May 28, 2005

Last Best Chance on Meet the Press

Last Best Chance and the global nuclear terrorism threat will be the topic on NBC's Meet the Press this Sunday, May 29.

Guests will include former Senator and Last Best Chance star Fred D. Thompson, former Senator Sam Nunn, Senator Richard Lugar, 9/11 Commission Chair Tom Kean and Vice Chair Lee Hamilton.

Please watch the show and tell others to tune in as well.

To find out what time it airs in your area click here.

Check out lastbestchance.org for the movie trailer and more information about the film.
May 27, 2005

No new proposals from NPT meeting

After a month of near-paralysis, a global conference to tighten controls on the spread of nuclear arms adopted a final report Friday offering no new action plan at a time of mounting nuclear tension in the world.

The 188-nation meeting, reviewing the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, produced weeks of divisive debate over issues ranging from Iran's uranium centrifuges, to Israel's nuclear capabilities, to U.S. weapons plans. But it yielded no consensus recommendations for concrete steps to rein in atomic arms.

The disagreements even kept the conference president, Sergio de Queiroz Duarte, from issuing a summary statement endorsing nonproliferation principles. [via MSNBC.com]
May 25, 2005

PBS FRONTLINE/WORLD: Iran - Going Nuclear

As international tensions mount, PBS's newsmagazine travels deep into Iran in search of answers to one of the world's most pressing security questions: Are the Iranians secretly pursuing a nuclear bomb? With exclusive access to a U.N. inspection team on a tour of Iran's most sensitive nuclear sites, Frontline/World and BBC reporter Paul Kenyon sheds new light on the state of Iran's nuclear weapons program and the growing suspicions of inspectors.

Find out more about "Going Nuclear" on PBS (check local listings): FRONTLINE/WORLD.
May 14, 2005

Iran to tell UN in days of nuclear work

Iran is expected to notify the United Nations within days that it is resuming sensitive nuclear work, almost certainly killing off Tehran's crucial talks with the European Union, a European diplomat said on Wednesday.

The collapse of the EU negotiations, led by Britain, France and Germany, would likely bring the controversy over Iran's
nuclear program to the U.N. Security Council for possible sanctions or other actions.'The Iranians are expected to notify the International Atomic Energy Agency by the end of the week that they are resuming preparations to enrich uranium,' the European diplomat said, referring to the Vienna-based IAEA, the U.N. nuclear watchdog. [via Yahoo! News]
May 12, 2005

Delegates Agree on Nuclear Treaty Agenda

Delegates from 188 nations agreed on an agenda to review the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty Wednesday, ending days of diplomatic wrangling and paving the way for the first serious discussions on improving the treaty's control of nuclear weapons.

Egypt had insisted that the monthlong conference include discussion of a nuclear-free zone in the Middle East, and the deadlock was broken when delegates agreed to put a reference to previous conferences where that issue was discussed in a footnote to the agenda. [via Yahoo! News]
May 11, 2005

Nuclear Revelation From Iran

Iran confirmed for the first time Monday that it converted 37 tons of raw uranium into gas, a key step ahead of enrichment, before it suspended all such activities in November under international pressure.

The confirmation means Tehran is in a position to quickly start enriching uranium if it chose to end its suspension of enrichment-related activities. It comes at a crucial time, with Europe trying in fragile negotiations to seal an agreement to ensure Iran's nuclear program does not produce nuclear weapons. [via CBS News]

North Korea says steps taken to boost nuke arsenal

North Korea said Wednesday it had completed removing spent nuclear fuel rods from a reactor at its main nuclear complex - a move that could allow it to harvest more weapons-grade plutonium - in the communist state's latest provocation amid a deadlock in disarmament talks.

A North Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman said the country had "successfully completed" removing 8,000 fuel rods from the reactor at Yongbyon, according to a statement carried by the North's official Korean Central News Agency. [via MSNBC.com]

Review: The Bomb: A Life

Book CoverThe development of nuclear weapons has dramatically shaped the course of world affairs for over 60 years. Since August 6, 1945, when an atomic bomb was dropped on the city of Hiroshima, Japan, killing hundreds of thousands, its power has haunted our psyche and threatened our survival as a species on this planet. The Bomb's legacy continues to exert its influence around the globe. Headlines remind us of the nuclear crisis on the Korean peninsula or that terrorists could attack using clandestinely-obtained nuclear material.

Gerard DeGroot, Professor of Modern History at St. Andrews University, has written a concise and enjoyable account of the history of the nuclear bomb, The Bomb: A Life. He chronicles its birth in the turn-of-the-century physics laboratories of Europe, to its first test in the desert of New Mexico, to the ensuing nuclear race and its proliferation across the globe. Although the book does not offer any new information to a knowledgeable reader, it does offer a succinct telling of the Bomb's legacy. This fact will be welcomed by those wishing to teach the topic of development of nuclear weapons. For those seeking a detailed account of the development of the atomic bomb and its later incarnation, the hydrogen bomb, they should review Richard Rhodes' seminal works, The Making of the Atomic Bomb and Dark Sun.

DeGroot's book portrays the Bomb's short but significant existence in all its scope, providing us with a portrait of the times and the people--from Oppenheimer to Sakharov, Stalin to Reagan--whose legacy still shapes our world. As the 60th anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki approach, this book reminds us just how massively destructive those devices can be.

DeGroot also explores the attempts at rationalizing the Bomb's continued development and its use by the world's leaders and weapons designers. In short, DeGroot has written one of the better summaries of the nuclear age. Available at amazon.com

May 10, 2005

Drilling Near Nuclear Blast Cavity Called Risky Business

On a bright fall afternoon 36 years ago, the Atomic Energy Commission and a Texas oil company detonated a 40-kiloton nuclear device inside an 8,000-foot shaft on a high meadow, an effort to crack into a bounty of natural gas trapped in a dense subterranean rock formation. Here on Colorado's energy-rich Western Slope, the nuclear experiment yielded mixed results. A rich lode of gas was indeed shaken out of its rock casing, but the gas that rushed to the surface was too radioactive to be commercially useful.

Federal officials assured the community that the Rulison test site (for more information: Atomic Journeys), named after a nearby community, was safe. Still, they forbade oil or gas drilling on 40 acres surrounding the blast. Last year, the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission added another half a mile to the federal off-limits zone. But now, another Texas energy company has proposed drilling within the half-mile zone. The company, Presco, says it will extract the gas using a nonnuclear process called hydraulic fracing, which like the original experiment is designed to shatter underground rock and tap into embedded stores of natural gas. The company says this can be done without disturbing the radioactive material that remains buried in the blast cavity.

Los Angeles Times
May 09, 2005

North Korea hints it will conduct atomic test

A North Korean official told visiting Japanese scholars in Pyongyang last week that a nuclear test was an 'indispensable' step toward proving the nation's military capabilities to the world and suggested his government might conduct one soon, the Japanese head of the delegation said. [via MSNBC.com]

Last Best Chance DVD

Last Best Chance is a docudrama that shows the threat posed by vulnerable nuclear weapons and materials around the world and underscores what the stakes are.

In the movie, al Qaeda operatives organize three separate operations aimed at getting nuclear weapons. The material is then fabricated into three crude nuclear weapons by small groups of trained terrorists, who have recruited bomb-making experts to help them manufacture their weapons.

Governments around the world discover clues to the plot, but are unable to uncover the scheme before the weapons are en route to their destinations. The film clearly demonstrates that the hardest job for terrorists is gaining control of a nuclear weapon or material. Because the governments had failed to take sufficient action to secure or destroy the nuclear weapons material, they are helpless to prevent an attack.

The film stars Fred Thompson and features an epilogue moderated by Tom Brokaw.

Order the DVD

Apocalypse Soon By Robert S. McNamara

In this article in Foreign Policy, Robert McNamara is worried. He knows how close we’ve come. His counsel helped the Kennedy administration avert nuclear catastrophe during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Today, he believes the United States must no longer rely on nuclear weapons as a foreign-policy tool. To do so is immoral, illegal, and dreadfully dangerous. [view the article at Foreign Policy]

Iran Closer To Uranium Enrichment

Iran confirmed for the first time Monday that it converted 37 tons of raw uranium into gas, a key step ahead of enrichment, before it suspended all such activities in November under international pressure.

The confirmation means Tehran is in a position to quickly start enriching uranium if it chose to end its suspension of enrichment-related activities. It comes at a crucial time, with Europe trying in fragile negotiations to seal an agreement to ensure Iran's nuclear program does not produce nuclear weapons.

The Europeans agreed last year that Iran could finish converting the 37 tons. Iran had begun processing the material in a rushed attempt to do it just before the suspension. [via CBS News]

North Korea: Capable Of 6 Bombs?

North Korea may have enough weapons-grade plutonium to make up to six nuclear bombs, the head of the U.N. atomic watchdog agency said in another warning about the reclusive regime's secretive nuclear program.

International Atomic Energy Agency chief Mohamed ElBaradei told Cable News Network on Sunday evening that Pyongyang has the nuclear infrastructure to convert the material into atomic weapons.

"We knew they had the plutonium that could be converted into five or six North Korea weapons," ElBaradei told CNN. [via CBS News and CNN.com ]
May 06, 2005

North Korea nuke test would be 'disastrous'

The U.N. atomic watchdog on Friday warned that a North Korean nuclear test would have 'disastrous political repercussions' and called on world leaders to pressure Pyongyang not to cross that line.

Asked what the effect of a North Korean nuclear test would be, Mohamed ElBaradei told reporters: "There will be disastrous political repercussions in Asia and the rest of the world. I think there could be major environmental fallout, which could lead into dissemination of radioactivity in the region." [via MSNBC.com]

U.S. Cites Signs of Korean Preparations for Nuclear Test

White House and Pentagon officials are closely monitoring a recent stream of satellite photographs of North Korea that appear to show rapid, extensive preparations for a nuclear weapons test, including the construction of a reviewing stand, presumably for dignitaries, according to American and foreign officials who have been briefed on the imagery. [via New York Times (Registration Required)]
May 05, 2005

NPR : The Story of Pakistan's Nuclear Father

Physicist David Albright is president of the Institute for Science and International Security in Washington, D.C. He's the co-author of a new report on A.Q. Khan, the father of Pakistan's nuclear weapons program, that was published in the Spring 2005 edition of The Washington Quarterly (pdf).

Khan sold nuclear technology and information to Iran, Libya and North Korea. He was reportedly able to do this for the last 20 years, while eluding authorities and intelligence agencies. Albright says Khan's actions have had an impact on nuclear proliferation.[via NPR]

The Nuclear 'football'

This an article and Flash piece that talks about "the football" is more properly known as the president's emergency satchel. Specifics of the football's contents are classified. It is known to contain a handbook detailing options for unleashing U.S. nuclear weapons - "everything from firing a tactical nuclear weapon, one of them, to full-born Armageddon." [via SignOnSanDiego.com]

KGB had tactical Nuclear Weapons

In the past, nuclear suitcase bombs were made for the KGB, which means that the intelligence service had tactical nuclear weapons. In fact, they had 250 of them, but they no longer pose a threat because the service life of such bombs is very short, said Alexei Yablokov, president of Russia's Center of Ecological Policy, in an interview with a daily, Gazeta. [via RIA Novosti - Russia]
May 03, 2005

Iran Will Pursue Nuclear Technology

Iran declared Tuesday that it is determined to pursue all legal areas of nuclear technology, including uranium enrichment. Addressing a U.N. conference on the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi said his government is 'eager' to provide guarantees that its nuclear-fuel program will serve only peaceful purposes, as sought in talks with European governments. [via Yahoo! News]

U.S. unprepared for nuclear terror, experts say

"The United States is, at the moment, not well prepared to manage an [emergency] evacuation of this sort in the relevant time frame," said Richard Falkenrath, former deputy homeland security adviser and now a fellow at the Brookings Institution. "The federal government currently lacks the ability to [rapidly] generate and broadcast specific, geographically tailored evacuation instructions" across the country, he said.

Security experts consider a terrorist nuclear strike highly unlikely because of the difficulty in obtaining fissionable material and constructing a bomb. But it is a conceivable scenario, especially in light of the lax security at many former Soviet nuclear facilities and the knowledge of atomic scientists in such places as Pakistan. [via MSNBC.com]
May 02, 2005

Annan urges anti-nuclear effort

UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has called on world leaders to reinforce their commitment to a treaty aimed at reducing the threat from nuclear arms. Mr. Annan was addressing (full address) a conference on the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. It is reviewed every five years, with delegates from all 187 signatory states participating in the month-long conference at the UN's headquarters in New York.

Warning of the possibility of a nuclear catastrophe in one of the world's cities, Mr. Annan said that "in our interconnected world, a threat to one is a threat to all, and we all share responsibility for each other's security." [via BBC NEWS]
May 01, 2005

Think Outside the Bomb: National Youth Conference on Nuclear Issues

The Nuclear Age Peace Foundation and its partners invite you to participate in Think Outside the Bomb, a gathering of young leaders, disarmament experts, educators, veteran activists, and artists. The gathering is scheduled for August 15-21, 2005 at the University of California Santa Barbara. For more information visit NAPF Programs.

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