Nuclear Policy News - June 4, 2010

Jun 4, 2010
FISSILE MATERIAL
South Korea complains to U.N. over North's "blatant" act
 
Iran to launch Bushehr plant in Sept.
 
UAE nuclear safety law to be tightened
Gulf News by Rayeesa Absaland and Samihah Zaman
 
Report says Burma is taking steps toward nuclear weapons program
WP by Joby Warrick
 
Eight Nations Hold 7,540 Deployed Nukes, Report Finds
 
EAST ASIA
South Korea complains to U.N. over North's "blatant" act
South Korea complained to the U.N. Security Council on Friday over the sinking of its warship, saying the North must admit its wrongdoing and that its "reprehensible" action was endangering peace on the peninsula.
 
Pentagon denies aircraft carrier being deployed to Korean Peninsula
CNN by Barbara Starr
The Pentagon denied Thursday it has approved sending the aircraft carrier USS George Washington to the Yellow Sea off the Korean Peninsula, where North Korea allegedly sank a South Korean warship in March.
 
Lee in Singapore to seek int'l support for N. Korea policy
Yonhap News by Lee Chi-dong
South Korean President Lee Myung-bak arrived in Singapore Friday where he plans to appeal for the international community to back South Korea's stern countermeasures against North Korea for its surprise naval attack in March.
 
N. Korea warns of 'toughest retaliation' over U.N. handling of ship sinking
Yonhap News by Sam Kim
North Korea urged the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) on Friday to call for a new investigation into the sinking of a South Korean warship, warning of "the toughest retaliation" if punishment against Pyongyang is discussed.
 
US-South Korea exercises may wait for UN diplomacy: Gates
Joint US-South Korean military exercises may be put off to allow time for Seoul to secure diplomatic support at the UN Security Council against North Korea, US Defense Secretary Robert Gates said on Friday.
 
US commander: No sign of another NKorean attack
WP by Anne Gearan (AP)
The top U.S. military commander in the Pacific says there is no sign now that North Korea is planning another strike or provocation against South Korea.
 
Report: Taiwan To Test Missile That Could Reach Beijing
Taiwan is slated to test a missile for the first time that could hit Beijing, a report said Wednesday. The island's defense ministry immediately denied the report on the medium-range surface-to-surface missile, but said research was being carried out on "various weapons systems."
 
MIDDLE EAST
Iran to launch Bushehr plant in Sept.
Ali-Akbar Salehi, director of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran says the Bushehr nuclear power plant will be launched in September.
 
Lavrov, Clinton discuss Iran nuclear problem over phone
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton held a phone conversation over a draft U.N. Security Council resolution on Iran's nuclear issue, said the Russian Foreign Ministry on Friday.
 
Iran to defend rights if new sanctions imposed: Ahmadinejad
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Friday that his country will defend its rights even if a new sanctions resolution is imposed by the UN Security Council.
 
UAE nuclear safety law to be tightened
Gulf News by Rayeesa Absaland and Samihah Zaman
A set of safety and security regulations, drafted on international practices, are to be added to the UAE's nuclear law by the end of this year.
 
U.N. Security Council Could Vote on Iran Sanctions This Month
The United States wants the U.N. Security Council this month to vote on a new sanctions package aimed at persuading Iran to curb its contested nuclear operations, Agence France-Presse reported (see GSN, June 2).
 
SOUTH/SOUTHEAST ASIA
India Will Have Four More Nuclear Power Plants By 2011
Nuclear Street by Steve Heiser
According to a report by the Press Trust of India, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh this week said his government plans to increase nuclear power generation by setting up four more atomic power plants by next year.
 
Expert says Burma ‘planning nuclear bomb’
Democratic Voice of Burma by Robert Kelley
A five-year investigation by DVB has uncovered evidence that Burma is embarking on a programme to develop nuclear weaponry. At the centre of the investigation is Sai Thein Win, a former defense engineer and missile expert who worked in factories in Burma where he was tasked to make prototype components for missile and nuclear programs.
 
Report says Burma is taking steps toward nuclear weapons program
WP by Joby Warrick
Burma has begun secretly acquiring key components for a nuclear weapons program, including specialized equipment used to make uranium metal for nuclear bombs, according to a report that cites documents and photos from a Burmese army officer who recently fled the country.
 
Burma's nuclear weapons intent 'clear and disturbing'
The Guardian by Richard Norton-Taylor
Fresh claims that Burma is trying to acquire the know-how and material to build a nuclear weapon, based on information provided by a former army officer, are published today, renewing concern about the extent of the junta's military ambitions.
 
RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE
Medvedev Calls for Prompt Ratification of "New START"
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev expressed hope Wednesday that lawmakers in Moscow and Washington would soon bring a new bilateral nuclear arms control pact into force, ITAR-Tass reported (see GSN, June 1).
 
MULTILATERAL ARMS CONTROL AND NONPROLIFERATION
Eight Nations Hold 7,540 Deployed Nukes, Report Finds
Eight nations at the beginning of 2010 held an estimated 7,540 operational nuclear weapons, a figure that is down somewhat from last year due largely to the withdrawal by Russia and the United States of fielded warheads, according to a yearly report released yesterday by a Sweden-based think tank (see GSN, Nov. 18, 2009).
 
U.S. NUCLEAR WEAPONS STRATEGY AND POLICY
Expanded Lab Allows FBI to Examine Radiological Material
The FBI yesterday heralded the opening of new facilities at the Savannah River National Laboratory in South Carolina that will enable investigators to examine radiological material for forensic evidence in a safe setting as part of national efforts to defend the country from terrorist attacks (see GSN, Sept. 29, 2008).
 
OPINIONS
A Farewell to Nuclear Arms
Moscow Times Op-Ed by Klaus Naumann
As the recent United Nations and Washington summits have demonstrated, nuclear arms control and disarmament are among the top issues on the world’s political agenda. They are likely to remain so for the foreseeable future. Indeed, 2010 will determine whether U.S. President Barack Obama’s vision of a nuclear-free world will remain a distant but achievable hope, or must be abandoned.
 
Consensus costs
They didn’t come to unseemly diplomatic blows. Perhaps they should have. After four weeks of haggling the 189 members of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) unanimously reaffirmed their support for the battered document at a five-yearly review that ended on May 28th. Even usually truculent Iran endorsed a lengthy declaration upholding the NPT’s goals: getting the nuclear powers to give up their bombs; preventing others from acquiring them; and promoting nuclear power for peaceful uses only. But the NPT’s problems are no closer to solution.
 
Pyongyang Powder Keg Reignites, Sinking Hope for Korean Reconciliation
Washington Diplomat by Larry Luxner and Anna Gawel
Ten years ago, this newspaper — marking half a century since the Korean War began — profiled Seoul’s then-ambassador in Washington, Yang Sung-chul. It was a time of great optimism on the Korean Peninsula. With the presidents of North and South Korea cheerfully toasting each other in Pyongyang, and emotional family reunions and joint-venture border factories dominating the news, it was only fitting that our cover headline read “Melting 50 Years of Ice.” A decade later, on the 60th anniversary of the Korean War this month, not only has the ice not melted, but North-South relations appear to have gone into a deep freeze.
 
ElBaradei slams West's rejection of the Iran-Turkey-Brazil deal
CASMII, Interview by Jornal do Brasil
The following interview with Dr Mohamed ElBradei was conducted by Jornal do Brasil, one of the largest-circulation newspapers in Brazil, on May 29th, in which he slams West's rejection of the Iran-Turkey-Brazil deal as follows: "I was frankly not surprised that the offer came through, I was surprised at the reaction that some countries would continue to say that they want to apply sanctions, because, the Iranian issue, if you remove over half of the material that Iran has to Turkey, that is clearly a confidence-building measure regarding concerns about Iran’s future intentions."
 
Fissile
It is hard to escape from history. Just as Britain is about to embark on an ambitious programme to build a new generation of nuclear power stations, an old atomic relic offers a timely reminder of the risks. On June 1st Chris Huhne, the newly installed Liberal Democrat energy secretary, revealed that the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, the publicly funded outfit charged with cleaning up Britain’s old nuclear power stations, is facing a £4 billion funding shortfall over the coming four years. For a department with an annual budget of just £3 billion, that is, as Mr Huhne puts it, an “existential” problem.
 
Obama Likes Alphabet Soup
Huffington Post by Nina Hachigian
In its new National Security Strategy Report (NSS), the Obama Administration has finally and fully embraced the importance of international institutions. And not a moment too soon. With neoconservatives advocating an outdated and rigid concept of sovereignty, the Administration needs to bolster its case for strong engagement in international architecture.
 
A Self-Inflicted Wound: Obama’s Vacillation on Iran
The Foundry (Heritage blog) by Ray Walser and James Phillips

The sham agreement signed on May 17 by Iran with Brazil and Turkey to swap low enriched uranium for fuel for the Tehran research reactor has been widely exposed as little more than Iranian effort to divide and confuse the international community and buy time for the construction of a nuclear weapon.