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The NSSPI News Digest is Taking a Hiatus

Posted: Aug 14, 2015 19:00 CST

The NSSPI News Digest will be taking a hiatus starting August 15, 2015. We have enjoyed bringing you the news for the past seven years, but we have decided to take a break while we evaluate the sustainability of the service. In the interim, if you use and enjoy the NSSPI News Digest and feel that it provides a valuable service to the nuclear community, we would appreciate your comments and suggestions.


Bad Intelligence Leading Us to War Again?

Posted: Aug 14, 2015 15:36 CST
Lobe Log (originally published Aug 13, 2015)

On August 6, Jeb Bush did us the tremendous favor of reminding us of the bad intelligence that led us into a strategic disaster in Iraq that has resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands—nearly 5,000 of them American. Enter David Albright, president of the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS), who (inadvertently) exposed the questionable basis for the Bloomberg column. ISIS published three commercially available satellite images of a “parking lot,” located close to a ...


Decoding The Iran Agreement: The Podcast

Posted: Aug 14, 2015 15:36 CST
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (originally published Aug 3, 2015)

Listen to our teleconference featuring arms control experts Olli Heinonen, Joan Rohlfing, and Frank von Hippel, moderated by The Atlantic’s James Fallows.


Decoding the Iran Agreement, Part 2: Jon Wolfsthal

Posted: Aug 14, 2015 15:35 CST
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (originally published Aug 13, 2015)

It's "fantasy," to believe that the United States could reject the recently concluded agreement limiting Iran's nuclear programs, return to the negotiating table, and win a more favorable deal. So argued Jon Wolfsthal, the National Security Council's senior director for arms control and nonproliferation, in a Thursday teleconference sponsored by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. The teleconference, titled "Decoding the Iran Agreement: View from the White House," was second in a series co...


Pyongsan and Sillamäe

Posted: Aug 14, 2015 15:35 CST
Arms Control Wonk (originally published Aug 13, 2015)

I am delighted that my article on the modernization of the uranium mill at Pyongsan is getting so much attention. I do, however, have to register a small reservation — partly about the coverage but mostly about my own role in it. I study nuclear weapons, so I am first and foremost interested in what the operation of the uranium mill means for North Korea’s nuclear programs. It is natural that I would focus on the possibility that the modernization of the mill means more North Korean nuclear...


Sendai Plant Begins Producing Electricity after Nearly 2 Years of Nuke-Free Nation

Posted: Aug 14, 2015 15:34 CST
Asahi Shimbun

Marking the end of 23 months of a nuclear power-free Japan, the Sendai nuclear power plant began generating and transmitting electricity on Aug. 14. At 9 a.m. on Aug. 14, utility workers connected an electrical generator with power cables from the plant’s central control room. The workers applauded when it was confirmed that the reactor began power generation and transmission for the first time in more than four years.


Comanche Peak Nuclear Power Plant Celebrates 25 Years of Powering Texas

Posted: Aug 14, 2015 15:34 CST
PR Newswire (originally published Aug 13, 2015)

Twenty-five years ago, the first of two units at Luminant's Comanche Peak Nuclear Power Plant began supplying power to the state's electric grid. That day – Aug. 13, 1990 – was the culmination of a long journey through construction and commissioning, and the beginning of a growing history of milestones and memories. Now, more than 422 million megawatt-hours later, the plant continues its long-standing record of safety, reliability and operational excellence.


UK Research on Intermediate-Level Waste Reduction

Posted: Aug 14, 2015 15:33 CST
World Nuclear News

Trials have been completed by UK companies Costain and Tetronics International of new technology for the vitrification of intermediate-level radioactive waste (ILW). The partners claim the technology could reduce the volume of such waste from the nuclear industry by up to 90%.


Supplement to the U.S. DoE Environmental Impact Statement for a Geologic Repository for the Disposal of Nuclear Fuel and Waste at Yucca Mountain (NUREG-2184)

Posted: Aug 14, 2015 15:33 CST
U.S. NRC (originally published Aug 13, 2015)

This "Supplement to the Department of Energy's Environmental Impact Statement for a Geologic Repository for the Disposal of Spent Nuclear Fuel and High-Level Radioactive Waste at Yucca Mountain, Nye County, Nevada," (supplement) evaluates the potential environmental impacts from a geologic repository for spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. This supplement evaluates the potential radiological and nonradiological impacts—over a one million year period—...


German Waste Disposal Plan Approved

Posted: Aug 13, 2015 15:05 CST
World Nuclear News

Following a strategic environmental assessment and public consultation, the German cabinet yesterday adopted a draft national radioactive waste disposal program proposed by the country's environment ministry. The ministry said that program offers a "comprehensive approach to responsible and safe disposal of all radioactive waste." For the final disposal of radioactive waste, the program proposes two locations: the former iron ore mine Konrad in Salzgitter for low- and intermediate-level waste...


Flawed Analysis by Robert Kelley in IHS Jane’s 360

Posted: Aug 13, 2015 15:04 CST

Robert Kelley has written a misleading, inaccurate report in IHS Jane’s 360 about a suspect site at the Parchin military complex and our institute’s analysis of that site. Kelley is wrong about the most obvious fact of this case. U.S. intelligence, subsequently confirmed by ISIS with satellite imagery, detected renewed activity at the site after many weeks of almost no activity there. This activity triggered concern that Iran may be trying to sanitize the site prior to the taking of environme...


North Korea Will Pursue 'Defensive' Nuclear Program: Envoy

Posted: Aug 13, 2015 15:03 CST

North Korea will pursue its "defensive," nuclear program as long as it feels threatened by the United States, its U.N. disarmament envoy in Geneva told Reuters on Thursday. In a rare interview, Ambassador So Se Pyong also denounced the latest joint U.S.-South Korean military exercises, due to start next week, saying they fanned tensions on the divided peninsula as it marks the 70th anniversary of liberation from Japanese occupation at the end of World War Two.


The Iran-North Korea Axis of Atomic Weapons?

Posted: Aug 13, 2015 15:03 CST

As U.S. lawmakers debate the Iran nuclear deal, they are rightly concerned about Iran’s refusal to disclose its past work on nuclear weapons. Not only does this refusal deprive inspectors of a baseline for monitoring Iran’s compliance; it also deprives Congress of information about the networks that Iran’s regime might most readily employ should it choose to secretly continue its quest for the nuclear bomb.


Why it’s Impossible to Hide Nuclear Work in 24 Days – or 24 Years

Posted: Aug 13, 2015 15:02 CST

One of the most misleading distortions being floated by political opponents of the Iran nuclear deal is the “24-day,” loophole meme: Iran would be able to hide all evidence of any nefarious nuclear weapons work during the 24 days it may take inspectors to gain access to a suspicious site. For starters, International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors would have continuous daily access to all Iran’s declared nuclear facilities. If Iran does not allow anytime inspections of any declared site, it c...


The NSSPI News Digest is Taking a Hiatus

Posted: Aug 13, 2015 10:28 CST

The NSSPI News Digest will be taking a hiatus starting August 15, 2015. We have enjoyed bringing you the news for the past seven years, but we have decided to take a break while we evaluate the sustainability of the service. In the interim, if you use and enjoy the NSSPI News Digest and feel that it provides a valuable service to the nuclear community, we would appreciate your comments and suggestions.


Concern about Iran’s Parchin Facility Not Supported by Images

Posted: Aug 12, 2015 16:42 CST

An Iranian parking lot labeled as a site of “intense concern,” by an influential Washington research group hasn’t shown any signs of change for at least five years, according to satellite imagery and analysts. The Institute for Science and International Security, or ISIS, said in an Aug. 7 research note that Iran’s decision to park 20 vehicles at the Parchin military complex facility was provocative. However, according to 36 satellite images spanning five years, there has always been an avera...


Water Supply to the Syrian Bombed Site

Posted: Aug 12, 2015 15:47 CST
Stockholm International Peace Research Institute

In 2007 a building at a site in northeast Syria called Al Kibar (AK) was bombed. The building presumably was a nuclear reactor under construction as assessed by the US Intelligence community with low confidence. The building apparently was bombed by Israel although it has never publicly taken credit. If the building was “very likely,” a gas cooled graphite moderated reactor, as assessed by IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano in his May 2011 report, a cooling system for the reactor core is an e...


Recent Imagery Suggests Increased Uranium Production in North Korea, Probably for Expanding Nuclear Weapons Stockpile and Reactor Fuel

Posted: Aug 12, 2015 15:46 CST
38 North

North Korea is expanding its capacity to mine and mill natural uranium. Recent commercial satellite imagery shows that, over the past year, Pyongyang has begun to refurbish a major mill located near Pyongsan that turns uranium ore into yellowcake. The renovation suggests that North Korea is preparing to expand the production of uranium from a nearby mine.


Construction Continues at Pakistan’s Khushab Site

Posted: Aug 12, 2015 15:46 CST

Construction activity in the southwest corner of Pakistan’s Khushab nuclear site is progressing. However, it is still too early to make a final judgment on the nature of the construction. Signatures visible through recent commercial satellite imagery do not permit a definitive assessment of the site’s purpose. ISIS will continue to monitor this construction.


North Korea’s Development of a Nuclear Weapons Strategy

Posted: Aug 12, 2015 15:44 CST
38 North (originally published Aug 3, 2015)

For almost six decades, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK or North Korea) has pursued a nuclear program that has gradually developed in size, complexity and capabilities from a small scientific research effort into a comprehensive effort to produce nuclear weapons. At present, North Korea is estimated to possess an inventory of 10-16 nuclear weapons that could rapidly expand by 2020. As this nuclear program has evolved, the North Korean leadership and the Korean People’s Army (K...



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Nuclear Security Science and Policy Institute
336 Zachry Engineering Center,Texas A&M University
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