Corbyn REFUSES to rule out unilaterally scrapping Britain’s nuclear weapons and says he might not militarily defend Nato allies.
Daily Mail 25th Sept 2017 read more »
Politics Home 25th Sept 2017 read more »
Shaun Burnie and Frank Barnaby: Under the guise of a civil nuclear program, Japan has become a de-facto nuclear weapons state without so far having to take that next fateful step. On Thursday, a shipment of 700 kilograms of plutonium arrived in Japan after a journey by sea from the French port of Cherbourg. That’s enough material for more than 100 nuclear weapons. The plutonium – in the form of atomic fuel known as MOX, a mix of uranium and plutonium oxide – is for use in the Takahama-4 reactor, owned by Kansai Electric Power Co. and located on Wakasa Bay, in western Japan near Osaka. There have been six shipments of such highly toxic cargoes since 1999, the result of an agreement to send radioactive spent fuel in Japan for reprocessing in France and the UK, and then to be shipped back as plutonium MOX fuel for use in Japan’s reactors. Putting aside the reactor fuel issue for the moment, Japan’s plutonium program must be seen in the context of the nuclear arms proliferation dynamic that has existed for decades in Northeast Asia, but which today has taken on even greater urgency owing to North Korea’s nuclear weapon program.
Asia Times 22nd Sept 2017 read more »
Beyond that headline news lies a less well-known, but potentially more disturbing, story. A series of seemingly minor technological upgrades have been destabilising the foundations of deterrence, sparking a new nuclear arms race with unforeseeable consequences. “The danger of an accident leading to nuclear war is as high now as it was during periods of peak crisis during the cold war,” says Hans Kristensen, director of the Nuclear Information Project at the Federation of American Scientists.
New Scientists 20th Sept 2017 read more »
That Pakistan helped North Korea develop nuclear weapons is a theory that’s been doing the rounds for years. In 2004, Pakistan’s most famous nuclear scientist, Abdul Qadeer Khan, admitted to have transferred nuclear technology to North Korea and other nations, a confession that led to his detainment for five years. These unnerving revelations were reinforced yet again earlier this month by another Pakistani nuclear scientist, Pervez Hoodbhoy.
Quartz 19th Sept 2017 read more »
Deutsche Welle 14th Sept 2017 read more »
As the threat of nuclear war triggers anxiety not seen since the Cold War, peace groups and those committed to the elimination of nuclear weapons are entering the public debate with renewed calls for dialogue and a reduction in nuclear arsenals in both North Korea and the US. Meanwhile, anti-nuclear civil disobedience is ramping up. On September 6, six nuclear resisters were found guilty of trespass after crossing the marked property of Naval Base Kitsap earlier this year. Charley Smith — a resident of Eugene, Oregon, and a member of the Catholic Worker movement — carried a copy of the Nuremberg Principles when he crossed the line, as did the others. Many of those active in the Catholic Worker movement, which was founded in 1933 during the Great Depression, have been jailed for acts of protest against war, social injustice, racism and unfair labor practices. Asked to explain the Nuremberg Principles by the judge, Smith replied, “Very simply, if we remain silent or do not challenge the evils of society, we are complicit in those evils just as much as those giving the orders to commit crimes against peace, war crimes or crimes against humanity.”
Truthout 17th Sept 2017 read more »
Linda Pentz Gunter: There is a curious fallacy that continues to persist among arms control groups rightly concerned with reducing the threat of the use of nuclear weapons. It is that encouraging the use of nuclear energy will achieve this goal. This illogical notion is enshrined in Article IV of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) which rewards signatories who do not yet have nuclear weapons with the “inalienable right” to “develop research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.” Now comes the international low-enriched uranium bank, which opened on August 29 in Kazakhstan, to expedite this right. It further reinforces the Article IV doctrine— that the spread of nuclear power will diminish the capability and the desire to manufacture nuclear weapons. Superficially at least, the bank idea sounds sensible enough. There will be no need to worry that countries considering a nuclear power program might secretly shift to nuclear weapons production. In addition to a proliferation barrier, the bank will serve as a huge cost savings, sparing countries the expense of investing in their own uranium enrichment facilities. The problem with this premise is that, rather than make the planet safer, it actually adds to the risks we already face. News reports pointed to the bank’s advantages for developing countries. But developing nations would be much better off implementing cheaper, safer renewable energy, far more suited to countries that lack major infrastructure and widespread electrical grid penetration.
Counterpunch 8th Sept 2017 read more »
North Korea’s sudden advancement in developing nuclear weapons may be due to secret support from Iran, British officials fear. The Foreign Office is investigating whether “current and former nuclear states” helped Kim Jong-Un in his drive to mount nuclear warheads on missiles. Senior Whitehall sources told The Sunday Telegraph it is not credible that North Korean scientists alone brought about the technological advances.
Telegraph 9th Sept 2017 read more »
Before the end of the cold war, nuclear apocalypse was a frightening possibility that overshadowed everyone’s lives. With tensions rising between the US and North Korea, we can learn valuable lessons from CND and Greenham Common. On Monday, I was idly interrogating my children about their anxieties, when my nine-year-old son raised the prospect of a third world war. Given the current tensions between the US and North Korea, I suppose this wasn’t too surprising. I explained that, were there a nuclear strike, the UK would be very unlikely to be its target, and he replied: “It’s so polluted, we may as well have been nuked already.” There seemed to be the lilt of a joke in this comment somewhere, but I couldn’t swear to it. I squeaked on a bit about how levels of lead have actually gone way down, and diesel cars – one of which we were actually sitting in – would soon be phased out, but thought: this is exactly how I remember life in 1982, the sense of an impending threat that everyone talked about but nobody explained in useful terms. Then it was nuclear war; now it’s pollution.
Guardian 6th Sept 2017 read more »
How the nuclear-armed nations brought the North Korea crisis on themselves. Failure to honour terms of the 1970 nuclear non-proliferation treaty has helped create ground for Kim Jong-un’s recklessness.
Guardian 5th Sept 2017 read more »
Tritium, an isotope of hydrogen, is an essential component in all U.S. nuclear weapons and bombs. It is radioactive with a decay half-life of 12 years and, thus, must be replenished in U.S. warheads every few years. Absent timely replenishment, our warheads become duds. The United States, however, will be unable to produce enough tritium in coming years to support the nuclear stockpile. How did this dire prospect come about? Today, the U.S. produces tritium by irradiating special rods in a single light water reactor run by the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). This reactor burns low-enriched uranium (LEU) fuel and also produces electricity to power homes in the Southeast. To meet demand, a second TVA reactor will begin producing tritium early next decade.
Defense News 6th March 2017 read more »
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