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The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

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

IN 2015 Russia will add 40 ballistic missiles to its nuclear arsenal

Missile envy 1Russia will add 40 ballistic missiles to nuclear arsenal in 2015, Vladimir Putin says, SMH, June 17, 2015 – Moscow: President Vladimir Putin has said Russia will boost its nuclear arsenal by more than 40 intercontinental missiles this year, as a senior defence official accused NATO of seeking to drag Moscow into a new arms race.

Mr Putin made his announcement a day after Russian officials warned that Moscow will retaliateif the United States carries out its plan to store heavy military equipment in eastern Europe.

“This year the size of our nuclear forces will increase by over 40 new intercontinental ballistic missiles that will be able to overcome any, even the most technologically advanced, missile defence systems,” Mr Putin, flanked by army officers, said in a speech at a military and arms fair.

“We will be forced to aim our armed forces … at those territories from where the threat comes,” Putin added…….

he New York Times reported on the weekend that the Pentagon was poised to station heavy weapons for up to 5000 American troops in several Eastern European and Baltic countries to deter Russian aggression.

The proposal, if approved, would be the first time since the end of the Cold War that the US has had heavy military equipment – including battle tanks – in newer NATO members that were once under Moscow’s influence as part of the Soviet Union………

“The feeling is that our colleagues from NATO countries are pushing us into an arms race,” RIA news agency quoted Russian Deputy Defence Minister Anatoly Antonov as saying on the sidelines of the arms fair.

http://www.smh.com.au/world/russia-will-add-40-ballistic-missiles-to-nuclear-arsenal-in-2015-vladimir-putin-says-20150616-ghpnh5.html

 

June 17, 2015 Posted by | Russia, weapons and war | Leave a comment

The irrationality of nuclear deterrence – General George Lee Butler

nuclear-missile-ready

That we would pursue these weapons with such unfettered enthusiasm—competing amongst the [military] services for resources, going to roll out these shiny new things, cutting ribbons—spoke to me a great deal about the human condition. For some people, technology has absolutely mesmerizing qualities. If we can do it, we must.

That’s the kind of thinking that got us where we are today. To add to that, the military-industrial complex was being fed a virtually endless trough of money. There is no end to the number of people who will find any way to justify building something new, brighter and better. I’ve seen that happen time and time and time again

Ex-Chief of Nuclear Forces General Lee Butler Still Dismayed by Deterrence Theory and Missiles on Hair-Trigger Alert, TruthOut , 14 June 2015 00:00By Robert KazelNuclear Age Peace Foundation | Interview After the Cold War ended in the early 1990s, the danger of nuclear weapons faded as a source of anxiety for some Americans. To them, worrying that the world’s stockpiles of missiles and bombs could eventually create catastrophe seemed as anachronistic as the duck-and-cover classroom drills of a previous generation. But for George Lee Butler, a four-star US Air Force general and the commander of US nuclear forces between 1991 and 1994, thinking about the possibility of just such a calamity didn’t end. The reality was always a phone call away.

The calls would come at least once a month, and there was never advance warning. Butler might be anywhere: his office at Offutt Air Force Base near Omaha, Neb., or traveling, or home sleeping. A hotline to other military officers and the White House sat on a bedside table, closer to his wife’s head because she was the lighter sleeper.

It always turned out to be an exercise—World War III obviously never broke out during Butler’s tenure. But, at least at the outset, he never knew for sure. The games were thought to be more useful if the participants—even a key player such as Butler—were kept in the dark about that…..

Actual presidents—in Butler’s day, George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton—never took part in these “missile threat conferences.” Like a stand-in for a movie star who wished to avoid an unpleasant stunt, someone else always acted out the role of commander-in-chief at the other end of the line. Butler felt disgust that such a crucial task was left to a substitute.

Few knew it, but for Butler that sense of abhorrence gradually began to encompass nuclear weapons in general, as he became privy to more secrets about them………….

Former colleagues were surprised when Butler continued to make earnest, eloquent remarks to large audiences, condemning the same military systems he’d once managed. Now Butler was speaking freely about the “scourge” of nuclear weapons as being sinister and irreligious, and recommending they be dismantled everywhere they existed in the world through international agreements. These weapons were relics of a previous age when it was regrettably customary for rival nations to demonize one another, he argued. But they had no strategic value for any government in the post-Cold War world. Continue reading

June 15, 2015 Posted by | USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

USA and Russia: top former generals plea to “de-alert” nuclear weapons

nuclear-missile-readyEx-U.S., Russian brass: ‘De-alert’ nukes or risk disaster  Politico. com By BRYAN BENDER 4/29/ 15
Amid all the talk about a new Cold War, here’s one hard, cold fact: Nearly 25 years after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Washington and Moscow still have nearly 2,000 atomic bombs ready to fly at a moment’s notice to destroy each other.
And that so-called hair-trigger alert is now sparking new concerns that deepening distrust between the former foes significantly raises the risk of a miscalculation and nuclear disaster.
Story Continued Below

On Thursday the American general who recently commanded U.S. nuclear forces will lead a group of ex-Russian officers and other national security leaders in an appeal for the United States and Russia to take immediate steps to “de-alert” their respective arsenals.
Their proposal starkly warns that the current dismal state of relations — combined with other new factors such as the threat of cyberattacks — demands leaders on both sides be given more time to respond to potential provocations before ordering the unthinkable.
“Tension between Russia and the West over the Ukraine crisis has brought the parties one step closer to the precipice of nuclear brinksmanship, the point at which nuclear risk skyrockets,” according to the findings of the commission convened by the disarmament group Global Zero, which will be delivered at the United Nations. “This tension is uncharacteristic of their post-Cold War partnership, but it has flared to the point that it is producing dangerous misunderstandings and action-reaction cycles with strong escalatory updrafts.”

The group, led by retired four-star General James Cartwright, who oversaw the U.S. nuclear arsenal before leaving the military in 2011, says the United States and Russia are at serious risk of an accidental nuclear confrontation, spurred by flawed intelligence or a misreading of the other side’s intentions. The primary reason: Fully half of their large arsenals remain designed to respond within minutes, what is known as launch-on-warning. As the report points out, “the go-code comes as a message that is the length of a tweet.” And “Minuteman missiles are so named for a reason.”

By requiring more steps be taken to prepare the weapons for launch, Russia and the United States would have hours — if not several days — to develop better information before reacting, while still maintaining a strong deterrent force, Cartwright told POLITICO.

“These weapons that are on alert are particularly vulnerable to being hijacked or [the systems] indicate something that is not true in a situation where you only have a few minutes to make a decision,” said Cartwright, who was head of the U.S. Strategic Command before becoming vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

“In a tense military-political situation, like the one that exists currently as a result of the crisis in Ukraine, the probability of making erroneous decisions increases,” added retired Russian Major General Vladimir Dvorkin, former director of Research Institute No. 4 in the Russian Ministry of Defense. “That is why at the present time it would be necessary for the presidents of Russia and the U.S. to formally renounce the launch-on-warning form.”

…………….. http://www.politico.com/story/2015/04/russian-nukes-risk-disaster-117489.html#ixzz3d6YDSvLK

 

June 15, 2015 Posted by | Russia, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

‘Dirty bombs’ tested by Israel

radation sign dirtyflag-Israel  Israel tested ‘dirty-bomb cleanup’ in the desert Haaretz 10 June 15 Series of tests in conjunction with four-year project at Dimona nuclear reactor measured damage and other implications of detonation of radiological weapon by hostile forces. By  | Jun. 8, 2015 

Israel recently carried out a series of tests in the desert in conjunction with a four-year project at the Dimona nuclear reactor to measure the damage and other implications of the detonation of a so-called “dirty” radiological bomb by hostile forces. Such a bomb uses conventional explosives in addition to radioactive material.

Most of the detonations were carried out in the desert and one was performed at a closed facility. The research concluded that high-level radiation was measured at the center of the explosions, with a low level of dispersal of radiation by particles carried by the wind. Sources at the reactor said this doesn’t pose a substantial danger beyond the psychological effect.

An additional concern stems from a radiological explosion in a closed space, which would then require that the area be closed off for an extended period until the effects of the radiation are eliminated.

In 2010, staff from the Dimona nuclear reactor began a series of tests, dubbed the “Green Field” project, designed to measure the consequences of the detonation of a dirty bomb in Israel. The project was concluded in 2014, and its research findings have been presented at scientific gatherings and on nuclear science databases. The researchers explained that the experiments were for defensive purposes and that they were not giving consideration to offensive aspects of the tests.

Public concern over radiological terrorism began after the terrorist attacks in the United States on September 11, 2001 and the threat by representatives of Al-Qaida to use such weaponry against the United States. The radioactive material is available to the medical and industrial sectors, and those who threaten its use as a weapon aim to augment the damage and fear caused by an explosion by adding the threat of radiation to the mix……

In the course of the experiments, 20 detonations were carried out involving between 250 grams and 25 kilograms of explosives together with the common radioactive substance known as 99mTc, which is used in the health care field for medical imaging. The experiments made use of the reactor’s most innovative technology, including tiny drones used to measure radiation and sensors to measure the force of the blast.

In the course of the project, there was an additional test known as “Red House,” designed to examine another kind of radiological scenario in which a substance would be left in a crowded public space but not exploded….. http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/.premium-1.660067

June 10, 2015 Posted by | Israel, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Saudi Arabia threatening to develop nuclear weapons

Saudis ready to go nuclear: ‘All options are on the table’ if talks fail to contain Iran, ambassador says, National Post Con Coughlin, The Telegraph | June 9, 2015 “…….this year came Saudi Arabia’s dramatic military intervention in neighbouring Yemen. Saudi warplanes and troops are now involved in a bitter conflict with Iranian-backed rebels from the Houthi religious movement in Yemen. And Saudi Arabia has been confirmed as one of the region’s dominant military powers.

In the past two years, it has beaten Britain into fourth place in the world’s military spending league with a defence budget of around 37 billion pounds (compared with the UK at around 34 billion pounds)……

Now the Saudis have raised the alarming prospect of the Middle East becoming embroiled in a nuclear arms race after the country’s blunt warning that “all options are on the table” if Iran fails to resolve the international stand-off over its nuclear programme…..

Western intelligence agencies believe that the Saudi monarchy paid for up to 60 per cent of Pakistan’s nuclear programme, in return for the ability to buy warheads for itself at short notice. ………..http://news.nationalpost.com/news/world/saudis-ready-to-go-nuclear-all-options-are-on-the-table-if-talks-fail-to-contain-iran-ambassador-says?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+NP_Top_Stories+%28National+Post+-+Top+Stories%29

June 10, 2015 Posted by | Saudi Arabia, weapons and war | 1 Comment

Missile Envy: Pentagon might site nuclear-capable missiles in Britain

Missile envy 1Nuclear missiles could be sited again on British soil in new ‘Cold War’ with Russia Foreignboys my toys best Secretary Philip Hammond says there are ‘worrying signs’ about the increased activity of Russian forces and the UK would consider the pros and cons of taking US intermediate-range weapons By , Chief Political Correspondent  Telegraph, 07 Jun 2015  The UK could site American new nuclear missiles on British soil amid heightened tensions with Russia, Philip Hammond has indicated.

The comments raise the prospect of a return to a Cold War-type arms race with Russia over the use of nuclear missiles

The Foreign Secretary said there were “worrying signs” about the increased activity of Russian forces and the UK would consider the pros and cons of taking US intermediate-range weapons. Mr Hammond said there was “no clear sign” of an imminent attack on Ukraine but Vladimir Putin is “keeping his options open”.

But he warned against making “unnecessary provocations” against Russia, which has a “sense of being surrounded and under attack”.

Mr Hammond told BBC1’s Andrew Marr programme that Mr Putin “has not ruled out a military option”. He said: “As we go into the G7 meeting and then to the European Council later this month renewing sanctions, we have got to send very clear signals to the Russians that we will not tolerate any breach of their obligations under Minsk.”

The UK is thought to retain a stockpile of around 225 thermonuclear warheads, of which 160 are operational, but has refused to declare the exact size of its arsenal. Since 1998, the submarine based Trident programme has been the only operational nuclear weapons system in British service.

The Pentagon is reportedly considering axing a Cold War-era treaty and deploying nuclear-capable missiles in Europe in response to Russia’s breaches of international law……..http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/russia/11657690/Nuclear-missiles-could-be-sited-again-on-British-soil-in-new-Cold-War-with-Russia.html

June 8, 2015 Posted by | EUROPE, UK, weapons and war | Leave a comment

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