Nuclear Policy News - February 27, 2013

Feb 27, 2013
Chinese hackers: Professional cyberspies?
Iran’s ‘Plan B’ for a nuclear bomb
Strategic Balance Being Disrupted – Putin

Iran and Six Nations Agree to Continue Nuclear Talks
Beijing War Prep: China moves mobile missiles near coast amid tensions with Japan over islands
United States intelligence agencies recently detected China’s military shifting road-mobile ballistic missiles closer to its southern coast near the disputed Senkaku Islands amid growing tensions between Beijing and Japan over the islands dispute.
Chinese hackers: Professional cyberspies?
Beijing hotly denies accusations of official involvement in massive cyberattacks against foreign targets, insinuating such activity is the work of rogues. But at least one piece of evidence cited by experts points to professional cyberspies: China's hackers don't work weekends.
N. Korea says nuclear weapons can reach U.S.
North Korea warned Wednesday that the US mainland was "well within" the range of its nuclear weapons, as Pyongyang continued to ramp up the bellicose rhetoric after its recent nuclear test.
Iran’s ‘Plan B’ for a nuclear bomb
The Telegraph can disclose details of activity at a heavily-guarded Iranian facility from which international inspectors have been barred for 18 months.
Stuxnet worm targeting Iran in works as early as 2005, Symantec finds
The secret cyber-sabotage campaign aimed at Iran’s nuclear program may have been in existence as early as 2005 and may have been capable of inflicting more damage than previously known, according to a security firm’s analysis released Tuesday.
Iran said to deploy aging foreign tankers, avoiding sanctions
Iran is using old tankers, saved from the scrapyard by foreign middlemen, to ship out oil to China in ways that avoid Western sanctions, say officials involved with sanctions who showed Reuters corroborating documents.
Ballistic missile strikes on Aleppo signal new escalation in Syria war
The Friday strikes and two others last week marked the first time that so many missiles have been fired into residential neighborhoods, representing what a Human Rights Watch report on Tuesday called “a new low” in the war. Three struck residential areas of Aleppo, and a fourth landed in the nearby town of Tal Rifaat, the most fired in a single week, killing a total of at least 141 people, the report said.
Early works pact on Indo-US nuclear deal soon: Blake
In what could be termed as an important development in the field of Indo-U.S. nuclear cooperation, a top American official has said an early works agreement between companies of the two countries could be signed this year.
Strategic Balance Being Disrupted – Putin
Systematic attempts are being made to undermine the existing strategic balance of forces, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday at a meeting with senior military staff at the Russian Defense Ministry.
Chernobyl Roof Collapse Poses No Threat – Experts
Two expert commissions that examined the site of a partial roof collapse at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant (NPP) said on Tuesday that there is no danger to humans or the environment.
Bulgarian parliament confirms suspension of second nuclear power plant construction
Bulgarian parliament on Wednesday confirmed suspension of the country's second nuclear power plant (NPP) construction.
Warning of new defence cuts risk
The Ministry of Defence may need to find new savings of about £11bn in the decade after 2015, a prominent defence think-tank has warned, underlining the pressure on Britain’s armed forces from budget cuts.
Iran and Six Nations Agree to Continue Nuclear Talks
Two days of talks between six world powers and Iran over its nuclear program ended on Wednesday with specific agreement for further meetings in March and April over a proposal that would sharply constrain Iran’s stockpile of the most dangerous enriched uranium in return for a modest lifting of some sanctions.
World powers offer Iran a small carrot at nuclear talks
Six world powers floated a modestly improved proposal to Iran on Tuesday as talks on Tehran's disputed nuclear program resumed after an eight-month hiatus, with little expectation of a breakthrough.
No Move Yet by U.N. Body After Test by Koreans
The international expressions of anger and dismay that followed North Korea’s announcement of a nuclear test a few weeks ago, punctuated by a United Nations Security Council pledge to immediately work on “appropriate measures” in a new resolution, appear to have given way to slow-motion diplomacy and some frustration that not even a draft has been circulated among the Council’s 15 members.
U.S. lawmakers seek to further isolate Iran with sanctions
U.S. lawmakers will introduce a bill on Wednesday that expands economic penalties against Iran and is designed to force countries like China to buy less Iranian crude oil, according to a copy of the legislation obtained by Reuters on Tuesday.
Taiwan Nonproliferation Pledge Not a Model: Top Energy Official
A top Energy Department official last week said Taiwan’s recent willingness to incorporate a strict nonproliferation pledge in an upcoming renewal of its nuclear trade pact with the United States should not be seen as a prototype for future atomic cooperation agreements elsewhere around the globe.
Pentagon F-35 program chief lashes Lockheed, Pratt
The Pentagon program chief for the F-35 warplane slammed its commercial partners Lockheed Martin (LMT.N) and Pratt & Whitney on Wednesday, accusing them of trying to "squeeze every nickel" out of the U.S. government and failing to see the long-term benefits of the project.
An Eerie Silence on Cybersecurity
Apart from a few companies like Google, which revealed that Chinese hackers had tried to read its users’ e-mail messages, American companies have been disturbingly silent about cyberattacks on their computer systems — apparently in fear that this disclosure will unnerve customers and shareholders and invite lawsuits and unwanted scrutiny from the government.
Iran, Almaty and three reasons to be cautious
Financial Times, by James Blitz
The latest meeting between Iran and world powers to try and resolve the dilemma over the Iranian nuclear programme is over. And once again, a shaft of light has emerged that will lead some to hope that military action over the Iranian programme might be averted.
Iran Nuclear Talks in Kazakhstan: Remember When Diplomacy Worked
International anxieties were alleviated when Kazakh officials opted to return nuclear weapons and materials to Russia. In an environment where the tension between nonproliferation and disarmament is becoming more fraught and the debate on access to nuclear fuel technologies is intensifying, the views and choices of this Central Asian state are worth studying. Kazakhstan’s decision provides an important example of how diplomatic and economic tools employed by the international community can make such a choice possible.