lawmakers raise voices on S. Korea's nuke armament
Yonhap News

South Korea's ruling and opposition parties on Wednesday continued to debate over whether Seoul should consider its own nuclear armament as an option to defend the country, amid the escalating tension on the Korean Peninsula sparked by Pyongyang's provocations.

RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

UK nuclear weapons convoys 'have had 180 mishaps in 16 years'
The Guardian

Military convoys carrying nuclear weapons through Britain’s cities and towns have experienced 180 mishaps and incidents, including collisions, breakdowns and brake failures during the last 16 years, according to a report produced by a disarmament campaign.

SOUTH ASIA

Won’t succumb to nuclear blackmail, says Ram Madhav on Uri attack
The Indian Express

With the government initiating the process of isolating Pakistan internationally in the wake of the Uri terror strike, senior BJP general secretary Ram Madhav said on Tuesday that the offensive will not be only through diplomatic response. “It’s not just diplomatic response alone, it will be handled in an appropriate manner and no kind of blackmail is going to be tolerated. Nobody wants a nuclear war in the region and nobody will succumb to nuclear blackmailing also,” said Madhav.

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

Nominee for Top Stratcom Post Details Threats at Confirmation Hearing
U.S. Department of Defense

Russia and China are America’s biggest threats, but North Korea and Iran are the most likely threats, President Barack Obama’s choice to be the next commander of U.S. Strategic Command told the Senate Armed Services Committee today in his confirmation hearing.

STRATCOM Nominee Favors Boosting Cyber Command, Nuke Modernization
Defense News

Air Force Gen. John Hyten, at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee, said the evolution of the cyberthreat means its “simply a matter if when, not if,” US Cyber Command is elevated. During the more than 90-minute hearing, Hyten also threw strong support behind modernizing the nuclear triad.

OPINIONS

The Virtues of Nuclear Ignorance
The New Yorker, Alex Wellerstein

To prove that one of these so-called delivery vehicles has been taken out of commission, all a superpower needs to do is destroy it—blow up the silo, scuttle the sub, de-wing the bomber—and lay the pieces out for its rival’s satellites to see. (In Arizona, there is an Air Force facility where guillotined B-52s lie rusting in the desert.) The options available for verifying warheads are significantly less clear-cut.

Why India Wants France's Dassault Rafale Fighter Jet: They Can Carry Nuclear Weapons
The National Interest, Robert Beckhusen

India is on the verge of signing a deal with France for 36 Dassault Rafale fighter jets, likely when French defense minister Jean-Yves le Drian arrives in New Delhi later this week. The jets may end up lugging nuclear bombs, as officials told The Indian Express this month that the jets are “to be used as an airborne strategic delivery system.” That’s a polite way of saying India’s jets could drop nukes — one mission which Dassault specifically designed the multi-role Rafale to do.

India’s Nuclear Security In Aftermath Of Uri Attack
Eurasia Review, Rajeswari Pillai Rajagopalan

Indian army infantry base in Uri came under terrorist attack in the wee hours of September 18, 2016. Four terrorists entered the base and managed to kill 20 soldiers. It apparently took place amidst the change of shifts and caught them off guard. These precisely are the scenarios we need to think through and be prepared for. This comes in the backdrop of another major terrorist attack on one of the Indian frontline air bases — the Pathankot air force base — in January this year. These attacks raise concerns also about the security of India’s vital installations, especially nuclear ones.

The US Navy Needs More Submarines to Match Russia and China
The National Interest, Dave Majumdar

The Navy is still working on if the two shipyards will be able to handle starting construction of three submarines every year going forward from 2021. The problem that the Navy and its contractors face is that as construction continues on the Ohio Replacement and Virginia-class simultaneously, there will be several SSBNs and SSNs in the yard at the same time. There are real questions as to whether the shipyards have the capacity to build that many submarines at the same time.

No insurmountable hurdles to no-first-use
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Ta Minh Tuan

In East and Southeast Asia, the negative security impacts of a US no-first-use policy would be easily outweighed by the security benefits. Obama won't likely institute no-first-use, but here's hoping that he does.

Finding a Nuclear Weapon: Hope Beyond the Screwdriver
The National Interest, Edward Cazalas

In 1956, the father of the atomic bomb, J. Robert Oppenheimer, suggested to Congress a reliable means of detecting nuclear weapons within a suitcase destined to be detonated in an American city. It was a screwdriver. Prying open and inspecting each and every case or container capable of concealing a nuclear weapon is obviously an impossible task, which was precisely Oppenheimer’s point; that nuclear weapons are hard to detect. They remain so today.

The Coming Confrontation with North Korea
Council on Foreign Relations, Richard Haass

Imagine it is 2020. The director of the CIA requests an urgent meeting with the US president. The reason: North Korea has succeeded in making a nuclear bomb small enough to fit inside the tip of an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of reaching the continental United States. The news soon leaks to the public. High-level meetings to devise a response are held not just in Washington, but in Seoul, Tokyo, Beijing, and Moscow as well. This scenario may seem unreal today, but it’s more political science than science fiction.

SPECIAL INTEREST

Protest and survive: Reclaiming William Morris from Britain’s nuclear fleet
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

For three decades starting in the 1960s, Britain’s Ministry of Defence commissioned Sanderson, the firm that owns the Morris & Co. brand, to supply Rose for its nuclear submarines. The fabrics have even been used in Vanguard-class subs, which carry nuclear-armed Trident missiles. The bearers of both nuclear weapons and nuclear power, these vessels embody all the fears of atomic apocalypse, catastrophic accidents, and radioactive contamination associated with the nuclear age. They are not where one expects to find fabrics created by a famous socialist.

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – September 20, 2016

Nuclear Policy News – September 20, 2016

TOP NEWS

North Korea Tests New Rocket Engine: Test Preparations Seen at Sohae
38 North

IAEA’s Amano to seek rare third term as chief
The Japan Times

New Air Force Bomber to Be Named the Raider
The Wall Street Journal

Questioning the stereotypes about North Korea
AP, Eric Talmadge

Term Limits for the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Ratification?
The National Interest, John Deutch

EAST ASIA

North Korea Tests New Rocket Engine: Test Preparations Seen at Sohae
38 North

On September 20, KCNA reported on Kim Jong Un guiding a “ground jet test of a new type of high-power engine of a carrier rocket for the geo-stationary satellite” from the Sohae Satellite Launching Station. This test was “aimed to make a final confirmation of the feature of combustion chamber, operation accuracy of valves and control systems and structural reliability of the engine during 200 seconds-long working time.”

U.S., China Move Against Firm Suspected of Aiding North Korean Nuclear Program
The Wall Street Journal

The U.S. and China are targeting the finances of a sprawling Chinese conglomerate headed by a Communist Party member who the Obama administration believes has played a role in aiding North Korea’s nuclear program.

Ruling, opposition parties at odds over Pyongyang nukes
Yonhap News

South Korea's ruling and opposition parties clashed during an interpellation session held at the National Assembly on Tuesday, voicing different views on how the government should deal with Pyongyang's nuclear and missile provocations.

U.S., China to step up cooperation on North Korea
Reuters

U.S. President Barack Obama and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang agreed on Monday to step up cooperation in the United Nations Security Council and in law-enforcement channels after North Korea's fifth nuclear test, the White House said.

U.S. should consider offering to withdraw THAAD if China imposes serious sanctions on N.K.: U.S. experts
Yonhap News

The United States should consider offering to call off the planned deployment of the THAAD missile defense system to South Korea if Beijing imposes serious sanctions on North Korea, U.S. experts said Monday.

SOUTH ASIA

Uri attack: Pakistani defense minister Khawaja M Asif ‘threatens’ to use nuclear weapons against India
The Financial Express

Amidst growing tension over Uri attack by Pakistani terrorists on Sunday, a video of the country’s Defense Minister Khawaja M Asif threatening to use nuclear weapon against India is doing the rounds on social media. The video shows the Pakistani defense minister telling Geo News: “If Pakistan’s security is threatened, we will not hesitate in using tactical (nuclear) weapons.”

MULTILATERAL ARMS CONTROL AND NONPROLIFERATION

UN atomic chief reports on agency’s role in nuclear safety, sustainable development, combating illness
UN News Centre

In his address to the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Yukiya Amano, the agency’s Director-General, highlighted work in various areas, including nuclear applications, nuclear safety and security, safeguards and technical cooperation, and modernizing a new pest control facility to tackle vector-brome diseases such as Zika.

IAEA’s Amano to seek rare third term as chief
The Japan Times

Yukiya Amano, the head of the United Nations atomic watchdog, said Monday he will seek a third term in office beyond 2017, saying the agency needs “continuity” to face difficult times ahead. Amano said that the “huge challenges” facing the International Atomic Energy Agency include North Korea’s nuclear weapons program and stopping fissile materials from falling into the wrong hands.

P5 leaders discuss nuclear challenges, emphasize commitment to NPT
Arms Control Association

In a high-profile panel discussion hosted by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, representatives from the five states recognized by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) as nuclear-weapon states (the P5) discussed arms control and the future of strategic stability. After the discussion, the P5 released a Joint Statement in which they emphasized their continued support for the NPT.

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

New Air Force Bomber to Be Named the Raider
The Wall Street Journal

The U.S. Air Force said Monday that its new B-21 long-range bomber would be called the Raider. Northrop Grumman Corp. last year won the lead contract to build a fleet of jets to enter service around 2025, with analysts estimating it could cost $80 billion to $100 billion to develop and build a fleet of at least 100 radar-evading bombers, designed to deliver weapons and other systems deep into enemy territory.

B-21 Bomber Estimate By CAPE: $511M A Copy
Breaking Defense

The Air Force’s new bomber, the B-21 Raider, should come in almost $40 million below the official $550 million a copy official estimate, says Randall Walden, director of the Air Force’s Rapid Capabilities Office.

OPINIONS

Questioning the stereotypes about North Korea
AP, Eric Talmadge

The U.S. has no intention of invading North Korea, and has said so for decades. But every year, U.S. troops team up with South Korean counterparts to conduct war games that, while always termed defensive in nature, have recently begun including training for precision strikes, or more colorfully, "decapitation" strikes on Kim Jong Un, along with scenarios for invading or destroying the capital. To North Korea, that is a very real threat. Threats, real or perceived, are also useful political tools.

A Shifting Asian Nuclear Order
The National Interest, Rod Lyon

A Special Report released by ASPI today examines the shifting Asian nuclear order by exploring four case studies—the US–China relationship, the South Asian nuclear dynamic, the North Korean nuclear program and the challenges confronting US extended nuclear assurance in Asia. All suggest we’re headed into choppier waters. Geopolitically, we’re heading into an Asia of multipolarity and intensifying competition.

Is It Time for Nuclear Sharing in East Asia?
The Diplomat, Elmar Hellendoorn, Christine Leah

A renewed debate on nuclear sharing in the Asia-Pacific is in order. However, the obstacles are formidable. First, there is much historical distrust and animosity between Japan and South Korea. Second, the regional U.S. allies will have different threat perceptions and ideas about targeting and escalation regarding both North Korea and China. These issues reflect the bigger issue that there is no Asian NATO.

North Korea: Reaching for Armageddon
RealClearDefense, Euan Graham

North Korea is in a rush to lock in nuclear gains before the next US administration settles its new policy. Within sight of its long-cherished nuclear goals, and with the genie so far out of the bottle, it's hard to see Pyongyang reversing course. The implications will be immediately challenging for the next US president, promising to shift the paradigm from denuclearization to enhanced deterrence and, just possibly, to some form of arms control in future.

Obama @ the UN: Nuclear Options
Union of Concerned Scientists, Stephen Young

Tomorrow, Barack Obama will deliver his last address to the United Nations as president.  What will he say? What should he say? He is likely to touch on a range of global issues, including climate change. I hope he will find some time to focus on security issues, in particular nuclear weapons.

Term Limits for the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Ratification?
The National Interest, John Deutch

Diplomatic and domestic political progress on a nuclear test-ban regime requires a new approach. An end-of-term U.S. initiative by the outgoing president to have the UN Security Council declare nuclear tests against international law will continue the futile CTBT debate in this country, and not lead to its entry into force.

The Waiting Game On the Subcontinent
Arms Control Wonk, Michael Krepon

Before the advent of nuclear weapon capabilities on the subcontinent, unresolved grievances over Kashmir resulted in wars. With the Bomb’s appearance, unresolved grievances have led to mass casualty terrorism, crises and one limited conventional war. Crises have recurred because underlying grievances in both Pakistan and India are reaffirmed from one crisis to the next.

Time for a Serious U.S. National Missile Defense Program
The National Interest, Dan Goure

North Korea has no inherent interests in eschewing its nuclear weapons program and becoming a member of the international system, is demonstrably resistant to coercive measures, and is too dangerous to threaten. What the United States and its regional allies can and must do is make serious efforts to take control over their own security. In particular, South Korea, Japan and the United States need to deploy robust missile defense capabilities.

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – September 19, 2016

Nuclear Policy News – September 19, 2016

TOP NEWS

The Range of North Korean ICBMs
Arms Control Wonk, Joshua Pollack

Post Test Activity at Punggye-ri
38 North

Behind Rafale deal: Their ‘strategic’ role in delivery of nuclear weapons
The Indian Express

Obama to decide on cuts to US nuclear arsenal in October
The Guardian

The New B-21 Bomber: Under Fire Before It Can Even Take Flight
RealClearDefense, Mackenzie Eaglen

EAST ASIA

Post Test Activity at Punggye-ri
38 North

Commercial satellite imagery from September 15 shows a low level of post-test activity at the Punggye-ri nuclear test site, indicating extensive efforts at camouflage, concealment and deception to minimize the collection of detailed information by satellites. The flooding reported in the northeast provinces caused by Typhoon Lionrock does not appear to have affected the Punggye-ri facility to any degree of significance, with the possible exception of minor flooding of the fords along the main access road.

Sept. 5 missile launches show North Korea’s ability to hit target
The Asahi Shimbun

In a troubling sign that Pyongyang has the capability to launch a precision attack on Japan, two of the three intermediate-range ballistic missiles it fired earlier this month had virtually identical trajectories and landing points. Sources familiar with defense matters say the North Korean missiles that landed in waters off Hokkaido, Japan’s northernmost main island, on Sept. 5 show Pyongyang now can achieve a simultaneous and accurate launch of multiple projectiles.

Japan, U.S., South Korea discuss coordinated response to North Korean nuclear test
The Japan Times

The United States, Japan and South Korea have roundly condemned North Korea’s recent nuclear test and called for tough new measures to further isolate the communist state.

UN chief calls for 'tougher, clear' message to N. Korea
The Korea Times

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for a "tougher, clear message" to North Korea as the U.N. Security Council is working on fresh sanctions to punish Pyongyang for its fifth nuclear test.

US urges North Korea to get serious about not engaging in nuclear weaponization
The Indian Express

US Secretary of State John Kerry expressed a continued willingness to try to revive dialogue with North Korea if it freezes its atomic and ballistic weapons development programmes. “Serious negotiation about the future could occur if Pyongyang does not engage in any more provocative actions,” Kerry told his Japanese and South Korean counterparts on Sunday.

'North Korea will collapse regardless of nuclear weapon'
The Korea Times

North Korea will eventually collapse like the Soviet Union even if it has nuclear weapons, a French scholar who has studied the reclusive country for many years said. Pierre Rigoulot, the head of Institut d'Histoire Sociale, told Yonhap News Agency in Paris on Thursday that the key to handling Pyongyang's nuke standoff is centered on improving the country's human rights conditions.

RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

Radioactive material flown from Scotland to US
BBC

Under the UK-US deal signed earlier this year, highly-enriched uranium (HEU) stored at Dounreay is being sent to the US. Saturday's flight took place under tight security from Wick John O'Groats Airport, which is about 30 miles (48km) from the Dounreay nuclear site. It involved a US military Boeing C-17 transport aircraft.

SOUTH ASIA

Behind Rafale deal: Their ‘strategic’ role in delivery of nuclear weapons
The Indian Express

With India and France expected to announce the Inter-Government Agreement (IGA) for Rafale fighter jets in the next few days, the clinching factor behind Delhi deciding to buy even only 36 French aircraft has become clearer. The long-delayed deal is being finalized because India has identified the French fighters for their ‘strategic’ role — to deliver nuclear weapons.

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

Obama to decide on cuts to US nuclear arsenal in October
The Guardian

Barack Obama is expected to make a final decision next month on possible cuts to the US nuclear arsenal, in an attempt to consolidate his legacy as a disarmer before leaving office.

OPINIONS

Preventing a Nuclear South Korea
38 North, Lee Byong-Chul

It is very clear that THAAD alone cannot sufficiently deter North Korea from increasingly aggressive and provocative behavior. While it provides an added layer of defense, it does so at the high cost of souring relations with China. In order to avoid South Korea choosing to head down the nuclear path, it is time for Seoul, Washington and Beijing to show more specific and tangible resolve to reverse Pyongyang’s reckless nuclear proliferation.

How to Get China to Use Its Leverage against North Korea
The National Interest, Eric Heginbotham, Richard Samuels

If China agrees to impose a serious and graduated set of sanctions on North Korea– ones that the North cannot ignore – the United States might agree to freeze the deployment of GBI at their current number (and reduce the number as North Korea reaches milestones in dismantling its weapons programs). The United States might also agree, after consulting South Korea, to withdraw THAAD from the peninsula when North Korean nuclear weapons no longer pose a threat.

Warning: The Korean Peninsula is Falling into Disequilibrium
38 North, William McKinney

To preserve the Korean peninsula’s existing balance of power equilibrium and relative stability, the United States, South Korea and Japan must act to modify the North Korean regime’s aggressive tendencies. Altering that behavior through the use of force is one way to achieve that goal, but it carries with it major risks.

The New B-21 Bomber: Under Fire Before It Can Even Take Flight
RealClearDefense, Mackenzie Eaglen

Though the Air Force recently saw a misguided controversy erupt over the program’s cost and oversight, this political conflagration misses the forest for the trees by underestimating the potential value of the new bomber. This aircraft will do so much more than replace B-52H Stratofortresses, B-1B Lancers, and B-2A Spirits as a long-range bomb-toting stealth aircraft and a crucial leg of the nuclear triad.

The Range of North Korean ICBMs
Arms Control Wonk, Joshua Pollack

If there’s one thing in the public discussion of proliferation that troubles me the most, it might be this: the systematic minimization of North Korea’s nuclear and missile capabilities in the American news media. Someone could write a book on this phenomenon and its causes, but life is short. Let’s just focus on just one question for now: how far can North Korean ICBMs fly?

The U.S. Nuclear Gambit
RealClearDefense, Peter Huessy

The administration has correctly sought a modernized Triad, seeing it as critical to the future security of the country. In numerous votes, and in passing the last seven defense bills, a wide bipartisan coalition in Congress has concurred—a modernized, robust Triad of bombers, submarines, and land-based missiles, along with safer, more secure and modern warheads and communication systems, is the way to go. There is a name for such a strategy. Peace through strength.

SPECIAL INTEREST

Command and Control: An Interview with Filmmakers Robert Kenner and Eric Schlosser
Huffington Post

Attention must be paid: our nuclear arsenal may present a clear and present danger. In a new documentary Command and Control, filmmakers Robert Kenner and Eric Schlosser make a compelling case about a potential disaster that few are talking about, illustrated by the story of the Titan II near miss in 1980 in Damascus, Arkansas. But rather than incite fear, their documentary based on Eric Schlosser’s book, entertains like a thriller.

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – September 16, 2016

Nuclear Policy News – September 16, 2016

TOP NEWS

How to deal with North Korea
The Washington Post, Mike Mullen, Sam Nunn

Carter: U.S. has 'extremely strong' deterrent posture against N. Korea
Yonhap News

Joint Statement From the Nuclear-Weapons States at the 2016 Washington, DC P5 Conference
U.S. Department of State

President Obama’s Missile Defense Policy: A Misguided Legacy
The Heritage Foundation, Michaela Dodge

South Korea Ups the Ante
Stratfor

EAST ASIA

U.N. chief expresses opposition to calls in S. Korea for nuclear armament
Yonhap News

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed opposition Thursday to growing calls in South Korea for nuclear armament, saying such a move runs counter to international norms, a South Korean lawmaker said.

KCNA: North Korea has passed 'final gateway' to becoming nuclear power
UPI

North Korea said Thursday its nuclear weapons program has "passed the final gateway" and that a target of a preemptive nuclear strike is to be determined "by choice." Pyongyang's warning to its rivals on Thursday comes days after the U.S. Air Force flew two B-1 supersonic bombers over South Korea and President Park Geun-hye called for the removal of the Kim Jong Un regime in the event of a nuclear attack.

Carter: U.S. has 'extremely strong' deterrent posture against N. Korea
Yonhap News

U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter said the U.S. has an "extremely strong" deterrent posture on the Korean Peninsula and is trying to stay ahead of threats from North Korea with missile defense and other measures. Carter made the remark during a visit to Austin, Texas, in response to a question about how much concern he has about North Korea's nuclear program and how far the communist nation is from mastering the missile capability to reach the U.S.

SOUTH ASIA

Pakistan may be building new nuclear site: Analysts
The Times of India

Pakistan, estimated to have the world's fastest-growing nuclear stockpile, could be building a new uranium enrichment complex according to commercial satellite imagery analyzed by Western defense experts.

MULTILATERAL ARMS CONTROL AND NONPROLIFERATION

Joint Statement From the Nuclear-Weapons States at the 2016 Washington, DC P5 Conference
U.S. Department of State

The P5 remain steadfast in their commitment to broaden access of NPT States Parties to peaceful uses of nuclear energy, and they reiterated the right of NPT States Parties to pursue the peaceful use of nuclear energy without discrimination and in conformity with their nonproliferation obligations and highest standards of nuclear safety and security.

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

Carter Optimistic About Beating Nuclear Modernization Cost Estimates
National Defense Magazine

“If you look at the design carefully and how things are manufactured carefully, you can reduce costs in [the nuclear programs] and all of our other programs,” Carter told National Defense and online media outlet Breaking Defense in a Sept. 14 interview on board his plane en route to Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland. “As a former acquisition executive I never accepted the cost estimates, and I always believe we should be better than that if we can,” he added.

The U.S. Navy Tests Fires Its Ultimate Weapon: Underwater Nuclear Missiles
The National Interest

The US Navy is test-firing and upgrading its arsenal of Trident II D5 nuclear-armed submarine launched missiles designed to keep international peace -- by ensuring and undersea-fired second-strike ability in the event of a catastrophic nuclear first strike on the US. Firing from the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Florida Aug. 31, a specially configured non-armed “test” version of the missile was fired from the Navy’s USS Maryland. This was the 161st successful Trident II launch since design completion in 1989.

OPINIONS

How to deal with North Korea
The Washington Post, Mike Mullen, Sam Nunn

North Korea presents one of the most dangerous international security challenges facing the world. In April, Chinese President Xi Jinping told a group of foreign diplomats that his country “will never allow war or chaos on the peninsula,” a statement that seemed to apply to all parties. The United States and China have a shared and vital national interest in preventing this from occurring. The time to act on that interest is now.

China Vital to Countering a More Dangerous North Korea
Council on Foreign Relations, Eleanor Albert, Mike Mullen

The United States, Japan, and South Korea should forge stronger diplomatic and military ties to motivate China to take a larger role in mitigating the North Korean nuclear threat, says retired Admiral Mike Mullen, co-chair of a new CFR-sponsored Independent Task Force report. North Korea carried out its fifth nuclear test in early September and represents “an incredible danger” to the United States and its allies in Northeast Asia, says Mullen, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

President Obama’s Missile Defense Policy: A Misguided Legacy
The Heritage Foundation, Michaela Dodge

As the ballistic missile threat continues to grow around the world, ballistic missile defense programs remain a quintessential feature of the U.S. national security posture. President Obama’s missile defense policy shifts and program cancellations cost the nation precious time and capabilities at a time when adversaries’ ballistic missile programs are becoming more sophisticated.

South Korea Ups the Ante
Stratfor

For North Korea, a nuclear weapons program is no longer a distant goal but a present reality. After years spent developing viable nuclear and missiles programs, Pyongyang is unlikely to trade them away in negotiations any time soon. Instead it will continue to cultivate its nuclear capabilities, seeking security through a credible nuclear deterrent. At the same time, regional and global powers are working to adapt their military strategies to accommodate North Korea's newfound nuclear abilities.

US involvement is critical for South Asian arms control
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Mario Carranza

The India-Pakistan nuclear conundrum allows no quick fixes—but time to address the problem may be running out. Now is the moment for forceful US intervention that could help the South Asian rivals create a robust nuclear arms control regime and could save millions from a nuclear Armageddon.

Three Reasons Why America Cannot Accept A Nuclear North Korea
Forbes, Scott Snyder

There are three primary reasons that support President Obama’s statement that, indeed, the United States will never be able to accept North Korea as a nuclear state. First, the United States cannot accept North Korea as a nuclear weapons state for normative reasons; North Korea had signed onto the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) as a non-nuclear state and then abandoned the treaty in order to pursue nuclear capabilities.

4 indirect consequences of North Korea's nuclear test, according to Eurasia
CNBC, Nyshka Chandran

North Korea's recent nuclear test, its largest one to date, could have consequences for players ranging from South Korean cosmetics firms to Chinese banks. Stringent new sanctions on the rogue nation are set to be the most tangible ramification from last Friday's incident, but the repercussions may go well beyond that.

SPECIAL INTEREST

In Chilling Documentary 'Command And Control,' A Nuclear Explosion Narrowly Avoided
NPR

When a nuclear bomb is in danger of accidental detonation, established procedures are carefully followed, and cooperation takes precedence over assigning blame. Or so the hopeful viewer might think before seeing Command and Control, a PBS American Experience documentary now in limited theatrical release before its broadcast debut.

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – September 15, 2016

Nuclear Policy News – September 15, 2016

TOP NEWS

Refusing to Nuke First
The Atlantic, Dominic Tierney

Time for India and Pakistan to resolve their own crises
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

NNSA Should Evaluate the Role of the Enhanced Surveillance Program in Assessing the Condition of the U.S. Nuclear Stockpile
U.S. Government Accountability Office

How one of the world's most advanced missile-defense systems works in one graphic
Business Insider

U.S. experts call for sharper sanctions on N. Korea
Yonhap News

EAST ASIA

North Korea ramps up uranium enrichment, enough for six nuclear bombs a year: experts
Reuters

North Korea will have enough material for about 20 nuclear bombs by the end of this year, with ramped-up uranium enrichment facilities and an existing stockpile of plutonium, according to new assessments by weapons experts.

Analyst: North Korea could conduct next nuclear test in October
UPI

Joel Wit, a senior fellow at the U.S.-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University, stated in The New York Times on Tuesday that Pyongyang has conducted 17 missile tests and two nuclear tests. North Korea's next important date, Oct. 9, the 10th anniversary of its 2006 nuclear test, might be the "perfect occasion" for Kim Jong Un to conduct another test, according to the expert.

U.S. experts call for sharper sanctions on N. Korea
Yonhap News

Top U.S. experts called for sharper sanctions on North Korea on Wednesday, expressing serious concern about the progress in Pyongyang's nuclear and missile capabilities in the wake of its fifth nuclear test. "North Korea is shaping up to be the No. 1 security threat for the next U.S. presidency," Victor Cha, Korea chair at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said during a hearing of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia and Pacific.

China, Pakistan enabling North Korea’s nuclear program, may face sanctions: Experts
The Indian Express

China and Pakistan are “passive enablers” of the North Korean nuclear program and may face some secondary sanctions for violating UN approved sanction, say U.S.-based experts, with China being a bigger issue.

'No need to redeploy nuclear weapons to South Korea,' says US special envoy
IHS Jane’s 360

Sung Kim, the US Special Representative for North Korea Policy, said Washington sees no reason to redeploy US tactical atomic weapons to South Korea, the Korea JoongAng Daily newspaper reported on 14 September.

B-1 Bombers That Flew Over Japan, South Korea Not Nuke Capable
Bloomberg

Two U.S. Air Force B-1B bombers that conducted training with both Japan and South Korea on Tuesday in response to North Korea’s fifth nuclear test can’t carry nuclear weapons, Air Force Global Strike Command says in statement.

MIDDLE EAST

After nuke deal was signed, Iran dissidents came to Israel to discuss its consequences
The Times of Israel

A group of high-profile Iranian dissidents visited Israel for a conference with local scholars shortly after the July 2015 signing of the nuclear deal between Tehran and major world powers, an unprecedented move that came as Tehran was being welcomed back in the community of nations.

SOUTH ASIA

Time for India and Pakistan to resolve their own crises
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

Responsibility for altering South Asia's strategic dynamic lies as much with India as with Pakistan. The two countries, together, are responsible for regional stability. As long as the two sides fail to recognize the mutuality of their threat perceptions, chances of establishing "mutually assured strategic stability" are dim. India and Pakistan cannot ignore or wish away geography. The only way toward strategic stability—a shared responsibility, after all—is through dialogue and cooperation.

MULTILATERAL ARMS CONTROL AND NONPROLIFERATION

North Korea Nuclear Test Drives Home Need for UN Reform
The Diplomat

In these troubled times, the world needs a strong UN that can play a constructive and effective role in ensuring peace and stability in conflict areas, and also build consensus among countries to work together in preventing the escalation of conflicts. It is for this reason that urgent reforms are required in the Security Council, both by increasing the membership and by doing away with the veto power of a few select countries.

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

NNSA Should Evaluate the Role of the Enhanced Surveillance Program in Assessing the Condition of the U.S. Nuclear Stockpile
U.S. Government Accountability Office

The Department of Energy's (DOE) National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) did not fully implement the Enhanced Surveillance Program as envisioned in the agency's 2007 Surveillance Transformation Project (2007 initiative) and has not developed a long-term strategy for the program.

Agencies plan, prepare for ‘worst day’ with Malmstrom
Great Falls Tribune

Should a worst-case scenario come to life involving a nuclear site or convoy, it’s likely to occur off Malmstrom Air Force Base and in local jurisdictions, meaning local law enforcement agencies will become part of the response. On Wednesday, about 15 local, state, tribal and federal agencies joined Malmstrom airmen for an exercise of the Local Incident Response Plan and a demonstration of how security forces airmen would respond to a simulated attack on a convoy.

Pentagon to Accelerate Rail Gun Projectile Weapon - Fires From Army Howitzer
Scout

An Army Howitzer is now firing a 5,000-miles per hour, high-tech, electromagnetic Hyper Velocity Projectile, initially developed as a Navy weapon, an effort to fast-track increasing lethal and effective weapons to warzones and key strategic locations, Pentagon officials said. The weapon’s range, which can fire guided, high-speed projectiles more than 100 miles, makes it suitable for cruise missile defense, ballistic missile defense and various kinds of surface warfare applications.

OPINIONS

Refusing to Nuke First
The Atlantic, Dominic Tierney

Champions and critics of no-first-use often cast it as a principled policy and a revolutionary step, for good or for ill. But the idealistic symbolism of no-first-use betrays an underlying reality. Disavowing a first strike is a luxury afforded to the strong, and they play this card in the hope of strategic benefit. If Obama made a dramatic announcement of no-first-use, it would probably have less impact than people think because other countries wouldn’t follow suit, especially if they’re weak.

House Subcommittee Testimony of David Albright on North Korea’s Nuclear Program
Institute for Science and International Security, David Albright

Engaging North Korea has historically shown that it yields limitations and more transparency into North Korea’s nuclear activities compared to a policy of ignoring the threat while it grows. Combined with greater efforts to reign in its illicit activities and addressing regional security concerns, changing the status quo of North Korea’s ongoing dangerous provocations is possible. New thinking is needed to re-engage this dangerous regime and make steps toward the goal of denuclearization.

Why nuclear war looks inevitable
Reuters, Jason Fields

Several developments have the potential to move the hands of the nuclear doom clock closer to midnight. A new U.S. nuclear policy has a chance of destabilizing the balance of terror by creating a larger arsenal of smaller weapons. Why? Smaller weapons are more tempting to use.

South Korea Will Try to Blow Up Kim Jong-un If He Launches a Nuclear Weapon
The National Interest, Robert Beckhusen

If North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un orders a nuclear strike on South Korea, Seoul will attempt to kill him with missiles and devastate Pyongyang in the process. That’s according to a recent report from the Yonhap News Agency citing a military source. “Every Pyongyang district, particularly where the North Korean leadership is possibly hidden, will be completely destroyed by ballistic missiles and high-explosive shells as soon as the North shows any signs of using a nuclear weapon.”

The Iran Nuclear Agreement: Safer With or Without It?
U.S. Naval Institute, Barry Schneider

For the next 10 years, should Iran cheat on the agreement, all UN, U.S. and EU sanctions would automatically be immediately snapped back into place against Iran. If the agreement succeeds, it will prevent an Iranian nuclear weapon capability in the next decade or more. The Iran nuclear agreement buys time to improve US-Iranian relations and to defuse other points of contention in the Middle East. If it fails, the deterrence, international sanctions and military options remain viable.

Accepting the Unacceptable
U.S. News & World Report, James Robbins

The nuclear threat from North Korea continues to grow, despite numerous strong statements of concern from the United States. But Pyongyang knows that talk is cheap. The more powerful message from American inaction is: keep building.

SPECIAL INTEREST

How one of the world's most advanced missile-defense systems works in one graphic
Business Insider

On the heels of North Korea's latest, and largest, nuclear test, here's a look at Lockheed Martin's Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system. In July, Washington agreed to equip Seoul with a THAAD battery to further defend the region amid the North's missile tests. A THAAD battery is made up of a four-part antimissile system. The graphic shows the components needed for each enemy-target interception and how the unique missile-defense system works.

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – September 14, 2016

Nuclear Policy News – September 14, 2016

TOP NEWS

Three concrete steps toward South Asian nuclear stability
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Jayita Sarkar

Non-Nuclear Bombers For Reassurance and Deterrence
Federation of American Scientists, Hans Kristensen

What a No First Use Policy Would Mean for Global Security
The Daily Signal, Michaela Dodge

2016 Open Ended Working Group: Towards 2017 Nuclear Weapon Ban Negotiations?
Arms Control Wonk

No position yet on accession of non-NPT country into NSG: China
The Indian Express

EAST ASIA

North Korea Can Produce Six Nuclear Weapons a Year, Say Experts
The Wire

North Korea will have enough material for about 20 nuclear bombs by the end of this year, with ramped-up uranium enrichment facilities and an existing stockpile of plutonium, according to new assessments by weapons experts.

N. Korea nuclear test site ready for at least three more blasts: US expert
The Korea Times

North Korea's nuclear test site is ready for at least three more blasts at any time, and the communist nation could conduct one to mark next month's anniversary of its first nuclear test, a U.S. expert said Tuesday.

S. Korea eyed shared control of nuclear weapons with the U.S.
The Asahi Shimbun

South Korea floated the idea of sharing in the control of nuclear weapons with the United States during bilateral talks held in May, citing North Korea's advances in developing weapons of mass destruction.

MIDDLE EAST

Why It Matters: Iran
ABC News

Last year's nuclear deal has removed for now the threat of a U.S.-Iranian military confrontation. But the deal rests on shaky ground. The accord curtailed Iran's nuclear program, pulling it back from atomic weapons capability in exchange for the end of various oil, trade and financial sanctions by the U.S. and six other world powers. The sides fulfilled their pledges in January.

SOUTH ASIA

India says holds "substantive" nuclear talks with China
Reuters

India on Tuesday said it had held "substantive" talks with China on its bid to become a fully fledged member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), a club of nations that trades in civil nuclear technology.

No position yet on accession of non-NPT country into NSG: China
The Indian Express

China on Wednesday said it is yet to form a position on the accession of any specific non-NPT country into the NSG, as it parried questions on whether its “two-step formula” for allowing new members into the elite nuclear club was aimed at pushing Pakistan’s case along with that of India.

MULTILATERAL ARMS CONTROL AND NONPROLIFERATION

2016 Open Ended Working Group: Towards 2017 Nuclear Weapon Ban Negotiations?
Arms Control Wonk

If one is to believe the diplomatic rumor mill, it appears that NWS officials have already been attempting to persuade some of the NNWS to reconsider their stance on the launch of negotiations for a ban in 2017 ahead of the 2016 First Committee. Perhaps if the NWS had engaged in the humanitarian initiative constructively since the 2013 Oslo conference and participated in the 2016 OEWG, they might have been able to manage the path and pace of the humanitarian initiative from within.

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

U.S. Air Force’s Greaves nominated to lead Missile Defense Agency
Space News

U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Samuel Greaves, who has led the Defense Department’s efforts to end reliance on a Russian rocket engine, has been nominated by President Barack Obama to lead the Missile Defense Agency.

OPINIONS

Three concrete steps toward South Asian nuclear stability
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Jayita Sarkar

Initiatives of three kinds stand out for their potential to enhance South Asian nuclear stability. First, New Delhi and Islamabad could undertake bilateral cooperation in nuclear security. Second, the two sides could—with international help—seek to improve the region's nuclear cybersecurity. And India and Pakistan could commit, in one fashion or another, to the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.

Non-Nuclear Bombers For Reassurance and Deterrence
Federation of American Scientists, Hans Kristensen

Nuclear bombers continue to deploy to both Asia and Europe, and U.S. strategic bombers have had the capability to deliver conventional weapons for many years. But the use of exclusively non-nuclear strategic bombers in support of extended deterrence missions signals a new phase in U.S. military strategy that is part of an effort to reduce the role of nuclear weapons.

What a No First Use Policy Would Mean for Global Security
The Daily Signal, Michaela Dodge

Declaring a no first use policy would reverse decades of bipartisan support for the policy of calculated ambiguity the United States has upheld since the end of World War II. Moreover, there would be no tangible benefit to the United States in declaring such a policy. Quite the contrary, the allies who rely on U.S. nuclear weapons for their own security would have every reason to question U.S. commitment to their security.

The alarming progress of a nuclear North Korea
BBC, Stephen Evans

Prof Siegfried S Hecker of Stanford University in California is a former head of the Los Alamos National Laboratory in the US and has visited North Korea's nuclear facilities frequently. He says, following the fifth nuclear test on Friday: "With the two successful nuclear tests this year, we must assume that the DPRK [North Korea] has designed and demonstrated nuclear warheads that can be mounted on some of its short-range and perhaps medium-range missiles.

SPECIAL INTEREST

Remember That Time the US Thought About Nuking the Moon?
VICE

The details Project A119 were first made public in 2000 by Leonard Reiffel, the physicist in charge of looking into the possibility of detonating a nuke on the moon's surface or just above it. Reiffel told the UK paper the Observer that Air Force officials had told him to look into the idea in 1958. The previous year, the USSR had launched Sputnik, the first manmade satellite, into orbit, and Reiffel said that the military brass he spoke to were worried about the Russians beating the Americans in the space race.

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News - September 13, 2016

Nuclear Policy News – September 13, 2016

TOP NEWS

US bombers fly over S.Korea in show of force after N.Korea nuclear test
Reuters

North Korea’s nuclear program is targeting U.S., Japanese lawmaker says
The Washington Post

The NSG & Pakistan’s membership bid
The Nation

Isn’t It Time to Ban the Bomb?
Counter Punch, Lawrence Wittner

EAST ASIA

US bombers fly over S.Korea in show of force after N.Korea nuclear test
Reuters

Two U.S. supersonic B-1 Lancer strategic bombers flew over South Korea on Tuesday morning in a show of force and solidarity with its ally amid heightened tension following North Korea's fifth nuclear test last week. The two bombers conducted a low-altitude flight over Osan Air Base in South Korea, which is 77 km (48 miles) from the Demilitarised Zone border with the North and about 40 km (25 miles) from the South's capital Seoul.

Treasury secretary: U.S. will do everything to keep pressure on N. Korea
Yonhap News

The United States will do everything it can to keep pressure on North Korea, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said Monday, stressing it is unacceptable for the communist nation to have nuclear weapons.

North Korea’s nuclear program is targeting U.S., Japanese lawmaker says
The Washington Post

North Korea’s nuclear program is directed at the United States, a close adviser to Kim Jong Un said after last week’s atomic test, according to a Japanese lawmaker who just returned from Pyongyang.

U.S. nuclear envoy on North Korea says swift, strong U.N. response needed
The Fiscal Times

"Our intention is to secure the strongest possible (U.N. Security Council) resolution that includes new sanctions as quickly as possible," Kim told a news briefing after holding discussions with his South Korean counterpart.

South Korea prepares for 'worst case scenario' with North Korea
CNN

South Korea is "getting ready for the worst case scenario," the country's Defense Ministry said Monday, after North Korea claimed last week to have tested a nuclear warhead. World leaders have lined up to condemn the blast, which was North Korea's second this year and likely it's most powerful to date. South Korea believes Kim Jong Un is preparing to hit the button on another test.

Conservative South Korea activists call for reinstatement of tactical nukes
UPI

Conservative South Korean activists incensed by North Korea's fifth nuclear test are calling for the placement of tactical nuclear weapons in the country. The Korea Freedom Federation told reporters on Monday that North Korea's fifth nuclear test is a threat to peace in the world and the Korean peninsula. 

RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

Russia Test Fires Intercontinental Ballistic Missile
The Diplomat

Russia’s Strategic Missile Forces have successfully test-fired an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) during a military exercise, the Russian Ministry of Defense announced on September 9, according to TASS news agency.

Polish Missile-Defense Program Remains a Head Scratcher
Defense News

Poland’s Ministry of Defense has posted a statement to its website shedding light on its way forward to procure a new air-and-missile defense system, confirming, in essence, that nothing is decided.

SOUTH ASIA

The NSG & Pakistan’s membership bid
The Nation

Pakistan has not only the potential to become a recipient but also a supplier of a full range of nuclear technology for peaceful purposes. And unlike the second membership applicant – India – Pakistan has also not enjoyed the benefits of an exceptional ‘waiver’, and as such is also an important new market for NSG member states.

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

Air Force test launches ICBM, continues nuclear modernization
Great Falls Tribune

A missile pulled from the Malmstrom missile complex was used in a test launch last week at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

OPINIONS

Isn’t It Time to Ban the Bomb?
Counter Punch, Lawrence Wittner

In this contest, the nuclear powers have the advantage, for, when all is said and done, they have the option of clinging to their nuclear weapons, even if that means ignoring a treaty adopted by a clear majority of nations around the world. Only an unusually firm stand by the non-nuclear nations, coupled with an uprising by an aroused public, seems likely to awaken the officials of the nuclear powers from their long sleepwalk toward catastrophe.

SS-21 Scarab: Russia’s Forgotten (But Deadly) Ballistic Missile
The National Interest, Sebastien Roblin

While NATO may preoccupied with the capabilities of Russia’s Iskander missile, the far more primitive Tochka, codenamed the SS-21 Scarab by NATO, has been responsible for hundreds of deaths in the last twelve months at the hands of Yemeni rebels and the Syrian and Ukrainian governments.

To start talks with North Korea, look to the Iran deal – but don’t hold your breath
Foreign Policy, Thomas E. Ricks

As North Korea carried out its fifth nuclear test last week, the International Atomic Energy Agency released its third report assessing the status of the nuclear deal that the United States and five other world powers reached with Iran over a year ago. Although it received scant attention, the report confirmed that the landmark deal is working — Iran continues to be in full compliance with the agreement known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – September 12, 2016

Nuclear Policy News – September 12, 2016

TOP NEWS

Can U.S. Missile Defenses Keep Up With the North Korean Threat?
Foreign Policy, Paul McLeary, Dan De Luce

3 Nuclear-Weapons Programs President Obama Should Kill
The National Interest, Will Saetren

The Saddam factor in North Korea's nuclear strategy
BBC, Stephen Evans

North Korea’s Nuclear Blasts Keep Getting Stronger
The New York Times

No Case For Simultaneous NSG Membership For India And Pakistan
The Eurasia Review

EAST ASIA

Fifth DPRK Nuclear Test
Center for Strategic and International Studies

On September 9, North Korea conducted an underground nuclear test—its second this year and the fifth since 2006. This latest nuclear test follows months of missile launches, even as the United Nations and individual states have imposed increasingly tough sanctions on Pyongyang.

North Korea ready for another nuclear test any time: South Korea
Reuters

North Korea is ready to conduct an additional nuclear test at any time, South Korea's Defense Ministry said on Monday, three days after the reclusive North's fifth test drew widespread condemnation.

North Korea’s Nuclear Blasts Keep Getting Stronger
The New York Times

North Korea said it conducted its fifth underground nuclear test on Friday. Since the first test, almost a decade ago, the size of the resulting earthquakes from the country’s test site have increased, indicating that the devices are becoming increasingly powerful.

North Korea's nuclear weapons imminent threat: South Korea's Park
Reuters

North Korea's nuclear weapons and missiles pose an imminent threat, South Korea's President Park Geun-hye said on Monday, as tensions rose on the Korean peninsula in the wake of North Korea's nuclear test last week.

North Korea’s Nuclear Test Raises Stakes for U.S.-Japan Defense Talks
The Wall Street Journal

North Korea’s recent nuclear detonation and accelerated missile testing raised the impetus for closer military cooperation between Tokyo and Washington as Japan’s new defense minister prepared for her first official U.S. visit this week.

After its fifth nuclear test, Japan, U.S. seek ‘strongest possible’ measures against North Korea
The Japan Times

Top envoys from Japan and the United States on Sunday agreed to seek the “strongest possible measures” against North Korea, two days after the reclusive state conducted its fifth nuclear test in the face of global opposition.

Nuke test cornering THAAD opposition
The Korea Times

Opposition parties are losing their basis for protesting the deployment of a U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system, following North Korea's fifth nuclear test.

China says it can’t end North Korea nuclear weapons program on its own
The Japan Times

China responded Monday to calls that it needs to do more to rein in North Korea’s nuclear program by saying that American officials were truly to blame for inciting conflict on the Korean Peninsula.

MIDDLE EAST

Iran Begins Construction on Second Nuclear Power Plant
The Wall Street Journal

Iran began building its second nuclear power plant with Russian help on Saturday, the first such project since last year’s landmark nuclear deal with world powers. Western nations don’t view the Bushehr plant as a proliferation risk because Russia supplies the fuel for the reactor and takes away spent fuel that could otherwise be used to make weapons-grade plutonium.

SOUTH ASIA

Pakistan and the NSG: Can Islamabad Win More Support?
The Diplomat

Pakistan’s long-held position that the NSG ought to avoid granting membership to India while excluding Pakistan has gained considerable support in the international community, which became evident at the NSG Plenary held at Seoul early this year in June.

No Case For Simultaneous NSG Membership For India And Pakistan
The Eurasia Review

In treating the cases of India and Pakistan independently of one another and on the basis of their individual merits and demerits as they should be, the non-proliferation regime has a golden opportunity to set an example that strongly dis-incentivizes wrongful nuclear behavior.

MULTILATERAL ARMS CONTROL AND NONPROLIFERATION

India, other EAS nations call for nuclear disarmament
The Indian Express

India and other leaders of the 18-member East Asia Summit reaffirmed their support to promote nuclear disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation as they underlined the importance of nuclear security to combat nuclear terrorism at national, regional and global levels.

OPINIONS

The Saddam factor in North Korea's nuclear strategy
BBC, Stephen Evans

Under Kim Jong-un, what the South sees as provocative gestures have increased compared with his father's era. The North Korean military fires missiles every 10 days or so at the moment, contrary to UN resolutions. It may be a measure of his back-to-the-wall defiance as his nuclear ambitions have progressed and sanctions have tightened. And the current frequency of nuclear testing - one in January and one now - indicates a rush to get the necessary weapons technology, experts say.

Why China Fears North Korea (and Its Not All About Nuclear Weapons)
The National Interest, Bruce Klingner

In response to the latest nuclear test, the U.S. and its allies should urge the U.N. to close several loopholes to the sanctions resolution, most notably eliminating the “livelihood purposes” exemption on the ban of North Korean export of its resources. But China will remain a reluctant partner, fearful that a more resolute international response could trigger North Korean escalatory behavior or regime collapse.

Can U.S. Missile Defenses Keep Up With the North Korean Threat?
Foreign Policy, Paul McLeary, Dan De Luce

North Korea’s latest underground nuclear test on Friday — which produced its largest ever explosive yield — reinforced fears in Washington and across Asia that Pyongyang’s military advances could soon outpace the missile defense systems the United States and its regional allies have laboriously built up over the last decade.

“The textbook definition of unstable”: why North Korea’s newest nuclear test is scary
Vox, Zack Beauchamp

North Korea has tested its fifth nuclear weapon — one more powerful than any device it has tested previously. What does this mean for the world? To find out, I got in touch with Jeffrey Lewis, director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Program at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey. Lewis is an honest-to-goodness expert on North Korea’s nuclear program, so what he has to say carries real weight. And what he had to say was scary.

How worried should we be about North Korea’s nuclear test?
The Independent, Lizzie Dearden

North Korea claims to have conducted its largest ever nuclear test, generating an explosion that triggered an artificial magnitude 5 earthquake. So should we be worried? The experts’ view seems to be in the affirmative, with potential weapons development combining with Kim Jong-un’s threatening and confrontational rhetoric, and increasing regional tensions around US and South Korean military deployments.

3 Nuclear-Weapons Programs President Obama Should Kill
The National Interest, Will Saetren

The B61-12 gravity bomb is a prime example of a zombie program that has taken on a life of its own. The Air-Launched Cruise Missile (ALCM) is another weapons system that has outlived its relevance; its next generation, the LRSO, should be suspended immediately. Perhaps the greatest excess in the nuclear arsenal is in the land-based leg of the triad. The Air Force spends billions of dollars maintaining four hundred Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles that have little to no strategic value.

B61-12: The Most Dangerous Nuclear Weapon?
Scout, Zachary Keck

Much has been written about the B61-12, most of which has focused on its enormous cost. In terms of sheer destructive capability, the B61-12 is nowhere near America’s most dangerous nuclear weapon. Indeed, the bomb has a maximum yield of just 50-kilotons, the equivalent of 50,000 tons of TNT. What makes the B61-12 bomb the most dangerous nuclear weapon in America’s arsenal is its usability. This usability derives from a combination of its accuracy and low-yield.

U.S. Is Already a Signatory to Test Ban Treaty
The Wall Street Journal, Sen. Benjamin Cardin, Sen. Edward Markey

American leadership on nuclear security is needed now more than ever, so it’s hard to believe our colleagues would want to follow through on their political, shortsighted threat to defund this system. And if they agree with our own policy on testing, then isn’t our national security enhanced by reaffirming and promoting a similar practice in more corners of the world?

SPECIAL INTEREST

Russia's 57-Megaton Tsar Bomb: The Biggest Nuclear Weapon Ever Dropped
The National Interest, Steve Weintz

Big Ivan detonated at 13,000 feet and its fireball still nearly reached the ground. Its own shockwave reflected off Novaya Zemlya's surface bounced the five-mile-wide incandescent sphere skywards. Seismometers recorded an impact equal to a magnitude 5 earthquake. Buildings were leveled 30 miles away, windowpanes broken 500 miles distant.

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – September 9, 2016

Nuclear Policy News – September 9, 2016

TOP NEWS

North Korea Says Tested Nuclear Bomb, Can Miniaturize Arms
Bloomberg

A timeline of North Korea’s nuclear ambitions
The Economist

U.N. nuclear agency says Iran sticking to nuclear deal
Reuters

US to fly 'radiation sniffer' jet off Korean Peninsula
CNN

My Top 5 Foreign-Policy Unicorns — and Why I Want to Kill Them
Foreign Policy, Stephen Walt

EAST ASIA

North Korea Says Tested Nuclear Bomb, Can Miniaturize Arms
Bloomberg

North Korea conducted its fifth nuclear test on Friday, the anniversary of the reclusive nation’s founding, and said it was now able to produce miniaturized nuclear arms. In a statement on state-run television, Pyongyang said no radiation was leaked in the blast. The official Korean Central News Agency said the detonation of a nuclear warhead showed the regime had the ability to attach atomic weapons to rockets.

S.Korea to hold emergency National Security Council meeting
Reuters

South Korea's presidential Blue House will hold a National Security Council meeting at 0200 GMT on Friday after seismic activity was detected near North Korea's known nuclear test site, activity South Korea said could have been a nuclear test. The South Korean prime minister will preside over the meeting, a Blue House official said by telephone.

U.S. experts call for non-verbal, real consequences for N.K. nuclear test
Yonhap News

North Korea's fifth nuclear test is sure to invite strong condemnation from around the world, including the U.N. Security Council, but such a business-as-usual response will be far from affecting Pyongyang, American experts said Thursday.

North Korea accused of 'maniacal recklessness' after nuclear test triggers earthquake
The Guardian

The South Korean president, Park Geun-hye, denounced the test as a clear violation of security council resolutions banning the North from developing nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction. Park accused Kim of “maniacal recklessness” in his pursuit of building a viable nuclear arsenal, according to her office.

US to fly 'radiation sniffer' jet off Korean Peninsula
CNN

The US Air Force is expected to fly its "radiation sniffer" jet off the Korean Peninsula to take air samples to determine if a nuclear event occurred in North Korea. The Air Force WC-135 jet, dubbed the "Constant Phoenix," will look for distinctive elements a nuclear test of any type would emit into the air. The collected samples can be analyzed to determine exactly what occurred.

A timeline of North Korea’s nuclear ambitions
The Economist

North Korea refuses to be bound by any global rules. Its hereditary dictator, Kim Jong Un, imposes forced labor on hundreds of thousands of his people and threatens to drench Seoul, the South’s capital, in “a sea of fire”. Nuclear weapons are central to his regime’s identity and survival. It has always been tempting for America and other countries to put North Korea’s nuclear ambitions on the back burner, in large part because of a chronic absence of good options for dealing with them.

MIDDLE EAST

U.N. nuclear agency says Iran sticking to nuclear deal
Reuters

Iran has kept to a nuclear deal it agreed with six world powers last year limiting its stockpiles of substances that could be used to make atomic weapons, a report by the U.N. nuclear agency found. The confidential report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) seen by Reuters did not point to any violations in Tehran's observance of the deal which was opposed by hardliners inside Iran and by skeptics in the West.

RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

MEADS International, Poland's PGZ partner for missile deal
UPI

MEADS International has teamed with Poland's Polska Grupa Zbrojeniowa to bid on the country's Wisla air defense program and related opportunities. The agreement, covered by a letter of intent, includes the opportunity for PGZ to take a partnership role with MI alongside Lockheed Martin and MBDA. Benefits would ensure PGZ's long-term participation in future expansion and sales of the Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS).

SOUTH ASIA

Nuclear safety: Cooperation with India possible, says Aizaz
The Express Tribune

Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhry on Thursday hinted at the possibility of cooperation with India in the realm of nuclear safety, security and regulatory framework at a time when relations between the two neighbors are on the edge due to the current unrest in Kashmir.

Pakistan's growing nukes 'thorny challenge' to US interests: expert
The Economic Times

Pakistan, which possesses close to 120 nuclear weapons, has the capability to expand its arsenal by 20 atomic weapons which pose a "thorny challenge" to the US interests, an American think-tank expert has said.

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

Senate GOP Protests Obama’s Planned Nuclear Test Ban Push
The Wall Street Journal

The Obama administration’s pursuit of a possible United Nations Security Council resolution against nuclear weapons tests has riled a group of Republican lawmakers, who have warned President Barack Obama not to take action that would circumvent the U.S. Senate’s constitutional power to ratify treaties.

U.S. Air Force test-fires intercontinental ballistic missile across Pacific
UPI

The United States Air Force test-launched an intercontinental ballistic missile on Monday, the same day North Korea fired three midrange missiles into the Sea of Japan. The test of the unarmed Minuteman III ICBM at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., comes at a time when President Obama has called for extended deterrence measures and reaffirmed U.S. commitment to the defense of regional Asian allies.

OPINIONS

My Top 5 Foreign-Policy Unicorns — and Why I Want to Kill Them
Foreign Policy, Stephen Walt

Ever since the invention of nuclear technology, politicians from a variety of countries have called for and, in some cases, pledged to eliminate all nuclear weapons from the world. Indeed, Barack Obama declared this to be a long-term U.S. goal in his first year in office, and he’s reiterated that position several times since. He might as well have promised us a unicorn instead.

Sanctions against North Korea have failed. End them now
The Guardian, Simon Jenkins

The sanctions so far imposed on North Korea have blatantly not made the far east a safe place. How much more dangerous is moot, since it is inconceivable China would allow North Korea to commit an act of nuclear aggression on the south. The sane alternative is to do everything to open North Korea, to flood it with trade, promote cultural exchange and hope one day that, like east Germany, it will reunite with its neighbor.

These North Korean missile launches are adding up to something very troubling
The Washington Post, Anna Fifield

North Korea is touting technological progress in its nuclear program, saying after a nuclear test Friday that it can now produce “smaller, lighter and diversified nuclear warheads of higher strike power.” But it is also making strides in its missile program, analysts say — advances that could enable it to outsmart missile defense systems, which could make the missiles more attractive to potential customers.

North Korea’s bomb test: Why the world should get real on nuclear weapons
The Indian Express, Praveen Swami

Accepting that North Korea won’t give up its weapons opens the door to pragmatic negotiations that acknowledge the realities. For example, the North Korean government could be offered some economic incentives and diplomatic recognition in return for capping its arsenal. The deal will be unfair—and will have consequences, in West Asia and elsewhere. But it will also acknowledge the realities of our world, not seek to impose on it a misplaced nuclear morality.

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – September 8, 2016

Nuclear Policy News – September 8, 2016

TOP NEWS

No First-Use Advocacy: Contradictions and Guesswork
RealClearDefense, Franklin Miller, Keith Payne

Will Raytheon's SkyCeptor Save Poland from Russia's Mighty Missiles?
The National Interest, Dave Majumdar

Further Dismantling Deterrence: Next Stops on a Dangerous Road
Defense News, Ben Lerner

North Korea Showed Off a Previously Unseen Missile During the G20
The Diplomat

Practical nuclear questions for the presidential candidates, and the psychology of doom
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

EAST ASIA

N. Korea rejects U.N. Security Council statement, vows to increase nuclear arsenal
Yonhap News

North Korea said Wednesday it rejects the U.N. Security Council statement condemning its latest missile launches, claiming the statement is a violation of the country's sovereignty and vowing to continue to strengthen its nuclear arsenal.

Obama Urges China to Prod North Korea Harder on Nuclear Weapons
Bloomberg

China has done more on sanctions against North Korea than previous rounds of penalties but could still “tighten up” further in prodding Kim Jong Un’s regime, U.S. President Barack Obama said on Thursday during a trip to Asia. Obama said he had told President Xi Jinping that China needs to “work with us more effectively” in combating Kim’s nuclear ambitions.

North Korea Showed Off a Previously Unseen Missile During the G20
The Diplomat

On Monday, as world leaders of the Group of 20 met in Hangzhou, China, North Korea made a typically dramatic show of force by launching three ballistic missiles from Hwangju county in the country’s southwest into the Sea of Japan. When Pyongyang released footage and images of this week’s launch, however, it became quickly clear to North Korea watchers that the missiles here were something new, even though the launchers appeared similar to those Pyongyang uses for its Scuds.

U.S. official says THAAD not aimed at China, Russia
Yonhap News

The Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system to be deployed in South Korea by the end of 2017 will not be aimed at China and Russia, a U.S. military official said in a defense forum held in Seoul Thursday.

Abe, Park agree to coordinate response on North Korea missile launches
The Japan Times

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and South Korean President Park Geun-hye have agreed to coordinate responses to North Korea’s ballistic missile launches during bilateral talks in Laos.

MIDDLE EAST

Who Benefits Most From a Sabotaged Iran Nuclear Deal
Huffington Post

Despite President Obama’s promise to veto any congressional attempt to sabotage the deal, hawkish lobby groups have continued efforts to prevent foreign business deals with Iran. With pressure to break the deal mounting in Washington and pessimism growing in Tehran, it begs the question: who benefits most from a sabotaged deal?

SOUTH ASIA

Pakistan’s nuclear assets safe from terrorists, says foreign secretary
The Express Tribune

Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry said on Thursday that Pakistan is a responsible nuclear state and its nuclear assets are safe from terrorists. “Pakistan’s nuclear assets are safe and regularised by an autonomous body which is the Pakistan Nuclear Regulatory Authority,” Chaudhry said while addressing a conference titled Assessing South Asia’s Nuclear Security organised by the Centre for International Strategic Studies (CISS) in Islamabad.

MULTILATERAL ARMS CONTROL AND NONPROLIFERATION

EAS adopts non-proliferation statement urging N.K. to drop nukes, missiles
Yonhap News

The East Asia Summit (EAS), a regional strategic forum, adopted a statement on non-proliferation Thursday, urging North Korea to abandon its nuclear and ballistic missile programs in a "complete, verifiable and irreversible" manner.

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

Photos show nuclear facilities in dangerous disrepair
CNN

US nuclear security facilities are dangerously decrepit and putting national security goals at risk, according to nuclear officials who are asking Congress to back the administration's push to modernize the system. Nuclear officials described critical utility, safety and support systems that are failing at an increasing and unpredictable rate, as well as their efforts to patch the system together until the necessary funding can be found to reinvigorate the system.

OPINIONS

No First-Use Advocacy: Contradictions and Guesswork
RealClearDefense, Franklin Miller, Keith Payne

While, as noted, there must be a level of speculation on both sides of the NFU debate, the deterrence of war involving massive conventional and possible weapons of mass destruction warrants the greatest prudence.  NFU opponents cannot prove that NFU would destroy deterrence in the future.  But there is ample evidence that NFU would significantly degrade the important assurance of allies.

Will Raytheon's SkyCeptor Save Poland from Russia's Mighty Missiles?
The National Interest, Dave Majumdar

Raytheon is offering to co-develop a new interceptor missile with Poland that would be designed to defeat incoming short and medium range ballistic and cruise missiles. The weapon—called the SkyCeptor—which would use hit-to-kill technology, could also be used against other air defense threats such as aircraft and would be integrated into the Patriot missile defense system.

The Dangers of Nuclear Misconception
RealClearDefense, Peter Huessy

It is we the United States that seeks to prevent terrorist attacks and aggression by North Korea and Iran not the other way around. How sad, the ambassador concluded that the far Right and far Left in America have now bought into “the very clever scheme of our adversaries to hide behind a cloak of aggression by claiming it’s just a curtain of peaceful nuclear weapons!”

Practical nuclear questions for the presidential candidates, and the psychology of doom
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

Editor John Mecklin writes: “The Bulletin is nonpartisan, but it does have an unapologetic bias toward science, expertise, and the long-term preservation of humanity.” To this end, Mecklin has assembled top nuclear experts to provide questions that both journalists and citizens can ask to better understand the US nuclear arsenal, the role of the president in its deployment and use, and how to determine the differences on nuclear policy between the two major presidential candidates.

Anti-Missile Arms Race Heating Up
RealClearDefense, Daniel Gouré

Ironically, despite being faced with threats from Iran and an increasingly bellicose Russia, it is Europe that is lagging behind in the deployment of missile defenses. While NATO has taken the initial step of integrating national air and missile defense early warning and tracking capabilities, the Alliance has been wholly deficient in deploying actual intercept capabilities.

Further Dismantling Deterrence: Next Stops on a Dangerous Road
Defense News, Ben Lerner

We are entering a period in which the world is getting more dangerous, not less.  Dismantling our nuclear deterrent in the face of that reality — whether directly through our own actions or by enabling others to do it for us, at the expense of our own democratic process — would be a major strategic error.

Nuclear Weapons in Civil War Zones
Project Syndicate, Bennett Ramberg

The lesson from Turkey is not that the bombs of Incirlik – not to mention other nuclear weapons in unstable regions – are safe. Rather, it is that our most deadly weapons could be compromised in an instant. It ought to be a wake-up call for all of us.

SPECIAL INTEREST

To Launch a Nuclear Strike, Clinton or Trump Would Follow These Steps
Bloomberg

How much power does the president alone have to launch a nuclear strike? Bloomberg News asked Bruce G. Blair, a former Minuteman missile-launch officer and research scholar at Princeton University’s Program on Science and Global Security, to spell out the step-by-step procedure.

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – September 7, 2016

Nuclear Policy News – September 7, 2016

TOP NEWS

The nuclear Google
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Sharon Squassoni

This Is How North Korea Will Get Its Nukes Past American Missile Defense Systems
Foreign Policy, Elias Groll

Nuclear Weapons and the Myth of the “Re-Alerting Race”
Union of Concerned Scientists, David Wright

There's Still a Lot We Don't Know About the Iran Deal
The National Interest, Emily Landau

Iran Nuclear Deal Likely to Survive Next Administration
RealClearWorld

EAST ASIA

UN Security Council condemns latest DPRK missile launches, notes ‘flagrant disregard’ for previous statements
UN News Center

“The members of the Security Council deplore all Democratic People’s Republic of Korea ballistic missile activities, including these launches, noting that such activities contribute to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s development of nuclear weapons delivery systems and increase tension,” the 15-member Council said in a press statement, which noted that the launches were in “grave violation” of the country’s international obligations under various resolutions it has adopted.

Obama Vows to Tighten Sanctions On North Korea
RealClearDefense

In the wake of another missile launch, President Barack Obama vowed Tuesday to work with the United Nations to tighten sanctions against North Korea, but added that the U.S. was still open to dialogue if the government changes course.

New South Korean Destroyers to Have Ballistic Missile Defense Capability
USNI

A trio of planned South Korean guided missile destroyers will be built with the capability to intercept ballistic missile threats, USNI News has learned. The addition of the capability will give the Republic of Korea (RoK) Navy a powerful organic BMD capability in addition to U.S. Army ground-based interceptors peppered throughout South Korea.

N.K. deputy nuke envoy visits China
Yonhap News

A North Korean deputy nuclear negotiator has arrived in China, a source familiar with North Korean affairs said Wednesday, amid international condemnation over Pyongyang's nuclear and missile programs.

Defense ministry refutes opposition's criticism of THAAD
The Korea Times

South Korea's defense ministry said Wednesday the U.S. missile defense system set to be deployed in the country can deal with Pyongyang's evolving missile and nuclear threats, rebutting claims by the leader of the main opposition that the battery is worthless.

MIDDLE EAST

Iran Nuclear Deal Likely to Survive Next Administration
RealClearWorld

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA, as the Iran nuclear deal is known, has survived efforts to wreck it by opponents in both Iran and the United States, and the deal is likely to endure into the next U.S. administration. The problems with the agreement relate more to underlying hostility between the United States and Iran, which have not had normal diplomatic relations since 1980.

RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

Poland Checks Moscow in Latest Battle Over European Missile Defense
Foreign Policy

The Polish government announced Tuesday that it would buy the U.S. Army’s Patriot air-and-missile defense system, a move widely seen as a response to Moscow’s upcoming deployment of nuclear-capable missiles to Kaliningrad on the Baltic Sea.

SOUTH ASIA

Pakistan not keen on arms race but will ensure power balance
The Indian Express

Sharif said in a message issued on ‘Defense Day’ marked every year to commemorate the 1965 war with India, “We have attained self-reliance in production of advanced weapons and our nuclear capability is the hallmark of our strong defense.”

MULTILATERAL ARMS CONTROL AND NONPROLIFERATION

Mongolia’s Contribution to a Nuclear-Weapon Free World
IDN-INPS

in 1992 Mongolia declared its territory a single-State nuclear-weapon-free zone (NWFZ). As a result of consistent and persistent policy as well as broad international support, today Mongolia enjoys an internationally recognized nuclear-weapon-free status. In 2012 in their joint declaration the five nuclear-weapon states (P5) pledged to respect the status and not to contribute to any act that would violate it. The joint declaration is a Mongolia-specific assurance reflecting its geo-political location. It ensures that Mongolia would not be used as a pawn in future geopolitical nuclear rivalry.

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

Obama's extended deterrence intended to squelch doubts over U.S. security commitment
Yonhap News

U.S. President Barack Obama's mention this week of "extended deterrence" against North Korea appears intended to squelch growing doubts in South Korea over the country's security commitment to its core Asian ally, analysts said Wednesday.

OPINIONS

The nuclear Google
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Sharon Squassoni

The 2016 election likely will not be won solely on the basis of which candidate has a better grasp of nuclear responsibilities or the more thoughtful nuclear policies. But unlike the Brexit vote, the November presidential election results are legally binding. American voters might avoid some nuclear remorse on November 9, if they do a bit of nuclear searching and learning before then.

This Is How North Korea Will Get Its Nukes Past American Missile Defense Systems
Foreign Policy, Elias Groll

When North Korea launched three ballistic missiles this week, it wasn’t just a show of force toward the world leaders gathered in China for a meeting of the G-20. It was also a test of what may be new technology to thwart missile defense systems and provide Pyongyang with an edge in an eventual conflict with the United States.

Nuclear Weapons and the Myth of the “Re-Alerting Race”
Union of Concerned Scientists, David Wright

One of the frustrations of trying to change policy is that frequently repeated myths can short-circuit careful thinking about current policies and keep policy makers from recognizing better alternatives. That is particularly frustrating—and dangerous—when the topic is nuclear weapons. Under current policies, accidental or mistaken nuclear war is more likely than it should be. Given the consequences, that’s a big deal.

Should the United States begin talks to ban nuclear weapons?
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Zia Mian

The question to ask the candidates: If elected President, will you commit that the United States will sign the Humanitarian Pledge and call for the immediate start of talks on a treaty to ban nuclear weapons, or will you persist with current US policies to maintain and modernize “the most terrible weapon ever known in human history” and thereby continue the risk that “modern civilization might be completely destroyed?”

An unanticipated minor fault
The Hill, Robert Monroe

Nuclear weapons are the most complex systems known to man, and these weapons were designed decades ago, when nuclear physics was in its adolescence.  Our lives depend upon them.  America’s existence depends upon them.  What household electronics item would you expect to work flawlessly after lying unused for 24 years?

There's Still a Lot We Don't Know About the Iran Deal
The National Interest, Emily Landau

However we look at this, U.S.-Iran dynamics will be a key factor in the implementation of the deal, and in determining whether Iran is able to manipulate its way to nuclear weapons. U.S. passivity—not to mention acting as Iran’s defender—risks weakening America’s ability to keep Iran in line. The United States must wake up to the reality that the struggle with Iran continues, at least as far as Iran is concerned.

Iran Advances, Washington Frets
U.S. News & World Report, Lawrence Haas

One year into the nuclear deal, Tehran pursues its global agenda with rising fervor while Washington hesitates to react over fears that the regime will abandon what Obama considers a landmark achievement.

Obama’s last sally for a safer world
The Hindu, Rakesh Sood

In 1945, the U.S. shaped the first nuclear age with Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Today, President Obama has the opportunity to shape the 21st century second nuclear age by launching the ‘moral revolution’ that he promised in Hiroshima. It could become his defining legacy.

SPECIAL INTEREST

Field Trip to Semey, Kurchatov and the former Soviet Nuclear Weapon Test Site
IDN-INPS

INPS Japan President Katsuhiro Asagiri accompanied the IDN-INPS Group's DG and Chief Editor Ramesh Jaura to the International Conference "Building a nuclear-weapon-free world" organised by the PNND on August 28-29 in Astana, Kazakhstan, on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the closing down of the former nuclear test site in Semipalatinsk. They joined a group of participants from around the world in a one-day visit to Semey, Kurchatov and the former Soviet nuclear test site on August 31.

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – September 6, 2016

Nuclear Policy News – September 6, 2016

TOP NEWS

Long Overdue: India and Japan Are Ready for a Full-Fledged Civil Nuclear Deal
The Diplomat, Satoru Nagao

The Tu-95 Bear: Russia Has Its Very Own B-52 Bomber
The National Interest

Obama Unlikely to Vow No First Use of Nuclear Weapons
New York Times

It's time to revitalize US-Russian nuclear security cooperation
Russia Direct, Anthony Musa

A second strike on nuclear ‘no first use’
East Asia Forum, Hugh White

EAST ASIA

Kim Jong-un declares North Korea must keep up drive for nuclear weapons
The Guardian

The North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, has called on his military to continue nuclear weapons development after issuing orders for the latest test-firing of ballistic missiles.

Nuclear submarine only solution to N.K. SLBM threats
Yonhap News

A submarine expert on Tuesday called for South Korea to build a nuclear-powered submarine, saying it is the only solution to counter the threats posed by North Korea's submarine-launched ballistic missiles.

South Korea's president calls on Russia, others, to pressure Pyongyang over nuclear program
Reuters

South Korean President Park Geun-hye called on Russia and other major global players on Saturday to increase pressure on North Korea to abandon its nuclear program which could open the road for cooperation with Pyongyang.

'Pakistan stands with S. Korea on N. Korean nuclear threats'
The Korea Times

Pakistan is sensitive to North Korea's nuclear threats posed on the Korean Peninsula and would never undermine South Korea's security interests, according to a senior Pakistani government official.

North Korea fires three ballistic missiles
Al Jazeera

North Korea has fired three ballistic missiles off its east coast, according to South Korea's military, in a show of force apparently timed to coincide with the ongoing G20 economic summit in China. South Korea's joint chiefs of staff said in a statement on Monday that the three missiles, launched from the western North Korean town of Hwangju, flew across the country before splashing in the Sea of Japan off its east coast.

South Korea Pleads With China Over Missile Shield as North Fires Again
Wall Street Journal

North Korea fired three ballistic missiles into the sea Monday, hours after South Korea’s president pleaded unsuccessfully with China’s leader to drop his opposition to Seoul’s plan to deploy a U.S. missile defense shield.

Little Progress on THAAD as Park, Xi Meet on G20 Sidelines
The Diplomat

Chinese President Xi Jinping, on Monday, conveyed China’s continued opposition to the deployment of an advanced U.S. missile defense system on the Korean peninsula at a bilateral meeting with South Korean President Park Geun-hye on the sidelines of the Hangzhou G20 meeting. China’s state-run Xinhua news agency quoted Xi as telling Park that “mishandling the issue is not conducive to strategic stability in the region and could intensify disputes.”

MIDDLE EAST

MPs to visit nuclear sites in Arak, Isfahan soon
Tehran Times

Speaking to the Tasnim, Mojtaba Zonnoor, head of the nuclear board at the National Security and Foreign Policy Committee, said the MPs will visit the Arak heavy water reactor and Isfahan’s UCF (uranium conversion facility).

RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

The Tu-95 Bear: Russia Has Its Very Own B-52 Bomber
The National Interest

The Bear was born from the Soviet Union’s desire to develop its own strategic bomber force to match the one fielded by the United States in World War II. Soviet planners requested in 1950 a four-engine bomber that could fly five thousand miles to hit targets across the United States while hauling over twelve tons of bombs.

SOUTH ASIA

Pakistan looks to gain Belgium’s support for its NSG bid
The Indian Express

A top Pakistani diplomat on Monday travelled to Belgium to seek the European nation’s support for Islamabad’s bid to get membership of Nuclear Suppliers Group. The Prime Minister’s special envoy Syed Tariq Fatemi met Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Affairs Didier Reynders and Ministry of Foreign Affairs Secretary-General Dirk Achten, Foreign Office said.

A world free of nuclear weapons
The Daily Times

On the eve of the International Day against Nuclear Tests, Pakistan has reiterated its offer for a bilateral arrangement with India on non-testing of nuclear weapons. While speaking at the UN General Assembly meeting, Pakistani delegate Yasar Ammar said, “Our commitment of not being the first to resume nuclear testing in our region also testifies our resolve to support the treaty’s objectives and purposes.”

MULTILATERAL ARMS CONTROL AND NONPROLIFERATION

Nazarbayev’s Manifesto Paves Way for More Peaceful World, Nuclear Disarmament Expert Says
The Astana Times

One of the speakers at the panel session “Security without nuclear weapons or war,” Deputy Director of the Strategic Concept for the Removal of Arms and Proliferation, Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy, SOAS University of London, UK, Kevin Miletic raised the issue of nuclear deterrence and conventional weapons control, pointed out the need to find a way to reconcile conventional and nuclear disarmament as well as stressed the timeliness and relevance of President Nazarbayev’s Manifesto.

Hiroshima hopes for disarmament of nuclear-tipped world
The Korea Herald

Mizumoto mentioned Hiroshima’s message for peace on the 71st anniversary of the atomic bombing, the internal politics of Japan, the threat of North Korea’s nuclear and missile provocations and the danger of a civil nuclear program in the earthquake-prone archipelago nation. The following is an excerpt from an interview with The Korea Herald in Hiroshima.

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

Obama Unlikely to Vow No First Use of Nuclear Weapons
New York Times

President Obama, who has weighed ruling out a first use of a nuclear weapon in a conflict, appears likely to abandon the proposal after top national security advisers argued that it could undermine allies and embolden Russia and China, according to several senior administration officials.

Nuclear first strike option serves as deterrent to war, use of chemical, biological weapons
The Korea Times

The U.S. maintenance of a nuclear first strike option is because the threat of nuclear escalation helps deter large-scale conventional war or the use of chemical and biological weapons, a CRS report said.

America's New Nuclear-Armed Missile Could Cost $85 Billion
Bloomberg

The U.S. Air Force’s program to develop and field a new intercontinental ballistic missile to replace the aging Minuteman III in the nuclear arsenal is now projected to cost at least $85 billion, about 36 percent more than a preliminary estimate by the service.

Minuteman III Replacement Moves Forward With Pentagon’s Blessing
Aviation Week

In a sign that the Pentagon and U.S. Air Force have come to an agreement on how to fund the latter’s new-generation intercontinental ballistic missile, the Defense Department’s acquisition executive has signed off on the Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD) program’s entry into technology maturation.

NNSA Rescinds $5b Nuclear Contract for Leidos Subsidiary
Defense News

The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) this week rescinded a $5 billion, ten-year agreement with a subsidiary of Lockheed Martin, due to concerns over the sale of the subsidiary to Leidos.

OPINIONS

Long Overdue: India and Japan Are Ready for a Full-Fledged Civil Nuclear Deal
The Diplomat, Satoru Nagao

Closer cooperation between Japan and India on a range of issues is more and more plausible today than in the past. Japan-India civil nuclear cooperation, in particular, is a good example of an area with immense promise. At a bilateral summit in New Delhi last December, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi signed a memorandum of agreement on civil nuclear cooperation

It's time to revitalize US-Russian nuclear security cooperation
Russia Direct, Anthony Musa

Leaders within Russia and the United States should be preparing for a new era of nuclear security cooperation. To do so, they need to separate other geopolitical issues from the debate over nuclear security.

Are North Korea's missile tests a practice run for evading THAAD?
CNN, James Griffiths

North Korea may be seeking to outpace its southern neighbor by testing multiple missiles as Seoul prepares to deploy a controversial US missile defense system. In what has become almost routine, on Monday North Korea fired three ballistic missiles from a base in the west across the country into the Sea of Japan. The missiles all fell within 250 kilometers of Japan's Okushiri Island, the country's Defense Ministry said in a statement.

A second strike on nuclear ‘no first use’
East Asia Forum, Hugh White

There are two reasons to agree with Gareth Evans that the United States should join other nuclear powers and declare that it would never be the first to use nuclear weapons in a conflict by making a ‘No First Use’ declaration. The first reason is that it would take the world one small but significant step towards Barack Obama’s goal of abolishing nuclear weapons. The second reason to support a NFU declaration is that it would simply recognize reality.

Will Erdogan Resort To Regional Nuclear Brinkmanship?
Eurasia Review, Mathew Maavak

Few are gaming out the possibility of a US-Turkish plot to destabilize the Silk Road project. At the very least, Erdogan has always eyed a Turkic silk road controlled by Ankara; one where Turkey would be the undisputed lynchpin of Greater Eurasia. It is therefore imperative to demand the removal of US nuclear weapons from Incirlik to relative safety – even temporarily – until Turkey returns to normality.

SPECIAL INTEREST

Nagasaki bomb museum displays paper crane made by Obama
The Japan Times

A paper crane made by U.S. President Barack Obama during his visit to Hiroshima in May went on display Saturday in Nagasaki, the second city hit by an American atomic bomb. The red paper crane, one of four made by the president during his visit, will be exhibited at the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum through Nov. 30, along with a reproduction of a message he wrote in a visitors’ book at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum.

Bomb techs strengthen their hand with Sandia's XTK software
Phys.org

The federal government wanted a specialized X-ray visualization tool, and Sandia was tapped in 2009 to develop XTK with funding from the NNSA and the Department of Defense Combating Terrorism Technical Support Office. "We wanted something new and specific to the needs of national EOD personnel responsible for responding to nuclear terrorism events," said Marc Phipps, a former Army non-commissioned officer and bomb technician who headed up the XTK project for NNSA.

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – September 2, 2016

Nuclear Policy News – September 2, 2016

TOP NEWS

Could a New X-Stern and Electric Drive Motor Make the Ohio Replacement Program Submarine the Stealthiest in the World?
Scout, Kris Osborn

Discriminatory Approaches And Weaknesses In NPT
Eurasia Review, Sadia Kazmi

Group Seeks Nuclear Ban Negotiations
Arms Control Association

North Korea's Military Escalation: The Real Long-Term Goal
Forbes, Ralph Jennings

Senate should support efforts against nuclear tests
The Hill, Kathy Crandall Robinson

EAST ASIA

USFK commander discusses deterrence against N.K. threat in Washington
Yonhap News

The commander of all American troops in South Korea recently discussed more effective measures to counter North Korean threats when he met the chief of U.S. Strategic Command in Washington, the U.S. military said Friday.

KPA Navy Upgrades in the East Sea
38 North

Although international attention has focused on continued developments in North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs, commercial satellite imagery indicates that Pyongyang is also improving its conventional military forces. Notably, serious resources have been channeled into upgrading the North’s naval capabilities. Analyzing these improvements will help sharpen understanding of the North’s military strategy under Kim Jong Un.

THAAD In South Korea: US Missile Defense System Will Not Target Russia Or Other Countries, Park Geun-Hye Says
International Business Times

The U.S. advanced missile system in the Korean Peninsula will not be used against Russia or other countries, South Korean President Park Geun-hye told Russian news agency Sputnik on Friday. Seoul and Washington’s deal to deploy the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile system in South Korea triggered security concerns among Russia and China.

MIDDLE EAST

Obama administration denies secret loopholes in Iran nuclear agreement
The Guardian

The Obama administration has insisted that the terms of a nuclear agreement signed last year with Iran were being upheld after a Washington think tank alleged that Tehran had been granted secret exemptions.

RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

Nuclear site police reveal 130 security breaches
BBC

Police guarding the UK's nuclear sites have revealed there have been 130 security breaches over the past five years - including a missing gun. The information was obtained by the BBC after a freedom of information request to the Civil Nuclear Constabulary.

SOUTH ASIA

Let's just not test nukes, Pakistan to India at UN
Daily Times

Reaffirming its support to the nuclear test ban treaty, Pakistan has told the UN General Assembly of its voluntary moratorium on nuclear testing since 1998 - despite compelling regional security dynamics - and offered to translate the unilateral moratorium into a bilateral arrangement with India.

MULTILATERAL ARMS CONTROL AND NONPROLIFERATION

Group Seeks Nuclear Ban Negotiations
Arms Control Association

A supermajority of the non-nuclear-weapon states that participated in a working group on nuclear disarmament in Geneva this year called on the UN General Assembly to convene a conference in 2017 to negotiate a legally binding agreement that prohibits nuclear weapons.

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

AF reaches first milestone in acquisition of new ICBM
U.S. Air Force

The Air Force received approval on August 23 for the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent program to start the next phase of its acquisition effort. With this formal Defense Acquisition System “Milestone A” approval, the GBSD program enters the Technology Maturation and Risk Reduction phase of its effort to replace the aging intercontinental ballistic missile, the LGM-30 Minuteman III.

AFNWC delivers updated reentry vehicle training simulators for maintainers
U.S. Air Force

Air Force technicians maintaining nuclear reentry vehicle systems will soon have upgraded training simulators to help them succeed in their mission of strategic deterrence. Thanks to a joint effort between the Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center and Air Force Global Strike Command, technicians sustaining the Minuteman III weapon system, an intercontinental ballistic missile, will train with simulators that look more like the operational MK12A reentry vehicles they work with daily.

OPINIONS

Could a New X-Stern and Electric Drive Motor Make the Ohio Replacement Program Submarine the Stealthiest in the World?
Scout, Kris Osborn

The Navy’s new nuclear-armed ballistic missile submarines will incorporate a stealthy “X”-shaped stern and noise-reducing electric drive technology as a way to try to engineer the quietest and least-detectable submarine in the history of the world, senior service officials said.

Discriminatory Approaches And Weaknesses In NPT
Eurasia Review, Sadia Kazmi

A treaty like NPT can only be successful if it truly stands and deliver on its commitment to disarmament and condemnation of arms race. If it continues to bank upon its discriminatory policies, the ideals of a peaceful world free from arms race will remain a distant possibility.

The Nuclear Threat and U.S. Preparedness: Radiation Monitoring
Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons, Arthur Levy

The U.S. is a target for radiological and nuclear weapons. Technology is available that could preserve thousands or millions of lives by providing real-time radiation measurements that aid in warning the public of need for shelter or preventing panic. However, the technology currently deployed by government and local agencies may be unsuited to the threat.

A new phase in nuclear disarmament
New Strait Times, Mushtak Parker

This latest salvo of sentiments on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation comes against an international background, which frankly is not favorable. In the words of UN Under-Secretary General and the Head of its Conference on Disarmament Michael Moller, for instance, there is a “current deadlock in nuclear disarmament”, presumably between the US, Russia and China, with the three single largest arsenals of radioactive weapons of mass destruction.

Senate should support efforts against nuclear tests
The Hill, Kathy Crandall Robinson

Nuclear weapons scientists believe they have a better understanding and confidence in the reliability of U.S. nuclear weapons than when they were conducting nuclear test explosions.  Now, there is simply no strategic value in U.S. resumption of explosive nuclear testing. There is however a security imperative to thwart other countries from conducting nuclear test explosions.

Kazakhstan Leads The Way To A Nuclear-Weapon Free World
Eurasia Review, Ramesh Jaura, Katsuhiro Asagiri

As divisions between States on how to achieve nuclear disarmament grow, countries like Kazakhstan must lead the way to common ground and inclusive dialogue. Such leadership is urgently needed to make our world truly secure, said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in a message delivered to the conference on ‘Building a Nuclear-Free World’.

North Korea's Military Escalation: The Real Long-Term Goal
Forbes, Ralph Jennings

The country of 22 million probably won’t start a war on purpose. It is developing weapons for defense and sales abroad, experts guess. The tests remind other countries to leave it alone, rebut foreign criticism of Kim’s regime and may be used someday as a bargaining chip.

North Korea's Weak Spot
Bloomberg

Rather than demand that Chinese leaders abandon Kim’s regime, the U.S. should press them to rein in these middlemen as energetically as they would any other citizens who defy their authority. Xi’s busy anti-corruption investigators could expand their campaign to border areas to pursue bank officials, customs agents and others involved in the illicit weapons trade.

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – September 1, 2016

Nuclear Policy News – September 1, 2016

TOP NEWS

Deterrence is the best assurance
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Adam Mount

Nuclear tests: 20 years after its adoption, the test ban treaty is yet to get into force
UN News Center

U.S., others agreed to 'secret' exemptions for Iran after nuclear deal
Reuters

UN test ban head: Israel should ratify treaty within 5 years
AP

India's Nuclear Riddle
Al Jazeera, Mandakini Gahlot

EAST ASIA

S. Korea hails U.N. resolution for putting significant pressure on N. Korea
The Korea Herald

South Korea on Thursday hailed the latest United Nations resolution on North Korea for putting significant pressure on the communist country to give up its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

Nat'l Assembly kicks off regular session with THAAD feud
Yonhap News

South Korea's 20th National Assembly kicked off its first regular session on Thursday that will run through December, with the ruling Saenuri Party protesting against the parliamentary speaker's remark criticizing the government's bid to deploy a U.S. missile defense system.

Opposition faces calls to set up exit plan in THAAD debate
The Korea Times

A growing number of opposition lawmakers are calling on their parties to soften their stances on the planned deployment of a U.S. anti-missile system here and set up an "exit plan." This comes after recent surveys showed that the majority of the public supports the deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) battery.

MIDDLE EAST

U.S., others agreed to 'secret' exemptions for Iran after nuclear deal
Reuters

The United States and its negotiating partners agreed "in secret" to allow Iran to evade some restrictions in last year's landmark nuclear agreement in order to meet the deadline for it to start getting relief from economic sanctions, according to a report reviewed by Reuters.

SOUTH ASIA

Current debate on Nuclear Suppliers Group
Daily Times

The NSG at the 26th plenary expressed its concerns regarding continuing proliferation activities around the world, and stated its unwavering support for the full and effective implementation of the nonproliferation treaty. However, a “challenge to non-proliferation norms was the granting of discriminatory waivers and arrangements, which denoted double standards, and opened the possibility of diverting material intended for peaceful use to military purposes.”

MULTILATERAL ARMS CONTROL AND NONPROLIFERATION

UN calls for ‘breakthrough’ in bringing nuclear test ban treaty into force
UN News Center

The United Nations today spoke up for an early entry into force a global treaty that bans nuclear explosions on the Earth’s surface, in the atmosphere, underwater and underground, with a senior official describing the treaty as a “low-hanging fruit.”

UN test ban head: Israel should ratify treaty within 5 years
AP

Israel should ratify the nuclear test ban treaty within five years — and Iran should also ratify but the timing is uncertain, the head of the U.N. organization established to implement the treaty said Wednesday.

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

US rescinds contract to operate Nevada National Security Site
Las Vegas Review-Journal

The National Nuclear Security Administration on Wednesday rescinded a $5 billion, 10-year contract it awarded last week to a Lockheed Martin subsidiary to manage and operate the Nevada National Security Site because the company did not tell the agency it had sold the unit.

Lockheed Martin Gets $204.3 Million Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense Deal, Total Project Cost Jumps To $2.4 Billion
International Business Times

The U.S. Department of Defense awarded Lockheed Martin a $204.3 million Missile Defense Agency contract Wednesday for Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (ABMD) development. This has spiked the Aegis project’s total cost to $2.4 billion.

OPINIONS

Deterrence is the best assurance
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Adam Mount

Both sides should work to prioritize the difficult work of conventional deterrence that can keep allies safe—and not the nuclear systems that are better suited to avenging an ally after tragedy strikes. This is the best assurance that the United States can offer.

Nuclear tests: 20 years after its adoption, the test ban treaty is yet to get into force
UN News Center

Since taking office in 2013 as head of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO), Dr Lassina Zerbo has been striving for the entry into force of the Treaty. He has also sought to strengthen the position of the CTBTO as a center of excellence for monitoring compliance with the Treaty.

Peacebuilding as policy approach
The Express Tribune, Peter Jacob

Pakistan’s intentions of playing a part in international peacebuilding and disarmament have not been received well in the past. India specifically, turned down the proposal including a ‘no war pact’ and ‘no first use of nuclear weapons’ presumably because of its ambitions to become a regional power. Similarly, India floated peace proposals that were unacceptable to Pakistan.

India's Nuclear Riddle
Al Jazeera, Mandakini Gahlot

Deep in the rural plains of southern India, a mysterious government construction project is under way. Some allege the site will be a top secret "nuclear city", designed to produce highly enriched uranium and allow the country to develop thermonuclear weapons - devices more than 1,000 times more powerful than those detonated over Hiroshima and Nagasaki towards the end of World War II.

Iran Needed the Nuclear Deal
USNI News, John Grady

The plunging price of oil, the escalating costs of its intervention in Syria and the dramatic effect economic sanctions were having on its economy, “the last thing the Iranians were going to do was walk” away from nuclear arms talks, the author of a new book on relations between Washington and Tehran contends.

No More of the Same: The Problem with Primacy
War on the Rocks, Christopher Preble, William Ruger

Primacists argue that we cannot rely on oceans to halt nuclear missiles that fly over them or cyberattacks in the virtual realm. And terrorists could infiltrate by land, sea, or air, or they could be grown right here at home. But our own nuclear weapons provide a powerful deterrent against state actors with return addresses, and a massive, forward-deployed military is not the best tool for dealing with terrorists and hackers.

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – August 31, 2016

Nuclear Policy News – August 31, 2016

TOP NEWS

Pentagon Eyes Missile-Defense Sensors In Space
Defense One

A Nuclear Arms Race That Could Spell Disaster For India, Pakistan
The Wire, Debak Das

Radars of The Lost Arc
Popular Science

North Korea makes progress on missiles, but no evidence of nuclear weapons yet
Reuters

Pyongyang's submarine-launched missile triggers diplomatic shock waves
Nikkei Asian Review, Ken Moriyasu

EAST ASIA

North Korea makes progress on missiles, but no evidence of nuclear weapons yet
Reuters

North Korea has made considerable progress this year on weapons technology, including testing a submarine-launched missile for the first time, but it's still not clear if the isolated nation has developed a nuclear warhead.

North Korea 'training infantry to carry nuclear bombs in backpacks'
The Telegraph

North Korea has reportedly established an infantry unit whose members are being trained to carry nuclear devices in backpacks and, in the event of war, to infiltrate the South before detonating their weapons.

N.Korea building 3,000-ton class submarine, researcher says
NK News

North Korea has been developing a 3,000-ton class diesel-powered submarine since 2009, with the new type aimed at being capable of loading four of its new submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs), a researcher claimed on Wednesday.

Japan pressures U.N. for fresh sanctions over North Korean missile launches
The Japan Times

Japan pressed the Security Council on Tuesday to consider fresh sanctions against North Korea for test-firing ballistic missiles that it said were a threat to the region and the entire world. The council strongly condemned the series of launches on Friday and agreed in a unanimous statement backed by China to take “further significant measures.”

MIDDLE EAST

What's behind Iran's provocations in the Persian Gulf
CNN

Several threads are feeding this dynamic in Iran, including existential concerns, internal political wrangling, the desire to project a defiant image and financial considerations, such as the price of oil, as the deal halting parts of Tehran's nuclear program in exchange for easing sanctions hasn't delivered substantial economic relief.

US General: Iran behavior unchanged since nuclear accord, Gulf interactions ‘unsafe’
Talk Media News

The top U.S. general overseeing military operations in the Middle East said Tuesday that he has not seen a “significant change” in Iranian behavior since the Iran nuclear accord was signed last year, and that Iran’s hostility in the Arabian Gulf is unlike what the U.S. is seeing from any other country.

SOUTH ASIA

US backs India’s membership bid of key non-proliferation regimes
The Indian Express

The US on Wednesday reaffirmed its support to India’s membership bid of the Australia Group and the Wassenaar Arrangement, two of the four key non-proliferation regimes, even as both sides agreed to ‘redouble’ their effort for India’s entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).

MULTILATERAL ARMS CONTROL AND NONPROLIFERATION

Anti-Nuclear Weapons Leaders Adopt “Astana Vision Declaration” at Int’l Conference in Astana
The Astana Times

The Astana Vision Declaration adopted at the end of this conference commended the Kazakh nation and Nazarbayev’s leadership for voluntarily renouncing the world’s fourth largest nuclear arsenal, joining the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), establishing a Central Asian Nuclear Weapons-Free Zone and launching The ATOM Project to educate the world about the danger and long-term consequences of nuclear tests.

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

Pentagon Eyes Missile-Defense Sensors In Space
Defense One

The latest piece of the Pentagon shield built to protect the United States from long-range ballistic missiles, the building will house the prototype Long-Range Discrimination Radar, which Lockheed Martin executives say will track enemy missiles more precisely than today’s sensors. Tests in New Jersey will help shape an even larger missile tracking radar being built in Alaska at Clear Air Force Station, a military outpost near the Arctic Circle that has watched for incoming ICBMs since the late 1950s.

CBIRF responds to simulated nuclear detonation during Exercise Scarlet Response 2016
DVIDS

On the morning of Aug. 22, 2016, at approximately 9 a.m., a nuclear bomb detonated near Houston. This was a simulated detonation during a training exercise, during which Marines and sailors with Chemical Biological Incident Response Force, CBIRF, U.S. Marine Corps Forces Command, deployed as part of an Initial Response Force, IRF in support of this simulated nuclear detonation as part of Exercise Scarlet Response 2016 at Guardian Centers, Perry, Ga., Aug. 22-26, 2016.

OPINIONS

A Nuclear Arms Race That Could Spell Disaster For India, Pakistan
The Wire, Debak Das

Strategic weapons modernization in South Asia is increasingly becoming a bone of contention between India and Pakistan. With India recently introducing its first squadron of indigenously produced Tejas fighters – combined with its development of a nuclear triad, ballistic missile defense and intercontinental ballistic missiles – the contours of this strategic rivalry are evolving.

Pyongyang's submarine-launched missile triggers diplomatic shock waves
Nikkei Asian Review, Ken Moriyasu

The deepening relationship between China and South Korea over the past several years was described as one of the most consequential changes in East Asian politics in decades. And yet, the honeymoon has been cut short. Much to China's surprise, the Park administration is now rushing to strengthen ties with the U.S. and Japan. North Korea's successful test of a submarine-launched ballistic missile, or SLBM, on Aug. 24 has hastened Seoul's change of heart.

NK's evolving threats
The Korea Times, Na Jeong-ju

Surely, the next U.S. administration will see the North Korean threat as a more urgent priority because the North is poised to develop a long-range nuclear strike capability in the coming years. Such a development will generate greater pressure on the allies to consider decisive action, possibly including military options.

SPECIAL INTEREST

Radars of The Lost Arc
Popular Science

What does it take to postpone the apocalypse by minutes? Better radars, apparently. Raytheon, an American defense technology giant, has a new video out explaining how multiple types of radars can work together for a more complete picture of an incoming attack.

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – August 30, 2016

Nuclear Policy News – August 30, 2016

TOP NEWS

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

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

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

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

The Mixed Legacy of Virtual Nuclear Weapons Testing
Ploughshares Fund

EAST ASIA

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

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

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

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

Ruling party officially backs THAAD deployment plan
Yonhap News

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

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

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

North Korea to Build New Ballistic Missile Submarine
Voice of America

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

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

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

MIDDLE EAST

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

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

Iran looks to Latin America to revive missile infrastructure
The Hill

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

SOUTH ASIA

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

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

MULTILATERAL ARMS CONTROL AND NONPROLIFERATION

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

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

International Day Against Nuclear Tests
CTBTO Preparatory Commission

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

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

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

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

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

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

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

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

OPINIONS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Mixed Legacy of Virtual Nuclear Weapons Testing
Ploughshares Fund

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

Reconsider THAAD
The Korea Times, Choi Sung-jin

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

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

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

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News – August 29, 2016

Nuclear Policy News – August 29, 2016

TOP NEWS

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

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

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

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

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

EAST ASIA

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

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

Security Council strongly condemns DPRK missile launches
United Nations

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

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

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

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

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

MIDDLE EAST

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

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

RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

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

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

MoD police spend £74m guarding Trident
Herald Scotland

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

SOUTH ASIA

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

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

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

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

MULTILATERAL ARMS CONTROL AND NONPROLIFERATION

Kazakhstan leader calls to reduce and fully ban nuclear weapons
TASS

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

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

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

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

OPINIONS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more…

Monday's Top Nuclear Policy News

TOP NEWS

It’s Time to Ban and Eliminate Nuclear Weapons
The Nation, Kazumi Matsui

Security Council adopts resolution on nuclear non-proliferation and nuclear disarmament
UN News Centre

Risk of nuclear attack rises
CBS News, 60 Minutes

North Korea Vows to Strengthen Nuclear Forces in UN Speech
RealClearDefense

Opposing nuclear weapons in the era of millennials
Al Jazeera, James Reinl

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