September 29, 2004

Security agency arrest man accused of trying to sell plutonium

A man was arrested for trying to sell plutonium in an undercover investigation, the Kyrgyz security agency said Tuesday. National Security Service agents posing as buyers arrested the man on Sept. 21 after confirming that he was in possession of plutonium-239, agency spokeswoman Chinara Asanova said.

The National Security Agency is concerned about rising interest in radioactive materials in the black market, she said.

Earlier this year, it arrested Arzykul Usupov, 49, who allegedly tried to sell nearly 4 ounces of the highly toxic material cesium-137, which could contaminate large areas if used as part of a "dirty bomb," Asanova said. [via].
September 28, 2004

National Science Foundation Awards $507,000 Grant for Nuclear Issues' Web Sites

National Science Foundation The National Science Foundation has awarded a team from AJ Software & Multimedia, creators of Atomic Archive: Enhanced Edition and, Washington and Lee University, and Kennesaw State University, $507,000 to develop Nuclear Pathways, a closely knit group of high-quality Web sites offering information about a broad range of nuclear issues for a variety of audiences.

Nuclear Pathways will make information on historic and current nuclear issues more accessible and comprehensible to the public, educators and students from middle school through graduate programs. Beginning with the Manhattan Project, the massive scientific and technological effort that produced the first atomic bombs, nuclear issues have had a profound effect on every aspect of society and have influenced the evolution of science and technology, arts and humanities, the domestic politics of many nations and international relations.

The grant will enable integration of the NSF-funded Alsos Digital Library for Nuclear Issues with, and Nuclear Chemistry and the Community, located at Kennesaw State University in Georgia.

Those sites also will join Alsos - an annotated searchable collection of books, articles, films, CD- ROMs, and Web sites - as members of NSF's National Science Digital Library. As the Nuclear Pathways project develops, additional Web sites addressing nuclear issues will be included.

The project will further assist in expanding the Nuclear Files, a Web site which provides reference materials for teachers in many disciplines at levels from middle school through postgraduate training. In turn, Nuclear Files will provide links to other related sites, including those created by individual educators.

W&L's Alsos and its partner Web sites will work with commercial search engines to increase the visibility of Nuclear Pathways and each partner's site. Those interactions will serve as models for cooperation for other National Science Digital Library sites.

Nuclear Pathways' users are expected to include citizens, students, teachers and other professionals including journalists, engineers, political scientists, historians and scientists in non-nuclear fields. In addition to basic scientific, technical, and historical knowledge, searchable topics will include nuclear power, nuclear-weapons proliferation, health effects of radiation and nuclear waste.

North Korea's plutonium turned into weapons

North Korea has turned plutonium from 8,000 spent nuclear fuel rods into weapons to serve as a deterrent against a possible nuclear strike by the United States, a North Korean minister said Monday.Without specifying what kinds or the number of weapons it has, Vice Foreign Minister Choe Su Hon said North Korea has been left with "no other option but to possess a nuclear deterrent" because of U.S. policies that he claimed were designed to "eliminate the DPRK by force while designating it as part of an 'axis of evil' and a target of pre-emptive nuclear strikes." [via]
September 24, 2004

Top Indian nuclear scientist dead

A top Indian nuclear scientist and the scientific mastermind behind the country's first atomic test, has died. India's first atomic device was designed by the Bombay-based Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (Barc), which Dr Ramanna headed.

Dr Ramanna, who was a respected scientist and a professional pianist, also headed India's Atomic Energy Commission and served a term as the country's junior defence minister. [via BBC NEWS]
September 21, 2004

IAEA Board of Governors Adopt Resolution on Iran

At the end of week-long meetings beginning 13 September, the IAEA Board of Governors adopted a resolution on the implementation of safeguards in the Islamic Republic of Iran. [via IAEA]

Birthplace of the bomb may gain national landmark status

The U.S. Senate has approved a bill requiring the federal government to study the possible addition of historic Manhattan Project sites, including a reactor at the Hanford nuclear site, to the national park system.

Former nuclear workers and concerned residents for years have been trying to preserve the world's first full-scale plutonium production nuclear reactor-Hanford's B Reactor-as a museum. [via MSNBC]

Iran admits creating gas that can be used to make nuclear weapons

Defying a key demand set by 35 nations, Iran announced Tuesday it has started converting raw uranium into the gas needed for enrichment, a process that can be used to make nuclear weapons.

In Vienna, Iranian Vice President Reza Aghazadeh said tests are "going on successfully" to make uranium hexafluoride gas, the material that, in the next stage, is fed into centrifuges for enrichment.

Of the more than 40 tons of raw uranium being mined for conversion, "Some ... has been used," he told reporters.

His comments, outside the general conference of the 137-nation International Atomic Energy Agency, were the latest sign that Iran was ignoring demands made on the weekend by the agency's board of governors to suspend all enrichment and related activities and banish international fears the technology could be used to make weapons. [via
September 20, 2004

Iran Defiant On Nuclear Censure

Iran may resume uranium enrichment "any moment," Intelligence Minister Ali Yunesi said on state television Monday.

"We suspended (enrichment) voluntarily and we may continue it voluntarily," Yunesi said. "And we may resume (enrichment) any moment."

The International Atomic Energy Agency has demanded that Iran halt all uranium enrichment activity, including the production and testing of centrifuges used to enrich uranium.

The chief of the U.N. agency, Mohamed ElBaradei, urged Iran on Monday to heed the demands, adding there were "serious concerns" about its nuclear activities. The IAEA is to report on Iran's compliance in November.

Yunesi said Iran rejected the motion passed unanimously by the IAEA board of directors on Saturday. [via CBS News].
September 15, 2004

North Korea to Delay Nuclear Talks Until After U.S. Election

North Korean officials told a visiting British diplomat that they would wait until the conclusion of the U.S. presidential election to resume six-party talks on Pyongyang's nuclear program. [ via NTI: Global Security Newswire]
September 14, 2004

U.S. Air Force to Investigate Location of Lost Cold War-Era Nuclear Weapon

An unarmed nuclear weapon, lost off the Georgia coast following a collision of a B-47 bomber and an F-86 fighter in 1958, might have been found, the U.S. Air Force announced yesterday.

Experts from the Air Force and the Defense and Energy departments are examining the information collected by a group led by retired Air Force Lt. Col. Derek Duke that found the object underwater near Savannah in July, said Air Force spokesman Lt. Col. Frank Smolinsky.[ via NTI: Global Security Newswire and]

Expert Meeting on Control of Nuclear Fuel Cycle

Given the emerging threats to the nuclear non-proliferation regime, it is time to consider possible multilateral approaches to better control sensitive parts of the nuclear fuel cycle - that is, uranium enrichment and plutonium separation - Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei, Director General of the IAEA, told the inaugural meeting of an international expert group assembled to study the issue. [via IAEA].

Pakistan Parliament Approves Nuclear Controls Bill

Pakistan's parliament passed a bill Tuesday tightening controls on the export of nuclear and biological weapons technology and missile delivery systems, part of efforts to curb proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. [via Yahoo! News]

Iranian nuclear plans 'unclear'

The head of the IAEA says he has seen no firm evidence Iran is secretly developing nuclear weapons.

But International Atomic Energy Agency chief Mohamed El-Baradei said he could not yet give assurances Iran's nuclear program was entirely peaceful. [via BBC NEWS].
September 13, 2004

Lecture on nuclear weapons Sept. 20

Robert Rothe, a retired scientist at the U.S. government's nuclear weapons facility in Rocky Flats, Colo., will give a talk, "Inside 'A' Bomb Factory," at 4 p.m. Sept. 20 in Room D-108, Umbeck Science-Mathematics Center at Knox College. The lecture is free and open to the public. Know College is located in Galesburg, Illinois. [via Galesburg Register-Mail Online]

Powell: Unlikely WMD Stocks Will Be Found in Iraq

Secretary of State Colin Powell, who made the case to the world that pre-war Iraq had stocks of chemical and biological weapons, said on Monday he now thought these will probably never be found.

Powell's latest comments appeared to be his most explicit to date suggesting that the central argument for President Bush's decision to invade Iraq -- the belief it possessed weapons of mass destruction -- was flawed.[via Yahoo! News]
September 12, 2004

U.S. Says North Korea Blast Probably Not Nuclear

A huge explosion rocked North Korea last week but U.S. and South Korean officials said Sunday it was unlikely to have been a nuclear weapons test despite the appearance of a "peculiar cloud" over the area.[via Yahoo! News]
September 11, 2004

The Fallen Will Forever Stand

In silence we ponder
Years fail to wash away
Memories that stain the walls of yesterday.
What are They but those we revere?
Indelible is the pain
Yet greater is the courage
Of those who gave the incalculable bequest.
What are we but guardians of the legacy now ours?
Written in our hearts the memories
In perpetuity remain.
Will the Fallen
by Cameron Moll

Big blast reported in North Korea

A big explosion rocked a northern province of North Korea near the border with China last week, South Korea's Yonhap news agency is reporting. The blast is said to have happened last Thursday, as North Korea marked the 56th anniversary of its founding.

Yonhap quoted a diplomatic source in Seoul as saying a large mushroom cloud was spotted in Yanggang province. South Korea's Unification Minister has reportedly played down the possibility that it was a nuclear weapons test. Diplomatic officials in Washington are also quoted as saying the nature of the blast is unclear.

The diplomatic source in Seoul said the mushroom cloud, with a radius of 3.5-4 kms (2.2-2.5 miles), was spotted in Yanggang province's Kimhyungjik county.The blast could be seen from a satellite, an unnamed official in Beijing was quoted by Yonhap as saying.[via BBC NEWS]
September 10, 2004

Nuclear Know How

In a four-part radio series, Susie Emmett of BBC World Service reports from hospitals, nuclear power stations and fields -- and speaks with IAEA experts -- to examine the rewards and the risks of using nuclear science and technology in the 21st Century.BBC World Service | Nuclear Know How
September 09, 2004

More Seoul nuclear work revealed

South Korea secretly conducted an experiment more than 20 years ago with traces of plutonium, a key ingredient in making nuclear weapons, a senior U.S. official disclosed.

"We have discovered that a small number of scientists conducted an experiment to analyze the chemical properties of plutonium in April and May in 1982," said Kim Young-Shik, director general for nuclear safety at the science and technology ministry.

"No records have been left to tell the exact amount, but we presume a 'milligram-level' miniscule amount of plutonium may have been extracted given all the circumstances."

The Seoul government has been in consultation with the IAEA to verify the experiment where "some 2.5 kilograms (5.5 pounds) of spent fuel rods were used" to extract the plutonium at the state-run nuclear research center, he said. [Yahoo! News].
September 07, 2004

Iran May Curb Nuclear Work

Iran has agreed in principle to temporarily stop some suspect activities that its critics allege are meant to make nuclear weapons, as it seeks to blunt censure at an upcoming U.N. meeting, diplomats said Tuesday. Islamic Republic tentatively agreed to re-impose a freeze on making, testing and assembling centrifuges used to enrich uranium. [via CBS News].
September 02, 2004

U.N. probing S. Korea nuclear experiment

The South Korean Government has admitted its scientists experimented secretly with nuclear fuel enrichment. South Korea reported that its "laboratory scale" experiment "involved the production of only milligram quantities of enriched uranium," the IAEA said in a statement.

Experts say the technique used could have military implications, but a government official denied any intention to build a weapons program. A European based diplomat said the work was a violation of South Korea's international nuclear commitments.[via MSNBC].
September 01, 2004

Iran to resume uranium enrichment

Iran has announced plans to turn tons of uranium into a substance that can be used to make nuclear weapons, the U.N. atomic watchdog agency said Wednesday in a report stoking concern about Tehran's nuclear agenda.

The confidential report of the International Atomic Energy Agency said the agency had been informed that the Islamic Republic planned to process more than 40 tons of raw uranium into uranium hexafluoride.

Uranium hexafluoride is spun in centrifuges to produce enriched uranium, which in turn can be used to generate power or make nuclear warheads, depending on the degree of enrichment.[ via MSNBC]

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