Nuclear Policy News – January 10, 2013

Jan 10, 2013
Experts debate North Korea's missile goals and capability
Syrian uranium worrying nations, IAEA
Tensions rise between nuclear neighbours Pakistan and India
Nuclear talks with Iran delayed
Trident politics
Brian Taylor
Experts debate North Korea's missile goals and capability
When North Korea launched a small satellite into orbit last month for the first time, U.S. officials called it a cover for a more ominous goal: a ballistic missile that could carry a nuclear weapon as far as the continental United States.
Ex-U.S. defense chief warns N. Korea against nuclear test
A former U.S. defense chief warned North Korea on Wednesday not to conduct another nuclear test, saying it would only isolate the North even further and "pose more hardships upon the North Korean people."
Myanmar denies using chemical weapons on rebels
Myanmar on Thursday denied accusations it had used chemical weapons against ethnic minority rebels in the northern state of Kachin, where an escalating conflict has overshadowed wider political reforms.
Legislative review of nuclear-free homeland bill starts
A draft law on the promotion of a nuclear-free homeland began its review at the legislature yesterday, but Atomic Energy Council Minister Tsai Chuen-horng (蔡春鴻) said the nation would not be able to achieve this goal by 2025 and the Ministry of Economic Affairs said the nation might suffer a power shortage.
Syrian uranium worrying nations, IAEA
Nuclear experts said they are worried about a potential stockpile of as much as 50 tons of unenriched uranium the Assad government has in Syria.
NATO official says more missiles launched in Syria
A short-range ballistic missile was fired inside Syria on Wednesday, following similar launches last week, a NATO official said on Thursday.
Tensions rise between nuclear neighbours Pakistan and India
Indian officials summoned Pakistan's High Commissioner to New Delhi for a dressing down as grisly details of the attack were confirmed by an army spokesman.
Scottish independence: UK Government warns moving Trident from Clyde could cost billions of pounds and thousands of jobs
The UK Government has been urged to reveal details of any contingency plans ministers might have for moving the Trident nuclear submarines if Scotland votes in favour of independence.
Finally flying colors: Yury Dolgoruky nuclear sub joins Russian Navy
After years of sea trials and missile test launches, the Borei class nuclear-powered submarine Yury Dolgoruky has officially became part of the Russian Navy. The sub and its siblings are to be part of Russia’s nuclear deterrence shield.
France affirms nuclear weapons arsenal despite looming military cuts
France's president says the country will maintain its costly nuclear arsenal despite looming military budget cuts, saying the weapons are essential for national defense.
Talks with IAEA may fail if Iran's nuclear rights not considered: Iran's atomic chief
Head of Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), Fereidoon Abbasi, said Wednesday that the upcoming talks with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) may fail if they do not consider Iran's rights to peaceful nuclear activities and enter the negotiations with "prejudgements."
Nuclear talks with Iran delayed
The much-awaited new round of diplomacy over Iran's nuclear programme will have to be awaited a while longer. Tehran has declared itself ready for talks this month, but the office of the EU foreign affairs chief, Cathy Ashton, whose job it is to arrange the negotiations, has yet to get a clear Iranian response to its suggestion of a mid-January meeting in Istanbul. That timetable, diplomats say, is now likely to be pushed back. Ashton's spokesman, Michael Mann, issued a statement saying only:
Defense nominee Hagel lays out stand on Iran
President Barack Obama's pick for defense secretary, Chuck Hagel, is meeting with senior Pentagon staff to try to set the record straight about his stand on Iran, saying he backs strong international sanctions against Tehran and believes all options, including military action, should be on the table, defense officials said Wednesday.
Just how radioactive is that nuke fuel the feds want to bury in Nevada? Sandoval wants to know
Gov. Brian Sandoval says he wants to talk to state environmental and nuclear waste officials about the proposed federal shipment of radioactive uranium for burial in Nevada.
Does NNSA decision on Y-12, Pantex portend future for Sandia?
In a move that could provide a window into how the National Nuclear Security Administration might handle the Sandia National Laboratories management contract, the NNSA said Tuesday it has selected a consortium of companies to take over both the Y-12 National Security Complex in Tennessee and the Pantex Plant in Texas.
Frank Munger: What do Oak Ridge contractors do best?
Bob Hart, former manager of the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge operations (1971-83), once told me that the best thing DOE contractor Martin Marietta did was lay people off.
Trident politics
Brian Taylor
Ian Davidson MP seldom skirts round a topic. Indeed, he is characteristically blunt speaking. Depending on circumstances and audience, this can provoke reactions ranging from relief to endorsement to exasperation.
The price of deterrence
James Blitz
It is more than 60 years since Operation Hurricane, when Britain detonated its first atomic bomb in HMS Plym, a second world war frigate, off Australia.
Back to the Future
Jeffrey Lewis
Reading through the National Defense Authorization Act for FY2013 is a surreal experience. While the rest of us are watching our elected officials careen from one (self-inflicted) macroeconomic crisis to the other, largely over issues related to the national deficit, the FY2013 NDAA appears to exist in a Neverneverland of constantly rising defense budgets despite increasingly dire warnings about the country's fiscal health.
How to Revitalize Disarmament Efforts
Sergio Duarte
States have reached an impasse over disarmament issues. The standoff is particularly apparent at the Conference on Disarmament, which was meant to be the single multilateral forum for negotiating disarmament when it was created. The body has not achieved a single agreement for over fifteen years. 
Don't Engage Kim Jong Un -- Bankrupt Him
Joshua Stanton and Sung-Yoon Lee
Barack Obama and Sen. John McCain clearly agree on one thing: Bill Richardson and Eric Schmidt should not have visited Pyongyang this week. A State Department spokeswoman said last week that the timing, coming just four weeks after a rocket launch that violated three U.N. Security Council Resolutions, was not helpful. McCain tweeted that Richardson and Schmidt were "useful idiots." Richardson is among the staunchest advocates of appeasing North Korea after billions of dollars in U.S. and South Korean aid have bought little more than attacks, provocations, threats, and broken promises to disarm.
Assad’s Uranium Inventory
Mark Hibbs
Yesterday morning here over a latte and a croissant–Kurfuerstendamm Ecke Schlueterstrasse–I got my ear bent by someone telling me that Israel and Western countries are now worried about the fate of 50 metric tons of uranium secretly stashed away in Syria. Reflecting for a couple of minutes after clicking off my cell, I strongly suspected that I was not the sole recipient of that message from certain quarters, and, sure enough, 24 hours later, my intuition proved to be spot on.
A threat that demands action
Ryan Costello
For years, American politicians on both sides of the aisle have agreed that nuclear terrorism is one of the most serious national security threats the United States faces. In 2013, President Obama must capitalize on this rare consensus point and on his own power as a second-term president. After all, despite ongoing polarization in Washington, bipartisan cooperation has been the norm for nuclear security since the launch of the Nunn-Lugar program more than two decades ago, making the issue a unique outlier in Washington -- and for good reason. Nuclear terrorism is a real possibility that would cause catastrophic damage.