Pakistan fires founder of nuclear programThe founder of Pakistan's nuclear program, Abdul Qadeer Khan, was removed Saturday from his position as a government adviser amid an investigation into allegations of nuclear proliferation, officials said.
Khan had emerged as a key suspect in an investigation into charges that Pakistani scientists sold nuclear weapons technology. The probe was launched in November following information provided by Iran to the U.N. nuclear watchdog. [via MSNBC.com]
Bush Seeking Big Increase in Missile DefenseThe Bush administration will ask Congress to boost spending on missile defense by $1.2 billion next year. The administration seeks to boost funding for its controversial missile defense program by 13 percent to $10.2 billion next year from $9 billion requested for fiscal 2004.
The new figure includes spending by the Pentagon's Missile Defense Agency of $9.1 billion in 2005, up from $7.6 billion, as well as the Army's Patriot missile program.
The Pentagon's plan to begin deploying later this year the initial parts of a missile defense shield has drawn sharp criticism from some U.S. allies and Democrats who say it has not been adequately tested and could spark an arms race in space. [via NTI.org]
Pakistan's investigation into suspect nuclear technology tradePakistan's program to develop a nuclear bomb relied on black market suppliers, and Pakistani scientists may have shared their contacts with Iran and Libya.
Pakistan began its probe into its nuclear program and possible proliferation to Iran in late November after admissions made by Tehran to the International Atomic Energy Agency.
Pakistani investigators have concluded that two senior nuclear scientists used a network of middlemen operating a black market to supply nuclear weapons technology to Iran and Libya, according to three senior Pakistani intelligence officials. [via Yahoo]
Libyan nuclear parts sent to U.S.Components of Libya's nuclear weapons program have been flown to the United States, the White House has announced. The materials including uranium hexafluoride and centrifuge parts had been flown to Knoxville, Tennessee, on a US transport plane on Monday. The equipment likely will be evaluated at the Oak Ridge nuclear weapons plant in Tennessee.[via MSNBC]
Pakistanis Say Nuclear Scientists Aided IranPakistani investigators have concluded that at least two of the country's top nuclear scientists -- including Abdul Qadeer Khan, considered the father of Pakistan's nuclear bomb -- provided unauthorized technical assistance to Iran's nuclear weapons program in the late 1980s, according to senior Pakistani officials. [via Yahoo]
Libya's Nuclear Weapons Designs SecuredDesigns for nuclear weapons had been found in Libya and put under U.N. seal, and a Western diplomat said the drawings were now in Washington. [via Yahoo]
North Korean nuclear evidenceNorth Korea showed an operating reactor, an empty pond that once held enough material to make six bombs, and a warm, dark substance that seemed to be plutonium metal, a key ingredient for nuclear weapons. Sig Hecker, former director of the Los Alamos National Laboratories, told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that he had not seen an actual weapon. [via USA Today]
Three Minutes to MeltdownPremieres Sunday, January 25, at 9 p.m. ET/PT
What really happened in the control room of the reactor at Three Mile Island? National Geographic Channel brings you historical film footage, radio and television broadcasts, and telephone calls placed by operators in the control room. Learn how politicians and federal employees handled the evacuation from the journalists who covered the event.
Monitoring Nuclear Explosions: Why, How, and What is Learned?Monitoring Nuclear Explosions is a lecture by Dr. Paul G. Richards -- one of the seismologists from Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory responsible for developing the methods used to distinguish between earthquakes and explosions.
Tuesday, February 3, 2004, 4:00 p.m.
Schapiro Center, Davis Auditorium, Columbia University Morningside Campus,
530 120th Street, between Broadway and Amsterdam. (1 or 9 Subway to 116th Street)
Book Review: Britain and the H-BombThe public is well aware of the intense efforts by both the United States and the Soviet Union to develop atomic, then hydrogen bombs. But Britains' efforts to become the third nuclear power remain largely in the shadows.
The 'fathers' of the United States and Soviet H-bombs are well known, but who is considered the father of the British H-bomb? In the book,Britain and the H-Bomb , Lorna Arnold, the former official historian of the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority attempts to uncover the answer to that question. She is assisted by Katherine Pyne, the first technical historian of Aldermaston, Britain's nuclear weapons production plant.
In the book the authors seek to unravel the secrecy and mystery.
Arnold was given full access to Aldermaston's records, and the effort was supported by the Ministry of Defence. One of the first real discoveries that is made, is that the historical records of Britain's nuclear efforts are poor and in some cases lost to history. This provided a real challenge to the authors. (One should note that the U.S. weapons labs also suffer a similar problem) The information that was assembles is quite through and should be of great interest to those who enjoyed the detail of Richard Rhodes' Dark Sun: The Making of the Hydrogen Bomb .
This book provides some interesting insight into the motives behind Britain's efforts to develop nuclear weapons. She shows that some felt it was essential for national defense and world peace, while others felt that it was needed for Britain to return to the world stage as a major player.
A major portion of the book is devoted to the 1957-1958 "Grapple" test series conducted at Christmas Island in the Pacific. This series of tests demonstrated Britain's thermonuclear capability. Also chronicled in the book is the rapid development that occurred in their race to develop the bomb. This race was not borne out of a fear of the Soviets, but rather the impending atmospheric test ban treaty.
Also explored is the tense relationship between the U.S. and Britain. Although they had been partners during the Manhattan Project, the passing of the Atomic Energy Act of 1946, severed nuclear relations between the two countries. The restrictions were eased for time, but Britain gained little information from the U.S. efforts. The United States did act on their behalf in stalling the treaty negotiations, to allow for the British to conduct their tests.
This book is a welcomed addition to understanding of the world's development of nuclear weapons.
Libya Ratifies Test Ban TreatyLibya last week ratified the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, according to the CTBT Organization. To date, 170 countries have signed the CTBT and 109 have ratified it, including 32 of the 44 nations whose ratifications are necessary for the treaty to enter into force. [via CTBT]
Park Police flunk D.C. dirty bomb testInvestigators with the inspector general's office demonstrated a terrorist's ability to place a dirty bomb at the Washington Monument by putting a trash bag at its base that went undetected, according to the report obtained by CNN. [via CNN]
North Korea shows 'nuclear deterrent'The US team confirmed they had seen the secret nuclear complex that Washington believes is being used to develop nuclear weapons. [via BBC]
U.S. Quietly Looked for Dirty Bomb Over New Year'sThe U.S. government sent teams of scientists with radiation detection devices to four major cities over the New Year's holiday to search for dirty bombs, Homeland Security officials said on Wednesday. [via MSNBC]
India, Pakistan to begin peace talks in FebruaryIndia and Pakistan took a giant leap to put more than a half-century of bloodshed behind them, agreeing Tuesday to start talks next month on core disputes of nationalism and religion that have taken the nuclear-armed nations into three wars. [via BBC]
Latest North Korea Offers to Halt Nuclear FacilitiesNorth Korea offered Tuesday to freeze its nuclear program, including weapons and power development, to help rekindle talks on the standoff over its arms programs, while a delegation of Americans left for the communist country to possibly tour a disputed nuclear plant. [via MSNBC]
U.S. Groups to Visit N.Korea, May See Atomic ComplexThe visits have now been confirmed by a U.S. official as well as by a South Korean Foreign Ministry official in Seoul, who said some of the visitors would tour Yongbyon, where Washington suspects North Korea may have resumed reprocessing spent nuclear fuel rods into plutonium.
One group consists of two U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee aides and the other of private citizens, including a former top U.S. nuclear scientist, a former U.S. special envoy for North Korea and a Stanford University scholar.
State Department spokesman Adam Ereli said Washington did not oppose the visits but stressed that those involved were not going on behalf of the administration. [via MSNBC]
North Korean Nuclear Site InspectionsUSA Today initially reported that Washington approved the trip and it was scheduled for Jan. 6-10. The newspaper said the U.S. delegation would include Sig Hecker, director of the Los Alamos National Laboratory from 1985 to 1997.
However, a State Department official has said the U.S. government is not involved in reported plans for a delegation to visit North Korea's nuclear complex at Yongbyon next week. "This is something that the U.S. government has not been involved in, nor would we be participating in the inspections. This is a completely private initiative," said the official, who asked not to be identified. [via Yahoo , MSNBC]