February 28, 2006

U.S., India Differ on Nuclear Agreement

U.S. Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns left India this weekend without reaching an agreement on how to implement the planned U.S.-Indian nuclear technology sharing pact, Agence France-Presse reported.

"There are differences remaining," said U.S. Embassy spokesman David Kennedy. "But the U.S. hopes they can close them before President [George W.] Bush visits India" later this week. The Indian Foreign Ministry in a statement said the talks are moving forward. [via NTI: Global Security Newswire

Iran Announces Breakthrough in Nuclear Talks With Russia

Iran and Russia have agreed in principle to set up a joint uranium enrichment venture, the Washington Post reported. "Regarding this joint venture, we have reached a basic agreement," Iranian nuclear chief Gholamreza Aghazadeh said yesterday.

"Talks to complete this package will continue in coming days in Russia." An agreement on the nuclear compromise - under which Russia would enrich uranium on behalf of Iran - could stymie Western calls for U.N. Security Council sanctions on Iran following an International Atomic Energy Agency board meeting on March 6, according to the Post.

Aghazadeh said, however, that there was still no formal agreement on the Moscow proposal.

"There are different parts that need to be discussed," he said. "These are not just related to forming a company - there are other elements. There are political issues, and the proposal should be seen as a package."

Russian analysts said Iran wants guarantees that it will not be attacked by the United States. [via NTI: Global Security Newswire]

India’s plan to separate civil and military nuclear facilities

Some analysis of India's plan to separate civil and military nuclear facilities. [via Arms Control Wonk.com]
February 27, 2006

IAEA: Iran is testing nuclear centrifuges

Iran has begun testing 20 centrifuges at its Natanz pilot uranium-enrichment plant, pressing ahead with efforts to purify nuclear fuel in defiance of world pressure, a IAEA report said on Monday.

The confidential report by International Atomic Energy Agency chief Mohamed ElBaradei said Iran had also begun substantial renovations of Natanz's system handling UF6 gas, which is converted by centrifuges into enriched atomic fuel. It said the cascade of 20 centrifuge machines began to undergo vacuum testing on Feb. 22. [ via MSNBC.com

Iranian Nuclear deal goes forward

Iran and Russia agreed in principle Sunday to establish a joint uranium enrichment venture, a breakthrough in talks on a U.S.-backed Kremlin proposal aimed at easing concern that Tehran wants to build nuclear weapons.
But further negotiations on the details lay ahead, and it was not known whether Iran would entirely give up enrichment at home, a top demand of the West.

The deal -- announced by the two countries' top nuclear chiefs after a visit to a Russian-built nuclear plant in southern Iran -- could deflect any move by the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency at its March 6 meeting to recommend that the Security Council consider action on Iran.

Iran's deputy nuclear chief, Mohammad Saeedi, warned that the deal would be off if the International Atomic Energy Agency refers Iran to the Security Council, a step that could lead to economic or political sanctions. [via MiamiHerald.com]
February 24, 2006

Transcripts of 2006 ACA Luncheon and Panel Discussion Now Online

The Arms Control Association (ACA) has posted online the full transcripts, as well as prepared remarks, from its January 25 Annual Luncheon and Panel Discussion. The transcripts include Dr. Hans Blix’s luncheon address and the subsequent question and answer period with audience members. In addition, the panel discussion on the future of the U.S. nuclear stockpile with Ambassador Linton Brooks, Dr. Raymond Jeanloz, and David Mosher is also available. These transcripts can be accessed at http://www.armscontrol.org/events/20060125_mtg.asp..
February 20, 2006

Iran to pursue atomic research despite Russian plan

Iran vowed on Monday to pursue nuclear research even if talks in Moscow lead to agreement on a Russian offer to enrich uranium for Iranian power plants -- a plan aimed at defusing fears Tehran wants atomic bombs.

'If we reach some compromise ... (on the Russian proposal), we continue our cooperation from where we are now. That is, the research department will continue its activity,' Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki told a news briefing in Brussels. [via Yahoo! News
February 14, 2006

Brazil uranium enrichment plant almost ready

Brazil is just weeks from becoming the ninth country to produce large amounts of enriched uranium. That move will make Brazil the ninth country to produce large amounts of enriched uranium, which can be used to generate nuclear energy and, when highly enriched, to make nuclear weapons.

Other countries enriching uranium on an industrial scale are the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Russia, China and Japan.

The plant initially will produce 60 percent of the nuclear fuel used by the country's two nuclear reactors. A third reactor is in the planning stages. The government hopes to increase production eventually to meet all of the reactors' needs and still have enough to export, Brazilian officials said. [via MiamiHerald.com ]
February 13, 2006

Book Review: Shockwave: Countdown to Hiroshima

Book CoverWritten by BBC filmmaker Stephen Walker, who won an Emmy for his documentary on the bombing of Hiroshima, Shockwave: Countdown to Hiroshima is a fast paced engaging book about the period of time from the Trinity Test through the events of August 6th. The story is told from many points of view-from the eyes of the pilots, the victims, the scientists and world leaders. The book begins in the New Mexico desert, as the first atomic bomb is detonated. With this success, the wheels begin to turn toward the first atomic attacks on Japan.

Shockwave is a tightly written book that gives the reader a sense of the tension that was felt by the scientists at Los Alamos, at the top-secret airbase on the island of Tinian, and Potsdam-where Truman, Churchill, and Stalin were meeting to decide Japan's fate. Walker also takes us to Hiroshima before that fateful day, where he introduces us to several residents, including; a soldier named Toshiaki Tanaka, Taeko Nakamae, a female soldier, and a doctor named Shuntaro Hida. We are also taken to the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, where Walker depicts a Japanese leadership torn by a division between those determined to fight to the last child and a peace faction that made overtures to the Soviet Union to convince America to drop its demand for unconditional surrender.

In the predawn hours of August 6th, a B-29, named for the pilot's mother, leaves Tinian Island, some 1,500 miles from Japan. In its bomb bay is the atomic bomb, dubbed "Little Boy". The target is the untouched city of Hiroshima. With these events, the book turns to the stories of the residents and of the Japanese government. Walker recounts Toshiaki Tanaka’s efforts to locate his wife and child. After locating a neighbor, recognizable only by a telltale belt buckle he had worn, Tanaka saw "two figures, like charcoal sticks, fused together on the ground, facing what was once the doorway [to the family-owned liquor store]." He knew that this was his wife and baby daughter.

Although, some readers may draw comparisons to John Hersey's classic, Hiroshima, this book is a rich and moving account of the end of a race of technological discovery and its impact on the world.

Available at Amazon.com

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Iran 'resumes' nuclear enrichment

Iran has restarted uranium enrichment work, UN diplomats have said. They said it had begun feeding uranium gas into centrifuges - a first step in a process that can produce fuel for nuclear reactors or bomb material. Tehran had warned it would resume enrichment after the UN nuclear watchdog decided to report it to the UN Security Council nine days ago.

Iran has also postponed talks with Russia, due this week, on a proposal to enrich uranium on Russian soil. International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors are due to visit Iran's Natanz nuclear facility, where Iran's enrichment work is reportedly being carried out, on Tuesday. [via BBC NEWS]

Summer Nonproliferation Institute Annouced

Middlebury College and the Monterey Institute’s Center for Nonproliferation Studies welcome applications from college faculty for the fourth annual Summer Nonproliferation Institute, to be held June 21-25, 2006, at Middlebury College (details at https://segue.middlebury.edu/sites/nonproliferaton). This summer workshop will provide training to faculty members interested in developing courses dealing with the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (nuclear, chemical, or biological) and related nonproliferation policies. Experts from universities, think tanks, and the U.S. government will speak. Accepted participants will be provided free room and board and a travel stipend of up to $250. Applicants should send a current resume and a short letter of interest by April 28, 2006, to Martha Baldwin Program Coordinator, Rohatyn Center for International Affairs Middlebury College rcfia@middlebury.edu. E-mail applications only, please. All applicants will notified no later than May 5, 2006.
February 06, 2006

Iran to IAEA: Remove monitoring gear

Iran told the International Atomic Energy Agency to remove surveillance cameras and agency seals from sites and nuclear equipment, the U.N. watchdog agency said Monday. Iran's demands came two days after the International Atomic Energy Agency reported Tehran to the Security Council over its disputed atomic program.

"From the date of this letter, all voluntarily suspended, non-legally binding measures including the provisions of the Additional Protocol, and even beyond that, will be suspended," according to an Iranian government letter to the IAEA released by the U.N. nuclear watchdog group on Monday. [via MSNBC.com and Yahoo! News]
February 01, 2006

Russian Missile Battalion to get Topol-M This Year

A battalion in the Russian Strategic Missile Forces is expected to be equipped with Topol-M mobile missile systems this year, Interfax reported today.

"Retraining of the crews will start in February," said Deputy Defense Minister Alexander Belousov.

The Topol-M ICBM is expected to be able to defeat missile defenses like the system being prepared in the United States (Interfax, Jan. 31).

The Russian R-36M Voyevoda heavy ICBMs - known in the West as the Satan - are expected to remain in service until 2016, Interfax reported. [via NTI: Global Security Newswire]

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