North Korea agrees to fresh nuclear talks in Beijing next monthNorth Korea has agreed to attend talks in Beijing next month aimed at setting up a fresh round of six-nation negotiations on its nuclear weapons drive. The six countries have agreed that the working group's meeting will open on May 12 in Beijing. [via Yahoo]
IAEA Chief to visit IsraelChief UN nuclear inspector Mohamed ElBaradei will in July visit Israel, which has refused to sign the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and is believed to have up to 200 nuclear weapons, to promote a "nuclear weapon-free zone" in the Middle East. [via BBC]
North Korea weapons estimate to riseThe United States is preparing to significantly raise its estimate of the number of nuclear weapons held by North Korea, from "possibly two" to at least eight. The report, expected to be completed within a month, would reflect a new intelligence consensus on North Korea's nuclear capabilities. [via MSNBC]
Tourists flock to the dead zone of ChernobylDay-trippers armed with Geiger counters take guided tours from Kiev through military checkpoints to the doorstep of the reactor. "Strange as it may sound, people visit here from all over the world - the United States, Australia, Japan, the UK," said Yulia Marusich, an official guide who leads visitors to a viewing platform overlooking the concrete sarcophagus that encloses the remains of Reactor Four. [via telegraph.co.uk]
Chernobyl, 18 years agoToday marks the unhappy anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident-the 1986 explosion at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant Unit 4 reactor in the Ukraine. Here are some articles on accident from the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.
"Inside the Beast" (in seven parts), by Sergei Kiselyov, May/June 1996
"Chernobyl's Toll After 10 Years," by David R. Marples, May/June 1996
GHOST TOWNThis outstanding website covers motorcycle ride through the Chernobyl area, where one can ride through with no stoplights, no police and no danger of hitting any living thing. As the anniversary of the accident at Chernobyl approaches, this site offers a glimpse into the region today. http://www.angelfire.com/extreme4/kiddofspeed/
Nuclear Fuel Rod Parts MissingTwo pieces of a highly radioactive fuel rod are missing from a Vermont nuclear plant, and engineers planned to search onsite for the nuclear material, officials said. [via CBS News]
Mordechai Vanunu to be releasedEighteen years after he was kidnapped by Mossad agents for exposing Israel's secret nuclear program, Mordechai Vanunu will go free this week -- a moment Israel fears will refocus unwelcome attention on its "bomb in the basement." [via MSNBC]
Review: Face to Face with the Bomb: Nuclear Reality after the Cold War
More than ten years have passed since the end of the Cold War, yet some 30,000 nuclear weapons remain. The United States alone posses more than 10,000. In Face to Face with the Bomb, photographer Paul Shambroom expertly documents the elements of America's nuclear arsenal. His photographs capture the striking reality of our nuclear armed world. Over the course of nine years, he was able to gain access to a variety of top secret locations. These unprecedented images peer into our nuclear infrastructure.
Full color prints display a range of subjects ranging from the day to day maintenance of the nuclear deterrent, the command and control centers, to the men and women who work in this complex environment. Mr. Shambroom's prologue is a wonderful account of his efforts to obtain these incredible images. An introduction by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Richard Rhodes provides a historical context of the nuclear arms race. This book is a visual masterpiece, offering a view into a world that most will never see.
Review: Cold War Secret Nuclear Bunkers
Although many Americans are familiar with such installations as Cheyenne Mountain, it was not until the secret bunkers at the Greenbriar Resort were revealed that an extensive network of assets developed by the US and Britain in preparation for a nuclear attack was openly discussed.
Nick McCamley attempts to document these locations in his book, Cold War Secret Nuclear Bunkers. Unfortunately the book is very unbalanced and reads unevenly. In addition, the book is also marred by errors, mostly minor. His treatment of North American installations lacks the thoroughness of his coverage of British installations. The author has spent considerable time in his UK research. These sections do provide an interesting glimpse into the efforts that a small nation was willing to undertake in a fruitless attempt to survive a major nuclear strike. The book is worth having in your collection for this information.
I hope Mr. McCamley can offer a new edition under a good editor's guidance and expand the book to include the extensive installations developed in North America.
Pakistani Tells of North Korean Nuclear DevicesPakistan's top nuclear scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan told interrogators he was shown three nuclear devices at a secret underground nuclear plant when he visited North Korea five years ago, The New York Times said. [via The New York Times]
IAEA Inspectors return to IranFive UN nuclear inspectors arrived in Tehran today to try to confirm whether Iran has stopped suspicious nuclear activities - including, as it has twice promised to do, suspending the building and assembling of centrifuges for uranium enrichment.
Iran has also committed to meeting deadlines on disclosing the source of traces of its weapons-grade uranium and answering questions on its recently discovered program to make advanced P-2 centrifuges to enrich uranium, possibly to weapons grade. [via USA Today]
Fred Olivi, co-pilot of "Bockscar", diesLt. Col. Fred Olivi, the former co-pilot of Bockscar, passed away on Thursday, April 8, 2004, after an extended illness. "Bockscar" was the B-29 that dropped the atomic bomb Fat Man on the Japanese city of Nagasaki on August 9, 1945. Olivi worked for 35 years for Chicago's bridge system, and he retired in 1980. He remained in the Air Force reserves, retiring in 1972 as a lieutenant colonel. He was 82 years old.
More Bomb-Grade Uranium Found in IranInternational Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has found traces of bomb-grade uranium in Iran at sites other than the two already named. Last year, the IAEA reported finding traces of uranium that had been enriched to a point where it contained about 90 percent of the fissile uranium atom U-235 at the Natanz enrichment plant and a workshop at the Kalaye Electric Company.
Uranium with such a high concentration of U-235 has few civilian uses but is the ideal purity level for a nuclear bomb. [via Yahoo!]