February 27, 2007

Iran won't halt atomic work

Iran said on Tuesday it would never suspend uranium enrichment as demanded by the West, a day after world powers agreed to work on a new U.N. resolution to pressure Tehran to back down over its nuclear program. "Suspending uranium enrichment is an illegal and illegitimate demand ... and it will never happen," Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki was quoted by the official IRNA news agency as saying.

The United Nations imposed limited sanctions on Iran's nuclear program in December and Tehran faces possible further steps for ignoring a February 21 deadline to halt enrichment, which the West says Iran is using so it can make atomic bombs. [via Yahoo! News

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February 21, 2007

Safety alarms raised at Pantex

In an article in today's Los Angeles Times, the safety at the Pantex plant is examined. Federal investigators are looking into deteriorating conditions at the Pantex plant in Texas. Energy Department officials say there's no danger. {via Los Angeles Times

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Iran and IAEA face off

Despite the threat of sanctions and a looming deadline, the Iranian president again scoffed Wednesday at a U.N. Security Council demand that the Islamic republic halt its uranium-enrichment program.

On December 23, the 15-member Security Council unanimously approved a resolution imposing sanctions on Iran. Russia and China, two veto-wielding members of the Security Council, voted in favor of the resolution despite previously expressing their aversion to imposing sanctions.

Under Resolution 1737, the council requested that International Atomic Energy Agency Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei report within 60 days on whether Iran has suspended its nuclear activities.

It was initially reported that the deadline expired Wednesday -- 60 days after the December 23 resolution passed -- but an IAEA official told CNN the deadline is Friday. ElBaradei is scheduled to deliver his report Thursday, the official said.

ElBaradei said in Monday's Financial Times that he expected to report that Iran had not complied with the resolution. However, ElBaradei noted, the Security Council will not take any action until he reports to the IAEA board of governors next month. [via CNN.com]

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February 19, 2007

Hiroshima and Nagasaki for College Teachers

A Nuclear Workshop: "Hiroshima and Nagasaki for College Teachers"
A One-week Workshop, June 25--29, 2007.
Resources and planning for a general education course or units dealing with All Things Nuclear and The Legacy of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Guide: Raymond G. Wilson, Ph.D., Emeritus Associate Professor, Physics Department,
Illinois Wesleyan University, Bloomington, IL 61702.
Supported by The Cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and friends of the workshop.
Enrollment deadline, May 15.
Details: http://titan.iwu.edu/~physics/Hiroshima.html

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February 15, 2007

Russia MIght Leave the INF Treaty

A top Russian general said Thursday that Moscow may unilaterally opt out of a Soviet-era arms reduction treaty with the United States, Russian news agencies reported.

Gen. Yuri Baluyevsky, the chief of the Russian military's General Staff, was quoted by ITAR-Tass and Interfax as saying that Russia could pull out of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, negotiated between Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and U.S. President Ronald Reagan in 1987.

He said the decision would depend on the United States' actions with its proposed missile defense system, parts of which Washington is seeking to deploy in Poland and the Czech Republic. [via ABC News]

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February 13, 2007

North Korea Deal Reached

The White House on Tuesday said the six-party deal on North Korea's nuclear program was an important first step toward Pyongyang's denuclearization.

North Korea agreed to move on nuclear disarmament under a pact that will bring it about $300 million worth of aid.

"We think it's a very important first step toward the denuclearization of North Korea and the Korean peninsula," White House spokesman Tony Snow said.

North Korea will shut the Yongbyon reactor complex at the heart of its nuclear program and allow international inspectors onto the site as part of a disarmament plan reached at six-party talks among the two Koreas, United States, China, Japan and Russia. [via Yahoo!]

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February 12, 2007

North Korea Deal?

Negotiators reached a tentative agreement on initial steps for North Korea’s nuclear disarmament, the U.S. envoy to the talks said Tuesday.

Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill said the agreement outlined specific commitments for North Korea and would set up working groups to implement those goals to begin meeting in about a month. He declined to give other details. [via MSNBC.com]

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Nuclear Detectives Podcast from the BBC

This two-part series examines the work of scientists - acting as nuclear detectives - seeking to identify and control the spread of radioactive materials.

Part One: Theft and Smuggling
Given that just one nuclear device in the wrong hands would cause untold devastation and loss of life, keeping track of nuclear material is a top priority.

Where do radioactive materials come from? And how do these become available to the "wrong hands"?

This first program examines theft, smuggling and what happens next.
via BBC

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February 09, 2007

IAEA cuts aid to Iran

The U.N. nuclear watchdog agency on Friday suspended nearly half of the technical aid it now provides Iran, in line with U.N. sanctions slapped on the Islamic republic for its refusal to suspend its uranium enrichment program.

As IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei issued the report to his agency's 35-nation board, Iran's chief nuclear negotiator abruptly canceled planned meetings both with ElBaradei in Vienna and with senior European leaders in Munich, on the sidelines of a security conference in the German city. [via CNN.com

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February 08, 2007

6 Party Talk underway

China has distributed a draft agreement to the countries at international talks seeking to persuade North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons programs, a South Korean official said early Friday. The official, speaking on condition of anonymity due to the ongoing diplomacy, gave no details of the draft. However, other delegates said earlier the agreement would outline initial steps for implementing a September 2005 agreement from the six-nation talks where Pyongyang pledged to disarm in exchange for aid and security guarantees.

"We had a good first day today," Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill told reporters Thursday evening after North Korea agreed in principle to take initial steps toward dismantling its nuclear programs.

"We hope we can achieve some kind of joint statement here," he said. [via Yahoo! News]

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