January 31, 2006

IAEA: Iran obtained nuclear arms documents

A document obtained by Iran on the nuclear black market serves no other purpose than to make an atomic bomb, the International Atomic Energy Agency said Tuesday.The finding was made in a report prepared for presentation to the 35-nation IAEA board when it meets, starting Thursday, on whether to refer Iran to the U.N. Security Council, which has the power to impose economic and political sanctions on Iran. [via MSNBC.com]

IAEA confirms Iran prepares for nuclear enrichment

The U.N. nuclear watchdog confirmed on Tuesday that Iran had begun preparing for nuclear enrichment, which can make fuel for bombs, and continued to hinder a probe of unanswered questions about Iran's atomic aims.

In a confidential report to the International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA) 35-nation board of governors, the agency said Iran had not yet begun enrichment itself but had started renovation work at its Natanz enrichment site.

"Substantial renovation of the gas handling system is underway at the Pilot Fuel Enrichment Plant (PFEP) at Natanz," the report said.

The report will be discussed at Thursday's emergency meeting of the IAEA board, which is expected to report Iran to the U.N. Security Council. [via Yahoo! News]

Putin Boasts of New Missile's Capability

President Vladimir Putin boasted Tuesday that Russia has new missiles capable of penetrating any missile defense system and said he had briefed the French president on their capabilities.

"Russia has tested missile systems that no one in the world has," Putin said. "These missile systems don't represent a response to a missile defense system, but it doesn't matter to them whether that exists or not. They are hypersonic and capable of changing their flight path."

Putin said the new missiles were capable of carrying nuclear warheads. He wouldn't say whether the Russian military already had commissioned any such missiles. [via ABC News]

Iran warns West over nuclear crisis

Iran has warned it will resume suspended nuclear activities and halt surprise UN inspections if it is referred to the UN Security Council. The warning, issued by chief Iranian nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani, follows an agreement by six key powers to report Tehran to the council.

Top officials from two of the powers, Russia and China, will travel to Iran to urge it to back down.

At late-night talks in London, the five permanent council members - the US, UK, Russia, China and France, plus Germany - agreed that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) should report Iran to the Security Council when the agency's board meets in Vienna on Thursday.

However they added that the council would take no action until March, after it had received a report from the IAEA. [via BBC NEWS]
January 27, 2006

Top Iranian Nuclear Diplomat Interviewed by Arms Control Today

On Jan. 23, Oliver Meier, the Arms Control Association’s international representative and correspondent, talked to Ambassador Ali Asghar Soltanieh about the escalating crisis over Iran’s nuclear program. Soltanieh, Iran’s Permanent Representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), took up this post for a second time earlier in the month. The full interview is available. [via Arms Control Association]

How to spot states making secret plutonium

The number of nuclear reactors around the world is set to rise as nations look for ways to cut their greenhouse gas emissions, and all reactors can potentially be used to make plutonium for nuclear weapons. Because of this possibility, it might be useful for countries to be able to monitor each other to make sure weapons-grade plutonium is not being made on the sly.

This article looks at the efforts to build devices that can detect such events. The work is preliminary, and it won't solve the current political crisis involving Iran. Nor for that matter will it shed any light on North Korea's nuclear activities. But the surveillance device they are working on may prove invaluable to the nuclear police of the future. [New Scientist Technology]
January 25, 2006

Iran Welcomes Russia Nuclear Offer

Tehran's nuclear negotiator on Wednesday welcomed Moscow's offer to have Iran's uranium enriched in Russia, but said the proposal needs more work and threatened to renew full-scale uranium enrichment if his country is referred to the U.N. Security Council.

Iran's High Council of National Security Secretary Ali Larijani suggested it would take time to work out details of Russia's proposal, a Western-backed compromise that could provide more oversight and ease fears that Tehran is using its pursuit of atomic power as a front for a nuclear weapons program. [via CBS News]
January 23, 2006

IAEA chief: no broad Iran report for February meeting

The International Atomic Energy Agency chief on Monday refused EU and U.S. requests for a broad report
on Iran's disputed atomic work in time for a February 2 IAEA crisis meeting, saying he needed more time to prepare one.

"Due process, therefore, must take its course before (we) are able to submit a detailed report," ElBaradei wrote.

Western leaders want a broad accounting of Iran's activities for the February 2 meeting to help them persuade skeptical Russia, China and developing states on the 35-nation board to agree to refer Iran to the U.N. Security Council for possible sanctions. [via Yahoo! News]
January 19, 2006

France would use nuclear weapons against terrorism

France said on Thursday it would be ready to use nuclear weapons against any state that carried out a terrorist attack against it, reaffirming the need for its nuclear deterrent.

Deflecting criticism of France's costly nuclear weapons program, President Jacques Chirac said security came at a price and France must be able to hit back hard at a hostile state's centers of power and its 'capacity to act.'

He said there was no change in France's overall policy, which rules out the use of nuclear weapons in a military conflict. But his speech pointed to a change of emphasis to underline the growing threat France perceives from terrorism.

'The leaders of states who would use terrorist means against us, as well as those who would consider using, in one way or another, weapons of mass destruction, must understand that they would lay themselves open to a firm and adapted response on our part,' Chirac said during a visit to a nuclear submarine base in northwestern France.

'This response could be a conventional one. It could also be of a different kind,' said Chirac, the first time he had so clearly linked the threat of a nuclear response to a terrorist attack. [via Yahoo! News]
January 18, 2006

Why We Fight - a film by Eugene Jarecki

Why We Fight, the new film by Eugene Jarecki which won the Grand Jury Prize at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival, is an unflinching look at the anatomy of the American war machine, weaving unforgettable personal stories with commentary by a "who's who" of military and beltway insiders. Featuring John McCain, Gore Vidal, William Kristol, Chalmers Johnson, Richard Perle and others, "Why We Fight" launches a bipartisan inquiry into the workings of the military industrial complex and the rise of the American Empire.

Click here to find the theater nearest you playing Why We Fight.

For more information about the movie, visit Sony Classics

IAEA plans emergency meeting Feb 2

The governing board of the International Atomic Energy Agency will hold an emergency meeting on Iran's nuclear work on February 2 at the request of European Unionpowers, an IAEA spokesman said on Wednesday.

France, Britain, Germany and the United States are expected to push at the session to have Tehran referred to the U.N. Security Council after it resumed research that could be used for generating electricity or make atomic bombs.

The West suspects Iran is seeking a nuclear arsenal. Tehran says its goal is to better power an energy-hungry economy. [via Yahoo! News]
January 16, 2006

Countries agree Iran must halt nuclear activity

Russia and China agreed with the United States and its European allies Monday that Iran must fully suspend its nuclear program, but the countries stopped short of demanding referral to the U.N. Security Council, Britain's Foreign Office said.

Britain, France and Germany, backed by Washington, want Iran to be referred to the Security Council, which can impose sanctions. But Russia and China, which have close commercial ties with Iran, have resisted such a move in the past and could stymie efforts against Tehran as veto-wielding members of the U.N. body. [MSNBC.com]

Chernobyl now a vacation hot spot

If you have a PC, you can watch a segment on the Today Show about how Chernobyl is becoming a tourist destination. [Today Show]
January 12, 2006

Recap of the last year at atomicarchive.com

I cleaning up some files on my system, I ran across the presentation that I gave at the National Science Digital Library meeting and thought it might of interest to see what has changed on the site.

Redesign of home page

We did an overhaul of look and feel of the menu pages and the navigation elements. This was a lot of fun to do. We still have a few more touches that we are thinking about adding.

Launched two associate sites

Created trinityremembered.com in conjunction with 60th anniversary of the first atomic bomb test.

Also created hiroshima-remembered.com in conjunction with 60th anniversary of the first atomic bomb attacks on Japan.

Expanding the History Section

Added over 25 pages on the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Japan. Look for more things in this section during the coming year.

Biographies Expanded

We rewrote almost all the biographies. The original biographies were from the Atomic Archive CD-ROM. and were edited to fit the constraints of that interface design. Since that was no longer an issue, we sought to provide details on each of the various participants.

Additional Photographs added

Selected photographs were added to site. These included images from Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and Tinian.

Nuclear Weapons Effect section

Another section that saw expansion, was the Effects of Nuclear Weapons. Based on the content from the CD-ROM. This section features Flash video of various nuclear weapon effects.

When you list out your work for the past year, you are sometimes amazed at how much you did. So what does 2006 hold in store? We can't tell you everyhting, but look for more history sections, resources for eduators and a few surprises.

Chris Griffith and the entire atomicarchive.com team
January 11, 2006

'Doomsday vault' to house world's seeds

Norway is to build a doomsday vault in a mountain close to the North Pole that will house a vast seed bank to ensure food supplies in the event of catastrophic climate change, nuclear war or rising sea levels, New Scientist says.


My 2005, in cities:

Several of my friends have been blogging a list of the travels they took in 2005. So I decided to do the same, in chronological order...

Atlanta, GA
Sedona, AZ
Minnepolis, MN
Duluth, MN
Alexandria, VA
Norfolk, VA
Lexington, VA
Hololulu, HI
Anaheim, CA
Dallas, TX
Denver, CO

(One or more nights spent in each place.)

Strengthen the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Regime: Outlook Paper

In a new Carnegie Policy Outlook, Pierre Goldschmidt, former Deputy Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), calls for the United Nations Security Council to adopt a generic and binding resolution that would automatically authorize three steps if a state is found in non-compliance by the IAEA. In this web-only publication, The Urgent Need to Strengthen the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Regime, Goldschmidt’s argument follows Iran’s announcement this morning that it will resume its nuclear research program and conduct experiments with nuclear fuel.

Goldschmidt makes the case it is waning political will that hinders the IAEA. The fault, he warns, is an international community that has failed to strengthen the authority of the IAEA to exercise its improved capacity precisely when a state has been found to be in non-compliance. [Carnegie Endowment for International Peace]

Iran Begins Removal of IAEA Seals at Enrichment-related Locations

IAEA inspectors confirmed today (January 10) that Iran started to remove IAEA seals on enrichment-related equipment and material at Natanz. Based on the information currently available, the removal of Agency seals at the enrichment site of Natanz, and at two related storage and testing locations, Pars Trash and Farayand Technique, will be completed by 11 January 2006. [ IAEA]
January 09, 2006

Iran says nuclear research resumed

As expected, Iran said it would resume its nuclear research program Monday, according to a government spokesman.

"As announced, nuclear research will be resumed in Iran today in the presence of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) representatives," Gholam-Hossein Elham said. [via CNN.com ]
January 05, 2006

Iran fails to show up at nuclear meeting

An Iranian delegation expected in Viennato explain to the International Atomic Energy Agency Iran's decision to resume nuclear fuel research did not show up for a meeting on Thursday, the IAEA said. [via Yahoo! News]
January 03, 2006

Iran Says It Will Resume Nuclear Research

Iran told the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency Tuesday it planned to resume nuclear fuel research after a 2 1/2-year hiatus, a vague declaration that was likely to be taken in the West as fresh evidence Tehran was trying to build an atomic weapon.

International Atomic Energy Agency head Mohamed Elbaradei said it was important that Tehran "maintains its suspension of all enrichment-related activity" as a way of reducing international suspicions about its nuclear plans.

Mohammad Saeedi, deputy head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, said research would "resume in cooperation and coordination with the IAEA in the next few days," adding that it would "have little to do with the production of nuclear fuel."

Beyond that, he would not specify what type of research Tehran planned but claimed its nuclear program had suffered significantly during the research suspension. He said Iran could no longer keep its research scientists in limbo.

Iran has said it remains determined, at some point, to resume uranium enrichment, a process that can produce fuel for nuclear weapons.[via Washington Post]
January 02, 2006

Book Review: Waiting for the End of the World

Book CoverWaiting for the End of the World is a photographic journey into the world of shelters. The book is put together by Richard Ross, photography professor at UC Santa Barbara since 1977, and principal photographer for the J. Paul Getty Museum's villa restoration project. Ross explores this quirky underworld of efforts by people to survive a catastrophe whether it be natural or nuclear. The book takes the viewer around the world and back through time as it examines man's attempt to survive. The concept of creating a protective shelter from an invading army is not a new concept. Ross shows us shelters in Beijing, where the Chinese built a complete city underground, and Hittite shelters in Eastern Turkey built some 4,000 years ago.

He also takes us on tours of a converted bomb shelter in St. Petersburg, Russia that has become a trendy nightclub and of the upscale resort in West Virginia, the Greenbriar, that was to serve as the shelter for the U.S. Congress. The book continues its journey by viewing shelters in England, Vietnam, Switzerland and the American west.

Minimal text accompanies each image, allowing each reader to form their own opinions about what they are viewing. Overall, it is a beautifully presented gallery of man's response to his need to survive the possibly unsurvivable.

Available at Amazon.com

Iran rejects Russian nuclear offer

Iran's chief nuclear negotiator has rejected a Russian offer to produce nuclear fuel in its plants for Iran, the latest effort to resolve a diplomatic impasse over Tehran's nuclear program. [via CNN.com]

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