June 30, 2006

U.S. Completes Dismantling of 1960s-Era Nuclear Weapons

The last remaining U.S. nuclear warhead made in the 1960s has been dismantled safely and securely, the head of the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) says.

In a 2004 directive, President Bush set 2012 as the goal for cutting the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile almost in half. To meet that deadline, the rate of dismantlement will accelerate by almost 50 percent in fiscal year 2007, resulting in the smallest U.S. nuclear inventory in almost half a century, the NNSA said.

But wait...

At the same time, however, a Senate subcommittee has added $10 million to next year's budget to fund a design competition for the second warhead in a new generation of U.S. nuclear weapons. Congress and the administration are pressing ahead with the Reliable Replacement Warhead (RRW) program, which will guarantee production in the next decade of fewer but more reliable and secure nuclear warheads and bombs. [via washingtonpost.com and U.S. State Department]
June 29, 2006

Iran Again Says No Answer Before August

Iran's foreign minister on Thursday rejected demands from the seven major industrialized nations to respond by July 5 to an international offer for Tehran to roll back its uranium enrichment program.

Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said his nation had questions about the proposal that needed to be settled in talks early next month with Javier Solana, the European Union's foreign policy chief.

'The Islamic Republic of Iran is seriously and carefully reviewing the proposed package,' he said. 'I've said that such response will be in August.' [via ABC News]

Weapons of Mass Destruction Commission Report Released

The Weapons of Mass Destruction Commission (WMDC) released its report entitled WEAPONS OF TERROR: Freeing the World of Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Arms.

The WMD Commission was launched by the Government of Sweden in Stockholm on December 16, 2003 to respond to the recent, profoundly worrying developments in international security, and in particular to investigate ways of reducing the dangers from nuclear, biological, chemical and radiological weapons.[via www.wmdcommission.org]
June 28, 2006
June 24, 2006

Atomic simulation most intensive computer program ever

The simulations help scientists at the US government's Department of Energy determine the reliability of the country's ageing stockpile of nuclear weapons without actually detonating the weapons.

The program, called Qbox, runs on the world's most powerful supercomputer, Blue Gene/L, built by IBM and installed at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California, US. It performs very complex quantum calculations to simulate the behaviour of thousands of atoms in three dimensions. The molybdenum simulations will help physicists determine the reliability and stability of warheads in the US stockpile, some of which are now beyond their original storage-time limit.

The project is coordinated by the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), part of the Department of Energy, through its Advanced Simulation and Computing program. [New Scientist]
June 23, 2006

Don't Worry Be Happy...

Steve Schwartz is giving a review of nuclear weapon development or 60 years in 60 minutes. He started us off with a little Bobby McFarren as images of nuclear weapons filled the screen.

It is always a frighting refresher looking back at the nuclear history of the United States.

North Korea & BMD & the shape of the world

Jeffrey Lewis has written a great post about the 'crisis' of North Korean missile issue and the U.S. response of 'activating' the BMD. Go read it at: http://www.armscontrolwonk.com/1112/stand-down-boys

Summer Institute - Day 2

Jeffrey Lewis spoke last night about blogging. He is author of armscontrolwonk.com. I opted to stick around for the presentation of Peter Kuran's Atomic Journeys. If you are interested in the online DVD player that we wrote as an enhanced player. It is located at http://www.atomicarchive.com/DVD/

Frank Settle, from the Alsos Digital Library for Nuclear Issues project is speaking on Chemical WMD issues.
June 22, 2006

Summer Institute - Day 1 (Afternoon Sessions)

After lunch we have Gary Bertsch, discussing Nonproliferation Export Controls. I am really looking forward to this talk.

Gary provided a good case of a Germany company that makes a switcher to help demolish kidney stones. But these switches can be used for nuclear weapon development. Thankfully the owner of the company did notify the authorities. That is the trouble in understanding the challenge is developing export controls. He also spoke about the export controls that were set in 'Cold War' mind set and not in the new 'global' economy. Some of the challenges are:
New sources of technology and technical interchange
Increased defense industry competition
Pace of change and development is acclerating

Gary also stressed the role of interdiction as a critical aspect of future export controls. Gary also explored the impact of U.N. Resolution 1540.

Waging Peace blog launchs

The Nuclear Age Peace Foundation is pleased to announce the launch of its new Waging Peace blog. Now you can get the Foundation's analysis on nuclear and peace issues daily! The blog contains regular updates following critical issues in the news.

Summer Institute - Day 1 (In progress)

Sitting in a lovely building on the campus at Middlebury College. The first session covered the issues of biological weapons. There were some interesting points that were brought out. Since I never focus on this component of the WMD problem, I'll share them:
1) Biological/Chemical weapons attack living organisms. With nuclear weapons, there are so many non-biological effects.
2) Environmental effects are critical to the 'success' of the attack. Too much or too little wind can greatly reduce the effects of such an attack
3) Biological attack, the effects are on the range of 24 hours to a week later, while a chemical attack tends to be fairly quick in their effect.

Currently Charles Ferguson is up speaking on Nuclear Weapons Technology. One of the first slide had our nuclear fission graphic. I need to send him some of the other graphics. This was a good overview of NW technology. This should serve as a good primer for those who do not study the deeper aspects of the nuclear weapon production issue.
June 21, 2006

Summer Institute - Opening Session

Well made to Middlebury, Vermont, site of this year's Summer institute on Teaching Non-Proliferation. The drive from Boston was nice. I made one wrong turn along the way, but no real harm. I did make a quick side trip to Maine, since I was close by. I have a goal of trying to see all 50 states. I am currently at 37, if all goes as planed I will get another 3 under my belt during this trip.

I left a day early to have a chance to do some sight-seeing in Boston.I had a great time wandering around and visiting some old friends. I did the whole Freedom Trail and the Museum of Science.

Clay Moltz from the Center for Nonproliferation Studies gave the opening address. It was a nice overview of the state of affairs of non-proliferation of WMD. It should set the tone for the conference, was we seek ways to continue our outreach on this 'forgotten' topic. It is good to see some familiar faces. I am looking forward to showcasing the efforts of the NuclearPathways.org project. We are close to unveiling the 'top-secret' project, as well as some of our past works.

U.S. rejects talks with North Korea

North Korea said Wednesday it wants direct talks with the United States over its apparent plans to test-fire a long-range missile, but a top U.S. envoy rejected the request.

North Korea this week issued a bristling declaration of its right to carry out the launch and said U.S. concerns should be resolved through negotiations. U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton said a missile threat wasn’t the way to seek dialogue. [via MSNBC.com
June 16, 2006

Iran says nuclear package is step forward

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Friday a U.S.-endorsed incentive package was a positive step toward resolving the standoff over Tehran’s nuclear program. Ahmadinejad’s remarks were the highest-level sign that Iran was preparing to negotiate over the package, which calls for talks with the U.S. and other incentives if Iran freezes its uranium enrichment program. [via MSNBC.com]

Report: North Korea preparing for missile test

A U.S. government official said Friday that a test of the Taepodong-2 long-range missile may be imminent.

State Department spokesman Sean McCormack told reporters Friday that any missile launch by the North Koreans would be a provocation and would violate their 1999 moratorium on long-range missile tests.

The Taepodong-2 is a three-stage missile, but the warhead section hasn't been loaded yet, the paper said. It said about 10 large tanks of liquid fuel have been moved to the site, but it wasn't clear if the fuel had been unloaded. [via MSNBC.com]
June 13, 2006

Labs compete to make new nuclear bomb

The Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and the Los Alamos National Laboratory are competing to design the nation's first new nuclear bomb in two decades.

Scientists at both facilities are working around the clock on plans that will be presented to the Nuclear Weapons Council, a federal panel that oversees the nation's nuclear weapons. The council will choose a winner later this year.

Congress approved the new bomb, known as the reliable replacement warhead, with bipartisan support in 2005 as part of a defense spending bill. The weapon would, by law, have the same explosive power as existing warheads.
Yahoo! News
June 06, 2006

Iran Receives Anti-Nuclear Incentives

Incentives aimed at persuading Iran to halt sensitive atomic research contain "positive steps" and "ambiguities", its chief nuclear negotiator has said. Ali Larijani spoke after receiving the proposal, agreed by world powers last week, from the EU foreign policy chief.

The proposals have not been made public but the BBC News website has learned that they include light water reactors and permission to buy US plane parts.

Tehran says it will consider incentives but refuses to halt enrichment. [via CBS News and BBC News]
June 05, 2006

Israeli Attack on the Osirak reactor - 25 years later

The BBC is running a series marking 25 years since Israel bombed Iraq's Osirak nuclear reactor. Included are sections on the pilots' story, an interview with former Iraqi nuclear scientist Dr. Imad Khadduri, and a look at the broader impact of the raid. [via BBC NEWS ]
June 01, 2006

New History Section on the Cold War

We have been busy with several new projects here at atomicarchive.com. Today we are launching the first of these efforts, Cold War: A Brief History.

For more than forty years, the two superpowers, the United States and the Soviet Union directly threatened each other with nuclear weapons. This period of time is referred to as The Cold War. This section explores the major events of this period including; the development of the hydrogen bomb, the nuclear arms race, détente, nuclear proliferation and the nuclear world after the end of the Cold War.

Based in part from our CD-ROM, we updated and expand the information for this new section. This 27 page section, focuses on the nuclear portions of this period in history. The main chapters are:

Part I: The Beginnings of the Cold War
Part II: Under the Thermonuclear Shadow
Part III: The Nuclear Club Grows
Part IV: At the Brink
Part V: Hope & Fear
Part VI: Nuclear Dangers
Part VII: The End of the Cold War

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