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North Korea destroys its nuclear weapons site

North Korea claims it has demolished its nuclear testing site   North Korea has carried out what it said is the demolition of its nuclear test site, setting off a series of explosions over several hours in the presence of foreign journalists. ABC News, 25 May 18 

Key points:
  • Closing of North Korea’s nuclear test site was announced by Kim Jong-un before planned summit with US President Donald Trump
  • North Korea brought in a small group of foreign journalists to witness the event
  • Demolition comes after North Korea labelled US Vice President Mike Pence a “political dummy”

The explosions at the nuclear test site deep in the mountains of the North’s sparsely populated north-east were centred on three tunnels at the underground site and a number of buildings in the surrounding area.

North Korea had completely dismantled its Punggye-ri nuclear test ground “to ensure the transparency of discontinuance of nuclear test,” state news agency KCNA said.

The dismantling of the nuclear test ground “completely closed the tunnel entrances,” it said, adding that two tunnels there had been ready for use in “powerful underground nuclear tests”.

There was no leakage of radioactive material or adverse impact on the surrounding environment from the dismantling, the agency added.

“The discontinuance of the nuclear test is an important process moving towards global nuclear disarmament,” KCNA said……. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-05-24/north-korea-says-its-has-demolished-its-nuclear-test-site/9797594

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May 25, 2018 Posted by | North Korea, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

USA Pentagon speeds up weapons sales to Saudi Arabia

US speeding up arms exports to Saudi Arabia  http://english.alarabiya.net/en/business/economy/2018/05/24/US-speeding-up-arms-exports-to-Saudi-Arabia-Reports.html  Al Arabiya English, Dubai , 24 May 2018 

The Pentagon is speeding up US weapons deliveries to allied militaries such as Saudi Arabia, Romania, Japan, and South Korea through new “pilot authorities that change how it can design and execute contracts” according to news reports.

Defense One, quoted Ellen Lord, US defense undersecretary for acquisition and sustainment, as saying, Wednesday “we have a whole variety of specific programs where we are focused on applying these authorities: Patriot Missiles for Romania; Global Hawk for Japan, THAAD [high-altitude air defense missiles] for Saudi Arabia, and TOW [vehicle-launched missiles] for multiple foreign military sales partners.”

These new authorities will allow the Pentagon to shave “years” off the time it takes to deliver weapons to friendly militaries, Lord said at the annual SOFIC event here.

The report added that Saudi Arabia is a frequent target of missile strikes by Houthi rebels. Regional authorities routinely fret about Iran’s growing missile capabilities.


The Trump administration
, working to increase exports of US-made weapons, has started the process to execute the sale 120,000 precision-guided munitions to allies Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Reuters said Tuesday that the White House asked the US Congress to review the deal.

Last year, the Trump administration approved the sale of about $7 billion of the precision-guided weapons to Saudi Arabia.

Raytheon Co is the largest maker of the PGMs in the United States.

Administration and congressional sources confirmed that the informal 40-day review period to sell the munitions to the two countries was under way.

 

May 25, 2018 Posted by | weapons and war, USA, politics international, Saudi Arabia | Leave a comment

Nuclear war now becoming closer than ever

the chance of accidents, miscalculations, and blunders with tactical weapons—as well as the pressure to “use them or lose them” in battle—greatly increase the risk of an all-out nuclear war.

The Fourth Geneva Convention extends legal protection to civilians during wartime. The rules against deliberately harming noncombatants were expanded by two additional protocols, in 1977. “The civilian population . . . shall not be the object of attack,” Protocol II states. “Acts or threats of violence the primary purpose of which is to spread terror among the civilian population are prohibited.” Despite that admonition, today’s nuclear-targeting policies in many ways resemble medieval hostage-taking. The innocent are threatened with murder in order to preserve the peace. 

The Growing Dangers of the New Nuclear-Arms Race,  The Trump Administration’s push for more nuclear weapons is part of a perilous global drive to miniaturize and modernize devices that already promise annihilation. New Yorker, By Eric Schlosser, 24 May 18,  Less than a decade after President Barack Obama called for the abolition of nuclear weapons, the nine countries that possess them are engaged in a new nuclear-arms race. North Korea has most likely developed a hydrogen bomb, and its Hwasong-15 missiles may be large enough to transport not only a warhead but also decoys, chaff, and other countermeasures that would thwart America’s Ground-Based Midcourse Defense anti-ballistic-missile system. India recently commissioned its second ballistic-missile submarine, launched an Agni-5 ballistic missile that can strike targets throughout Pakistan and China, and tested nuclear-capable BrahMos and Nirbhay cruise missiles. Pakistan now has the world’s fastest-growing nuclear stockpile, including low-yield warheads on Hatf-9 missiles for use against Indian troops and armored vehicles. Israel is expanding the range of its Jericho III ballistic missiles and deploying cruise missiles with nuclear weapons on submarines. France and the United Kingdom are developing replacements for their Vanguard and Triomphant ballistic-missile submarines. China is about to introduce Dongfeng-41 ballistic missiles that will be mounted on trucks, loaded with up to ten nuclear warheads, and capable of reaching anywhere in the United States. Russia is building a wide range of new missiles, bombers, and submarines that will carry nuclear weapons. The R-28 Sarmat missile, nicknamed Satan-2, will carry up to sixteen nuclear warheads—more than enough for a single missile to destroy every American city with a population larger than a million people. Russia plans to build forty to fifty of the Satan-2s. Three other countries—Iran, Japan, and South Korea may soon try to obtain their own nuclear arsenals. Continue reading

May 25, 2018 Posted by | 2 WORLD, weapons and war | Leave a comment

USA Department of Veterans Affairs conveniently lost hundreds of claims for children, grandchildren of contaminated veterans

VA lost or misplaced hundreds of claims for children, grandchildren of contaminated veterans http://www.wfla.com/8-on-your-side/investigations/va-lost-or-misplaced-hundreds-of-claims-for-children-grandchildren-of-contaminated-veterans/1194448265, By: Steve Andrews  May 23, 2018

May 25, 2018 Posted by | health, legal, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

UK short of funds for its £51bn nuclear defence programme

Nuclear defence programme to cost £51bn over next decade National Audit Office predicts total spending and warns of £2.9bn shortfall, Ft.com    , Industry Editor   

The cost of building and maintaining the UK’s nuclear defence programme will add up to £50.8bn over the next 10 years, the UK’s public spending watchdog has said. The National Audit Office predicted a £2.9bn shortfall on the programme in that period, assuming the Ministry of Defence delivers the cost-cutting it has promised. The assessment is the first time the NAO has looked at the cost of the entire network of programmes, equipment and people needed for the UK’s nuclear deterrent between 2018 and 2028. As well as itemising completion of the current Astute submarines, the report looks at the costs of building the new Dreadnought class that will eventually replace the four Vanguard nuclear-armed boats from the early 2030s. The report showed that the top four suppliers — Rolls-Royce, BAE Systems, Babcock International and AWE Management — have won 97 per cent of contracts for nuclear defence………..https://www.ft.com/content/08d19194-5d0e-11e8-ad91-e01af256df68

May 25, 2018 Posted by | politics, UK, weapons and war | 1 Comment

USA Congress rejects move to limit new low-yield nuclear weapon.

House rejects limit on new nuclear warhead, Defense News ,Joe Gould , 24 May 18, WASHINGTON — The U.S. House on Wednesday shot down a proposed limit on the Trump administration’s pursuit of a low-yield nuclear weapon.

 

May 25, 2018 Posted by | politics, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

F-35 bombers to get B61 Mod 12 nuclear weapon

Terrifying new nuclear threat is here, Fox news    By Kris Osborn | Warrior Maven 24 May 18

The Air Force is integrating the B61 Mod 12 nuclear weapon into the F-35 this year as part of a long-range plan to deploy a nuclear-armed, dual-capable F-35 able to give commanders a wider envelope of precision nuclear attack options.

“Detailed risk reduction activities have been completed ensuring the F-35A is fully compatible with the B61-12 weapon. Planning for Block 4 nuclear certification efforts have begun in anticipation of initial B61-12 integration on the F-35A this year,” Maj. Emily Grabowski, Air Force Spokeswoman, told Warrior Maven.

The Block 4 F-35, to fully emerge in the next decade, contains more than 50 technical adjustments to the aircraft designed as software and hardware builds — to be added in six-month increments between April 2019 to October 2024, she added.

The latest version of the B61 thermonuclear gravity bomb, which has origins as far back as the 1960s, is engineered as a low-to-medium yield strategic and tactical nuclear weapon, according to nuclearweaponsarchive.org, which also states the weapon has a “two-stage” radiation implosion design.

The most current Mod 12 version has demonstrated a bunker-buster earth-penetrating capability, according to the Federation of American Scientists (FAS).

“B61-12 is designed to have four selectable explosive yields: 0.3 kilotons (kt), 1.5 kt, 10 kt and 50 kt,” FAS writes.

Utilizing speed, maneuverability and lower-altitude flight when compared to how a bomber such as a B-2 would operate, a nuclear-capable F-35 presents new threats to a potential adversary. In a tactical sense, it seems that a high-speed F-35, fortified by long-range sensors and targeting technologies, might be well positioned to identify and destroy mobile weapons launchers or other vital, yet slightly smaller on-the-move targets. ………..

Also, without providing any detail, Grabowski did add that the Air Force is working closely with industry weapons developers to actively build new weapons specifically for the F-35.

“As we gain increasing experience with the aircraft and these new weapons mature, the program will follow the requirements for incorporating future weapons,” she told Warrior. http://www.foxnews.com/tech/2018/05/24/terrifying-new-nuclear-threat-is-here.html

 

May 25, 2018 Posted by | USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Hiroshima bomb survivor Setsuko Thurlow continues her fight for a nuclear free world

The Growing Dangers of the New Nuclear-Arms Race,  The Trump Administration’s push for more nuclear weapons is part of a perilous global drive to miniaturize and modernize devices that already promise annihilation. New Yorker, By Eric Schlosser, 24 May 18,  “…….On the morning of August 6, 1945, Setsuko Thurlow, then thirteen years old, was preparing to decode messages on the second floor of the Army headquarters in Hiroshima. About twenty girls from her school worked beside her, and thousands of other middle schoolers were employed at patriotic tasks throughout the city as part of the Student Mobilization Program. Thurlow noticed a bright bluish-white flash outside the window at 8:15 a.m. She never saw the mushroom cloud; she was in it. She felt herself fly through the air, blacked out, and awoke pinned in the rubble of the collapsed building, unable to move. Lying there in silence and total darkness, she had a feeling of serenity. And then she heard the cries of classmates trapped nearby: “God, help me!,” “Mother, help me!” Someone touched her, removed the debris on top of her, and told her to crawl toward the light.

She somehow made it out safely and realized that what was left of the headquarters was on fire. A half dozen or so other girls survived, but the rest were burned alive.

The smoke and dust in the air made the morning look like twilight. As Thurlow and a few classmates left the city center and walked toward the hills, they witnessed one grotesque scene after another: dead bodies; ghostly figures, naked and burned, wandering the streets; parents desperately searching for lost children. She reached an Army training ground in the foothills, about the size of two football fields. Every inch of ground was covered with wounded people begging for water. There seemed to be no doctors, no nurses, no medical help of any kind. Thurlow tore off strips of her clothing, dipped them in a nearby stream, and spent the day squeezing drops of water from them into the mouths of the sick and dying. At night, she sat on the hillside and watched Hiroshima burn.

Thurlow was reunited with her parents. But her sister and her sister’s four-year-old son died several days later. Her sister’s face had grown so blackened and swollen that she could only be recognized by her voice and her hairpin. Soldiers threw her body and that of her son into a ditch, poured gasoline on them, and set them on fire. Thurlow stood and watched, in a state of shock, without shedding a tear. Her favorite aunt and uncle, who lived in the suburbs outside Hiroshima and appeared completely unharmed, died from radiation poisoning a few weeks after the blast.

More than seven decades later  on the afternoon of December 10, 2017, I watched Thurlow accept the Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ican). It was a remarkable moment, as she slowly walked to the podium with a cane, and the crowd in Oslo’s City Hall gave a standing ovation. After the bombing, Thurlow attended universities in Hiroshima and Lynchburg, Virginia. Later, she earned a master’s degree in social work at the University of Toronto. She married a historian and settled in Canada. She began her anti-nuclear activism in 1954, and became a leading advocate for survivors of the atomic bombings, known as the hibakusha. A few years ago, I spent time with her in Stockholm, meeting with academics and legislators to discuss the nuclear threat.  In her early eighties, she was sharp, passionate, tireless, and free of bitterness. “Today, I want you to feel in this hall the presence of all those who perished in Hiroshima and Nagasaki . . . a great cloud of a quarter of a million souls,” Thurlow said in her Nobel speech.  “Each person had a name. Each person was loved by someone. Let us insure that their deaths were not in vain.”………..https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/the-growing-dangers-of-the-new-nuclear-arms-race

 

May 25, 2018 Posted by | Japan, PERSONAL STORIES, Reference, weapons and war | Leave a comment

USA’s history of accidental dropping of nuclear bombs

Remembering A Near Disaster: U.S. Accidently Drops Nuclear Bombs On Itself And Its Allies  WUNC91.5,  24 May 18

During the Cold War, U.S. planes accidentally dropped nuclear bombs on the east coast, in Europe, and elsewhere. “Dumb luck” prevented a historic catastrophe. 
This year marks the 50th anniversary of a decision that ended a perilous chapter of the Cold War.

In 1968, the Pentagon halted a program that kept military bombers in the air, loaded with nuclear weapons to deter a Soviet attack.

The problem was the jets kept having near-catastrophic accidents.

“If you go through some of the archival evidence publicly available, it seems like once a week or so, there was some kind of significant noteworthy accident that was being reported to the Department of Defense or the Atomic Energy Commission or members of Congress,” said Stephen Schwartz, a long-time nuclear weapons analyst.

Schwartz singled out 1958 as a particularly notorious year.
“We’re actually celebrating − celebrating is probably the wrong word − but we’re marking the 60th anniversary of no fewer than eight nuclear weapons accidents this year,” Schwartz said.

Every couple of weeks, Maurice Sanders gets a reminder of one of those 1958 accidents when a car with out-of-state tags parks in front of his house just outside Florence, South Carolina. Strangers pile out and tromp around to the scrub oak forest just behind his back yard to gaze down at an odd tourist attraction.

“It’s the hole from where the bomb had dropped, years ago,” Sanders said. “I think it’s on some kind of map or something.”

The circular pit is as big around as a small house, with a pond of tea-colored water at the bottom. A fading plywood cutout that someone put up − apparently to lure more tourists − is the size and shape of the Mark 6 nuclear bomb that was dropped there by accident.

The core containing the nuclear material was stored separately on the B-47 bomber it fell from, but the high explosives that were used to trigger the nuclear reaction exploded on impact, digging the crater estimated at 35 feet deep. The blast injured six members of a nearby family and damaged their home beyond repair.

Earlier that same year, just one state farther south, a jet fighter collided with a bomber during a training exercise, and the crew jettisoned a bomb into coastal waters near Savannah, Georgia.

Two years later, in 1961, a B-52 bomber flying out of Seymour Johnson Air Force Base near Goldsboro came apart in the sky, and the two armed nuclear bombs it was carrying fell into a farming community northeast of the base. One buried itself so deeply into a tobacco field that some of its parts were never found. The other floated down on a parachute, planting its nose in the ground beside a tree.

The parachute bomb came startlingly close to detonating. A secret government document said three of its four safety mechanisms failed, and only a simple electrical switch prevented catastrophe. It was 260 times more powerful than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima and could have instantly killed thousands of people. The radioactive fallout could have endangered millions more as far north as New York City.

Safety takes back seat to readiness

The military’s name for serious nuclear weapons mishaps is “broken arrow.” The Pentagon has only officially acknowledged 32 broken arrows, but evidence compiled by the government shows there were thousands more accidents involving nuclear weapons, Schwartz said.

“Most of which were not that as serious as the 32 we know about, but some of them were quite bad,” he said.

Schwartz said a wave of serious accidents in the late 1950s through 1968 was partly due to programs that kept the U.S. on a war footing. A few planes were kept aloft 24 hours a day, ready to drop bombs on Russia.

And then there was the sheer number of weapons being made, which created more opportunities for things to go wrong.

Schwartz said by the year after the bomb fell on South Carolina, the U.S. was making almost 20 nuclear weapons a day……..

“Everything associated with nuclear weapons  the nuclear weapons delivery system, the command-and-control systems that make sure they go off when they’re supposed to and most importantly that they don’t go off when they’re not supposed to − all of these things are designed, built, operated, and maintained by human beings,” Schwartz said. “And human beings are fallible.”

Overseas accidents bring program’s end

It wasn’t the bombs the U.S. dropped on itself that finally ended the program. Rather, it was two accidents over friendly nations.

In 1966, a B-52 bomber – also flying out of Seymour Johnson – broke apart in the sky near the coast of Spain. One of its bombs dropped into the sea, and three fell on land where conventional explosives scattered radioactive material.

Then, in 1968, the burning-seat-cushion crash spread plutonium and uranium onto sea ice and into the sea off the coast of Greenland……..http://wunc.org/post/remembering-near-disaster-us-accidently-drops-nuclear-bombs-itself-and-its-allies#stream/0

May 25, 2018 Posted by | history, incidents, Reference, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

USA nuclear agency up to its old tricks – secretive over-spending on nuclear weapons

New Documents Raise Questions About Increased Nuclear Spending, A nuke agency is up to its old tricks   War is Boring,  WIB POLITICS May 22, 2018 Lydia Dennett

There are many reasons to keep certain parts of the U.S. nuclear weapons complex a secret. But fraud, waste, and abuse run rampant when the mystique and awe of nuclear bombs gets in the way of effective oversight. And it is the taxpayer who ends up suffering.

The secrets to creating a nuclear explosion and the materials to do so are kept by the National Nuclear Security Administration, a semi-autonomous agency within the Department of Energy, and it has a $1.2 trillion plan to build new nuclear warheads and facilities over the next 30 years.

But new documents obtained by the Project on Government Oversight discussing the life expectancy of nuclear weapons components show that the uranium cores may have a longer life span than originally thought. This may undermine some justifications for an expansive—and expensive—nuclear modernization plan.

Although much of the documents are redacted, likely to keep safe the most sensitive details of the U.S. nuclear enterprise, the remaining details seem to suggest that initial life-span estimates were too conservative. These initial estimates were partially used as justification for plans to build an expensive new facility and revising plans based on these findings could result in billions of savings for taxpayers.

But there’s no getting around the fact that twice now the NNSA has either obscured facts that would suggest a more limited capacity is all that’s required or has pursued an expensive plan without knowing all the facts beforehand.

In light of NNSA’s rhetoric about the aging nuclear arsenal and the desperate need for more money to modernize, POGO endeavored to determine exactly what upgrades were truly needed to support a credible nuclear deterrent. In 2013, we released a report that called for a study into the lifetime of uranium secondaries in order to determine what capacity would be required of a proposed new facility.

A study would make clear how many of these secondaries would need to be manufactured in the new building. POGO’s report on the proposed Uranium Processing Facility highlighted how the public was being kept in the dark about this number, an important justification for continued and increased funding. At the time, a number of Energy Department sources told POGO several hundred warheads had already gone through the life extension process and would not need remanufactured secondaries.

Initially, the NNSA had claimed publicly that it needed a “big box” design, a large facility that would replace several different buildings in the complex and that had the capacity to remanufacture 160-200 secondaries per year. But just a few years later the department’s own Stockpile Stewardship and Management Plan stated the need was really only 80.

Given this shift within the department, as well as a litany of design missteps, cost overruns, and poor project oversight, POGO recommended a lifetime study for uranium secondaries and a scaled-down design utilizing existing facilities.

Shortly after POGO released our UPF report, the NNSA formed a “Red Team” to review the design. That review echoed many of POGO’s findings and recommendations including the need for “significant and sustained oversight” as well as immediately scrapping the big box design.

“Design efforts on the current ‘big box,’ single structure UPF concept should be stopped while a comprehensive reevalution of program requirements and applicable design standards is undertaken,” the report stated.

The new documents from the time suggest that a study into the lifetimes of secondaries supported this decision. One of the newly obtained documents is a 2010 peer review analysis conducted by the Los Alamos National Laboratory of the life expectancy study for one nuclear warhead type, the W78. The review committee examined work and analysis done by the “life expectancy team” charged with concluding how long these secondaries will remain effective…………

NNSA’s pattern of exaggerating spending needs

A remarkably similar situation occurred with the agency’s planned plutonium operations replacement facility. The NNSA claimed the proposed Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Replacement – Nuclear Facility needed to be able to manufacture 450 plutonium cores per year. But after a lifetime study found they can last for over 150 years without significantly degrading the number plummeted to less than 80 per year, dramatically decreasing what would be required of the new building.

Congress ultimately canceled the facility when cost overruns and delays made it impossible to continue, and the NNSA is now pursuing a scaled down approach. But there’s no getting around the fact that twice now the NNSA has either obscured facts that would suggest a more limited capacity is all that’s required or has pursued an expensive plan without knowing all the facts beforehand. Either explanation is an unacceptable exploitation of taxpayer dollars.

……… Despite these nearly constant warnings and recommendations for improvement from all the four corners of the nuclear complex world, the NNSA plans to move full steam ahead with their incredibly expensive upgrade plan. A plan that is partially justified by rhetoric suggesting that age has significantly deteriorated parts of the complex.Without an independent study it’s impossible to know if these claims are true. And with NNSA’s track record, Congress would be more than justified in asking questions. Before pouring billions of dollars into this effort, Congress should commission an independent, scientist-led study by the JASON advisory group to ensure NNSA’s future spending plans match up with the overall U.S. national security needs.

This story first appeared at the Project on Government Oversight. https://warisboring.com/new-documents-raise-questions-about-increased-nuclear-spending/

May 25, 2018 Posted by | business and costs, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Walter Pincus warns U.S. Congress to be sceptical of Pentagon’s call to fund a new nuclear weapon

The Pentagon is seeking money for a new nuclear weapon. Congress should be skeptical.   https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-pentagon-is-seeking-money-for-a-new-nuclear-weapon-congress-should-be-skeptical/2018/05/18/d13fe766-59e4-11e8-8836-a4a123c359ab_story.html?utm_term=.e44ec44d91b4 By Walter Pincus May 18  Walter Pincus is a former Washington Post reporter and columnist covering national security issues.

Top Pentagon officials are telling some pretty tall tales in seeking congressional support for a new, low-yield, nuclear warhead to put on a long-range, submarine-launched ballistic missile.

Gen. John E. Hyten, commander of U.S. Strategic Command, gave the most unusual rationale when he testified on March 20 before the Senate Armed Services Committee.

The stated purpose of this new weapon is to deter the Russians from using any of their low-yield nuclear weapons — something Russian President Vladimir Putin has often threatened to do if he ever found himself being overwhelmed by NATO conventional forces, presumably in Western Europe.

The United States and its NATO allies already have about 200 low-yield nuclear bombs deployed in Europe. But Hyten and Pentagon officials say an additional weapon is needed to deter Putin’s first use of his tactical nukes, because the aircraft that would deliver our bombs, stealthy as they may be, might not be able to get through Russian defenses.

That’s where the new submarine-launched weapon would come in.

In Hyten’s presentation, should the Russians initiate the use of tactical nukes on the battlefield, the United States would launch one or two low-yield weapons from submarines, not toward the battlefield, where allies might be threatened, but toward targets in Russia.

Here’s the most interesting part: How are the Russians going to know the warheads on those incoming missiles are low-yield, and not — like most nuclear warheads delivered by our submarine-launched ballistic missiles — 10 times more powerful than the bombs used to strike Hiroshima and Nagasaki?

Hyten’s initial response to that question was to tell the senators that from launch to detonation some 30 minutes would elapse.

He then explained: “If somebody does detect that launch, they would see a single missile or maybe two missiles coming. They will realize it is not an existential threat to their country and, therefore, they do not have to respond with an existential threat.” By “existential threat” Hyten essentially meant a full-scale first strike by hundreds of U.S. warheads, designed to knock out Russia’s ability to respond and perhaps survive as a nation.

In short, Hyten suggested that Putin — or his successor — would wait 30 minutes for the incoming one or two U.S. missiles to hit Russian targets before deciding whether to launch a major nuclear response back at the United States.

Why does Hyten suggest that?

His answer was surprising: “That is what I would recommend if I saw that coming against the United States.”

Has any prior STRATCOM commander, or any other U.S. senior government official, announced publicly the United States would ride out any nuclear attack before responding?

Hyten went on to explain, “If we do have to respond, we want to respond in kind and not further escalate the conflict out of control.”

He described the new warhead as a “deterrence weapon first, and then a response weapon . . . to keep the conflict from escalating worse. It actually makes it harder for an adversary to use [a nuclear] weapon in the first place and if it does use it, it allows you to respond appropriately.”

Hyten added, “The key is a rational actor. A rational actor is the basis of all deterrent policy.”

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis made a simpler claim for developing the new warhead in testimony on May 9 before the Senate Appropriations defense subcommittee. He described the scenario Hyten used: Russia, facing defeat in a conventional battle, “would escalate to a low-yield nuclear weapon knowing that our choice would be . . . to either respond with a high-yield [nuclear weapon] or surrender — in other words, frankly suicide or surrender, because a nuclear exchange between Russia and the United States would be a disaster for this planet.”

Suicide or surrender are hardly the only choices, and Mattis should know better.

That same day, May 9, Rep. Adam Smith (Wash.), ranking Democrat on the Armed Services Committee, offered the more traditional understanding of how to deter the Russian low-yield nuclear weapon threat. It came during markup of the fiscal 2019 defense authorization bill.

Smith said, “We don’t create this notion that we can just exchange nuclear weapons and as long as they are small it will be okay. It won’t be okay.” Instead, he suggested, the response to the Russians should be, “We have over 4,000 nuclear weapons, and if you launch one, we will launch ours back at you. And we are not going to sit there and be concerned to make sure that ours isn’t bigger than yours when you started this.”

The Washington state congressman added, “If we send that message, that is a very sufficient deterrent.”

The full House Armed Services Committee ended up authorizing $65 million for development of the new low-yield, sub-launched missile and sent the measure on for an eventual vote by the full House. Meanwhile, the Senate Armed Services Committee has scheduled taking up the measure the week of May 21 where it may face more opposition than it did in the House committee. It should.

May 22, 2018 Posted by | USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

China lands nuclear strike bombers on South China Sea islands

Prepared for battle: China lands nuclear strike bombers on South China Sea islands  CHINA raised global fears after sending nuclear bombs and warplanes above the South China Sea as part of a simulated training exercise with air force officials declaring the country is “preparing for battle”. Express UK, By LATIFA YEDROUDJ May 20, 2018  Air force personnel confirmed it had ”organised multiple bombers” to conduct “take-off and landing training” along islands and reefs in the South China Sea, as practise in light of a full-scale war.

May 22, 2018 Posted by | China, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Russia building an underwater drone that can carry nuclear warheads

Russia building underwater nuclear drone that could cause TSUNAMIS as big as 2011 disaster

MOSCOW is in the process of constructing an underwater drone that can carry nuclear warheads, destroy naval bases and cause tsunamis, according to a Russian state news agency. Express UK, By CAITLIN DOHERTY18 May 18,  A source told TASS news agency the Poseidon drone will be able to carry nuclear weapons of up to two megatonnes.

The drone will operate at under-sea depths of more than 1 kilometre, and will have a speed of between 60 and 70 knots.

The source said: “It will be possible to mount various nuclear shares on the ‘torpedo’ of the Poseidon multipurpose seaborne system, with the thermonuclear single warhead.  They added it will “have the maximum capacity of up to two megatonnes in TNT equivalent”….

The Russian President said the machine would have “hardly any vulnerabilities” and would carry “massive nuclear ordinance”.

“There is simply nothing in the world capable of withstanding them.”

The name Poseidon was chosen after open voting on the Russia’s Defence Ministry website.

TASS news agency has not been able to confirm the information provided by the source.

One physicist has said a machine of this magnitude could cause as much damage as the tsunami that hit Japan in 2011.

Rex Richardson told Business Insider: “A well-placed nuclear weapon of yield in the range 20 MT to 50 MT near a sea coast could certainly couple enough energy to equal the 2011 tsunami, and perhaps much more.

“Taking advantage of the rising-sea-floor amplification effect, tsunami waves reaching 100 meters [330 feet] in height are possible.”…https://www.express.co.uk/news/world/961500/Russia-building-underwater-nuclear-drone-that-could-cause-tsunami-japan-2011

May 19, 2018 Posted by | Russia, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Serbia to set up commission to examine health effects of NATO’s use of depleted uranium

Serbia to Probe Health Impact of NATO Depleted Uranium Balkan Insight 18 May 18   The Serbian parliament will establish a commission to examine the alleged effects on public health of NATO’s use of depleted uranium ammunition during the 1999 bombing of Yugoslavia.    Serbian MPs are expected to vote on Friday to establish a parliamentary commission to determine whether NATO’s use of depleted uranium ammunition in 1999 has increased the number of cancer sufferers – despite scepticism from medical experts……..

Parliament speaker Maja Gojkovic said that she believes the commission will be able to prove the link between the use of depleted uranium ammunition and cases of cancer.

But Kyle Scott, the US ambassador to Belgrade, said that the World Health Organisation and the UN determined that depleted uranium does not pose a serious health risk……..http://www.balkaninsight.com/en/article/serbia-to-examine-depleted-uranium-effects-from-nato-bombing-05-18-2018

May 19, 2018 Posted by | depleted uranium, EUROPE | Leave a comment

US could use canceled MOX plutonium fuel plant to make new nuclear weapons

MOX got nixed. Now it could be the pits  https://beyondnuclearinternational.org/2018/05/16/mox-got-nixed-now-it-could-be-the-pits/   

May 18, 2018 Posted by | USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment