The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry Fukushima Chernobyl Mayak Three Mile Island Atomic Testing Radiation Isotope

Donald Trump has few real options in dealing with North Korea

For Trump, Threats but Few Options in Confronting North Korea, NYT, JULY 4, 2017 When then-President-elect Trump said on Twitter in early January that a North Korean test of an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of reaching the United States “won’t happen!” there were two things that he still did not fully appreciate: how close Kim Jong-un, the North’s leader, was to reaching that goal, and how limited any president’s options were to stop him.


July 5, 2017 Posted by | North Korea, politics international, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

North Korea Fired Intercontinental Ballistic Missile – USA administration confirms

U.S. Confirms North Korea Fired Intercontinental Ballistic Missile, NYT 点击查看本文中文版 JULY 4, 2017 SEOUL, South Korea — The Trump administration on Tuesday confirmed North Korea’s claim that it had launched an intercontinental ballistic missile, and it told Pyongyang that the United States would use “the full range of capabilities at our disposal against the growing threat.”

July 5, 2017 Posted by | North Korea, weapons and war | Leave a comment

China calls for calm and restraint on North Korea

China calls for calm after North Korea claims first successful launch of ICBM that can ‘strike any place in the world’   If this type of missile becomes fully operational, it could potentially deliver a nuclear warhead to the US mainland, Agence France-Presse, Reuters, Associated Press 05 July, 2017,

  China has called for calm and restraint after North Korea claimed to have test-launched its first intercontinental ballistic missile that is capable of hitting anywhere in the world.

 Foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang also defended China’s “relentless efforts” to resolve the North Korean nuclear standoff after US President Donald Trump called on Beijing to “end this nonsense once and for all”.

The United States on Tuesday requested an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council after North Korea declared that it had successfully tested its first intercontinental ballistic missile, the US mission said. The meeting is expected to take place on Wednesday.

US Ambassador Nikki Haley on Tuesday spoke by phone with China’s Ambassador Liu Jieyi, who holds the council presidency this month, to convey the US request for an urgent meeting.

North Korea’s announcement Tuesday came after the launch of a ballistic missile in the morning. It flew about 39 minutes and reached an altitude of 2,802 kilometres, before landing in waters within Japan’s exclusive economic zone, according to the announcement.

North Korea’s claims the missile reached that altitude could not be verified. However Japan’s Defence Ministry said it reached an altitude that “greatly exceeded” 2,500 kilometres.

A test-launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile, if confirmed, would be considered a game-changer by countries looking to check North Korea’s push for a nuclear-armed missile that can reach anywhere in the United States.

The test still may be the North’s most successful yet; a weapon analyst says missile could be powerful enough to reach Alaska. The “landmark” test of a Hwasong-14 missile was overseen by leader Kim Jong-un, an emotional female announcer said. It flew 933 kilometres, she added.    The North was “a strong nuclear power state” and had “a very powerful ICBM that can strike any place in the world” she said.

There are still doubts whether the North can miniaturise a nuclear weapon sufficiently to fit it onto a missile nose cone, or whether it has mastered the technology needed for it to survive the difficult re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere.

In his New Year’s address, Kim said his country had reached the final stage of preparing to test-launch the long-range missile.

Officials from South Korea, Japan and the United States said the missile landed in Japan’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) after being launched near an airfield in Panghyon, about 100 km northwest of the North’s capital, Pyongyang.

Japan said on Monday the United States, South Korea and Japan will have a trilateral summit on North Korea at the G20. China’s leader Xi Jinping will also be at the July 7-8 meeting in Hamburg, Germany.

Trump, responding to the latest launch, wrote on Twitter: “North Korea has just launched another missile. Does this guy have anything better to do with his life?” an apparent reference to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. “Hard to believe South Korea and Japan will put up with this much longer. Perhaps China will put a heavy move on North Korea and end this nonsense once and for all!”, Trump said in a series of tweets.

North Korea has conducted nuclear and missile tests to show defiance in the face of international pressure and to raise the stakes when Pyongyang sees regional powers getting ready for talks or sanctions, analysts say.

White House officials said Trump was briefed on the latest launch, which took place hours before Independence Day celebrations in the United States. North Korea has previously fired missiles around this holiday.

Pyongyang has conducted missile-related activities at an unprecedented pace since the start of last year, but analysts had thought it was years away from having a nuclear-tipped ICBM. capable of hitting the United States.

North Korea is also trying to develop intermediate-range missiles capable of hitting US bases in the Pacific. The last North Korean launches before Tuesday were of land-to-sea cruise missiles on June 8.

David Wright, co-director of the Global Security Programme at the US-based Union of Concerned Scientists, said the assessments of the flight time and distance suggest the missile might have been launched on a “very highly lofted” trajectory of more than 2,800 km.

The same missile could reach a maximum range of roughly 6,700 km on a standard trajectory, Wright said in a blog post.“That range would not be enough to reach the lower 48 states or the large islands of Hawaii, but would allow it to reach all of Alaska,” he said.

South Korea’s President Moon said on Monday in a meeting with former US president Barack Obama that North Korea now faces its “last opportunity” to engage in talks with the outside world.

North Korea has conducted four missile tests since Moon took office in May, vowing to use dialogue as well as pressure to bring Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile programmes under control.

Earlier this week, North Korea was a key topic in phone calls between Trump and the leaders of China and Japan. Leaders of both Asian countries reaffirmed their commitment to a denuclearised Korean Peninsula.  Trump has recently suggested he was running out of patience with China’s modest steps to pressure North Korea.

July 5, 2017 Posted by | China, North Korea, politics international | Leave a comment

Russia and China propose negotiation plan to lessen North Korea tensions

Russia, China offer plan to ease N.Korea tension, abc news, 4 July 17  Russia and China have proposed that North Korea declare a moratorium on nuclear and missile tests while the United States and South Korea refrain from large-scale military exercises.

The call was issued in a joint statement by the Russian and Chinese foreign ministries on Tuesday following talks between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

The statement came after North Korea tested a missile that flew higher and longer than previous ones, sparking concerns around the world.

Moscow and Beijing suggested that if North Korea halts nuclear and missile tests while the U.S. and South Korea freeze military maneuvers, the parties could sit down for talks that should lead to obligations not to use force and to refrain from aggression………..

North Korea says its latest missile test reached a height of 2,802 kilometers (1,740 miles) and flew 933 kilometers (580 miles) for 39 minutes before falling into the sea.

The country’s Academy of Defense Science said Tuesday in a statement that it was a successful test of an intercontinental ballistic missiles called Hwasong-14.

The statement was distributed by North Korea’s KCNA news service.

The reported trajectory was similar to that announced earlier by U.S., South Korean and Japanese officials, though the U.S. judged it to be an intermediate-range missile.

Either way, it would be a longer and higher flight than similar tests previously reported.

The U.S military says it tracked a North Korean missile for 37 minutes before it landed in the Sea of Japan.

The Hawaii-based U.S. Pacific Command said in a statement Tuesday that an intermediate-range ballistic missile was launched from near an airfield in North Korea.

NORAD, or the North American Aerospace Defense Command, said the missile did not pose a threat to North America.

South Korean and Japanese officials reported the North Korean missile launch earlier Tuesday. It is part of a string of recent tests as the North works to build a nuclear-tipped missile that could reach the United States………


July 5, 2017 Posted by | China, North Korea, politics international, Russia, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Russia’s global nuclear marketing falters: Rosatom switches attention to renewable energy

Rosatom loses hope in its international nuclear builds, eyes renewables

Amid decreasing world demand for nuclear energy, Russia’s state nuclear corporation last week warned it would likely be receiving fewer requests to build nuclear power plants abroad. July 3, 2017 by Charles Digges,  The announcement marks a sharp departure for the corporation, which until recently has posed its contracts with other countries as the bread and butter of its bottom line – as well as a potent tool for broadening Moscow’s sphere of political influence.

But there’s a silver lining to the nuclear monolith’s recent disillusionment with its traditional lifeblood: A possible, albeit modest, shift in the direction of renewable energy and battery technologies.

Speaking at last month’s Tekhnoprom-2017 conference, a technical conference in the Siberian city of Novosibirsk, Rosatom’s deputy director Vyacheslav Pershukov called the market for nuclear power stations abroad “exhausted.” “We see that the market is contracting, and for the sustainable growth of the corporation…we must make our money on something other than nuclear technology,” he said, according to the RBK news agency.

His remarks dovetail with a worldwide nuclear sag.

In the United States, renewable energy output eclipsed nuclear for the first time during March and April. Meanwhile, huge nuclear corporations are trying to stave off going broke. Exelon, the country’s biggest nuclear operator, has seen its share prices plummet by 60 percent since 2008.

Westinghouse, meanwhile filed for bankruptcy in March, and Toshiba, its parent company, is trying to sell of its computer divisions to cover the debt. France’s Areva was saved from financial peril by a huge taxpayer infusion into its owner EDF, but that bailout will only stop the bleed the company is experiencing thanks to huge cost overruns on an ambitious but delayed reactor build in Finland.

Pershukov told the Tekhnoprom conference that Rosatom would shift some of its efforts to providing nuclear power plant services abroad, primarily to those it’s in the process of building.

For the past several years, Rosatom has touted its VVER-1200 reactor packages to international capitols and has worked vigorously to sign up customers even – if not especially – those who can barely afford it. On paper, the company has $130 billion in outstanding “memoranda of understanding” and other handshake type deals with foreign countries.

But many of the counties Rosatom counts among its potential contracts – like Jordan, Algeria, Nigeria and Bolivia, and most recently Uganda and Ethiopia – won’t have infrastructure to support nuclear power for decades.

In other cases, like Hungary, the Rosatom-built Paks-2 plant has been approved, but will leave Budapest’s right wing-government heavily indebted to Moscow for the $10 billion plant.

Another similar deal would have indentured South Africa to Rosatom for $76 billion, but that country’s high court torpedoed the deal before it got off the ground.

Other countries where Rosatom builds are already underway – like India’s Kudankulam, Iran’s Bushehr, China’s Tianwan and Belarus’s Ostrovets – are already familiar with Rosatom’s typical cost overruns and delays.

The company can pay for these huge loans because of the generous state subsidies it receives, but taxpayer injections are slated to dry up by 2020.

Oskar Njaa, a nuclear adviser with Bellona said curtailing Rosatom’s international nuclear ambitions represents a humbling moment for the company, and a dampening of its political influence abroad. “This is an economic blow,” he said. “For Russia, reducing an ability to make other countries dependent on Moscow’s nuclear fuel and expertise for energy needs is a blow to its geopolitical interests as well.”

As such, Rosatom is casting a wide net for other avenues of influence and revenue. In May, the company appeared in Chile’s Lithium Call Roadshow, and is reportedly pursuing inroads with Santiago to become a player in cell phone and electric car batteries. Other reports say the company is making a foray into fiber-optics.

More optimistically, Njaa noted, the company also seems to have discovered a bent for the renewable energy sector. He noted Rosatom’s recent interest in small hydroelectric plants and wind energy.

July 5, 2017 Posted by | marketing, politics international, renewable, Russia | Leave a comment

‘Dry retrieval’ plan for nuclear fuel debris at Fukushima plant set to be adopted



A public-private organization decommissioning the stricken Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant is poised to adopt a “dry” nuclear fuel retrieval method — extraction without filling the containment vessels with water — for the three reactors at the station that melted down in March 2011, the Mainichi Shimbun has learned.

Sources close to the Nuclear Damage Compensation and Decommissioning Facilitation Corp. (NDF) say the method will be incorporated into the strategic plan for decommissioning that will soon be announced to the public. The government and Fukushima plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) will establish fuel retrieval plans based on consideration of this method, and will deliberate a revision to the decommissioning road map as early as this summer.

Until now, the NDF had considered employing the submersion fuel retrieval method — filling the containment vessels with water — alongside the dry method. In the submersion method, water shields plant workers from radiation. The NDF, however, determined that repairing all damaged areas of the containment vessels in order to be able to fill the reactor wells to the top with water would be too difficult. Instead, for the time being, the NDF decided to prioritize dry removal of the nuclear fuel debris using robotic arms.

“It isn’t that we’ve decided to completely do away with the submersion method, but we have to think about how best to distribute the technological resources we have,” said one source closely involved with the NDF.

When using the dry nuclear fuel retrieval method, it is crucial to implement measures to prevent microscopic radioactive substances from spreading in the air. To counter this, the NDF is considering spraying water on the fuel as robotic arms are used to sever and retrieve the fuel debris.

The damage differs from reactor to reactor at the Fukushima No. 1 plant. Probes of the reactor interiors conducted by TEPCO have yet to directly observe the nuclear fuel, meaning that the shape and distribution of the debris remain unknown. Fuel removal methods specific to the state of each reactor must be decided before moving ahead.

In the No. 1 reactor, much of the nuclear fuel is believed to have melted through the pressure vessel onto the floor of the reactor containment vessel. Inserting a robotic arm through the side of the containment vessel to remove the melted fuel is under primary consideration to deal with this situation.



July 5, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima Daiichi reactors internal estimates by Tepco



In dismantling the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, it is essential to grasp the state of nuclear fuel melted its nuclear reactors, but the radiation is very high and it is difficult to see inside. Under these circumstances, TEPCO announced a new estimate chart for the interior of the three nuclear reactors.
TEPCO announced the estimate inside the nuclear reactors at the International Forum on Waste Plant on the July 3rd, 2017. In the inside of the nuclear reactor of Unit 3, a part of the nuclear fuel collapsed to the bottom of the pressure vessel and is stacked like a garbage while keeping its shape. Meanwhile, it seems that molten nuclear fuel has fallen to the bottom of the storage container beneath, but when analyzing the data at the time of the accident again, it is said that there is a possibility that it is eroding the concrete on the floor of the containment vessel .
Estimates were obtained reflecting computer simulations and recent internal surveys, etc. Based on these estimates, the government decided how to remove “fuel debris”.

July 5, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , | Leave a comment

Rotten resin gas ‘most likely’ cause of Ibaraki nuclear accident

oarai, ibaraki.jpgThe fuel research building of the Japan Atomic Energy Agency’s Oarai Research and Development Center in Oarai, Ibaraki Prefecture, where the accident occurred June 6


The Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA) now considers the most likely cause of last month’s nuclear contamination accident at its Oarai research center to be gas produced by decomposing resin containing plutonium and other radioactive substances.

The June 6 incident at the facility in Ibaraki Prefecture, northeast of Tokyo, exposed five workers to plutonium when they handled 26-year-old radioactive waste stored there.

Resin was used to stick the radioactive waste on an aluminum sheet and stored in a tightly sealed polyethylene container, which was wrapped in plastic bags and placed in a stainless steel container.

The accident occurred when the workers opened the steel container and were exposed to radioactive particles that seeped out of the polyethylene container in gas that ruptured the plastic coverings and escaped into the room they were in.

Decomposition of resin by a radioactive substance is considered as the most likely cause of the gas’s formation,” said Toshio Kodama, JAEA president, at a July 3 meeting with the science and technology ministry’s special investigation team that was set up to determine the cause of the accident.

JAEA found that the polyethylene container inside the plastic bags contained powdered plutonium set in pieces of epoxy resin.

The agency is looking at other possibilities, but now considers decomposition of the resin as the most likely cause.

On the same day, the National Institute of Radiological Sciences in Chiba announced that three of the five workers have been admitted to its facility for the third time to receive medication via an intravenous drip that speeds the excretion of radioactive substances from their bodies as urine.

The health of the five workers has not changed, according to NIRS.

July 5, 2017 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

Sailors’ $1 billion lawsuit over radiation from Fukushima nuclear disaster sails through federal court



SAN FRANCISCO — A federal appeals court rejected affirmed a district court’s rejection of a Japanese power company’s motion to dismiss a $1 billion lawsuit brought by American sailors, who were allegedly harmed by radiation exposure during a relief effort following the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

On June 22, a three-judge appellate panel from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit unanimously rejected an attempt by the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) to secure the dismissal of the class-action lawsuit. The suit was launched by American sailors who allegedly sustained injuries related to radiation exposure from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant during a relief effort in the wake of an earthquake and tsunami in March 2011. 

The appellate panel affirmed the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California’s rejection of TEPCO’s motion to have the suit dismissed on the grounds that U.S. courts lacked jurisdiction to try the case.

TEPCO’s initial challenge to U.S. jurisdiction is rooted in its interpretation of the Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage (CSC), a 1997 international liability agreement concerning nuclear accidents. TEPCO argued that Article XIII of the CSC, which states “jurisdiction over actions concerning nuclear damage from a nuclear incident shall lie only with the courts of the contracting party within which the nuclear incident occurs,” invalidates U.S. jurisdiction. The appellate panel affirmed the district court’s ruling that the CSC, though signed in 1997, was only valid after it went into effect in April 2015. The sailors launched the lawsuit in December 2012.

TEPCO also challenged U.S. jurisdiction by citing international comity, a legal tradition allowing courts to decline jurisdiction in a court case when a foreign country has a “strong interest” in trying the case on its own soil. The appellate panel rejected this argument, noting that even though Japan had a strong interest in a case involving an incident on Japanese soil, the U.S. had a strong interest in prosecuting the case in the U.S. because the alleged victims were members of the U.S. military, and the U.S. “had a strong interest in maintaining jurisdiction over this [case] in order to help promote the CSC.”

TEPCO’s final challenge to U.S. jurisdiction was that the case violated U.S. constitutional law because it conflicted with the political question doctrine, which restricts the federal judiciary to deciding legal questions and bars it from deciding political questions. 

The panel also rejected this argument, ruling that at this time the court was “unable to undertake the ‘discriminating inquiry’ necessary to determine if the case presented a political question because there were outstanding basic factual questions regarding the Navy’s operations” during the relief effort. However, the panel noted that TEPCO was free to raise the international comity and political question issues again if information was uncovered providing justifications for those arguments.

The sailors represented in the case were deployed off the coast of Fukushima aboard the U.S.S. Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier on March 12, 2011, during Operation Tomodachi, a U.S. relief response following an earthquake and tsunami that caused massive damage to the region. The carrier was moved two days later, allegedly after radiation was detected. 

The sailors allege they were harmed by radiation exposure because TEPCO leadership and Japanese government officials allegedly conspired to downplay the threat posed by the damaged nuclear reactor.

The sailors launched the lawsuit on Dec. 21, 2012, seeking $10 million in damages each, along with $30 in punitive damages, and a $100 million healthcare fund for future monitoring and medical treatment.


July 5, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , , | Leave a comment

Utilities reject shareholders’ calls for nuclear power phase-out

hgjhlkmù.jpgAnti-nuclear demonstrators gather in front of the venue hosting Kansai Electric Power Co.’s annual meeting as shareholders of the company head to the site in Kobe’s Chuo Ward on June 28.


Japan’s eight major nuclear power plant operators rejected all proposals from their shareholders to abolish nuclear reactors at their annual meetings on June 28.

The heads of each utilities company emphasized the need for nuclear power generation as a vital energy source, citing the regional nuclear facilities which have gradually resumed operations after their shutdown in the aftermath of the nuclear disaster in 2011.

At Kansai Electric Power Co.’s general meeting, the utility dismissed anti-nuclear proposals by major shareholders, including the Osaka and Kyoto city governments.

Kansai Electric brought its Takahama No. 3 and No. 4 reactors in Fukui Prefecture back online in May and June.

Electric power distribution systems which aren’t dependent on nuclear energy should be established,” Kyoto Mayor Daisaku Kadokawa urged.

But Kansai Electric President Shigeki Iwane shot back, “Nuclear power plants are essential in terms of environmental issues as well (as financial).”

We will reduce electric rates in August and raise our corporate value, too,” Iwane added.

Meanwhile, one of Kyushu Electric Power Co.’s shareholders asked the company at its meeting whether it plans to pursue either nuclear energy or renewable energy.

A company executive shied away from answering directly and only replied: “Nuclear power generation is a vital electricity source. We would also like to consider renewable energy as a growing business.”

Utilities executives painted a positive picture at the other general shareholders’ meetings.

One from Hokkaido Electric Power Co. said, “As the deregulation of the electric power industry moves forward, it is necessary to resume operations of nuclear power plants as soon as possible to succeed in a competitive industry.”

A Chubu Electric Power Co. executive also said, “Even if safety measures incur costs, they can be recovered once nuclear power plants resume operations.”

Shareholders’ proposals to end nuclear power generation at Tokyo Electric Power Co. Holdings Inc. (TEPCO) were also rejected at its annual general shareholders’ meeting on June 23.

July 5, 2017 Posted by | Japan | , , | Leave a comment

Results of Radioactive Analysis around Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station

analysis results of radioactive materials obtained at each sampling location 2 july 2017.jpg


Results of radioactive nuclide analysis for groundwater at the east side of Unit 1-4 Turbine Buildings and seawater at the port in order to monitor the source, the extent, and the effect of the radioactive materials in the groundwater toward the ocean.

Underground water observation hole No.1, published Jun 28, 2017:

  • Gross Beta = 24,000,000 Becquerels per cubic meter (24,000 Becquerels per liter) *1

Underground water observation hole No.3-5, published Jun 27, 2017:

  • Tritium = 190,000 Becquerels per cubic meter (190 Becquerels per liter) *1

See all results from June 2017 here

July 5, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , | Leave a comment

Costs of building Rokkasho nuclear fuel reprocessing plant now 4 times greater

Cost of building nuclear fuel reprocessing plant up 4-fold, THE ASAHI SHIMBUN, July 4, 2017 Construction costs for the long-delayed spent nuclear fuel reprocessing plant in Rokkasho, Aomori Prefecture, are likely to rise to 2.9 trillion yen ($25.67 billion), about four times the initial estimate, Japan Nuclear Fuel Ltd. (JNFL) has disclosed.

The company attributes the latest cost estimate increase of 750 billion yen, revealed July 3, to the necessity of meeting more stringent safety standards introduced after the 2011 nuclear crisis in Fukushima Prefecture.

Estimated construction costs previously stood at 2.193 trillion yen as of 2005.

The total cost of the project, including operating the plant for 40 years and then decommissioning it, was initially estimated at 12.6 trillion yen.

However, it is expected to rise to 13.9 trillion due to the increase in maintenance and personnel costs.

The major electric power companies that jointly set up JNFL have to cover those costs, but ultimately consumers will shoulder the burden in the form of electricity rates.

JNFL is constructing the plant in the village of Rokkasho, with the Nuclear Reprocessing Organization of Japan (NURO) contracted to handle the fuel reprocessing……..  Even if the NRA approves the new safety measures in the screening, the approval is expected to be made this autumn at the earliest, meaning the latest completion target of September 2018 is likely to be missed. 

July 5, 2017 Posted by | Japan, reprocessing | Leave a comment

Australia now in reach of North Korea’s new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM)

Australia now within range of new North Korean missile, as calculations show it could fly far enough to hit Darwin

  • The ‘landmark’ test of a Hwasong-14 missile was overseen by leader Kim Jong-Un
  • It was fired from a site in the North Phyongan province into the Sea of Japan
  • It is believed to have reached an altitude of 2802 km and flew 933 km
  • The North has long sought to build nuclear missiles capable of reaching the US
  • Weapons analysts say the missile has the capability to travel up to 6,700km
  • Darwin is only 5,750km from Pyongyang, putting Australia into the firing line

Experts say the missile could reach a maximum range of 6,700km on a standard trajectory, meaning it would be able to hit Darwin, which is 5,750km from Pyongyang.

David Wright, of the Union of Concerned Scientists, wrote on the organisation’s allthingsnuclear blog that the available figures implied the missile ‘could reach a maximum range of roughly 6,700 km on a standard trajectory’.

‘That range would not be enough to reach the lower 48 states or the large islands of Hawaii, but would allow it to reach all of Alaska.’ …………

July 5, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, North Korea, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Timeline of North Korea’s missiles tests in 2017

North Korea’s missiles tests in 2017: A timeline, 4 Jul 17 North Korea has conducted missile and nuclear weapons related activities at an unprecedented rate since the beginning of 2017 and is believed to have made some progress in developing intermediate-range and submarine-launched missiles.

Here’s a timeline of the missile launches and tests the regime is known to have carried out this year:

Feb 12, 2017: North Korea fires its first ballistic missile in 2017, in what is seen as a show of force against the leaders of the United States and Japan reaffirming their security alliance. The missile is believed to be a mid-range Rodong or something similar, flying 500km and landing in the East Sea, also known as Sea of Japan.

March 6, 2017: North Korea fires four ballistic missiles, with three falling into Japan’s exclusive economic zone.

April 16, 2017: North Korea fires an unidentified ballistic missile that explodes almost immediately after launch, defying warnings from the Trump administration to avoid any further provocations

April 29, 2017: In an apparent defiance of a concerted US push for tougher international sanctions to curb Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons ambitions, the country test-fires a ballistic missile from the Pukchang region in a north-easterly direction. The missile reaches an altitude of 71 km before disintegrating a few minutes into flight.

May 14, 2017: Only four days after the inauguration of South Korea’s new leader Moon Jae In, North Korea fires a ballistic missile in an apparent bid to test the liberal president and the US, which have both signalled an interest in negotiations to ease months of tensions.

The missile flies for 700km and reaches an altitude of more than 2,000km before landing in the Sea of Japan or East Sea, further and higher than an intermediate-range missile North Korea successfully tested in February from the same region of Kusong, north-west of Pyongyang.

While the US Pacific Command says it does not appear to be an intercontinental ballistic missile, the successful launch of a mid-to-long range missile indicated a significant advance in North Korea’s drive for an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), monitors say.

The North boasts that the launch is aimed at verifying the capability to carry a “large scale heavy nuclear warhead”.

May 22, 2017: North Korea launches medium-range ballistic missile Pukguksong-2, Pyongyang’s state media reported, adding the weapon was now ready to be deployed for military action.

The test sparks a fresh chorus of international condemnation and threats of tougher United Nations sanctions.

May 29, 2017: North Korea fires at least one short-range ballistic missile that lands in the sea off its east coast. The missile is believed to be a Scud-class ballistic missile and flew about 450km. North Korea has a large stockpile of the short-range missiles, originally developed by the Soviet Union.

North Korea is likely showing its determination to push ahead in the face of international pressure to rein in its missile programme and “to pressure the (South Korean) government to change its policy on the North”, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff spokesman Roh Jae Cheon said.

June 8, 2017: A volley of surface-to-ship cruise missiles are fired off North Korea’s east coast, less than a week after the United Nations expanded sanctions against Kim Jong Un’s regime in response to recent ballistic missile tests.

The short range missiles fly some 200km before falling into the Sea of Japan, says South Korea’s defence ministry.

June 22, 2017: North Korea conducts a “small rocket engine test on or around June 22, the respected 38 North analysis group says, after a US official reportedly suggested the test could be a step to develop an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).

It is not clear whether the test, conducted at the North’s Sohae satellite launch site, involved an ICBM engine.

July 4, 2017: Just days after South Korea President Moon Jae In and US President Donald Trump focused on the threat from Pyongyang in their first summit, North Korea fires a ballistic which flies for 930km and exceeds 2,500km in altitude in 40 minutes before falling into Japan’s exclusive economic zone, Seoul and Tokyo say.

The US military says the missile is an intermediate range ballistic missile and does not pose a threat to North America, but analysts say the missile is able to reach Alaska.


July 5, 2017 Posted by | North Korea, Reference, weapons and war | Leave a comment

At the United Nations 120 countries move to ban nuclear weapons

Over 120 Nations At The UN Are About to Ban Nuclear Weapons  Ari Beser, ContributorAri is a Getty Images Contributing Photographer, Filmmaker, and Author of The Book ‘The Nuclear Family’ 07/03/2017 
Setsuko Thurlow was thirteen years old when the first atomic bomb ever used on people ripped through Hiroshima, including the building she was stationed inside of. She managed to escape the rubble, but she witnessed the skin melt off those who were outside. She saw people clutch their eyes from their sockets, or carry their own intestine. All but two of her classmates were burned to death. She lived to tell the tale, and now she has lived to see the majority of the UN member states unite under a new push to rid the world of nuclear weapons. The question remains, are the nine states who posses them (US, Russia, UK, France, India, Pakistan, Israel, China and North Korea) ready to give them up? (spoiler alert: Of course not).

The exclusion of the 9 nuclear armed states has actually sped up the writing process, with no hardline dissent in the room, the treaty has come to fruition quickly. In the United Nations, language is at the core of every negotiation. UN delegates argue for hours and weave words so definitely, sensitively and strategically to make policy – to enact change – that impacts the world. Member states have together agreed upon words to form treaties that prohibit landmines, cluster bombs, chemical and biological weapons; and other treaties that recognize states, support refugees and lift nations out of poverty. Words make a difference. Words have power. Words tried to stop the US from invading Iraq, and words were spoken to prove why the US should have listened. Now words are being used to confront the last remaining weapon of mass destruction not yet banned, weapons that were made to end the world–nuclear weapons.

Delegates met for one week in March, and will meet in round the clock negotiations until July 7th. Every day, countries like Egypt, Iran and Sweden, who support the treaty, discuss which words will make it in, and which ones will not. The United States and the 8 other nuclear armed states have boycotted the conference, and persuaded their allies, under the so-called nuclear umbrella, to do so as well. It’s expected that over 120 countries will sign on to it. “The majority of the worlds countries have stood up to them and said enough is enough. We will not put the planet at risk anymore, we will not put all human life at risk anymore.” said Ray Acheson a Canadian member of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF).

Acheson is one of hundreds of civil society members in attendance at the ban treaty negotiations. The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) has united almost every anti-nuclear related non-governmental organization to join the fight. They brought the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons to the forefront of the nuclear disarmament movement, and have propelled these arguments through the UN. ICAN campaigners have descended on New York to lobby member states, dissect the treaty drafts, and persuade delegates to adopt language that will effectively and permanently ban nuclear weapons.

For Dr. Kathleen Sullivan, disarmament educator and anti-nuclear activist, she is more worried about accidents than intentional use, “How many of you made a mistake this week, or had your phone malfunction?” she asked at a First Committee side event in June. “Human beings who make mistakes are monitoring technology that will eventually break. Fallible people are in control of thousands of nuclear missiles on high alert that are armed and ready to go.”

Dr. Sullivan’s fears are not unfounded. “The world, even after a limited use of nuclear weapons could suffer tremendously,” says Dr. Ira Helfand from the Nobel Peace Prize winning International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW). “If nuclear war is waged on populated cities, not only would the climate change as it does when a massive volcano explodes, but it would coat existing agriculture in radioactive isotopes and render it inedible. We only have enough grain stockpiled to sustain life for 3 months.”

“We didn’t wait for murders to stop killing people before we made murder illegal,” said Zia Mian, a nuclear weapons expert and professor at Princeton University who focuses on the Indian/Pakistani conflict. “These weapons are not just wrong. They are illegal. We are saying that these weapons have no place in our wars.”

As of today, no one can be sure of the immediate effects of the treaty. It is clear that the nine nuclear weapons powers will not sign the treaty. They have boycott the negotiations. US ambassador at the UN Nikki Haley said, “As a mom, as a daughter, there is nothing that I want more for my family than a world with no nuclear weapons, but we have to be realistic. Does anyone think North Korea will give up their nuclear weapons?” But one thing is certain — the unprecedented effort of civil society has democratized disarmament, and pushed the majority of the worlds countries to observe the will of the people in an effort to save the planet from the threat of nuclear war.

Ari M. Beser is the grandson of Lt. Jacob Beser, the only U.S. serviceman aboard both bomb-carrying B-29s. He traveled through Japan with the National Geographic Fulbright Fellowship to report on the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the fifth anniversary of the Great East Japan earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear meltdowns in Fukushima. He is the Author of The Nuclear Family, and a Getty Images Contributing Photographer.

July 5, 2017 Posted by | weapons and war | Leave a comment