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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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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
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."

Thursday
Nov222012

On eve of Obama visit, Burmese military takes small step towards transparency on suspected clandestine nuclear weapons activities

Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and President ObamaAs reported by the Associated Press, on the very eve of U.S. President Barack Obama's historic visit to Burma, the still entrenched military leaders of the long-isolated country took a small step towards transparency, by indicating they would disclose certain aspects of its nuclear activities. The U.S. government, and nuclear weapons non-proliferation groups like the Center for Strategic and International Studies, have long suspected Burma's military regime of nuclear weapons cooperation with North Korea's military regime.

Monday
Nov122012

U.S. needs Japan to stay nuclear, CSIS President Hamre urges

As reported by The Japan Times, John Hamre, the president of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington D.C. based think tank, has urged that Japan remain committed to nuclear power, despite the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe and the groundswell of anti-nuclear activism it has inspired. Oddly, Hamre argued that Japan should remain devoted to nuclear power, in order to stem the tide of nuclear weapons proliferation worldwide.

The article reports:

Hamre also said the policy poses a security concern from the viewpoint of international control for nonproliferation of nuclear materials.

"Nuclear power from the very beginning was (not only) a source of promise, but (also) a source of great threat because nuclear power electric generation is also the base for making nuclear weapons, and it's a great risk to the world to have commercial nuclear power plants because there is a possibility of diverting the material and turning it into weapons.

"So for the last 40 years the U.S. and Japan, along with Europe, have been leaders in creating an international system to monitor and control the use of commercial nuclear energy so that we know if people were illegitimately going to divert it and turn it into weapons," he said.

If Japan is to give up nuclear energy — and if nuclear power is to wither in the U.S. due to competition with cheap natural gas and in Europe as in the case of Germany — "the countries that have given us the security system are going to diminish, and who's going to replace them?" he said. "Americans cannot afford from a security standpoint to have Japan abandon nuclear power. It's too important to us."

Of course, the United States is the only country to have actually ever used atomic weapons in warfare -- against Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan.

Hamre's arguments that renewable energy cannot replace nuclear power have been disproved, as by Arjun Makhijani's Carbon-Free/Nuclear-Free: A Roadmap for U.S. Energy Policy.