June 30, 2008

How To: Visit a Secret Nuclear Bunker

Sharon Weinberger, one of the authors of A Nuclear Family Vacation: Travels in the World of Atomic Weaponry, has an excerpt from the book. Specifically on Raven Rock Mountain Complex.

The first rule of Site R is: You do not talk about Site R. Or, as the security guidance about the Pentagon's nuclear war bunker (AKA Raven Rock Mountain Complex, or RRMC), states: "Avoid conversations about RRMC with unauthorized personnel." The other two rules of Site R are: "Do not confirm or deny information about RRMC to reporters or radio stations," and "Do not post RRMC information on Internet web pages."
We might suggest a fourth rule: do not send information about RRMC to reporters working on a travelogue about nuclear weapons.

[via Wired.com]
June 27, 2008

Yongbyon Tower is Blown Up

North Korea destroyed the most visible symbol of its nuclear weapons program Friday, blasting apart the cooling tower at its main atomic reactor in a sign of its commitment to stop making plutonium for atomic bombs.

U.S. State Department officials and observers from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) watched from a reviewing stand on a ridge about 1,000 yards away, she said.

"This is a very significant disablement step," the U.S. envoy to North Korea, Sung Kim, said.

Nuclear experts say that the plant's destroyed central water-cooling tower would take a year or longer to rebuild if North Korea were to try using the plant again. [via CNN.com]


June 26, 2008

A Nuclear Family Vacation

I recently had a chance to read an advanced copy of the new book by Nathan Hodge and Sharon Weinberger entitled A Nuclear Family Vacation. A full review will be coming, but it was an enjoyable and informative read. The authors were recently on NPR's Fresh Air.

You can also learn more about the book on Wired's Danger Room.
June 17, 2008

Latest Khan Revelations

The interwebs are all a flutter about the revelation (from David Albright via the WaPo and others) that in 2006 the design for an "advanced nuclear weapon" was discovered on a computer belonging to AQ Khan associate, Urs Tinner.

It appears that this design might of a small enough nature to be fitted on a missile. I just might want to make that trip to Israel sooner rather than later... [via Armcontrolwonk.com]

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Did Pakistan Test a North Korean Bomb?

Jeffery looks into the issue of during the 1998 Pakistani nuclear tests, was at least one of the devices use North Korean supplied plutonium. A good read and insight. Maybe there will be some answers in the NK's disclosures? [via Armscontrolwonk.com]

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June 13, 2008

Summer Nonproliferation Institute

Preparing the Next Generation for Teaching, Research, and Public Service in Nonproliferation Policy

The fifth in the series of highly successful teaching Summer Nonproliferation Institutes will be held August 10-13, 2008 on the historic campus of the University of Georgia. The objective of the Institute is to provide graduate students and young faculty from a variety of disciplines with the knowledge and tools to develop and offer nonproliferation courses in their curriculum. For more information please contact Dr. Dmitriy Nikonov at (706) 542-2985. Registration form can be found here.


June 02, 2008

North Korea Details Size of Plutonium Stockpile

In documents recently delivered to the United States, North Korea indicated that it has produced 37 kilograms of plutonium, the New York Times reported Saturday.

Pyongyang had previously said it had produced 30 kilograms while U.S. intelligence agencies put the amount between 40 and 50 kilograms. Varying estimates have found that North Korea could produce between six and 10 nuclear weapons with its plutonium; it tested one weapon in October 2006.

U.S. officials are not yet accepting the latest figures, contained in more than 18,000 pages of documents submitted as a prelude to the regime’s declaration of its atomic activities and holdings. State Department officials said they would need several weeks to examine all the documents. [via Nuclear Threat Initiative]

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IAEA meets to discuss Iran's alleged nuclear weapons work

The UN atomic watchdog sits down Monday for a week-long meeting during which it will discuss what its inspectors term "alarming" indications that Iran may have been working to build a nuclear bomb until just a few years ago.

The 35-member board of governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency holds its regular summer board meeting until Friday.

Topping the agenda will be the latest report by IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei on the agency's long-running investigation into Tehran's controversial nuclear drive.

Iran insists its atomic program is entirely peaceful, but western countries, and the United States in particular, are convinced the Islamic republic is covertly seeking to build a nuclear bomb.

In the sternly-worded report, the IAEA expressed "serious concern" that Iran is hiding information about alleged weaponization work, as well as defying UN demands to suspend uranium enrichment.

According to intelligence gathered by 10 different countries, Iran may have been looking into high explosives of the sort used in implosion-type nuclear bombs, and exploring modifications to missiles consistent with making them capable of delivering a nuclear weapon.

Iran has repeatedly dismissed the intelligence as fake and fabricated.

Nevertheless, in the report, the IAEA insisted that "substantive explanations are required from Iran." [via Yahoo! News

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Syria to allow probe of alleged nuclear site

Syria will allow in U.N. inspectors to probe allegations that the country was building a nuclear reactor at a remote site destroyed in an Israeli airstrike, the International Atomic Energy Agency said Monday. [via Yahoo! News]

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