July 31, 2005

Iran to defy EU by resuming nuclear activity

Iran said on Sunday it would resume sensitive nuclear activities at once without waiting for EU compromise proposals, a move that the EU said was 'unnecessary and damaging' and could derail their talks.

Iran said it was acting after the EU failed to meet a deadline set by Tehran to deliver an offer to break the impasse.

But the British Foreign Office said the EU -- represented by Britain, France and Germany -- had informed Iran that 'full and detailed proposals' would be delivered in a week. [via Yahoo! News]

Singh: India will not spread nuclear technology

India upholds nuclear nonproliferation rules and will never spread sensitive technology, its prime minister said on Tuesday, a day after the United States promised to help the South Asian power develop its civilian atomic sector. [via Yahoo! News]
July 29, 2005

US admits problems in persuading North Korea to dump nuclear weapons

The United States admitted that persuading North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons drive was not proving easy and that key differences remain, but the two sides agreed to meet again.

Pyongyang refuses to disarm until Washington normalizes relations, among other conditions. A key sticking point is the American allegation that North Korea is running a highly enriched uranium program.

On Wednesday, the United States said that North Korea must abandon all its nuclear programs, including uranium enrichment.

North Korea has always denied operating such a program, which can be used to produce atomic explosive devices, either for weapons or for peaceful purposes. [via Yahoo! News]

Russia Scraps Entire Division of Missile Launchers

Russia yesterday announced the destruction of the sixth and final SS-18 Satan missile launcher operated by a missile division based near Kartaly, ITAR-Tass reported. [via NTI: Global Security Newswire]
July 27, 2005

Iran vows to resume uranium enrichment program

Iran says it will end its suspension of uranium enrichment regardless of proposals offered by the European Union in the next round of nuclear talks.

Tehran agreed to stop all enrichment eight months ago after talks with the European Union.

Announcing the decision after a Cabinet meeting, outgoing Iranian President Mohommed Khatami said he hoped the European Union would agree to Tehran resuming the enrichment of uranium.

Nevertheless, he said Iran would end its suspension of enrichment regardless of the proposals offered by the EU in the next round of nuclear talks. [via ABC News Online]
July 26, 2005

Radioactive Heap To Be Moved

The Department of Energy plans to move a 12 million ton heap of radioactive waste away from the banks of the Colorado River, a major source of drinking water for about 25 million people, officials said Monday. [via CBS News]

Nuclear Bomb Fallout Used to Date Cells

All living cells on Earth contain radioactive material that was emitted by nuclear bombs and weapons tested from the mid-1950s until 1963, and now scientists have figured out a way to use these radioactive markers to figure out how old individual cells are in our bodies.

Scientists hope to determine the ages of all cells. This could provide critical information for developing stem cell therapies and other medical treatments. [via Discovery Channel]
July 22, 2005

Fat Man, Little Boy Replicas Replaced

Fat Man and Little Boy are getting a makeover. For 10 years, visitors to a science museum in New Mexico have been able to see exact replicas of the first two atomic bombs on display. But the replicas are being replaced --- the Los Alamos National Laboratory has ordered the fake models to be even more fake. They won't say what the difference is, citing national security. [via NPR]
July 20, 2005

India pledges not to spread nuclear technology

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of India, seeking U.S. support for his country's civilian nuclear program a day after he and President George W. Bush reached an agreement aimed at removing a ban on the sale of such technology to India, assured Congress on Tuesday that India would not spread sensitive technologies.

The agreement would remove a ban on the sale of civilian nuclear technology to India, which has been in place since the 1970s. In doing so, it would end an old source of antagonism between the two countries.

Under the agreement, India would be allowed to buy nuclear fuel and reactor components from companies in the United States and other countries.
In return, India would allow international inspections and safeguards on its civilian nuclear program, and refrain from further weapons tests and from transferring arms technology to other countries.

U.S. lawmakers from both major parties were taken aback by President George W. Bush’s announcement Monday that he would propose ending nuclear sanctions on India. [via Global Security Newswire and International Herald Tribune]

Google Moon - Lunar Landing Sites

Welcome to Google Moon!

In honor of the first manned Moon landing, which took place on July 20, 1969, we've added some NASA imagery to the Google Maps interface to help you pay your own visit to our celestial neighbor. Happy lunar surfing. Google Moon

(We also are space nuts)
July 19, 2005

Six-party N.Korea nuclear talks to start July 26

A new round of six-party talks on North Korea's nuclear arms programs will start in Beijing on July 26 after Pyongyang boycotted them for more than a year, China and South Korea said on Tuesday. [via Yahoo! News}
July 18, 2005

Review: James B. Conant: Harvard to Hiroshima and the Making of the Nuclear Age

Book CoverJames Hershberg has written a wonderfully rich account, based on carefully documented research of one the atomic age's often forgotten members, James B. Conant. Although, Dr. Conant did write his autobiography, it was not a revealing look into this influential man. In fact, Conant had to be forced into even mentioning that he had a wife.


The book traces his early childhood from working class Boston to his entrance into Havard to study chemistry. Although he tried to break into commercial ventures, sometimes with disastrous results, he always seemed to return to academia. Hershberg provides the reader with great insight into a man, who would, to the outside world, appear to be very stoic.

Conant was a major player in the development of the atomic bomb, the debates about post-war control and international control of the atom, as well as the development of the hydrogen bomb.

To many, James Conant was simply Havard University's president from 1933 through 1952. In reality, he had a much larger role in the Manhattan Project. When President Roosevelt approved the National Research Defense Committee (NRDC) under Vannevar Bush, the entire United States' uranium effort was brought under its control, and the committee's vice chair, James Conant. As was typical for him, Conant was skeptical about the project, but nevertheless, agreed to let the project continue.

Hershberg explores how at the time, Conant believed the bomb should be used without warning, but also felt that "the most desirable target would be a vital war plant employing a large number of workers and closely surrounded by workers' houses." After the war, he urged former Secretary of War, Henry Stimson to publish an article outlining the case for the use of the atomic bomb on Japan. Conversely, as member of the Atomic Energy Commission's General Advisory Committee, Conant recommended the United States not pursue the development of the hydrogen bomb.

Conant's life is filled with contradictions like this. But the contradictions were rarely shown to the external world. One final example of this, was upon the 30th anniversary of the atomic bombings of Japan, Conant signed a petition urging that United States stop its continued development of nuclear weapons. Hershberg has provided a history with a thoughtful account of a man who stood in the shadows of the forming of the atomic age. Available at amazon.com

July 17, 2005

A Foul and Awesome Display

In the wee morning hours of July 16, 1945, a cadre of nervous physicists and army personnel witnessed the explosion of the first nuclear weapon in the New Mexico desert. Physicist Kenneth T. Bainbridge headed what would be termed the Trinity Test. Thirty years later, Bainbridge recounted his memories of the test in "A Foul and Awesome Display" (May 1975): "After the blast wave had passed, I got up from the ground to congratulate Oppenheimer and others on the success of the implosion method," Bainbridge recalls. "I finished by saying to Robert, 'Now we are all sons of bitches.'"

This article is provided free to Bulletin web visitors, for a limited time, by the Bulletin Archive, an indispensable resource on the history and evolution of science and technology, and their impact upon policy and international security.

NPR : Photographing the Dawn of the Nuclear Age

Sixty years ago, Jack Aeby snapped one of history's most important photographs -- a rare color picture of the first atomic bomb test.

Color film was difficult to get during World War II, but a friend gave him a three-foot chunk from a long roll. Aeby, now 82, remembers getting the shot:

"I'd walked out just a bit north of base camp. I used a chair as a tripod, sat in the seat with the back facing the detonation area, and rested the camera on the back of the chair. I managed to choose a wide-open exposure and aimed it in the proper direction." [NPR]

Trinity and the Birth of the Atomic Bomb

The nuclear age dawned on July 16, 1945, with a successful atomic explosion at the Trinity test site in New Mexico. Sixty years later, eyewitnesses and others recall an event that continues to reverberate into the 21st century. National Public Radio has a colleciton of reports on the Trinity Test. [via NPR]
July 09, 2005

North Korea agrees to return to nuclear talks in July

North Korea has agreed to return to stalled six-country talks on its nuclear weapons programs this month, the official KCNA news agency said on Saturday.

North Korea had been boycotting the talks -- which involve
the two Koreas, China, Japan, Russia and the United States --
since a third inconclusive round in Beijing in June last year. [via Yahoo! News]
July 07, 2005

North Korea Reportedly Giving Iran Nuclear Assistance

North Korea is secretly assisting Iran with its nuclear program, according to intelligence reports obtained by Reuters. "In the late 1990s, cooperation began between the two countries, which focused on nuclear (research and development)," said an intelligence report delivered by a non-U.S. diplomat.

"There has been a significant improvement in relations between Iran and North Korea over the past few months," the report says.The document also describes a "special secret course to provide technological and practical information to outstanding students" taught by, among others, senior North Korean scientists and technicians.

The course includes instruction on dual-use technology that could be used in civilian or military nuclear programs, according to Reuters. [via NTI: Global Security Newswire]

Manhattan Project Began Nuclear Age 60 Years Ago; Debate Continues

During World War II, the U.S. Government built an isolated town named Los Alamos, in the hills of the southwestern state of New Mexico. This mysterious town was the site of a top-secret nuclear research laboratory, where scientists built the world’s first atomic bomb. On the eve of that 60th anniversary, VOA's Deborah Block has the story of what was called "the Manhattan Project." [via VOA News ]

Newsweek: Q&A: Mohamed ElBaradei on Iran

Iran has been one of Mohamed ElBaradei's biggest worries since International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors uncovered the country's secret nuclear program in 2003. Last week, in his first interview since winning a third term as IAEA director-general, ElBaradei talked to NEWSWEEK's Christopher Dickey about Iran, the bomb and how the election of hard-liner Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as president might alter the equation.

Newsweek World News - MSNBC.com
July 06, 2005

Iran wants to break UN seals on frozen atomic parts

Iran has asked the U.N. nuclear watchdog to let it temporarily break U.N. seals on atomic equipment that has been mothballed under an agreement with the EU's three biggest powers, diplomats said on Wednesday.

A senior Iranian official confirmed this was true but denied that it was a violation of its pledge to freeze all activities linked to the production of enriched-uranium fuel, a technology that can be used to in either atomic power plants or weapons.

'The Iranians have approached the (U.N.) agency with a request to temporarily remove seals from a component at the UCF (Uranium Conversion Facility) in Isfahan to conduct a test on this component,' a diplomat said on condition on anonymity. [via Yahoo! News]
July 05, 2005

New website on the Trinity Test

Trinity Remembered: 60 years later

60 years ago, the first atomic bomb exploded in the New Mexico desert. Trinityremembered.com, is a new website brings together a large collection of information about the turning point of human history. It contains eyewitness accounts, photographs, video and maps.

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