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The ultimate nightmare (but good for military profiteers) Trump’s plan for nuclear weapons in space

Star wars returns – Free speech tv. 1 of 3

Trump’s Space Force: Military Profiteering’s Final Frontier http://progressive.org/dispatches/trumps-space-force-military-profiteerings-final-frontier-180719/

“The heavens are going to be littered with radioactive debris.”

by Harvey Wasserman July 19, 2018 

The Commander-in-Chief, President Donald Trump, has announced a new mission into the realm of martial excess. It is one is that will surely enrich the aerospace industry while spreading the global battlefield to a new dimension.

Trump is calling for the creation of a new Space Force as a sixth branch of the U.S. military, to militarize the heavens.

“It is not enough to merely have an American presence in space,” Trump told a meeting of the National Space Council in mid-June. “We must have American dominance in space.”

To this end, the President has taken a page from Ronald Reagan’s Star Wars playbook. Reagan’s scheme, according to a recent article by Karl Grossman, was built around “nuclear reactors and plutonium systems on orbiting battle platforms providing the power for hypervelocity guns, particle beams and laser weapons.”

Grossman, a journalism professor at State University of New York/College of New York and author of the book The Wrong Stuff: The Space Program’s Nuclear Threat to Our Planet, has been reporting on the militarization of space for decades, says the move will likely spur a new international competition to weaponize space.

In an interview, Grossman told me that “the Russians and Chinese are hesitant because of the high cost. But if the Americans proceed with this, all bets are off. They’re not going to sit for it. They’re going to get up there before you know it.”

“It will all be nuclear,” Grossman adds. “It’s the ultimate nightmare.”

Trump’s move contradicts the letter and spirit of the Outer Space Treaty of 1967, which was won after years of epic negotiations, mostly during the Vietnam War. The landmark United Nations accord brought the Soviet Union, China, the United States, and 120 other nations together in a monumental agreement to designate space as a global commons, reserved for peaceful purposes.

“States Parties to the Treaty undertake not to place in orbit around the Earth any objects carrying nuclear weapons or any other kinds of weapons of mass destruction, install such weapons on celestial bodies, or station such weapons in outer space in any other manner,” the treaty states.

“The Moon and other celestial bodies shall be used by all States Parties to the Treaty exclusively for peaceful purposes. The establishment of military bases, installations and fortifications, the testing of any type of weapons and the conduct of military maneuvers on celestial bodies shall be forbidden.”


Now Trump has instructed the Pentagon “to immediately begin the process necessary to establish a Space Force as the sixth branch of the armed forces; that is a big statement. We are going to have the Air Force and we are going to have the Space Force, separate but equal, it is going to be something.”

The proposal for a Space Corps as part of the Air Force could likely pass in the House but faces tougher going in the Senate.

“There’s a lot of resistance to this,” says Grossman, “because a lot of the current work is located in Colorado Springs, and in Huntsville, Alabama. So there’s geographical lobbying from the Pentagon because they thought a new Space Corps might be competition to some of the vested interest in those towns.”

“It’s hard to know how much this would cost,” says Grossman. An article in Roll Call has estimated “$500 billion or more in the coming decade.”

“The real cost will depend on how greedy the aerospace companies are,” Grossman says. “So much of space is now private business, with Elon Musk and Bezos and all kind of companies talking about making a buck out there.”

Representative Trent Franks, Republican of Arizona, seems to agree, tellingRoll Call that “a big payday is coming for programs aimed at developing weapons that can be deployed in space.”

According to Franks, “It was a Democrat mindset that caused us to step back from space-based defense assets to ostensibly not ‘weaponize space,’ while our enemies proceeded to do just that, and now, we find ourselves in a grave deficit. In every area of warfare, within the Geneva Conventions, America should be second to none. That includes satellite warfare, if it’s necessary. We cannot be victims of our own decency here.”


The 1967 Outer Space Treaty was the result of worldwide recognition that war is incredibly costly in terms of lives and resources—and that more needed to be done.

“The U.S. led the effort to de-weaponize space in the wake of Sputnik,” says Grossman. “I was told by Craig Eisendrath of the State Department that the U.S. feared the Soviet presence in space. As a model they used the Antarctic Treaty, which banned weapons down there.”

Since the mid-1980s, key players at the United Nations have tried to expand the ‘67 accord. The Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space Treatyproposed in 1985, would have banned from space all weapons, nuclear and otherwise. Canada, Russia, and China pushed hard for its ratification. But no American president has been willing to sign it. The United Nations committee working on it was dissolved in 1994. In 2008, China and Russia submitted an updated draft to the U.N. General Assembly which the United States alone has continued to oppose (Israel has abstained). Even Putin, at their infamous Helsinki presser, chided Trump about it.

Now Trump is heading where no President since Reagan has gone before. “My new national strategy for space recognizes that space is a warfighting domain, just like the land, air, and sea,” he says.

“Trump’s plan, like Reagan’s, involves laser beams, particle beams and hypervelocity guns, all of which will have to involve nuclear power,” says Grossman. “If there’s a shooting war it will be Chernobyls and Fukushimas in the sky. Some of it will come down, which will be catastrophic. And some will take millennia to fall, which means the heavens are going to be littered with radioactive debris.”

As Grossman sees it, “Of all the many, many terrible things the Trump Administration is doing, opening space to war will be the most destructive.”

 

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July 20, 2018 Posted by | USA, weapons and war | 1 Comment

All about nuclear war

All you wanted to know about nuclear war but were too afraid to ask https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/jul/16/nuclear-war-north-korea-russia-what-will-happen-how-likely-explainedThe use of a nuclear weapon is now more likely than any time since the cold war, but the probability of humanity being wiped out entirely has diminished, by Julian Borger and Ian Sample

Which countries have nuclear weapons?

There are nine countries that possess nuclear weapons. Five of these (the US, Russia, the UK, France and China) are members of the official owners club, who made their weapons early and had them legitimised in the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) signed in 1968, the key piece of international law governing nuclear weapons possession.

NPT has arguably been quite successful. In the 1960s it was widely anticipated that dozens of countries would get the bomb, as it appeared to be the fast track to clout and status on the world stage. But so far there have only been four rogue nuclear weapons states who ignored the NPT and made their own bombs. In order of acquisition, they are Israel, India, Pakistan and North Korea.

Has any country ever given up its nuclear weapons?

More countries have given up nuclear weapons programmes than have kept them, coming to believe they were more of a liability than an asset for national security.

The apartheid regime in South Africa secretly built six warheads, but dismantled the bombs and abandoned the whole programme in 1989 just before the system gave way to democracy.

Even Sweden had an advanced and ambitious plan based on heavy water reactors to build up to a hundred warheads, but gave up the project in the 1960s, preferring to spend defence funds on fighter planes.

The military juntas in both Argentina and Brazil pursued covert weapons programmes, although they stopped short of making a bomb, and the two countries gave up their programmes in the early nineties and joined the NPT.

Taiwan and South Korea began developing plutonium production programmes in the late sixties and early seventies before the US persuaded them to halt in the mid-seventies and rely on Washington for security. Japan is generally considered to have a “bomb in the basement”, in that it has all the materials and know-how to build a warhead quickly if it decided to follow that path and leave the NPT. At present that course seems unlikely.

Three successor countries to the Soviet Union – Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Belarus – inherited nuclear weapons in 1991, and all three agreed to surrender them, in Ukraine’s case in return for sovereignty guarantees from Russia that ultimately proved worthless.

In Iraq, Saddam Hussein dismantled his rudimentary nuclear weapons programme after the first Gulf war in 1991, and Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi handed over his nuclear weapons beginner’s set to the US in 2003. Their ultimate fate offers little incentive for future despots to give up their atomic dreams.

How do you make a bomb?

It is pretty difficult to make a nuclear weapon. If it was not we most likely would no longer be here. And it is difficult on two levels: making the fissile material and then constructing a device that will detonate it.

Material is fissile when the nucleus of an atom can be split by a neutron that has broken free of another atom, producing large amounts of energy and more neutrons. When those free neutrons go on to split the nuclei of other atoms, there is a chain reaction, causing a nuclear explosion.

Uranium and plutonium are used for nuclear weapons, but only specific atomic configurations, or isotopes, of those elements are fissile. The fissile isotopes used in nuclear warheads are U-235 and Pu-239. The numbers refer to their atomic weights. The biggest single challenge in making a nuclear warhead is producing enough of these isotopes from the elements found in nature.

Following the uranium path to the bomb requires converting refined uranium into a gas and then spinning it at very high speed in centrifuges to separate out the U-235, which makes up less than 1% of naturally occurring uranium. This has to be done repeatedly through “cascades” of centrifuges. Low-enriched uranium, used in civilian nuclear power, is usually 3%-4% U-235. Weapons-grade uranium is 90% enriched or more. Building enough centrifuges, and getting them to spin fast enough in unison, is the greatest technical challenge along the uranium route

Plutonium Pu-239 is produced in significant quantities by extracting it from irradiated uranium fuel that has been through a reactor. Because it is more fissile, less plutonium is required for a weapon. A sophisticated modern warhead requires as little as 2kg of plutonium, or at least three times that much uranium.
Once you have enough fissile material, you have to make it go bang. And to achieve that you have to force the atoms close enough together to trigger a chain reaction. There are two ways of doing this, and therefore two basic bomb designs.

The most rudimentary is the gun-type warhead, which involves firing one chunk of fissile material into another at high speed with conventional explosives. The Little Boy bomb dropped on Hiroshima was a gun-type device using 64kg of highly enriched uranium (HEU).

A more sophisticated bomb type, which requires less fissile material and allows the use of plutonium (which does not work in a gun-type warhead) is the implosion device, in which a sphere of HEU or plutonium is surrounded by explosives rigged to go off at exactly the same time to violently compress the core. The Fat Man bomb dropped on Nagasaki was an implosion device with about 6kg of plutonium.

What is a hydrogen bomb?

Hydrogen bomb is the colloquial term for a thermonuclear weapon, a second-generation bomb design with vastly more explosive power than a simple fission warhead.

It is a two-stage device – a primary fission bomb which detonates and compresses a secondary bomb filled with two heavy isotopes of hydrogen: deuterium and tritium (hence the name hydrogen bomb). They undergo a process of nuclear fusion, forcing the nuclei of atoms together and multiplying exponentially the amount of energy released by the device. All strategic weapons in modern arsenals are now thermonuclear, or hydrogen, bombs.

Whatever happened to nuclear disarmament?

The bargain at the heart of the NPT was that member states without nuclear weapons agreed not to acquire them, as long as the states with weapons reduced their obscenely large arsenals, capable of destroying the planet many times over. That has indeed happened, to an extent – at first as the result of arms control agreements, and then the collapse of the Soviet bloc and the end of the cold war.

From a peak of 70,000 nuclear weapons in the world at the height of the cold war, in 1985, there are now about 14,000, according to the Federation of American Scientists (FAS), still enough to end life on the planet. Then and now, the overwhelming majority (93% in 2018) of these warheads belong to the US and Russia, with between 6,000 and 7,000 apiece, although only about a quarter of those arsenals are deployed and ready for use. The rest are in reserve stockpiles or in the process of being retired and dismantled.

Of the second-tier nuclear weapons powers, again according to FAS estimates, France has 300 warheads, China 270, the UK 215, Pakistan 130-40, India 120-30, Israel 80, and North Korea between 10 and 20.

The last successful arms control agreement, the New Start treaty, was signed by Barack Obama and Dmitry Medvedev in 2010, limiting the US and Russia to 1,550 deployed strategic warheads each. The hope at the time was that the two nuclear superpowers would pursue a follow-on treaty and at one point Obama suggested he might reduce the US arsenal unilaterally by another third. But that did not happen.

What are the chances of a nuclear weapon falling into the hands of a terrorist group?

The terrorist nuclear weapon is one of the scariest scenarios the world faces. Unlike states, such groups cannot be deterred from using a weapon as the perpetrator could be very hard to identify in the wake of a blast, difficult to find, and ready to accept death as the price of inflicting devastating damage. Terrorist groups would not need expensive missiles to deliver their warheads. They could be sailed into a port in a shipping container or across land borders in the back of a truck.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the US spent substantial resources on dismantling many of its weapons and production facilities as well as ensuring that its many nuclear scientists had alternative employment so as not to be tempted to sell their wares and expertise to the highest bidder. But serious concerns about nuclear weapons security remain. Pakistan in particular is a source of anxiety as its military and intelligence services have radicalised elements within them, with links to terror groups.

There are also fears that a cash-strapped or vengeful North Korea could sell one of its warheads for the right price. A more recent emerging threat is that a rogue group could hack into a nuclear power’s command and control computers, triggering a launch, or into an early warning system, giving the impression an enemy attack is imminent.

How likely is accidental nuclear war?

As the years have passed since the cold war, it has become increasingly clear that we had several lucky escapes from nuclear weapons use during that era as the result of miscalculation or technical glitches. For example, in 1979, when a US watch officer left training tapes in the early warning system when he finished his shift, those in the incoming shift saw their screens light up with the tracks of multiple incoming Soviet missiles. It was only good judgment of the duty officers that avoided a nuclear alert.

In such situations, if the glitch is not identified lower down the chain of command and passed upwards as a seemingly genuine alert, a national leader has only a few minutes to decide whether to launch his or her country’s missiles before the apparent incoming salvo destroys them. Nearly three decades after the cold war, the US and Russia still keep hundreds of missiles on hair-trigger alert, ready to launch within minutes, in anticipation of just an occasion.

In the US system, there is no institutional check or barrier to the president launching those missiles once he has identified himself to the Pentagon war room using his nuclear codes.

What next?

Arms control will be on the agenda when Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump meet in Helsinki on Monday. One option is that the two presidents could extend the New Start treaty by another five years, as allowed for in the agreement. The biggest barrier is Trump’s distaste for any arrangement inherited from Obama. It is more likely he would argue for a more ambitious arms control agreement he could put his own name to. But Putin will be hard to convince, without the US scaling back its missile defence system, and that is unlikely at the moment.

The threat of a conflict with North Korea has receded somewhat since the Singapore summit, but it is increasingly clear that Pyongyang has no intention of disarming any time soon. The big question is what will Trump do once that becomes apparent to him.

The chances of a nuclear standoff with Iran, meanwhile, are rising. In May, Trump walked out of the 2015 nuclear agreement with Tehran, which curbed Iranian nuclear activities in return for sanctions relief. The US is now piling on sanctions and telling the world to stop buying Iranian oil. Sooner or later it is possible, likely even, that the Iranian government will stop abiding by the agreement and start stepping up its uranium enrichment and other activities. That is likely to raise tensions in the Gulf dramatically and make other regional players rethink whether to acquire nuclear weapons themselves.

Taking all these developments into consideration, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists has decided to set its “doomsday clock” to two minutes to midnight, the closest to catastrophe it has been since 1953.

Nuclear weapons in popular culture

The darkest day of the cold war produced some timeless comedy, from the classic movie of accidental apocalypse, Dr Strangelove, to the songs of the mathematician, musician and comedian, Tom Lehrer, with titles like So Long Mom (A song for WWIII), and in the UK, the civil defence sketch by Beyond the Fringe.

There are much darker works in the canon. On the Beach, in 1959, was the first major post-apocalyptic movie, in which survivors gather in Australia, the last continent left habitable. The Day After, in 1983, is even blacker. It starts with a nuclear blast obliterating a column of cars stuck on a highway as panicked people rush to try to evade the attack spreads.

More recent films, since the cold war, have dwelt on the threat of a single nuclear weapon detonated by terrorists or deranged geniuses or both. They include Broken Arrow (1996), The Peacemaker (1997) and The Sum of All Fears (2002), in which – because there is just one bomb involved – the detonation is no longer treated as an exctinction-level event. In that, art is following reality. The use of a nuclear weapon is now more likely than any time since the worst days of the cold war, but the probability of humanity being wiped out entirely by nuclear war is, for the time being, diminished.

July 18, 2018 Posted by | 2 WORLD, Reference, weapons and war | 1 Comment

Nuclear weapons states and the policy of “No First Use” (NFU)- most of them permit it

Nearly all nuclear weapon states, as a matter of policy, remain ready to use their weapons without having first suffered a nuclear attack. Council on Foreign Relations, by Ankit Panda July 17, 2018 

 Introduction Most states with nuclear weapons maintain policies that would permit their first use in a conflict. Pledges to only use these weapons in retaliation for a nuclear attack—or a no-first-use (NFU) policy—are rare. Where these pledges have been made by nuclear states, their adversaries generally consider them not credible……….


What is an NFU pledge?

A so-called NFU pledge, first publicly made by China in 1964, refers to any authoritative statement by a nuclear weapon state to never be the first to use these weapons in a conflict, reserving them strictly to retaliate in the aftermath of a nuclear attack against its territory or military personnel. These pledges are a component of nuclear declaratory policies. As such, there can be no diplomatic arrangement to verify or enforce a declaratory NFU pledge, and such pledges alone do not affect capabilities. States with such pledges would be technically able to still use nuclear weapons first in a conflict, and their adversaries have generally not trusted NFU assurances. Today, China is the only nuclear weapon state to maintain an unconditional NFU pledge……….

What is the debate in the United States on NFU?

Though the 2010 Nuclear Posture Review did not include an NFU pledge, the Obama administration considered the idea during its second term. It ultimately left U.S. nuclear declaratory policy unchanged from its 2010 iteration, which stated that the United States reserved the right to use nuclear weapons to deter nonnuclear attacks while strengthening conventional capabilities to gradually reduce the role of nuclear weapons to that of solely deterring nuclear attacks. Nevertheless, the Obama administration’s final year in office saw animated debate among proponents and opponents of an NFU declaration.

Arguments in favor of a U.S. NFU pledge. Proponents of a U.S. NFU declarationhave arguedthat not only does the United States already maintain a de facto NFU policy but that U.S. superiority in conventional weapons is sufficient to deter significant nuclear, biological, chemical, and conventional threats. Additionally, as Kingston Reif of the Arms Control Associationhas argued, “a clear U.S. no-first-use policy would reduce the risk of Russian or Chinese nuclear miscalculation during a crisis by alleviating concerns about a devastating U.S. nuclear first-strike.” 

In nuclear strategy, a first strike refers to a nuclear attack that seeks to disarm a nuclear-armed enemy before it can employ its weapons.

Other proponents pointed to an NFU policy declaration being a necessary step on the road to global nuclear disarmament, an aspirational goal of the Obama administration and a requirement for all recognized nuclear weapon states under Article VI of the NPT. Proponents also argue that U.S. resistance to an NFU declaration has harmed U.S. nonproliferation efforts.

Arguments against a U.S. NFU pledge. Critics, meanwhile, have suggested that U.S. allies in East Asia and Europe alike would not accept a unilateral U.S. NFU declaration, because it could encourage adversaries to attack with conventional weapons or to use chemical, biological, or cyber weapons. Russian conventional military advantages over U.S. allies in Europe have amplified these concerns. Critics argue that such a declaration could undercut allied commitments and encourage U.S. allies to develop their own nuclear weapons.

Within the Obama administration in 2016, Secretary of State John Kerry, Secretary of Defense Ash Carter, and Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz opposed an NFU declaration, primarily along these lines. These officials shared the view of NFU skeptics that a U.S. declaration would embolden adversaries, weaken allied commitments, and invite brinkmanship.

How does the president’s authority to use nuclear weapons relate to questions of first use?

Since the Trump administration’s inauguration, the issue of presidential launch authorization has been of interest to lawmakers, precipitated by the president’s calls to expand the U.S. arsenal and threats against North Korea. In 2017, for the first time in forty-one years, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee held a hearing on the president’s ability to use nuclear weapons. Also in 2017, Representative Ted W. Lieu of California and Senator Edward J. Markey of Massachusetts, both Democrats, introduced bills to restrict the first use of nuclear weapons by the president without a congressional declaration of war, but some experts say this would not have meaningful effect on Trump’s ability to use nuclear weapons first.

What are the nuclear use policies of other nuclear weapon states?

Today, eight states acknowledge that nuclear weapons play a role in their national defense policies. Each of these states—China, France, India, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States—has conveyed through official statements and documents a certain declaratory nuclear policy, detailing the conditions under which they might use these weapons. Another state, Israel, has not publicly acknowledged that it possesses nuclear weapons but is widely considered a nuclear state.

Russia. In 1993, Russia released a military doctrine that formally abandoned a 1982 pledge by Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev not to use nuclear weapons first in a conflict. This pledge was never seen as credible by NATO leaders in the final years of the Cold War. A French diplomat, writing in 1999, observed [PDF] that even after Brezhnev’s declaration, “military records of the Warsaw Pact that fell into German hands demonstrated beyond doubt that Russian operational plans called for the use of nuclear and chemical weapons in Germany at the onset of hostilities, even if NATO forces were using only conventional weapons.” The 1993 military doctrine said that the country’s nuclear weapons would never be used against nonnuclear states that were members of the NPT, except those that were allied with a nuclear state. Today, Russian’s military doctrine says [PDF] the country will use nuclear weapons against attacks by conventional forces that represent an existential threat to the country or in retaliation for a nuclear or WMD attack.

China. Under stated Chinese posture, the country would expect to first absorb a nuclear attack before using its own nuclear forces to retaliate. While this has held constant since China’s first nuclear test, there is a debate today in the country over the continuing advisability of an NFU posture. For decades, China sought to make its NFU pledge appear credible by separating its ballistic missile and warhead units; under these circumstances, China’s intention to use nuclear weapons before first suffering a nuclear attack would ostensibly be easily detectable. So far, there have been no public caveats to China’s NFU policy, but some U.S. and Indian strategists doubt the credibility of China’s pledge. China has been able to maintain its NFU pledge because it has invested so heavily in conventional military modernization, making it unlikely that it would consider nuclear escalation in a conventional war. China has publicly called on nuclear weapon states to create and join a multilateral NFU treaty—what it has called [PDF] a Treaty on Mutual No-First-Use of Nuclear Weapons.

UK. The country maintains an ambiguous nuclear posture that does “not rule in or out the first use of nuclear weapons,” according to the UK Ministry of Defense’s 2010–2015 policy paper on the country’s nuclear deterrent. In 1978 and 1995, the UK reiterated a commitment to not use nuclear weapons against nonnuclear states in the NPT.

France. France has maintained a first-use nuclear posture since it first developed and tested nuclear weapons during the Cold War. France’s posture emerged from its Cold War–era fears of abandonment by the United States, which led to the country’s withdrawal from NATO in 1966 to pursue an independent nuclear capability, giving France the sovereign ability to determine how and when it would use its nuclear weapons. France pioneered the concept of a prestrategic strike for a conventional invasion, threatening limited nuclear first use as a way to signal that it was contemplating escalation to the strategic nuclear level. France rejoined NATO in 2009but kept its nuclear forces outside of NATO’s defense coordination mechanisms. French forces today have inherited that legacy of independence and maintain a first-use posture to deter any type of attack on or invasion of France.

India. India maintains a declared NFU posture, with exceptions for chemical and biological weapons attacks. In its 1999 draft nuclear doctrine, India announced that it “will not be the first to initiate a nuclear strike, but will respond with punitive retaliation should deterrence fail.” The public summary of India’s final nuclear doctrine, released in 2003, says that “in the event of a major attack against India, or Indian forces anywhere, by biological or chemical weapons, India will retain the option of retaliating with nuclear weapons.” Indian public statements on nuclear weapons continue to emphasize the NFU policy, without acknowledging the exceptions carved out explicitly in the official doctrine.

Pakistan. Pakistan has not ruled out nuclear first use to deter what it sees as an overwhelming Indian quantitative advantage in conventional forces. Islamabad has left the exact threshold for its nuclear use ambiguous. Pakistani officials and strategists have been consistent in their support of a first-use posture, with the exception of former President Asif Ali Zardari, who voiced support for an NFU posture early in his term, in 2008. Today, there is no serious push in Pakistan to reconsider the country’s first-use posture.

North Korea. North Korea has not ruled out nuclear first use to deter a preemptive strike or invasion by the United States and its allies. If the country were to detect an imminent U.S. or allied attack, it would use nuclear weapons on military installations in East Asia and in Guam. North Korea’s intercontinental-range ballistic missiles would not be used first but would deter retaliatory nuclear use or an invasion by the United States against its territory. The exception to this might be a scenario in which North Korea fears a first strike by the United States to eliminate the country’s leadership.

Israel. Israel has neither confirmed nor denied its possession of nuclear weapons but is thought to have developed a limited arsenal more than fifty years ago, effectively becoming the world’s sixth nuclear weapon state. In line with this policy of nuclear opacity, Israel has made no authoritative declarations on how it would use nuclear weapons. In the late 1960s, Prime Minister Golda Meir and President Richard Nixon came to an understanding, with Meir offering assurances that Israel would “not be the first to introduce nuclear weapons to the Middle East” but that it would also “not be the second to introduce this weapon.” https://www.cfr.org/backgrounder/no-first-use-and-nuclear-weapons

July 18, 2018 Posted by | 2 WORLD, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Russia’s huge nuclear submarine on show in Finland as Trump arrives for summit with Putin

Putin to show off huge nuclear submarine just south of Helsinki as summit with Trump sails up  Barents Observer The Oscar-II class vessel is similar to the Kursk that sank in the Barents Sea in 2000. By Thomas Nilsen, July 11, 2018 

The Russian navy on Wednesday confirms the participation of “Orel” nuclear powered submarine sailing together with the convoy of Northern Fleet warships en route from Severomorsk on the Kola Peninsula towards St. Petersburg.

“The first group includes the large anti-submarine ship “Severomorsk” and the nuclear submarine missile cruiser “Orel”, the press service of the Northern Fleet says in a noteposted on the Defense Ministry’s portal Wednesday evening.

Also, the recently modernized missile cruiser “Marshal Ustinov” and the brand new frigate “Admiral Gorshkov” are sailing in the same navy group, as previously reported by the Barents Observer.

The Russian warships are Wednesday evening in Skagerrak south of Norway and will during the next 24 hours pass through Storebælt in Denmark. The route continues south of Bornholm, then north along the east side of the Swedish island of Gotland before turning east into the Gulf of Finland.

Arrival in the Gulf of Finland is expected within a few days, the Northern Fleet writes.

This means Putin will have one of his navy’s largest nuclear-powered submarines sailing just south of Helsinki either a day or two before the summit, or about the same time as the historical meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump takes place on July 16th.

The ships are sailing towards Kronstadt outside St. Petersburg where they will participate in the annual Navy Parade taking place on July 29th……..  https://thebarentsobserver.com/en/security/2018/07/large-russian-nuclear-submarine-sails-scandinavian-waters, 

July 16, 2018 Posted by | Russia, weapons and war | 1 Comment

Donald Trump ready to go to war against Iran?

Don’t Let Trump Go to War With Iran https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2018/07/dont-let-trump-go-to-war-with-iran/565082/ Fifteen years after the U.S. entered Iraq, the president is inching us closer to another unnecessary fight. 

July 16, 2018 Posted by | Iran, politics international, USA, weapons and war | 2 Comments

UK’s Ministry of Defence secretive about safety ratings for the Trident nuclear weapons system

Trident nuclear safety ratings kept secret by MoD, Herald Scotland, Rob Edwards , 14 July 18

THE Ministry of Defence has refused to reveal official safety ratings for the Trident nuclear weapons system and nuclear-powered submarines on the Clyde, citing “national security”.

The annual ratings, and the reports that justified them, were published for ten years by the MoD, uncovering a series of concerns about spending cutbacks, staff shortages and accidents. But now ministers have clamped down and decided that they can’t release any findings at all on security grounds.

Experts have accused the MoD of trying to evade public scrutiny, hide “cock-up and incompetence” and endanger public safety. But the MoD has insisted that the secrecy had not prevented independent assessment of the nuclear programme, which met “all the required standards”.

Safety during the refurbishment, transportation and storage of Trident nuclear warheads, along with the operation of the UK reactor-powered submarine fleet based at Faslane near Helensburgh, is regulated by the Defence Nuclear Safety Regulator (DNSR). Unlike the civil nuclear power industry, which is overseen by the independent Office for Nuclear Regulation, DNSR is part of the MoD.

After a prolonged freedom of information battle, the MoD started publishing DNSR annual reports from 2005. They were released over ten years until 2014-2015, highlighting issues as “regulatory risks” 86 times, including 13 rated as high priority, 50 as medium priority and 23 as low priority.

…… In November 2018 the Sunday Herald revealed that the MoD had abruptly decided to stop publishing the annual DNSR reports to protect national security. Last week the defence minister, Guto Bebb, went further, refusing to give any indication of even the headline summaries of the reports covering the last three years…….The Scottish National Party attacked the MoD’s secrecy. “This is simply not good enough and the MoD have a bad track record on transparency,” said the party’s defence spokesperson, Stewart McDonald MP.

“Safety and security are paramount when it comes to anything nuclear – and we need to be confident that is always the case.”

The independent nuclear engineer, John Large, described national security as a “flimsy excuse” for hiding nuclear safety issues. He suggested that the four Vanguard submarines that carry Trident warheads will all have to be brought into dock for unplanned overhauls because of problems with the ageing reactors that drive them.

“There is good reason to believe that both human resource and technical issues are continuing to impact on the reliability and full strength deployment of both the hunter-killer and Vanguard nuclear-powered submarines,” he said.

“The suppression of if and how the Royal Navy is reaching its nuclear safety targets is of great concern because within the MoD’s hierarchal review structure there is no opportunity for independent assessment. In effect, the buck stops short of a faceless admiral, whose primary duty of providing the nuclear deterrent overrides the safety of the public at large.”…..

Professor Andy Stirling, a nuclear expert from the University of Sussex, warned that secrecy could hide public dangers. “The British military nuclear establishment is increasingly seeking to escape public scrutiny and democratic accountability,” he said.

“The MoD is using the trump card of security to quash reasonable questions. History shows how dangerous this state of affairs can be, and how essential it is to achieve healthy transparency.”

……… Nuclear safety risks identified in reports by the Defence Nuclear Safety Regulator2014-15: five risks – shortage of engineers “the principal threat to the delivery of nuclear safety”

2013-14: eight risks – sustainability of the necessary nuclear skill set “remains fragile”

2012-13: eight risks – ageing nuclear submarines require attention “to ensure maintenance of adequate safety performance”

2011: eight risks – “lack of adequate resource to deliver the defence nuclear programmes safely”

2010: eight risks – danger of accidents “progressively worse” because of “painful” spending cutbacks

2009: nine risks – spending cuts meant that it was no longer possible to ensure that nuclear activities “remain safe”

2008: nine risks – some areas “barely resourced” to deliver nuclear safety

2007: 11 risks – “potentially significant risks” at nuclear sites across the UK

2006: 11 risks – “crew fatigue” could cause hazards during the road transport of nuclear weapons

2005: nine risks – “slow progress in implementing the regulation framework for the nuclear weapons programme” http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/16355206.trident-nuclear-safety-ratings-kept-secret-by-mod/

July 16, 2018 Posted by | safety, UK, weapons and war | Leave a comment

US to open new military bases in Iraq, Kuwait

US to open new military bases in Iraq, Kuwait: Reports , Press TV , 14 July 18   

New reports say the United States will open new bases in Iraq and Kuwait in defiance of widespread calls to end its military presence in the region.

The Erbil-based BasNews reported on Friday that the US is planning to inaugurate its third military base in Iraq, near the town of al-Qa’im in western Anbar Province bordering Syria.

The report quoted a source from Anbar Province as saying that the new American facility will join the already operating US airbases in Iraq, namely Ain al-Assad in Anbar and Habbaniya, both in Anbar.

The source also noted that the new base will oversee several Anbar cities, the western desert of Iraq and the strategic international road connecting Baghdad to Damascus………

Iraqi officials have in numerous occasions called on the US-led coalition forces to withdraw from their homeland.

Separately on Friday, Kuwait’s al-Rai newspaper reported that the US will soon open a major military air hub near the country’s international airport.

Citing a statement from the US command in Kuwait, the Kuwaiti daily said the facility is intended to serve as a strategic military logistics supply point and the largest aerial port of debarkation in the Middle East.

The facility, the statement said, is further meant to fill the gap until the opening of West Al-Mubarak Airbase in Kuwait in 2023.

“Once finished, the total functional space at ‘Cargo City’ will feature an area of nearly 33,000 square meters,” said Captain Sean Murphy, a civil engineering flight officer in charge of the $32 million project……https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2018/07/14/568063/Iraq-Anbar-Kuwait-base

 

July 16, 2018 Posted by | MIDDLE EAST, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

USA to send f B61 guided nuclear gravity bombs to NATO bases in European countries, including Turkey. 

US to send next-generation nuclear weapons to Turkey: Russian report  http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/us-to-send-next-generation-nuclear-weapons-to-turkey-russian-report-13407  Nerdun Hacıoğlu – MOSCOW 6 July 18 

Russian state media claimed on July 2 that the United States is preparing to send the next generation of B61 guided nuclear gravity bombs to NATO bases in European countries, including Turkey.

The U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (DOE/NNSA) and the U.S. Air Force completed two non-nuclear system qualification flight tests of the B61-12 gravity bomb on June 9 at Tonopah Test Range in Nevada, according to a June 29 statement by DOE/NNSA.

The test, which was reportedly the first of its kind, was aimed at extending the B61 bomb’s service life by adapting it to next generation aircraft, including B-2A Spirit Bomber.

“The B61-12 LEP will consolidate and replace the existing B61 bomb variants in the [U.S.] nuclear stockpile. The first production unit is on schedule for completion in fiscal year 2020,” the statement said.

Russia’s state-run RIA news agency claimed on July 2 that the nuclear bomb will also be adapted to the F-35 aircrafts.

“The United States continues to invest in weapons of mass destruction. The NATO bases in Turkey, Germany and Italy will receive the new bombs in 2020,” Russian nuclear expert Alexandr Jilin was quoted as saying by the agency.

The United States has a total of 150 nuclear weapons in five NATO member countries, including Turkey, according to a report on worldwide nuclear arms prepared by the Turkish Parliament in October 2017.

Among those weapons, B61 type bombs are still in the İncirlik air base in the southern Turkish province of Adana.

According to data from the Federation of American Scientists (FAS), the number of B61s in Turkey is estimated to be nearly 50.

U.S. officials neither confirm nor deny reports about NATO’s nuclear weapons in Turkey.

July 7, 2018 Posted by | EUROPE, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Britain should clean up its fleet of decaying cold war nuclear-powered submarines

 New Statesman 4th July 2018 ,Since the 1960s, the Navy has put 30 nuclear-powered submarines into
action, and 20 of these have since been retired, yet none of these 20 have
been dismantled.

HMS Dreadnought, Britain’s first ever nuclear submarine,
has been de-fuelled but is still waiting for scrapping – despite being
taken out of service in 1980. It is one of the 11 submarines retired beforethe turn of the century that are still inexplicably moored in British
ports. Given

Theresa May’s recently announced £600m boost to submarine
funding, one can’t help looking at the 20 decaying subs and wondering if
potential savings are being missed. Between 2010-16 alone, £16m was spent
on upkeep costs for subs that will never sail again. In a time when
efficiency is the watchword for the MOD, perhaps we should begin by dealing
with our fleet of Cold War relics.
https://www.newstatesman.com/politics/uk/2018/07/nuclear-submarines-britain-quietly-forgot-about-cost-16m

July 7, 2018 Posted by | UK, wastes, weapons and war | Leave a comment

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo faces delicate task of negotiating with North Korea on reducing nuclear weapons

Mike Pompeo under pressure to secure nuclear progress in North Korea visit , Guardian Justin McCurry in Tokyo and agencies 5 Jul 2018   Secretary of state faces pressure to establish timeline for denuclearisation as well as duty to reassure regional allies  Weeks after Donald Trump declared the world a safer place following his historic summit with Kim Jong-un, Mike Pompeo is due to arrive in Pyongyang on Friday amid growing doubts over the regime’s willingness to abandon its nuclear weapons.

Unnamed US intelligence officials also concluded that North Korea does not intend to completely give up its nuclear stockpile.

Pompeo will also use his visit to consult and reassure Washington’s allies in the region, with meetings planned with Japanese and South Korean officials in Tokyo on Sunday. Japan has voiced support for the leaders’ Singapore declaration, but reacted cautiously to Trump’s decision to cancel a joint US-South Korea military exercise scheduled for August.

Pompeo must establish how far North Korea’s nuclear and missile programmes have advanced before US officials can even attempt to draw up a potential timeline for America’s central demand – their complete, irreversible and verifiable dismantlement [CVID].

At present, the US has no reliable information on where all of North Korea’s production and testing facilities are located or the size of its ballistic inventory.

In a tweet this week, Trump said Washington and Pyongyang had been having “many good conversations” with North Korea over denuclearisation. “In the meantime, no Rocket Launches or Nuclear Testing in 8 months, he said. “All of Asia is thrilled. Only the Opposition Party, which includes the Fake News, is complaining. If not for me, we would now be at War with North Korea!”

Sceptics have pointed out that Kim no longer believes such tests are necessary now that the North has successful developed an intercontinental ballistic missile, and that dismantling North Korea’s missile and nuclear infrastructure represents a much tougher diplomatic challenge that could take years and cost billions of dollars, if it happens at all.

“Denuclearisation is no simple task,” Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association, wrote in a commentary. “There is no precedent for a country that has openly tested nuclear weapons and developed a nuclear arsenal and infrastructure as substantial as the one in North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons.”

Experts have played down Trump’s upbeat appraisal of his 12 June meeting with Kim in Singapore, where the leaders made a loose commitment to work towards the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula and agreed goodwill measures such as the possible return of the remains of US soldiers from the 1950-53 Korean war.

There are signs Pompeo might abandon all-or-nothing demands for CVID and replace them with incremental steps that South Korea has reportedly suggested would be more likely to secure Kim’s cooperation…….https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/jul/05/mike-pompeo-north-kroea-visit-pressure-nuclear-progress

July 6, 2018 Posted by | North Korea, politics international, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

The entire USA nuclear weapons industry depends on the civilian nuclear industry

This loss of nuclear competence is being cited by nuclear and national security experts in both the U.S. and in Europe’s nuclear weapons states as a threat to their military nuclear programs. The White House cited this nuclear nexus in a May memo instructing Rick Perry, the Secretary of Energy, to force utilities to buy power from unprofitable nuclear and coal plants. The memo states that the “entire US nuclear enterprise” including nuclear weapons and naval propulsion, “depends on a robust civilian nuclear industry.”

A Double First in China for Advanced Nuclear Reactors, https://spectrum.ieee.org/energywise/energy/nuclear/a-double-first-in-china-for-advanced-nuclear-reactors  By Peter Fairley   5 July 18  Call it the world’s slowest photo finish. After several decades of engineering, construction flaws and delays, and cost overruns — a troubled birth that cost their developers dearly — the most advanced commercial reactor designs from Europe and the United States just delivered their first megawatt-hours of electricity within one day of each other. But their benefits — including safety advances such as the AP1000’s passive cooling and the EPR’s airplane crash-proof shell — may offer too little, too late to secure future projects.

Both of the design debuts happened in China late last month. On Thursday, June 29 a 1,400-MW EPR designed in France and Germany synced up to the grid at the Taishan nuclear power plant. The next day the U.S.-designed 1,117-MW AP1000 delivered first power at China’s Sanmen plant.

Both projects are coming online years behind schedule, and they are still at least several months away from full commercial operation. But the real problem for the AP1000 and the EPR are the designs’ unfinished Western debuts.

Delays are commonplace in the nuclear industry. For instance, the Korean-built nuclear reactors originally due to begin starting up last year in the United Arab Emirates were recently pushed back to late 2019 or early 2020. But the AP1000 and EPR troubles are in a different league.

The AP1000 is designed to passively cool itself during an accidental shutdown, theoretically avoiding accidents like the one at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi. But AP1000 developer Westinghouse declared bankruptcy last year due to construction troubles, particularly at dual-reactor plants for utilities in Georgia and South Carolina. The latter abandoned their pair of partially built AP1000s after investing US $9 billion. The Georgia plant, initiated in 2012, is projected to be completed five years late in 2022 and at a cost of $25 billion — $11 billion more than budgeted.

Delays for the EPR, whose dual-layered concrete shield protects against airplane strikes, contributed to the breakup of Paris-based nuclear giant Areva in 2015. And the first EPR projects in France and Finland remain troubled under French utility Electricité de France (EDF), which absorbed Areva’s reactor business, Fromatome. The Finnish plant, started in 2005 and expected to take four years, is currently slated for startup next year, and deadlines continue to come and go. In June, Finnish utility Teollisuuden Voima Oyj announced that startup had slid another four months to September 2019.

The troubled EPR and AP1000 projects show that U.S. and European firms have lost competence in nuclear construction and management. ”It’s no coincidence that two of the four AP1000s in the U.S. were abandoned, and that the EPRs that started much earlier than Taishan’s in Finland and France are still under construction,” says nuclear energy consultant Mycle Schneider, principal author of the annual World Nuclear Industry Status Report. “The Chinese have a very large workforce that they move from one project to another, so their skills are actually getting better, whereas European and North American companies haven’t completed reactors in decades,” says Schneider.

This loss of nuclear competence is being cited by nuclear and national security experts in both the U.S. and in Europe’s nuclear weapons states as a threat to their military nuclear programs. The White House cited this nuclear nexus in a May memo instructing Rick Perry, the Secretary of Energy, to force utilities to buy power from unprofitable nuclear and coal plants. The memo states that the “entire US nuclear enterprise” including nuclear weapons and naval propulsion, “depends on a robust civilian nuclear industry.”

letter sent to Perry last month by 75 former U.S. military, industrial and academic leaders adds to the nexus argument, citing a statement from the Trump Administration’s 2018 Nuclear Posture Review about the United States’ inability to produce enriched uranium for nuclear weapons. “Re-establishing this capability will be far easier and more economical with a strong, thriving civil nuclear sector,” write the signatories.

Heavy dependence on China, meanwhile, puts the global nuclear industry in a vulnerable position. Total nuclear generation declined last year if one takes out China, notes Schneider. And he says a Chinese nuclear growth gap is coming since it hasn’t started building a new reactor in 18 months.

For more than a decade, the AP1000 has been the presumed successor to China’s mainstay reactors, which employ a 1970s-era French design. Areva’s EPR was a fallback option. The Chinese government may now wait to see how the first reactors actually operate before it approves a new wave of reactor construction.

All the while, nuclear is falling further behind renewable solar and wind power. As Schneider notes, the 3.3 GW of new nuclear capacity connected to the grid worldwide in 2017 (including three in China and a fourth in Pakistan built by Chinese firms) pales in comparison to the 53 GW of solar power installed in China alone.

 

July 6, 2018 Posted by | China, politics, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

USA’s B61-12 gravity bomb of limited usefulness, but enormous cost.

Air Force conducts flight testing on new nuclear bomb — but do they need it? SOFREP News, BY ALEX HOLLINGS 07.04.2018  Late last week, the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) and the U.S. Air Force announced two successful “end to end” non-nuclear system qualification flight tests aboard B-2 Spirits for the newest nuclear bomb to enter into the American arsenal, the B61-12 gravity bomb.

These tests are intended to determine how effectively the bombs can be loaded onto aircraft and deployed using existing methodologies and procedures. Incorporating this new bomb design into existing processes is important for multiple reasons: specialized training for specific weapons systems would dramatically increase the overall cost of the platform’s introduction, and because the B61-12 gravity bomb is slated to slowly replace America’s existing stockpile of B61 nuclear bomb variants, it’s important that the new bombs blend seamlessly into the force. It will take time to transition the old platforms into new ones, and in the meantime, the whole family of B61 bombs needs to be able to play well with one another.

……… Despite rising concerns about the growing expense related to the B61-12 program, these new platforms are expected to enter service within the next two years, phasing out existing B61-3, -4, -7, and -10 bombs by 2025. The last legacy bombs to remain in the arsenal will be the B83-1 and B61-11 gravity bomb, both of which possess superior penetration capabilities intended to access and destroy bunkers and other underground facilities.

…….. Unlike nuclear missiles, the B61 family of bombs are simply dropped over their targets the old-fashioned way, using a tail section for stability and offering no further propulsion or navigation.

With America looking to maintain its reliance on the B-52 Stratofortress as integral to the airborne portion of the nuclear triad, it’s hard to imagine a conflict that could see these bombs being dropped from the aging platform at all. The Air Force acknowledges that the B-52 is too slow and lacks the stealth to fly into contested airspace (where such a bomb would almost certainly be used), and the B-2 is currently slated for retirement once the new B-21 Raider enters service. ……..https://sofrep.com/105418/air-force-conducts-flight-testing-on-new-nuclear-bomb-but-do-they-need-it/

July 6, 2018 Posted by | business and costs, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Rocketing costs add to concern that USA’s B61-12 nuclear gravity bombs might not be useful anyway

B-2 Flies First ‘End-To-End’ Tests With New Nuclear Bomb Amid Growing Cost Concerns
The B61-12 nuclear gravity bombs are set to enter service in 2020 and already cost nearly twice their literal weight in gold. The Drive, BY JOSEPH TREVITHICKJULY 2, 2018 

The U.S. Air Force, in cooperation with the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration, has completed the first end-to-end qualification flight tests of the new B61-12 nuclear gravity bomb on the B-2 bomber. This milestone comes amid continued concerns about the weapon’s cost, including the recent announcement that the Pentagon’s top internal watchdog has started its own audit of the program.

On June 29, 2018, the National Nuclear Security Administration, or NNSA, revealed the two successful test flights in an official press release. A B-2A Spirit stealth bomber from the Air Force’s 419th Test and Evaluation Squadron, situated at Edwards Air Force Base in California, had dropped the weapons, which did not carry live nuclear warheads, on the Tonopah Test…..

The full stockpile of approximately 400 bombs is supposed to be combat ready by 2025. The B-2A, along with various dual-purpose combat jets, such as the F-16C/D Viper and F-15E Strike Eagle, will be able to carry these weapons. The Air Force plans to integrate the B61-12 on the F-35A Joint Strike Fighter and B-21 Raider bomber in the future, too.

………. while the U.S. military insists that the B61-12 offers superior capabilities compared to the existing bombs and will allow it to consolidate its inventory of B61 bombs, the project has proven to be time-consuming and very costly. On June 28, 2018, a day before NNSA announced the successful test flights, the Department of Defense’s Office of Inspector General announced it was reviewing the price and management of the tail kit portion of the program.

Our objective is to determine whether the Air Force is developing the B61-12 Tail Kit Assembly within cost, schedule, and performance requirements,” the office said in an associated press release. “We will consider suggestions from management on additional or revised objectives.”

This is hardly the first time a U.S. government agency has taken a look into the program, either. In May 2018, the Government Accountability Office, a Congressional watchdog, released its own review of the project.

“GAO recommended in a January 2018 report that NNSA document and justify such decisions, in part because GAO’s prior work has shown that independent cost estimates historically are higher than programs’ cost estimates because the team conducting the independent estimate is more objective and less prone to accept optimistic assumptions,” the May 2018 report said. “In response to the January 2018 report, NNSA agreed to establish a protocol to document management decisions on significant variances between program and independent cost estimates, but it has not yet provided evidence that it has done so.”

Providing an accurate scope of the costs for both the bomb and the tail kit, which are managed and therefore budgeted for separately, has been a major source of controversy from the beginning. Just between 2011 and 2012, NNSA’s estimate of the program’s price tag grew from $4 billion to $10 billion, which did not include the cost of the tail kit and various other ancillary components.

This prompted criticism both within sectors of the U.S. government and among advocacy groups. In 2012, the non-profit Ploughshares Fundamong others, noted that this revised cost split among the 400 700-pound nuclear bombs meant that each one would literally be worth more than its weight in gold. At the current price of gold at the time of writing, each one of the B61-12s could actually be worth nearly twice as much per pound.

A significant increase in cost could magnify existing criticisms, as well as questions about whether or not B61s of any kind still have a place in the U.S. military’s over-arching nuclear modernization plans. The Nuclear Posture Review argues that the gravity bombs, despite their low-yield settings, do nothing to deter potential opponents, primarily Russia, from engaging in a limited nuclear confrontation.

Though this basic premise is highly debatable, under this logic, the utility of the gravity bombs becomes particularly questionable. The U.S. military has deemed the B-52H bomber too vulnerable to deliver nuclear gravity bombs in a future conflict and is rapidly approaching that conclusion, right or wrong, with regards to dual-use combat jets.

………… There is also a separate concern about whether the improved capabilities of the B61-12 will make it more “usable” and, in turn, increase the possibility of a nuclear conflict. It is always important to note that the United States does not have a “no first use” policy, which means it reserves the right to use nuclear weapons in retaliation for non-nuclear actions in certain circumstances, something we at the War Zone have explored in detail in the past. ………. Contact the author: jtrevithickpr@gmail.com      http://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/21903/b-2-flies-first-end-to-end-tests-with-new-nuclear-bomb-amid-growing-cost-concerns

July 6, 2018 Posted by | USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Fear over nuclear war runs high 50 years after nonproliferation treaty

http://thehill.com/opinion/international/395602-fear-over-nuclear-war-runs-high-50-years-after-nonproliferation-treaty 

July 6, 2018 Posted by | 2 WORLD, weapons and war | Leave a comment

US-UK Mutual Defense Agreement (MDA) of 1958 underpins UK-USA ‘s joint nuclear arms race

David Lowry’s Blog 4th July 2018 , On 3 July 1958 the United States Government signed a bilateral agreement
with the UK, the effect of which has for sixty years to completely undermine the moral authority of Washington and London to preach to atomic aspirant countries that nuclear weapons are bad for national security; and civilian nuclear activities should be kept separate from any military uses.

This deal – often called the US-UK Mutual Defense Agreement (MDA) on atomic energy matters (in which the word defence is spelled with an ‘s’, even in the official UK Treaty series version, indicating its political provenance) – is the agreement that provided the underpinning framework for the subsequent Polaris and Trident nuclear weapons of mass destruction deals with US, as well as facilitating the testing of British nuclear warheads in Nevada, after the 1963 partial nuclear test ban treaty halted the atmospheric testing of nuclear explosive devices.
http://drdavidlowry.blogspot.com/2018/07/how-us-uk-mutual-defense-agreement.html

July 6, 2018 Posted by | UK, weapons and war | Leave a comment