Nuclear Policy News - April 6, 2012

Apr 6, 2012

TOP NEWS

North Korea on schedule for mid-April rocket launch
 

Our Men In Iran?

 
Dispute Persists on Iran Talks Site as Clock Winds Down
 
Russia, U.S. Could Rethink Nonstrategic Nuclear Arms Deployments
 
 EAST ASIA
 
North Korea on schedule for mid-April rocket launch
 
North Korea may have moved the first stage of a rocket to a launch stand, indicating it is on schedule for a controversial mid-April launch, according to an analysis of satellite images.
 
China ups the pressure to prevent a strike on Iran's nuclear facilities
 
A senior Chinese diplomat said on Friday an attack on Iran would invite devastating retaliation that would envelop the region and destabilize the global economic recovery, and added that the international community had to restrain itself from war.
 
South Korea Sought to Purchase Spent Fuel Rods From North, Official Confirms
 
South Korea in 2009 unsuccessfully sought to purchase spent nuclear fuel rods from North Korea in a bid to stop its longtime rival's nuclear weapons development, an anonymous presidential official on Monday told the Korea JoongAng Daily (see GSN, April 3).
 
MIDDLE EAST
 
Our Men In Iran?
  
From the air, the terrain of the Department of Energy’s Nevada National Security Site, with its arid high plains and remote mountain peaks, has the look of northwest Iran. The site, some sixty-five miles northwest of Las Vegas, was once used for nuclear testing, and now includes a counterintelligence training facility and a private airport capable of handling Boeing 737 aircraft. It’s a restricted area, and inhospitable—in certain sections, the curious are warned that the site’s security personnel are authorized to use deadly force, if necessary, against intruders.
 
Israel attacks German novelist Günter Grass accusing him of anti-semitism
 
The Israeli prime minister accused Grass of "shameful moral equivalence" after the Nobel laureate, who is 84, alleged that Israel, with its significant but undeclared nuclear arsenal, posed a greater threat to world peace than Iran.
 
Dispute Persists on Iran Talks Site as Clock Winds Down
 
Iran has yet to reach agreement with six major governments on the site of a planned multilateral gathering for addressing the Persian Gulf regional power's atomic efforts, even though the discussions are scheduled to begin in little more than one week, Western government sources told the Associated Press on Wednesday (see GSN, April 4).
 
Iran Warns Persian Gulf States Not to Join U.S.-Led Antimissile System
 
Iran on Wednesday cautioned other Persian Gulf states against joining in U.S. plans to establish a regional ballistic missile shield, Agence France-Presse reported (see GSN, April 2).
 
SOUTH ASIA
 
Nuclear submarine INS Chakra inducted into Navy
 
Tethered to the jetty, the 8,140-tonne steel shark floated menacingly as if waiting to break free. Soon, it will, to prowl silently underwater for extended periods, hunting for enemies to track and kill. The 8,140 tonne nuclear-powered attack submarine INS Chakra, with lethal 'hunter-killer' and intelligence-gathering capabilities, was formally inducted into Indian Navy on a 10-year lease from Russia at a cost of around $1 billion on Wednesday.
 
RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE
 
Missile defense: Moscow ready to answer questions and threats
 
Russia has invited about 50 states, including the US and other NATO members, to participate in an international conference on missile defense, to be held in Moscow on May 3-4.
 
US missile defense plans may signal strike on Iran, Russia warns
 
A unified missile defense system comprising the United States and six Arab states is a signal that a military strike on Iran could be on the horizon, says the Chairman of the State Duma's International Affairs Committee.
 
MULTILATERAL ARMS CONTROL AND NONPROLIFERATION
 
CTR Program Eliminates Four Ballistic Missiles
 
The U.S. Cooperative Threat Reduction Program over three months helped facilitate dismantlement of one ICBM and three submarine-launched ballistic missiles, Senator Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) announced on Thursday (see GSN, Feb. 8).
 
Russia, U.S. Could Rethink Nonstrategic Nuclear Arms Deployments
 
A potential new round of U.S.-Russian nuclear arms control talks might consider the stockpiles of nonstrategic nuclear weapons maintained largely in Europe by the former Cold War rivals, Voice of America reported on Wednesday (see GSN, April 2). 
 
U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY
 
Report Says the US is Planning Nuclear-Powered Drones
4/5/2012
 
While Washington's political leaders and much of the nation's news media have been calling attention to and raising alarm over Iran's nuclear program, the United States has been quietly making plans for nuclear-powered unmanned planes, according to the London Guardian newspaper.
 
U.S. Nuclear Body Decision Stalled on Proliferation Review Proposal
 
A Nuclear Regulatory Commission response to a proposal that the agency demand a proliferation assessment for each new materials-processing facility license application has been delayed until next fall (see GSN, Jan. 12, 2011).
 
"No GMD tests against a true...ICBM have yet been conducted"
 
As I noted recently, combing responses to questions for the record from Members of Congress after Congressional hearings can reveal all sorts of interesting information (assuming of course you can navigate the Government Printing Offices not so user friendly website).
 
OPINIONS
 
Preventing Nuclear Terrorism
Robert Gallucci
 
The President traveled to Seoul and back last week so he could deliver his message to an international summit on nuclear security. But he only broke into the news when he made a mildly embarrassing comment that was picked up by an open mike. The summit itself pretty much went unnoticed.
 
Obama, the Russians and missile defense
Paul Kengor
 
President Obama has caused quite a stir with a private comment made to Russian President Dimitri Medvedev. In discussing missile defense, Obama suggested he would be prepared to yield to Russian demands after the November election. “This is my last election,” said Obama, not knowing his words were being picked up by an open microphone. “After my election, I have more flexibility.” A pleased Medvedev replied: “I understand. I will transmit this information to Vladimir [Putin].”
 
Obama’s signal to Iran
David Ignatius
4/5/2012
 
President Obama has signaled Iran that the United States would accept an Iranian civilian nuclear program if Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei can back up his recent public claim that his nation “will never pursue nuclear weapons.”