Nuclear Policy News - April 10, 2012

Apr 10, 2012
TOP NEWS
 
U.S. tells North Korea not to carry out nuclear test
 
Iranian Officials Send Mixed Signals as Nuclear Talks Near Resumption
 
Iranians Could Have Tested Nuke Trigger, Study Finds: Exclusive
 
United States Circumvented Laws To Help Japan Accumulate Tons of Plutonium
 
EAST ASIA
 
U.S. tells North Korea not to carry out nuclear test
 
The United States urged North Korea on Monday not conduct a nuclear test or launch a satellite and called on China to exert its influence over its neighbor to try to ward off such "provocative actions."
 
Nuclear report adds tension to North Korea missile launch
 
Recent satellite images show North Korea is digging a new underground tunnel in what appears to be preparation for a third nuclear test, according to South Korean intelligence officials. The report comes as North Korea prepares to launch a long-range rocket that the United States and others say is a cover for testing missile technology that could be used to fire on the United States.
 
White House defends its North Korea strategy
 
The Obama administration on Monday defended its decision to negotiate with North Korea as the reclusive regime prepared for a long-range rocket launch and a possible nuclear bomb test — two actions that fly in the face of the deal the United States struck recently with leaders there.
 
China, between a rocket and a hard place on North Korea
 
A joke circulating among officials in Beijing pretty much underlines the bind China is in over North Korea's plans to send a satellite into space.
 
United States Circumvented Laws To Help Japan Accumulate Tons of Plutonium
 
The United States deliberately allowed Japan access to the United States’ most secret nuclear weapons facilities while it transferred tens of billions of dollars worth of American tax paid research that has allowed Japan to amass 70 tons of weapons grade plutonium since the 1980s, a National Security News Service investigation reveals. These activities repeatedly violated U.S. laws regarding controls of sensitive nuclear materials that could be diverted to weapons programs in Japan. The NSNS investigation found that the United States has known about a secret nuclear weapons program in Japan since the 1960s, according to CIA reports.
 
MIDDLE EAST
 
Iran not interested in nuclear fuel swap - atomic chief
 
Iran has no interest in reviving a failed nuclear fuel swap deal with Western powers, but might scale back production of higher-grade enriched uranium once it has the material it needs, the head of the country's atomic energy organisation said.
 
Iran nuclear chief expresses some flexibility
 
Iran's top nuclear official offered hope that Tehran may be flexible in upcoming international talks about its disputed nuclear program, indicating that the regime may be willing to halt production of the enriched uranium that most worries the West.
 
Iranian Officials Send Mixed Signals as Nuclear Talks Near Resumption
 
A senior Iranian official hinted on Monday that Iran would consider limits on its home-grown stockpile of enriched uranium, offering what seemed a modest compromise to partly meet Western concerns ahead of the planned resumption this week of nuclear talks with a group of six global powers.
 
China calls for flexibility in Iran nuclear talks
 
China on Tuesday urged Iran and the world powers involved in upcoming negotiations on Tehran's nuclear program to demonstrate flexibility and patience, saying it will help establish trust needed to resolve the issue peacefully.
 
Iranians Could Have Tested Nuke Trigger, Study Finds: Exclusive
 
A study by a Washington think tank that closely follows the Iranian nuclear program, the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS), concludes that Iran could have tested a nuclear trigger in a device at the disputed Iranian site of Parchin. AOL Defense obtained a copy of the draft report.
 
Turkey expecting nuclear bids from China, Japan, S Korea: minister
 
Turkey is expecting to receive separate bids from China, Japan and South Korea for the construction and operation of its second planned nuclear power plant at Sinop on the Black Sea coast, energy minister Taner Yildiz announced Monday.
 
SOUTH ASIA
Nuclear foes Pakistan, India vow peace efforts
 
Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh stood together in New Delhi Sunday, adding weight to peace efforts by the nuclear-armed foes with the first visit by a Pakistani head of state to India in seven years.
 
RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE
 
Russia Alleges Embezzlement in Nuclear Sector
 
Prosecuting attorneys for Russia's armed forces last Wednesday said they had exposed multiple plots to steal money from the nation's budget to update its nuclear arms sector, RIA Novosti reported (see GSN, Jan. 25).
 
MULTILATERAL ARMS CONTROL AND NONPROLIFERATION
 
Test Ban Treaty Gains 183rd Signatory State
 
The South Pacific island nation of Niue on Monday became the 183rd signatory state to the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (see GSN, Feb. 6).
 
U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY
 
B-52 bomber marks major milestones in 2012
 
They’ve been part of the landscape of Northwest Louisiana since the late 1950s, and this year the big B-52s at Barksdale Air Force base will mark a number of milestones. It was 60 years ago Sunday that the prototype YB-52 first took to the air, thrilling employees of the Air Force and Boeing and civilians in Seattle, who witnessed the event.
 
OPINIONS
 
Fine Print: A disconnect in evaluating the nuclear weapons labs
Walter Pincus
 
The distance between Washington and reality is always hard to measure.
But the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) for the first time has released performance evaluations of the nation’s eight nuclear weapons laboratories and production facilities. Until now, the reviews were held internally. The fiscal 2011 reviews let us measure what went on in the nuclear weapons programs against what’s said about them in the nation’s capital.
 
Why the United States Still Needs a Missile Defense System
 
Thousands of nuclear missiles remain pointed at the United States and Europe, says Rep. Michael Turner
A candid remark by President Obama to Russian President Dimitri Medvedev at last week's nuclear security summit in South Korea has stirred controversy. Rep. Michael Turner, chairman of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Strategic Forces, wrote a letter to the president, requesting an "urgent explanation" of his statements indicating "more flexibility" on missile defense after the presidential election. The Republican from Ohio's Third District recently spoke with U.S. News about the significance of a missile defense shield and why he is concerned about the administration's policies.