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Power Plants Seek to Extend Life of Nuclear Reactors for Decades

Posted: Oct 20, 2014 16:22 CST
New York Times

The prospects for building new nuclear reactors may be sharply limited, but the owners of seven old ones, in Pennsylvania, Virginia and South Carolina, are preparing to ask for permission to run them until they are 80 years old. Nuclear proponents say that extending plants’ lifetimes is more economical — and a better way to hold down carbon dioxide emissions — than building new plants, although it will require extensive monitoring of steel, concrete, cable insulation and other components. But...

 

Cyber Security Units to Protect Russia’s Nuclear Weapons Stockpiles

Posted: Oct 20, 2014 15:56 CST
RT (originally published Oct 17, 2014)

The IT systems of all Russian nuclear weapons stockpiles will be protected by a new team of anti-hackers, the Defense Ministry said after a year-long “hunting season” for programmers. Special units of the Russian Strategic Missile Forces (SMF), responsible for the country’s nuclear weapons, will reduce the vulnerability, should it be found, in their brand-new information systems, according to the Defense Ministry’s spokesman. Titled “Sopka”, which in Russian stands for the “System of Detectio...

 

Obama Sees an Iran Deal That Could Avoid Congress

Posted: Oct 20, 2014 15:55 CST
The New York Times (originally published Oct 19, 2014)

No one knows if the Obama administration will manage in the next five weeks to strike what many in the White House consider the most important foreign policy deal of his presidency: an accord with Iran that would forestall its ability to make a nuclear weapon. But the White House has made one significant decision: If agreement is reached, President Obama will do everything in his power to avoid letting Congress vote on it. “We wouldn’t seek congressional legislation in any comprehensive agree...

 
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Sweden's Submarine Hunt Sends Cold War Chill across Baltic

Posted: Oct 20, 2014 15:54 CST
AP

Sweden’s biggest submarine hunt since the dying days of the Soviet Union has put countries around the Baltic Sea on edge. In a scene reminiscent of the Cold War, Swedish naval ships, helicopters and ground troops combed the Stockholm archipelago for a fourth day Monday for signs of a foreign submarine or smaller underwater craft that officials suspect entered Swedish waters illegally. Military spokesman Jesper Tengroth said more than 200 personnel were involved in the operation, but stressed ...

 

Time Is Right for U.S.-Iran Arms Deal

Posted: Oct 20, 2014 15:53 CST
Journal Sentinel (originally published Oct 18, 2014)

We will know before Thanksgiving if negotiators can strike a deal to confine Iran's nuclear program to purely civilian uses, or if they have let slip a historic opportunity. Our two nations are closer than ever before to an agreement, but both sides must take some big, final steps. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani may have to take the biggest of all. We are closer to resolving this issue than ever before. On Oct. 13, just ahead of meetings between Zarif, Secretary of State John Kerry and othe...

 
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Nuclear Weapons Deal with US Renewed in Secret, UK confirms

Posted: Oct 20, 2014 15:52 CST
The Guardian

The British government has just published amendments updating a treaty that goes to the heart of the UK's special relationship with the US. They relate to the Mutual Defense Agreement (MDA) first signed in 1958, which, according to the government, enables the UK and the US "nuclear warhead communities to collaborate on all aspects of nuclear deterrence including nuclear warhead design and manufacture".

 
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IAEA: Iran Taking Further Steps to Comply with Nuclear Deal

Posted: Oct 20, 2014 15:51 CST
Reuters

Iran has taken further action to comply with terms of an extended interim nuclear agreement with six world powers, a monthly U.N. atomic agency update on the accord's implementation showed on Monday. The report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), seen by Reuters, made clear that Iran is meeting its commitments under the temporary deal, as it and the major powers are seeking to negotiate a final settlement of their nuclear dispute.

 
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Top Volcano Expert Contradicts Japanese NRA on Safety Assessment

Posted: Oct 20, 2014 15:50 CST
Nuclear Street

The deadliest volcanic eruption in Japan since 1902, the Sept. 27 phreatic event at Mt. Ontake, has raised concerns that the country's two Sendai reactors may not be safe for restarts. On Friday, Toshitsugu Fujii, professor emeritus of volcanology at the University of Tokyo and the head of a government advisory panel, said the realistic ability for predicting the next Ontake eruption was ”extremely limited.”

 
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Calls to Use Yucca Mountain as a Nuclear Waste Site, Now Deemed Safe

Posted: Oct 17, 2014 16:48 CST
New York Times

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission on Thursday released a long-delayed report on the suitability of Yucca Mountain as a disposal spot for nuclear waste, finding that the design met the commission’s requirements, laying the groundwork to restart the project if control of the Senate changes hands in the elections next month. At the Bipartisan Policy Center, a nonprofit Washington group, Timothy Frazier, a former Energy Department official who heads the nuclear waste program there, said “it makes...

 
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U.S. Nonproliferation Policy Is an Invisible Success Story

Posted: Oct 17, 2014 16:45 CST
Washington Post

Fifty years ago today, the People’s Republic of China conducted its first nuclear test. This caused great alarm among American policymakers, who feared that an emboldened China would use its nuclear arsenal to promote revolution abroad and draw regional states into its political orbit. U.S. officials were also acutely concerned that the Chinese test would unleash a kind of nuclear “domino effect,” with countries like India, Japan, Australia, Indonesia, and Taiwan developing their own nuclear...

 

Ukraine's Regulatory Chief Ousted

Posted: Oct 17, 2014 15:36 CST
World Nuclear News

Ukraine dismissed 39 high-ranking officials yesterday as a new law on "power purification," came into effect. According to local newspaper Kyiv Post, the list includes the first deputy head of Ukraine's State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate (SNRI), Mikhail Gashev. Gashev was critical of Westinghouse-made nuclear fuel assemblies used in Ukrainian reactors, claiming that they were defective. Westinghouse maintained that errors had been made during fuel loading.

 
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When the Ayatollah Said No to Nukes

Posted: Oct 17, 2014 15:35 CST
Foreign Policy (originally published Oct 16, 2014)

The nuclear negotiations between six world powers and Iran, which are now nearing their November deadline, remain deadlocked over U.S. demands that Iran dismantle the bulk of its capacity to enrich uranium. The demand is based on the suspicion that Iran has worked secretly to develop nuclear weapons in the past and can't be trusted not to do so again. Iran argues that it has rejected nuclear weapons as incompatible with Islam and cites a fatwa of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei as proof. American...

 
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India Successfully Test-Fires Nuclear Capable Cruise Missile Nirbhay

Posted: Oct 17, 2014 15:34 CST
NDTV

India today successfully test-fired its potent nuclear-capable cruise missile 'Nirbhay', a state-of-the-art missile developed by the Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO). The test was conducted from the Integrated Missile Test Range in Chandipur, Odisha, days after Cyclone Hudhud hit the state's coastal region.

 
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Reading between the Red Lines: An Anatomy of Iran's Eleventh-Hour Nuclear Negotiating Strategy

Posted: Oct 17, 2014 15:34 CST
Brookings Institution (originally published Oct 16, 2014)

After yet another round of negotiations on the Iranian nuclear issue this week in Vienna, Tehran is simultaneously reinforcing its red lines while raising expectations that a final agreement remains within reach. While these might sound like mixed messages, in fact they are part of a sophisticated, multi-prong strategy aimed at pressuring Washington and its negotiating partners to accede to Tehran’s stipulations for a deal. Below, I have outlined the elements of Iran's eleventh-hour approach,...

 

Vietnam Consults Lightbridge on Research Reactor

Posted: Oct 17, 2014 15:33 CST
World Nuclear News

US-based Lightbridge Corp has extended its nuclear cooperation with Vietnam by agreeing to offer consultancy services for setting up a nuclear research Centre, including a research reactor, in the country. The company announced today that it had signed two separate agreements with the Vietnam Atomic Energy Institute (VinAtom) and Power Engineering Consulting Joint Stock Company 1 (PECC1).

 
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New York Saw 875% Higher Energy Prices Last Winter--A Nuclear Controversy

Posted: Oct 16, 2014 15:29 CST
Motley Fool (originally published Oct 15, 2014)

The state of New York gets about a third of its electricity from nuclear power plants. That's a big slice of the power pie, but there have been rumblings from nuclear opponents that these plants should be closed. And as the plants have aged, the push for closure has gained steam. Not only would that pose a problem for the state's power reliability, but it would also be a huge setback on the environmental front.

 

The Very Small Islamic State WMD Threat

Posted: Oct 16, 2014 15:28 CST
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (originally published Oct 15, 2014)

Late last month British Home Secretary Theresa May, who is responsible for immigration and policing under Prime Minister David Cameron, alarmed many citizens when she warned that the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) could “acquire chemical, biological, or even nuclear weapons to attack us.” Joseph Cirincione, president of the global-security-focused Ploughshares Fund, warned that “the risk of a terrorist attack using nuclear or chemical weapons has just gone up.” And a little later Brit...

 
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Can Iran Transparency overcome Covert Nuclear Past?

Posted: Oct 16, 2014 15:27 CST
Al-Monitor (originally published Oct 15, 2014)

A recurrent issue regarding Iran’s nuclear programs is how to address its history of covert nuclear activities, including efforts to develop nuclear weapons. Earlier this month, 354 members of US Congress sent Secretary of State John Kerry a letter warning that “Iran’s willingness to fully reveal all aspects of its nuclear program is a fundamental test of Iran’s intention to uphold a comprehensive agreement.”

 
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How Presidents Arm and Disarm

Posted: Oct 16, 2014 15:15 CST
FAS Strategic Security Blog (originally published Oct 15, 2014)

It’s a funny thing: the administrations that talk the most about reducing nuclear weapons tend to reduce the least. Analysis of the history of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile shows that the Obama administration so far has had the least effect on the size of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile of any of the post-Cold War presidencies. In fact, in terms of warhead numbers, the Obama administration so far has cut the least warheads from the stockpile of any administration ever.

 

Could China’s Nuclear Strategy Evolve?

Posted: Oct 16, 2014 15:10 CST
The Diplomat

Fifty years ago, at 7:00 GMT on October 16, 1964, China exploded its first nuclear device at the Lop Nur test site, becoming the fifth official member of the nuclear club after the U.S., the Soviet Union, the U.K. and France. This anniversary is an occasion to take stock of fifty years of Chinese nuclear strategy and reflect on its potential evolution in light of the ongoing modernization of the country’s nuclear arsenal. Overall, the analyst is faced with the problem of peering through the f...

 

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