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Ukraine chaos spiralling further out of control: the role of Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland

Now, the Ukraine chaos threatens to spiral even further out of control with the neo-Nazis and other right-wing militias – supplied with a bounty of weapons to kill ethnic Russians in the east – turning on the political leadership in Kiev.

Nuland, VictoriaThus, it seems unlikely that Nuland, regarded by some in Washington as the new “star” in U.S. foreign policy, will be fired for her dangerous incompetence, just as most neocons who authored the Iraq disaster remain “respected” experts employed by major think tanks, given prized space on op-ed pages, and consulted at the highest levels of the U.S. government.


highly-recommendedThe Mess That Nuland Made,
Reader Supportede News By Robert Parry, Consortium News 22 July 15
Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland engineered Ukraine’s “regime change” in early 2014 without weighing the likely chaos and consequences. Now, as neo-Nazis turn their guns on the government, it’s hard to see how anyone can clean up the mess that Nuland made, writes Robert Parry. 

s the Ukrainian army squares off against ultra-right and neo-Nazi militias in the west and violence against ethnic Russians continues in the east, the obvious folly of the Obama administration’s Ukraine policy has come into focus even for many who tried to ignore the facts, or what you might call “the mess that Victoria Nuland made.”

Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs “Toria” Nuland was the “mastermind” behind the Feb. 22, 2014 “regime change” in Ukraine, plotting the overthrow of the democratically elected government of President Viktor Yanukovych while convincing the ever-gullible U.S. mainstream media that the coup wasn’t really a coup but a victory for “democracy.”

To sell this latest neocon-driven “regime change” to the American people, the ugliness of the coup-makers had to be systematically airbrushed, particularly the key role of neo-Nazis and other ultra-nationalists from the Right Sektor. For the U.S.-organized propaganda campaign to work, the coup-makers had to wear white hats, not brown shirts.

So, for nearly a year and a half, the West’s mainstream media, especially The New York Times and The Washington Post, twisted their reporting into all kinds of contortions to avoid telling their readers that the new regime in Kiev was permeated by and dependent on neo-Nazi fighters and Ukrainian ultra-nationalists who wanted a pure-blood Ukraine, without ethnic Russians.

Any mention of that sordid reality was deemed “Russian propaganda” and anyone who spoke this inconvenient truth was a “stooge of Moscow.” It wasn’t until July 7 that the Times admitted the importance of the neo-Nazis and other ultra-nationalists in waging war against ethnic Russian rebels in the east. The Times also reported that these far-right forces had been joined by Islamic militants. Some of those jihadists have been called “brothers” of the hyper-brutal Islamic State. Continue reading

July 25, 2015 Posted by | politics international, Reference, Ukraine, weapons and war | Leave a comment

US Military Industrial companies benefit greatly from aggravating US-Russian tensions

military-industrial-complexNuclear Buildup in EU: Who Benefits From Aggravating US-Russian Tensions? Sputnik News, 23 July 15 While beefing up NATO’s military presence in Europe Washington should refrain from deploying more US nuclear weapons in EU countries, senior fellow of the Brookings Institution Steven Pifer said.
ccording to Steven Pifer, a senior fellow and director of the Arms Control Initiative at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C., the Pentagon is currently considering re-deployment of US nuclear weapons in Europe in order to counterbalance Russia’s “threat.”However, the expert considers such a move “not a good response,” claiming that it would be both useless and risky. According to Pifer, NATO should “maintain its lead in numbers of key conventional weapons” in Europe……….

what forces are playing the first fiddle in Washington, urging the White House to drag the country into new overseas conflicts and increase its military spending?  US investigative journalist Robert Parry is pointing the finger at US neocons, who “still dominate Official Washington’s inside-outside game.” The journalist underscored that wars have long become a profitable business for transnational corporations and their influential lobbyists in the White House.

“So, to understand the enduring influence of the neocons… you have to appreciate the money connections between the business of war and the business of selling war,” Parry remarked.

These wars cost trillions and trillions of dollars and multinational corporations including the US military-industrial complex benefit a lot from them. ……..: http://sputniknews.com/politics/20150723/1024969193.html#ixzz3gkc7anUQ

July 25, 2015 Posted by | business and costs, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

NPT non-signatory nuclear armed Israel is the global threat.

flag-IsraelInternational Nuclear Hypocrisy  JULY 21, 2015   NPT non-signatory nuclear armed Israel is the global threat. Shouldn’t the world impose on Israel harsher financial and economic sanctions, boycott and political seclusion than they had imposed on the NPT signatory peaceful nuclear Iran??By Dr. Elias Akleh, Intifada-Palestine.com    The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and the nuclear watchdog International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) have been turned into oppressive tools to limit the spread of safe nuclear technology and to prevent states other than the five nuclear states (the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council; US, UK, France, Russia and China) from acquiring nuclear weapons. These nuclear states want to maintain its arms superiority and hegemony…….. .

In 1992 after the IAEA inspected all the Iranian sites they requested, the Director General Blixreported that all activities they observed were consistent with the peaceful use of atomic energy. In fact all the inspection reports by IAEA had stating the lack of any evidence that Iran is pursuing nuclear weapon program.

The American National Intelligence Estimate reported in 2007 that Iran had discontinued its nuclear weapon program in 2003. This was again confirmed by US Intelligence Agency officials, who were interviewed by The New York Times in March 2012 stating that Iran had not restarted its nuclear weapon program. Even the Israeli Mossad shared this findings contradicting their Prime Minister Netanyahu, who never got tired of warning of the alleged Iranian nuclear bomb.

The whole world knew that Iran did not have a nuclear weapon program. Yet the Western pressure continued due to the fact that Iran opposes the Zionist Israeli project in the Middle East, and has supported Hamas and Hezbollah in their struggle against Israeli occupation. ………..

The five major nuclear powers (US, Russia, UK, France and China), who seem to enthusiastically promote the NPT are themselves the biggest violators of the NPT. Overtly they pretended to reduce their own nuclear bombs by eliminating the bulky unstable old bombs, yet covertly they develop new smaller tactical and more devastating mini-nukes. These mini-nukes are part of the US-NATO arsenal and were cleared for use in the conventional war theater by the US Senate in 2002. The US, who had nuked Japan, has also used nuclear weapons, in the form of Depleted Uranium, to devastate Iraq in 2003, contaminating Iraqi soil and water, and causing all kinds of cancer and birth deformations in the children of both Iraqi citizens and of American veterans.

Recently we see a nuclear weapons arms race between the US and Russia. When the US declared its intent to deploy a major troop force near Russian borders, Russia countered, last month (June), by announcing plans to increase its nuclear arsenal with more than 40 new intercontinental ballistic missiles this year. This month (July) the US revealed that US military had successfully tested an upgraded nuclear gravity bomb; B51-12 that will replace four older versions of the bomb. Hippocratic Obama’s administration is upgrading its nuclear weapons while, at the same time, is using the NPT to limit Iran’s peaceful nuclear program.

The US and European nuclear states do not have the slightest genuine intention of enforcing the NPT unless when it serves them in controlling and punishing other developing countries. In 2010 the Obama administration cancelled the NPT conference that intended to discuss nuclear weapon-free zone in the Middle East. Last May 2015 Obama’s administration, again, stopped the UN’s effort to make the Middle East a nuclear free zone. The reason of course is nuclear Israel.

Most intelligence agencies, including CIA and FBI, know that Israel has been developing nuclear weapons as early as the 1960s confirming the reports of the Israeli whistleblower nuclear technician Mordechai Vanunu. ……………..

NPT non-signatory nuclear armed Israel is the global threat. Shouldn’t the world impose on Israel harsher financial and economic sanctions, boycott and political seclusion than they had imposed on the NPT signatory peaceful nuclear Iran??? http://www.intifada-palestine.com/2015/07/international-nuclear-hypocrisy/

July 22, 2015 Posted by | Israel, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

USA plans for B61-12 nuclear gravity bomb “fictitious” and “bizarre,” says MIT professor

nuclear-missile-readyMIT Professor Shames US for ‘Fictitious and Bizarre’ Idea that New Nuclear B61-12 Bomb Could Win War  http://www.globalresearch.ca/mit-prof-shames-us-for-fictitious-and-bizarre-idea-that-new-nuclear-b61-12-bomb-could-win-war/5461947   13 July 15US plans to deploy the B61-12 nuclear gravity bomb are “fictitious” and “bizarre,” Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Professor Emeritus of Science, Technology and National Security Policy Theodore Postol told Sputnik.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The US Air Force and the National Nuclear Security Administration have successfully completed the first development flight test of a B61-12 nuclear gravity bomb with no warhead in Nevada.

“The military capabilities of this weapon stem from a totally fictitious and bizarre idea that the United States can fight and win nuclear wars,” Postol said on Friday.

Postol, 69, is one of the leading US experts on ballistic missile defense technologies and ballistic missiles.

“This weapon could never be used in a real-world situation against any nuclear-armed state, as it would likely provoke an uncontrolled nuclear escalation,” he said.

The projected $11 billion upgrade program for the B61 has been described as the most expensive nuclear warhead refurbishment in history.However, the upgraded B61-12 is designed to have far greater accuracy and generate less radioactive fallout than earlier versions of the bomb.

Nevertheless,  Postol charged that the new moves to modernize and upgrade the gravity bomb were likely to backfire on US policymakers with unintended consequences.

“This is yet another example of how the US nuclear modernization program continues to undermine the security of the United States and its allies,” the scientist said.

He warned that even “against states not armed with nuclear weapons, its use could have global political consequences with very far ranging and unpredictable results.”

Far from advancing US strategic security, Postol argued, developing the B61 was likely to undermine it by alarming Russia and China, and provoke them to respond by developing new strategic weapons of their own.

“It is the wrong signal to send to countries like Russia, which is already on edge over continuous advances in US nuclear strike capabilities, and to China, which is trying in spite of constant provocation to maintain a sensible posture of minimum deterrence,” Postol continued.

Pushing ahead with gravity bomb development also threatened to undermine already fragile prospects for arms control and for preventing the proliferation of nuclear weapons, Postol warned.

“It is the wrong message to send to the non-weapon state signatories of the Nonproliferation Treaty,” he stated.

Postol suggested that the Obama administration did not appear to have thought through the potential diplomatic and strategic consequences of modernizing the gravity bomb weapon.“It is hard to understand what the Obama White House thinks it is accomplishing by pushing such a counterproductive program,” he concluded.

Before joining MIT, Postol worked as an analyst at the US Office of Technology Assessment and as a science and policy adviser to the Chief of Naval Operations, the operational head of the US Navy.

In 2001, Postol received the Norbert Wiener Prize from Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility for uncovering numerous false claims about missile defenses.

July 13, 2015 Posted by | USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Iran developing depleted uranium weapons? Actually – NO!

diplomacy-not-bombsflag-IranNo, Iran probably isn’t developing depleted uranium weapons http://www.bandepleteduranium.org/en/no-iran-probably-isnt-developing-depleted-uranium

Suggestions that Iran’s plans to develop DU weapons had become a sticking point in the Vienna nuclear talks surfaced yesterday, which was news to us.
10 July 2015 – Doug Weir The marathon talks between Iran and the P5 plus Germany over the future of Iran’s nuclear programme appear to be reaching yet another crescendo. Details of the possible deal are few and far between but it appears that the lifting of the United Nations’ arms embargo against Iran has become a major issue in the last few days.

The Russians, would like to see it dropped – although not necessarily as part of the negotiations, as would Iran. A major feature of the embargo and discussions on Iran’s military capabilities has been ballistic missiles capable of reaching Iran’s neighbours and the sale of Russian-made S-300 air defence missiles. Iran is also keen to undertake a general modernisation programme of its military.

However on the 6th July, Bloomberg reported that it was not only an issue of ballistic missiles but also Iran’s plans to develop DU anti-tank ammunition, like those stockpiled and occasionally used by the militaries of the P5 negotiators, though not Germany, for now. The story was duly picked up by the Irish Independent and by Foreign Policy’s blog.

ICBUW has long wondered whether Iran might be tempted to develop DU weapons, given that it has an expanding stockpile of DU tails from its uranium enrichment facilities. However, this has always seemed unlikely, given its long-running and vociferous condemnation of the US’s use of DU, support for UN resolutions via its membership of the Non-Aligned Movement and its official statements over the threats from the DU travelling across the border from Iraq.

Nevertheless, the Iranian military may have a different view to the government’s public line on DU and, as with many other states, including even the Swiss, may have experimented with DU kinetic energy penetrator rounds. Nor can one exclude the possibility that 125mm DU ammunition could have been sourced from Russia at some stage. From a military perspective, one could see a certain regional strategic temptation in developing advanced tank armaments but with DU that is always balanced by the stigmatisation of the weapons – as evidenced by the comparatively limited worldwide proliferation of DU ammunition.

Ironically, the closest Iran may have got to acquiring DU weapons was a proposalin the late 1970s from the Shah of Iran, who offered the use of an Esfahan firing range to the British if domestic public opposition against DU test firing proved too great.

Bloomberg’s evidence for Iran’s alleged plans to develop DU weapons purportedly came from two experts, Karl Dewey, a CBRN specialist with Jane’s and Robert Kelley, a former IAEA director and nuclear non-proliferation expert. The article also cited sources in the negotiations who said that the issue of DU ammunition had been discussed. ICBUW contacted Dewey and Kelley and found that their comments had been misrepresented in Bloomberg’s article, which has subsequently been modified in parts.

Robert Kelley told ICBUW that: “I have no evidence whatsoever that Iran has DU or natural uranium weapons. I said nothing of the kind and I am very disappointed in this article. I am asking for a retraction or clarification.

“What I said was that Iran certainly has penetrators but I never said uranium. I did say that if they decided to use tails or freshly produced natural metal for weapons they should have to declare that to IAEA and ask for a safeguards exemption. No big deal.”

So where does this leave us? Clearly the UN arms embargo has become an issue in this final(ish) round of negotiations and is doubtless causing some headaches for the P5+1. Is it all about DU tank ammunition? Probably unlikely as there are far greater concerns over ballistic missile delivery systems that could present a regional strategic threat, ditto the advanced Russian air defence systems that could inhibit a future strike by the US or Israel on Iran’s nuclear facilities. Iran is clearly keen to modernise its military, but are they dead set on developing DU weapons from their new tails stockpiles? Probably not. Should you take excitable media reports on DU proliferation at face value? Never.

July 13, 2015 Posted by | depleted uranium, Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

New names for nuclear weapons – covering up the $billions spent on them

text-relevantWhen politicians are telling us that they’re trying to create a world without nuclear weapons, it’s misleading for the military to just give nuclear weapons new names. It’s even more misleading to spend billions of dollars rebuilding and renaming old nuclear weapons, just so that those politicians can say that we’re not creating any new ones.

The Air Force Just Dropped an Expensive (and Useless) Nuke in Nevada http://gizmodo.com/the-air-force-just-dropped-an-expensive-and-useless-n-1716527174 Adam Clark Estes  7/08/15 In the face of mounting criticism, the Air Force just completed the first test flight of the B61 Mod 12 mock up nuclear bomb in the Nevada desert. This marks the next step in updating a cold war-era weapon that many experts consider to be completely useless today. The military might as well drop a nuke on a pile of taxpayer dollars.

The whole situation is frustrating, in part, because it’s based on some scary assumptions about an impending nuclear apocalypse. Since its development in 1963—a year after the Cuban missile crisis—the B61 has been one of top weapons in the U.S. nuclear arsenal. Capable of carriage in supersonic aircraft and a two-stage radiation implosion, this is a bad bomb that we might’ve dropped on Moscow if things had escalated with the Soviets.

However, as the New York Times editorial board explained things a couple years ago, the bombs are “the detritus of the cold war.” The updated B61s are also a very, very expensive detritus. President Obama is already throwing hundreds of millions of dollars at this program to keep these nukes on life support. The total cost of the program is expected to be as high as $11 billion by its completion in the 2020s, while the true nature of the upgrade is being masked.

This is a nonsensical decision, not least because it is at odds with Mr. Obama’s own vision. In a seminal speech in Prague in 2009 and a strategy review in 2010, Mr. Obama advocated the long-term goal of a world without nuclear arms and promised to reduce America’s reliance on them. He also promised not to field a new and improved warhead.

wobblyBut refurbishing warheads from the 1960s is apparently cool. Meanwhile, the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) and the Air Force still insists on referring to these types of weapons as “gravity bombs” in this modern era. This is misleading since a gravity bomb is really any unguided bomb. Really, it’s a nuke wrapped in a gravity bomb wrapped in a euphemism.

So it’s basically bullshit when Obama and friends talk up their anti-proliferation efforts. In truth, the government is still spending billions on nukes tuned towards the former USSR, while also doing nothing to influence with China, India, or Pakistan (or Israel) to rein in their nuclear programs. An expert gave a lengthy Congressional Testimony on this very topic just a few months ago. Similarly, the Air Force is actively updating its nuclear weapons operation in order to fight a nuclear war when the time is right. As Maj. Gen. Sandra Finan, the commander of the Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center, put it in an April press release, “Our mission is still to deliver nuclear capabilities and winning solutions that warfighters use daily to deter our enemies and assure our allies.”

This is what brings us back to those assumptions about a scary nuclear apocalypse. When politicians are telling us that they’re trying to create a world without nuclear weapons, it’s misleading for the military to just give nuclear weapons new names. It’s even more misleading to spend billions of dollars rebuilding and renaming old nuclear weapons, just so that those politicians can say that we’re not creating any new ones.

Just call a nuke a nuke. The Air Force just dropped an expensive and inevitably useless nuke in the Nevada desert. There was no mushroom cloud this time. But there’s always a next time.

 

July 10, 2015 Posted by | spinbuster, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Depleted uranium especially hazardous – gradually becomes more radioactive – a problem for Utah

depleted-uraniumFederal regulators hear Utah testimony on depleted uranium By , Deseret News, June 25 2015 “…………The NRC is proposing to adopt a rule that for the first time specifically addresses the disposal of the material, which is a waste stream generated from the enrichment process of uranium in the nuclear fuel cycle.

Depleted uranium poses unique disposal challenges because it does not hit its peak radioactivity until 2.1 million years, and actually grows more radioactive over time. In its disposal stage, however, depleted uranium contains radioactivity that falls under the lowest level classified by the federal government — that of class A — and is legally within limits on what can be buried in Utah at EnergySolutions’ Clive facility.

Matt Pacenza, executive director of the radioactive waste watchdog organization called HEAL Utah, believes that the NRC is making a huge mistake by classifying depleted uranium as class A.

“Right now, a regulatory loophole could allow waste that does not reach a peak hazard for 2.1 million years to be treated just like waste which loses 90 percent of its hazard in less than 200,” his presentation asserted.

Pacenza, who spoke at the briefing Thursday, said the safety of the public and the environment cannot be assured given the complex nature of depleted uranium and its long-lived radioactivity.

HEAL Utah has lobbied hard against any depleted uranium being disposed of at EnergySolutions’ commercial facility in Tooele County ever since the Salt Lake-based company inked a contract with the U.S. Department of Energy in 2009 to begin accepting stockpiles of the waste — with the initial shipments reaching 10,500 tons.

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert intervened, successfully getting some of those shipments turned around after he launched objections with the federal agency over the uncertainties associated with the material’s disposal.

State regulators then convened multiple hearings and crafted their own rules governing the disposal of any significant amounts of depleted uranium, including the requirement that EnergySolutions develop a site-specific performance assessment designed to specifically contemplate depleted uranium’s unique character……….

The NRC’s proposed rule on depleted uranium would affect commercial facilities in Utah and Texas, as well as Washington and South Carolina.

Mike Garner, executive director of the Northwest Interstate Compact — a regional alliance with oversight of low-level radioactive waste management — argued before the commission that the proposed rule should not be hoisted on states that aren’t planning to take depleted uranium, a concern echoed by the Nuclear Energy Institute that argued the proposal would be unnecessarily costly and burdensome.

Pacenza, too, added that the proposal is undergoing significant modifications that show how much industry — particularly EnergySolutions — is influencing the potential regulation of depleted uranium……

Comments on the rule can be submitted atwww.regulations.gov

Email: amyjoi@deseretnews.com, Twitter: amyjoi16    http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865631459/Federal-regulators-hear-Utah-testimony-on-depleted-uranium.html?pg=all

June 27, 2015 Posted by | depleted uranium, Reference, USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Plan to spend $1 Trillion on modernising USA’s nuclear weapons

missile-moneyShould the US Spend 1 Trillion on Nuclear Weapons? http://thediplomat.com/2015/06/should-the-us-spend-1-trillion-on-nuclear-weapons/ Given the rapid modernization of Chinese and Russian nuclear stockpiles, some argue the US might want to.By Franz-Stefan Gady  June 27, 2015  The United States will have to spend $18 billion a year for 15 years starting in 2021 to keep its nuclear weapons operational, Kris Osborne over atmilitary.com reports.

His assessment is based on the testimony of U.S. Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work in front of the House Armed Services Committee yesterday. The subject of the hearing was nuclear deterrence.

“We’ve developed a plan to transition our aging system. Carrying out this plan will be an expensive proposition. It is projected to cost DoD an average of $18 billion a year from 2021 through 2035,” Work noted.

The Pentagon is in the middle of initiating the modernization of its nuclear triad (land-based missiles, submarine-launched missiles, and long-range bombers).

Among other DoD programs to upgrade nuclear weapons complexes, the Navy is trying to work out a deal with Congress over its $80 billion Ohio Replacement Program (12 new ballistic missile submarines to enter servicein the 2030).

The Air Force is speeding up the development of its Long-Range Strike Bomber (LRS-B) to enter service in 2025 in addition to initiating a new mobile land-based intercontinental ballistic missile program and upgrading 480 B61-12 bombs (to be carried by the F-35 A).

Total cost of modernizing the United States’ nuclear triad over 30 years could be as high as 1 $ trillion, with $ 348 billion spend over the next ten years, according to a proposed modernization plan of the Obama White House. Continue reading

June 27, 2015 Posted by | USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

For The 2016 Nuclear Security Summit we need to develop a culture of security

A culture of security: Focus for the next Nuclear Security Summit? Igor Khripunov, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, 27 June 15   Igor Khripunov is a distinguished fellow at the Center for International Trade and Security at the University of Georgia (USA) and adjunct professor at its School of Public and International…

It would not take much highly enriched uranium to kill hundreds of thousands of people: as little as what could fit in a five-pound bag of sugar. That it has not happened so far does not mean it may never happen, especially when one considers that there are more than2,000 metric tons of dangerous nuclear materials in hundreds of sites scattered across the globe. And that there have been more than 2,300 cases of theft or loss of nuclear or radioactive material since the early 1990s.Consequently, one of the greatest dangers facing the global community is the risk of terrorists getting enough uranium or plutonium to build a working, crude nuclear bomb, or to spike a conventional bomb with enough radioactive material to create a so-called “dirty bomb”—one which disperses harmful radioactive material over a wide area. The latter in particular is quite a plausible scenario; just think how the public would react if such a device exploded in a major urban center.

To prevent either scenario from happening, a coalition of about 80 civil society organizations from across the globe has been working together for the past five years to improve the security of fissile materials. Known as the Fissile Materials Working Group (FMWG), it has been a forceful advocate for the prevention of nuclear terrorism, by spotlighting attention on the issue, sponsoring talks, and publishing detailed, formal written recommendations, among other activities. Its latest contribution is the report “The Results We Need in 2016: Policy Recommendations for the Nuclear Security Summit” developed by a group of international experts and circulated this month at public events in Vienna and Washington, DC. The release of the report was timed to coincide with the most crucial meetings of the “summit sherpas”—the official representatives of the participating states charged with preparing its agenda and drafting the final communiqué.

With the planning of the next summit in mind, the report prioritizes the items that the nongovernmental expert community wants the 2016 summit to focus on during its two-day proceedings. The list includes enhancing the security of military nuclear material, information sharing, best practices, and the elimination of highly enriched uranium (HEU) in civilian applications, among other agenda items. In so doing, the FMWG has elevated the role of the public from what was perceived not long ago as a bystander to that of a major and proactive stakeholder in nuclear security. And a unique feature of the group’s report is that it takes a much wider and longer-term perspective of nuclear security challenges compared to the rather short-term vision often espoused by most government experts.

But a funny thing happened on the way to the forum: It turns out that there is more to ensuring the security of nuclear material than physically protecting it, or trying to account for the whereabouts of every last bit of, say, highly enriched uranium. There is also something a bit harder to define, but perhaps even more important: a broader, all-embracing culture of nuclear security, that takes into account the human factor. Known as nuclear security culture, this approach encompasses programs on personnel reliability and training, illicit trafficking interception, customs and border security, export control, and IT security, to name just a few. Security culture has become a bit of a buzzword in many security-related domains, and the FMWG report seeks to raise it above this level, explicitly detailing the concept and its implications in a special section…………

nuclear security culture must become part of a comprehensive, joint architecture that elevates security to a basic societal value. Sharing the progress made in the nuclear field with other domains—particularly the chemical and the biological—will call for deeper communication and cooperation. To avoid fragmentation, security experts will need a shared concept to work together.

Finally, we must treat nuclear security culture as a continuously evolving educational and training discipline. Collaboration among government, industry, and academia is pivotal to a thriving, broad-based nuclear security culture; this means that nuclear security culture promotion needs a multi-stakeholder approach.

The 2016 Nuclear Security Summit can leave a valuable legacy by addressing such issues in a nuclear security culture roadmap endorsed by participating states. Nuclear security culture is an agenda item that deserves much more attention at the upcoming summit. http://thebulletin.org/culture-security-focus-next-nuclear-security-summit8428

June 27, 2015 Posted by | 2 WORLD, politics international, safety, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Trident whistleblower’s new message on nuclear unsafety

whistleblowerflag-UKTrident whistleblower: the MoD are brainwashing public over nuclear safety, Herald Scotland,  Rob Edwards Sunday 21 June 2015

 The Trident whistleblower, William McNeilly, has accused the Ministry of Defence (MoD) of trying to “brainwash” the public into believing that nuclear weapons are safe. In a new message to the public, he says that people are being deceived about the security of Trident nuclear warheads carried by submarines based at Faslane and Coulport on the Clyde. A terrorist attack is highly likely, he claims.

McNeilly disclosed last week that he had been dishonourably discharged by the Royal Navy for making public a dossier alleging that Trident was “a disaster waiting to happen” and going absent without leave. He is promising to say more in July.

The Sunday Herald revealed his allegations on May 17, while he was on the run. The following day he handed himself in to police at Edinburgh airport, saying he had achieved what he wanted.

His dossier, which detailed 30 safety and security flaws on Trident submarines, was raised in the House of Commons by the former SNP leader, Alex Salmond. But it was dismissed by the MoD as “factually incorrect or the result of misunderstanding or partial understanding”…….

“You were lied to about nuclear weapons in Iraq, and now you’re being lied to about how safe and secure the weapons are on your homeland,” he said.

“The government overestimated Saddam and now they are underestimating the Islamic State. If things stay the way they are I put the odds of a terrorist attack at some point in the next eight years at around 99 per cent.”

He claimed that his concerns about lax security at Faslane had been backed by senior military figures. “The equipment that is brought on board by civilian contractors and military personnel isn’t checked,” he said.

“People are in positions without the proper security clearance. Mass amounts of people are being pushed through the system due to manpower shortages. IDs aren’t being checked properly.”

A pin code at a security gate wasn’t being used “because it’s either broke or people just get buzzed through because they’ve forgotten their pin,” he said. “It’s ridiculous.”

It was wrong to regard current security as “the best we can do” when it wasn’t, he argued. “It’s literally harder to get to the careers office in Northern Ireland than it is to get down a nuclear submarine.”

People have become far too relaxed in the war on terror, he claimed. “The fact is anyone with a couple of fake IDs can get unto a nuclear submarine,” he added. “Islamic State have already shown that they can acquire fake documentation and IDs.”

McNeilly called for security to be tightened, and for the removal of Trident missiles. “The military seem to be happy with the security at the site,” he told the Sunday Herald.

“Islamic State have the ability to easily penetrate through the security that the navy is currently providing. The site’s security must be heightened above its current highest state until the missiles are removed……..

http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/home-news/trident-whistleblower-the-mod-are-brainwashing-public-over-nuclear-safety.129568989

June 21, 2015 Posted by | safety, UK, weapons and war | Leave a comment

What if Israel signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty?

What I fear will is one of Shavit’s more depressing conclusions: Dimona’s nuclear weapons success “that allowed Israel to flourish . . . will become the biggest threat facing Israel. It might turn the lives of Israelis into a nightmare.”

Atomic-Bomb-Smflag-IsraelIsrael should consider signing the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, The Age, 21 June 15 Walter PincusWhat if Israel suddenly changed course and announced it was prepared to sign the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and work toward establishment of a Middle East nuclear-free zone?

I’m not saying this is in the works. Far from it. As negotiations between the United States and five other world powers, known as the P5+1, and Iran head toward some sort of conclusion, it’s apparent that no matter what any agreement contains, there will be a fight in the United States about its merits. And if the agreement survives, the years ahead inevitably will see allegations from all sorts of quarters that one side or the other has violated its terms.

This seemed like an opportune moment to ponder the “what if?” question, which was also triggered by re-reading a section from Israeli columnist Ari Shavit’s 2013 book, My Promised Land, The Triumph and Tragedy of Israel. Continue reading

June 21, 2015 Posted by | Israel, weapons and war | Leave a comment

USA’s (or Russia’s) nuclear weapons could be launched by a cyber hacker

hackerWhat happens when our nuclear arsenal is hacked? http://www.sfchronicle.com/opinion/openforum/article/What-happens-when-our-nuclear-arsenal-is-hacked-6333739.php One of the most chilling comments I’ve ever heard was the former commander of U.S. nuclear forces telling a San Francisco audience this month that our nuclear missiles could be hacked — launched and detonated without authorization.

 If you thought this was just a fantasy from the sci-fi movie, “Terminator,” think again.

Retired Marine Gen. James Cartwright used to have his fingers on all the nuclear buttons. As a former head of the U.S. Strategic Command, he was responsible for more than 5,000 nuclear weapons targeted at cities around the globe.

So when he told almost 200 Bay Area business, civic and philanthropic leaders gathered last week for the annual Ploughshares Fund gala that our nuclear strategy “made no sense,” he got their attention. But when he told them that our nuclear forces are hit by countless cyberattacks, he sent chills down their spines.

There are only two realities in the modern, interconnected world, he warned: “You’ve either been hacked and not admitting it, or you’re being hacked and don’t know it.”

CYBERSECURITY AND HACKING A key problem, he said, is that we keep hundreds of missiles on “hair-trigger” alert — a vestige of the Cold War that enables the launch of fully armed nuclear weapons in under 15 minutes. Continue reading

June 19, 2015 Posted by | USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

The tax-payers’ unnecessary burden of useless nuclear deterrence systems

missile-moneyAmerica and other nuclear states have come to a juncture, one where they have to weigh the costs and benefits of continuing this expensive status quo of nuclear deterrence; alternatives exist with the same ‘benefit’ and only marginal costs. The taxpayers need not bear this burden on their shoulders forever.

The Atlas Burden: The Cost of America’s Nuclear Arsenal, Ethical Technology  By Steven Umbrello, 18 June 15, Over the course of the next three years, the United States projects that it will continue the reduction of its nuclear arsenal. As it stands, the country currently holds approximately 7’100 nuclear weapons, 2,340 of which are retired and waiting to be dismantled. This leaves approximately 4,760 warheads both in deployment and storage.

The cost of maintaining such an arsenal is understandably gargantuan. Over the next ten years, the American government plans to spend as much as $350 billion maintaining and upgrading its nuclear infrastructure. These upgrades include: Continue reading

June 19, 2015 Posted by | USA, weapons and war | 1 Comment

Pentagon presents depleted uranium weapons as legal and acceptable!

depleted-uranium-weaponDU users conclude that depleted uranium weapons are legal and acceptable

The latest US DoD Law of War Manual argues that DU weapons are OK because the UK and France say that they are too.

Earlier this month the Pentagon published a 1204 page document on its interpretation of the Laws of War. The project had sought to collate manuals used by different arms of the military into a single document and covers a range of controversial weapons and practices, from drones and herbicides to autonomous weapons, nuclear weapons and landmines. Naturally the document presents the US’s interpretation of the law and this means that at times their views seem somewhat removed from the global consensus. The legality of DU weapons is dealt with briefly and follows a rather predictable pattern.
http://www.bandepleteduranium.org/en/du-users-say-du-is-fine

June 19, 2015 Posted by | depleted uranium, USA | Leave a comment

Disturbing history of USA’s close calls, dangerous mistakes, with nuclear weapons

Eric Schlosser recounts the United States’ clumsy history with nuclear weapons. And it’s terrifying. Vox.com by Joe Posner and Estelle Caswell on June 16, 2015

Human error is, well, human. Most systems people design break from time to time. Including the United States’ nuclear weapons systems: The shocking stories in the video come from investigative reporter Eric Schlosser’s book Command and Control,  in which he uncovered a “litany of errors” that go way, way beyond the official record of 33 serious accidents, known as “broken arrows.” Even the first test, 70 years ago this July 16, flirted perilously close with disaster.

Schlosser spent 6 years “in the most crazy nuclear shit imaginable” – and the revelations in the book about times we almost “destroyed a large part of the Florida coast” are seemingly endless.

Most discussion about nuclear weapons today has to do with a potential deal with Iran promising not to build a weapon. Discussion of the US missiles that were meant to be replaced 30 years ago, aging wiring, and control systems that run on floppy-disks have remained safely on the sidelines of the conversation…….http://www.vox.com/2015/6/16/8785987/schlosser-nuclear-accidents…....http://www.vox.com/2015/6/16/8785987/schlosser-nuclear-accidents

June 17, 2015 Posted by | Resources -audiovicual, weapons and war | Leave a comment

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