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Updating Nuclear Weapons Arsenal Requires Renewed Focus, Steady Funding

Posted: Oct 30, 2014 15:32 CST
National Defense (originally published Oct 29, 2014)

The United States went on a two-decade “procurement holiday” when it came to updating its nuclear weapons arsenal and its delivery systems, but now the bill is coming due, the head of the National Nuclear Security Administration said Oct. 29. “There are many issues associated with management of the nuclear security enterprise in both [the Department of Energy] and the [Defense Department] that, quite frankly, we have to fix,” said retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Frank G. Klotz, the Energy Departm...

 

Security Implications of the Nuclear Fuel Cycle

Posted: Oct 30, 2014 15:31 CST
James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies (originally published Oct 28, 2014)

In 2013-2014, the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies (CNS) at the Monterey Institute of International Studies (MIIS) convened a group of distinguished American and Japanese experts on nonproliferation to examine the security implications of the nuclear fuel cycle. 18 key findings of the group are summarized in this document.

 

Iran Foils Sabotage Attempt on Heavy Water Tanks

Posted: Oct 30, 2014 15:30 CST
The Washington Post

Iranian authorities have foiled a sabotage attempt involving tanks used for the transportation of heavy water, a key component in nuclear reactors, an Iranian newspaper reported on Thursday. The independent Arman daily quoted Asghar Zarean, deputy head of Iran’s nuclear department, as saying that Iranian nuclear experts thwarted the sabotage attempt “in recent weeks” but did not provide a more specific timing.

 

North Korea’s Charm Offensive

Posted: Oct 30, 2014 15:29 CST
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (originally published Oct 29, 2014)

For several years now, there has been a debate over the future of China’s relations with North Korea. Some analysts have said a gradual policy recalibration is taking place as the Chinese government has grown tired of North Korea’s reckless behavior and its refusal to halt development of its nuclear and ballistic missiles programs and open its economy to market reforms. Others counter that China’s priorities on the Korean peninsula remain unchanged, despite occasional spikes in tension and di...

 
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French Investigate Drones Spotted over Nuclear Plants

Posted: Oct 30, 2014 15:08 CST
The Guardian

French authorities have launched an investigation into unidentified drones that have been spotted over nuclear plants operated by state-owned utility EDF, its interior minister said on Thursday. Seven nuclear plants across the country were flown over by drones between 5 October and 20 October. An EDF spokeswoman said they had no impact on the plants’ safety or functioning.

 
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Nuclear Talks with Iran

Posted: Oct 30, 2014 14:56 CST
The Economist (originally published Nov 1, 2014)

To hear President Hassan Rohani in full charm offensive, one would think that, barring a few trivial details, a deal to settle long-running concerns about Iran’s nuclear program by the agreed deadline of November 24th is very nearly in the bag. “I think a final settlement can be achieved...the world is tired and wants it to end, resolved through negotiations,” he declared on Iranian television earlier this month; a nuclear settlement was “certain.”

 
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Russian Approaches to Nuclear Disarmament

Posted: Oct 30, 2014 14:55 CST
RT

Elimination of the threat posed by weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons, remains one of the key priorities of the international community. Russia works actively to that end taking concrete steps for limitation and reduction of its nuclear arsenals. Over the last 25 years, they have been reduced many times over. Under the New START Treaty, Russia and the US have set a goal of reaching new agreed limits of warheads, means of delivery and launchers by 2018. We think that this g...

 
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After Two-Year Hiatus, U.S. Nuclear Power Plants Get License Renewals

Posted: Oct 29, 2014 19:48 CST
The National Geographic

After more than a two-year hiatus, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission is once again renewing licenses for aging nuclear power plants. The independent federal agency gave a 20-year license renewal on Oct. 20 to Limerick Generating Station Units 1 and 2 near Philadelphia and is now reviewing renewal applications for 17 additional reactors, including Indian Point Unit 2 that’s located on the Hudson River about 24 miles north of New York City.

 

Here's How the US Reacted To China's First Nuclear Test 50 Years Ago

Posted: Oct 29, 2014 15:19 CST
Foreign Policy (originally published Oct 28, 2014)

This month marks 50 years since one of the most consequential events in the history of nuclear proliferation — a reminder of the very high stakes that led the international community to prevent additional countries from crossing the nuclear threshold. The picture that emerges should be a familiar one for anyone who's followed the North Korean nuclear saga, or even the ongoing Iran negotiations. Anxious allies considered rash and possibly ill-advised military action. Global actors were taken b...

 

No Compromise on Missile Defense

Posted: Oct 29, 2014 15:18 CST
Courier Journal (originally published Oct 28, 2014)

Lawmakers may suspend a critical element of America’s missile defenses to trim the budget. However, gutting this core national security technology, the Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle, would seriously undermine national security. Missile defense has never played a more important role in protecting Americans and keeping global threats in check.

 

Energy Undersecretary: SSBN(X) Key to Maintaining Sub-based Leg of Nuclear Triad

Posted: Oct 29, 2014 15:17 CST
SeaPower

Building a replacement for the nuclear-powered Ohio-class ballistic-missile submarines is “a program of highest national interest,” the Energy Department official who oversees the Naval Nuclear Reactors effort to produce a new nuclear power plant for the future strategic deterrence boats said Oct. 29. “It’s very, very important that we maintain this, the most survivable leg, of the [nuclear deterrence] triad,” said Frank Klotz, the undersecretary of Energy for Nuclear Security and head of the...

 

Beyond the Politics of the U.S.–South Korea 123 Agreement

Posted: Oct 29, 2014 15:16 CST
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

South Korean and U.S. negotiators appear to be close to reaching an accord on a text to replace the so-called 123 agreement that governs bilateral nuclear commerce between the two countries. Although the negotiations are highly technical, ongoing disagreement over key issues has increased the political stakes in the two allies’ relations, particularly within South Korea.

 
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India Readies for Full-Fledged Test of Indigenous ICBM

Posted: Oct 29, 2014 15:15 CST
Deccan Herald

India is readying for the full-fledged test-firing from a canister of an indigenous long-range missile that carries a one-tonne nuclear warhead and can target cities as far as Beijing. The previous two launches of the 5,000 km Agni-5 intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) with dummy warheads have been from open mobile launchers. The canisterized version has a much longer shelf-life, with the container being made of special steel that absorbs the blast of the takeoff.

 
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America's Navy the Unsung Heroes of Nuclear Energy

Posted: Oct 29, 2014 15:14 CST
Forbes (originally published Oct 28, 2014)

The United States has over 200 nuclear reactors producing power. You might be aware of the hundred or so commercial nuclear power reactors that produce just under 20% of our electricity. But there are another hundred nuclear reactors that power 86 submarines and aircraft carriers, producing electricity, heat, fresh water and propulsion. America’s Nuclear Navy is one of the oldest and largest nuclear organizations in the world and has the best safety record of any industry. And no one ever dis...

 

Sweden's Nuclear Operators Say New Tax Means Earlier Shutdowns

Posted: Oct 29, 2014 15:14 CST
Reuters

The operators of Sweden's nuclear power plants say their older reactors may have to shut earlier than planned due to higher taxes proposed by a new coalition government. The new left-wing government, which includes the anti-nuclear Green party, has proposed increasing taxes on nuclear power capacity by 17 percent from 2015, prompting warnings from state-run utility Vattenfall and Germany's E.ON. Sweden had planned to shut down older reactors over a decade span and replace them with more moder...

 
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AECL Set to Test Lightbridge Fuel

Posted: Oct 29, 2014 15:12 CST
World Nuclear News (originally published Oct 28, 2014)

Samples of novel metallic nuclear fuel designed by US-based company, Lightbridge, are to be fabricated and irradiation tested at Canada's Chalk River facilities under an initial cooperation agreement signed with Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd (AECL). The initial agreement covers the first of three phases of joint work, comprising quality management planning to ensure compliance with US regulatory requirements and loop irradiation testing of fuel samples. Work is expected to begin during the four...

 
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Japan Nuclear Plant Gets Approval to Restart, over Three Years after Fukushima

Posted: Oct 28, 2014 15:50 CST
Reuters

A town in southwest Japan became the first to approve the restart of a nuclear power station on Tuesday, a step forward in Japan's fraught process of reviving an industry left idled by the Fukushima catastrophe in 2011. Satsumasendai, a town of 100,000 that hosts the two-reactor Kyushu Electric Power Co (9508.T) plant, is 1,000 km (600 miles) southwest of Tokyo and has long relied on the Sendai plant for government subsidies and jobs.

 
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GE Hitachi Wins Nearly $300MM in Nuclear Contracts from Exelon

Posted: Oct 28, 2014 15:48 CST
PennEnergy

Exelon Generation (NYSE: EXC), operator of the largest nuclear fleet in the U.S., has awarded an integrated outage contract to GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH) for the utility’s entire fleet of boiling water reactor (BWR) nuclear energy facilities. In addition, the agreement extends a nuclear fuel services contract for six Exelon reactors. The total value of the contracts is nearly $300 million. This announcement comes on the heels of Exelon’s historic $500 million GE gas turbine order.

 

Why the Iran Nuke Talks Might Fail

Posted: Oct 28, 2014 15:00 CST
The Diplomat

Ongoing negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 (Britain, France, China, Russia, U.S. and Germany) to reach a final settlement on Tehran’s nuclear program are taking place against a totally different background from last year when they reached a historic interim agreement. A year ago, Russia had not yet annexed Crimea, setting off the greatest East-West showdown since the end of the Cold War, nor had the Islamic State (IS) developed into a security threat of regional proportions after seizing ...

 
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Misinterpreting China's Nuclear Posture

Posted: Oct 28, 2014 14:54 CST
The Interpreter

In this debate, both Thomas Mahnken and Elbridge Colby argue that a secure sea-based second-strike capability might embolden China to pursue a more aggressive foreign policy. Their arguments are based on an article by Thomas Christensen, which drew the conclusion that China's nuclear strategy is based on a textbook of the PLA's Second Artillery Corps, Science of Second Artillery Campaigns, which calls for blurring the line between conventional and nuclear war.

 

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