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Nuclear Proliferation

Nuclear power was the failed answer to the horrors of the atomic bomb - the so-called "Peaceful Atom." However, the two technologies are inextricably linked. Countries such as India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea clandestinely developed nuclear weapons using the infrastructure, technology and know-how of their "civilian" nuclear programs. Contained expansion of nuclear power across the globe only increases the chances of nuclear weapons development and is counterproductive to disarmament.

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Wednesday
Jul092014

88 pounds of nuclear material seized by ISIS in Iraq

As reported by Reuters, Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants have seized 88 pounds of nuclear material from a university in Mosul, Iraq. The Iraqi Ambassador to the United Nations has reported the theft to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, and called on the UN for assistance in the nuclear material's recovery.

Reuters reports that Iraq's U.N. Ambassador, Mohamed Ali Alhakim, wrote in his July 8 letter:

"Terrorist groups have seized control of nuclear material at the sites that came out of the control of the state," Alhakim wrote, adding that such materials "can be used in manufacturing weapons of mass destruction."

"These nuclear materials, despite the limited amounts mentioned, can enable terrorist groups, with the availability of the required expertise, to use it separate or in combination with other materials in its terrorist acts," said Alhakim.

He warned that they could also be smuggled out of Iraq.

"The Republic of Iraq is notifying the international community of these dangerous developments and asking for help and the needed support to stave off the threat of their use by terrorists in Iraq or abroad," Alhakim wrote.

The incident is reminiscent of the immediate aftermath of the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, when unguarded nuclear facilities were systematically looted.

Friday
Mar282014

"Measured Progress on Nuclear Security," or a "World Awash in Nuclear Explosive?"

The Nuclear Genie, as depicted in Walt Disney's 1950s pro-nuclear propaganda book "Our Friend the Atom"The New York Times editorial board has cited "Measured Progress on Nuclear Security," given Japan's pledge to turn over a small fraction of its potentially weapons-usable plutonium and highly enriched uranium to the U.S. for "disposal."

But as the Center for Public Integrity and Truthout have warned in an article by Douglas Birch and R. Jeffrey Smith entitled "The World Awash in Nuclear Explosive?", we have a frighteningly long way to go in our attempts to put the nuclear weapons proliferation genie back in the bottle.

Specifically, and ironically enough, Japan's bid to open the Rokkasho reprocessing facility could open the way for catastrophic nuclear weapons proliferation, warns NRDC's Tom Cochran.

Monday
Mar172014

'Russia could turn USA into radioactive ashes'

Dmitry Kiselyov, in front of an image of a large mushroom cloud and the words 'Into radioactive ashes'As reported by the UK Telegraph:

"Prominent Russian TV host Dmitry Kiselyov, has said in a broadcast that "Russia is the only country in the world able to turn the USA into radioactive ashes". His inflammatory words are a step-up from the flurry of diplomatic discussions regarding the ongoing crisis in Ukraine.

Standing in the studio, in front of an image of a large mushroom cloud and the words 'Into radioactive ashes', Dmitry Kiselyov's news report sends a worrying message to the US."

Not only do Kiselyov's words pour gasoline onto the fire of the conflict over Crimea, it also raises the specter that arms control and non-proliferation achievements of past years and decades could be rolled back over the deepening conflict between Ukraine and Russia.

Monday
Feb112013

Has the North Korean regime detonated its third nuclear blast since 2006?!

A South Korean passenger watches TV news reporting an earthquake in North Korea, at the Seoul train station. Picture Source: AP.The Australian has reported an "artificial earthquake" epicentered near the North Korean regime's nuclear weapons test site of 2006 and 2009 which may signify the regime's third nuclear weapons test blast.

A decade ago, after George W. Bush lumped North Korea into the "Axis of Evil" alongside Iraq and Iran, Kim Jong Il withdrew from the Nuclear Weapons Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and accelerated North Korea's nuclear weapons development program. It was based on plutonium extracted from a so-called, Soviet-supplied civilian research reactor's irradiated nuclear fuel.

In a C-SPAN radio interview, a George W. Bush speech writer admitted that North Korea was added to the "Axis of Evil" as a last minute afterthought, to avoid accusations of merely singling out Muslim countries.

"The Axis of Evil" phrase was unveiled in a George W. Bush State of the Union speech, during the ill-fated build up to the 2003 Iraq invasion. President Barack Obama is poised to deliver the State of the Union tomorrow night.

Friday
Dec282012

North Korea may be poised to conduct its third nuclear weapons test since 2006

The satellite image released Friday shows the traffic flow pattern at the Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Facility in North Korea. AP Photo/DigitalGlobe via 38 North.As reported by the Associated Press, satellite photos (left) have confirmed that the North Korean military regime may be on the brink of exploding its third atomic weapon test. Its first was conducted in 2006, and its second in 2009. North Korea has utilized plutonium, extracted from irradiated nuclear fuel generated by a "civilian" research reactor provided by the Soviet Union many decades ago, as the fissile material for its weapons tests. However, two years ago, North Korea announced it also has a uranium enrichment program -- another pathway to weapons-usable fissile material, highly enriched uranium (HEU). 

The article quoted Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association, as saying: "With an additional nuclear test, North Korea could advance their ability to eventually deploy a nuclear weapon on a long-range missile."