Wednesday, December 31, 2008
TEHRAN (IRNA December 13 2008) -- Foreign Ministry spokesman advised Britain government to end its double standards and selective policies toward nuclear disarmament.
Responding to the recent claims of British Foreign Secretary David Miliband concerning Iran's nuclear issue, Hassan Qashqavi advised the UK government to implement its obligations upon Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and take practical steps towards world nuclear disarmament. ""As a matter of fact, Miliband's stances mean the UK is escaping from implementation of NPT, while accusing others to deceive world public opinion,"" Qashqavi said.
Concerning Miliband's claims about reduction of 20 percent of the UK military nuclear capability in the past 12 months, Qashqavi said, ""British government, by storing 190 to 200 nuclear warheads in its arsenal, is trying to modernize its nuclear infrastructure so that it can promote its weapons qualities to make up for its old warheads. David Miliband in an article published on December 9, 2008, in some British newspapers talked about UK government's obligations for multilateral nuclear disarmament and preventing what he called Iran's proliferation of nuclear ability. More >>>
Saturday, December 27, 2008
MOSCOW, Russia, December 24, 2008 (ENS) - The safety of Russia's nuclear industry is being negatively affected by the country's economic crisis and the situation is expected to to worsen in 2009, according to a newly released annual report by the Russian nuclear regulatory body Rostekhnadzor.
Ongoing job cuts at nuclear facilities include the personnel directly responsible for safety control, states the report by Rostekhnadzor, which is responsible for licensing and safety at Russia's 31 operating nuclear power plants and the eight more under construction.
Activists with Ecodefense are calling on the Russian government to quickly adopt a plan to insure public safety and nuclear security. More >>>
Friday, December 26, 2008
Nuclear policy is a major component of United States foreign relations and security policy, and the U.S. approach to the North Korean nuclear issue is also realized within this framework.
The starting point for the nuclear policy of the Barack Obama administration, which is soon to take office, differs from that of the George W. Bush administration in two respects. First, it fully acknowledges the failure of U.S. nuclear policy since the end of the Cold War. The more than 30 kilograms of plutonium extracted by North Korea is a problem, but the amount of nuclear material possessed by a total of over 40 countries throughout the world amounts to no less than 3,000 tons, a quantity sufficient to make 250,000 nuclear weapons.
Furthermore, the United States and Russia still hold tens of thousands of nuclear weapons, and nation after nation is attempting to join the ranks of countries with nuclear capabilities, including North Korea and Iran. The world is now in its second period of nuclear proliferation. The threat that most concerns the United States is terrorist attacks using nuclear weapons, and that possibility is greater now than ever. Everyone has simply been fortunate thus far. The United States has thus far neglected to make efforts to observe this crisis in terms of a comprehensive nuclear policy. More >>>
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
WASHINGTON - December 23 2008 - The Bush administration is quietly advancing a nuclear cooperation agreement with the United Arab Emirates (UAE), raising concerns in Congress and among nonproliferation experts about the deal's repercussions in a volatile region.
The deal to provide the small but strategically located country with the means to generate electricity through nuclear technology could be signed by President Bush before he leaves office, thus making the accord – similar to the much higherprofile nuclear pact the administration reached with India – part of his legacy. More >>>
Monday, December 22, 2008
JAISALMER: December 22, 2008 - India started deploying troops along Rajasthan border. Security in and around Indian defence airstrips has been tightened.
Indian Air Force (IAF) sources said security around places of strategic importance has been stepped up. They said more radars and QRTs have been deployed along the India-Pakistan border.
IAF had initiated these measures to strengthen its air defence to face any eventuality at a short notice. Additional hangars and runways have been prepared and all the radars have been put on high alert. Sources said tight radar surveillance is being maintained to keep a watch on any suspected movements along the border.
Indian forces were on regular firing exercises at locations like Lathi Firing Range in Jaisalmer, Mahsan in Bikaner, Suratgarh and Ganganagar. More >>>
Saturday, December 20, 2008
By now, the conference halls in Poznań are probably ghost towns, the coat racks emptied, and the once buzzing coffee machines silent.
One of the most important developments of the entire event, and in recent international climate negotiations more broadly, flew under the radar.
In a historic move, Mexico announced that it would take on specific GHG emission reduction targets -- 50 percent below 2002 levels by 2050 -- making it one of the first developing countries to voluntarily do so. Mexico plans to meet the target by developing a domestic cap-and-trade system before 2012 to cut emissions from certain sectors. Mexico's announcement is important because it highlights the leadership role that developing countries must take in the negotiations moving forward, and demonstrates at least one model for doing so.
It also fundamentally turns the traditional Non-Annex I negotiating position on its head, from "We can't and we won't" to "We can, and here's how." Some credit for this announcement is probably owed to the work done by California and the WCI to promote platforms for collaboration with Mexico and Canada. As the new U.S. administration looks forward to building international consensus on shared responsibilities in 2009, there are many lessons to be learned from the foundations of trust that Gov. Schwarzenegger and others have carefully laid. More >>>
Thursday, December 18, 2008
The Nuclear Security Project started with the January 4, 2007 Wall Street Journal op-ed by former Secretary of State George Shultz, former Secretary of Defense Bill Perry, former Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger and former Senator Sam Nunn. All four authors are leading the Project and NTI serves as the Project Secretariat.
The world is now on the precipice of a new and dangerous nuclear era. Most alarmingly, the likelihood that non-state terrorists will get their hands on nuclear weaponry is increasing. It is far from certain that we can successfully replicate the old Soviet-American "mutually assured destruction" with an increasing number of potential nuclear enemies worldwide without dramatically increasing the risk that nuclear weapons will be used. U.S. leadership will be required to take the world to the next stage — to a solid consensus for reversing reliance on nuclear weapons globally as a vital contribution to preventing their proliferation into potentially dangerous hands and ultimately ending them as a threat to the world.
We endorse setting the goal of a world free of nuclear weapons and working energetically on the actions required to achieve that goal. More >>> PDF File
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Speaking at his last official press conference at UN headquarters this year, the secretary general listed climate change, one of his priorities since he assumed his post two years ago, as a key challenge for the world next year.
"I am pleased with our success in keeping climate change high on the global agenda," he said, adding that "2009 will be the year of climate change."
"We have no time to waste. We must reach a global climate change deal before the end of the year (2009) -- one that is balanced, comprehensive and ratifiable by all nations," Ban said. More >>>
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Washington: December 16, 2008 - The development of nuclear arsenals by both Iran and North Korea could lead to "a cascade of proliferation," making it more probable that terrorists could get their hands on an atomic weapon, a congressionally chartered commission warned yesterday.
"It appears that we are at a 'tipping point' in proliferation," the Congressional Commission on the Strategic Posture of the United States said in an interim report to lawmakers that was released yesterday. The bipartisan panel, led by former defense secretaries William J. Perry and James R. Schlesinger, added that actions by Tehran and Pyongyang could lead other countries to follow, "and as each nuclear power is added, the probability of a terror group getting a nuclear bomb increases." More >>>
[This would seem to be another argument for nuclear disarmament. Ed.]
Monday, December 15, 2008
December 13th 2008 - If Barack Obama sent the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty to Congress for ratification early in the new session, that would be an excellent start. Since it was signed in 1996, 148 other countries have ratified it, but it cannot come into effect until the United States does, too. And then he could get on with banning the nuclear weapons themselves, not just the tests.
There's a new initiative, launched in Paris last Tuesday (December 9) under the title Global Zero, in which more than a 100 world leaders endorse the goal of abolishing nuclear weapons completely. That may have a slightly antique ring to it - don't these people know that the Cold War ended ages ago? - but in fact the nuclear weapons are still there.
Some 20,000 of them, in fact. And last July, at a rally in Berlin, Obama publicly adopted the same goal: "This is the moment to begin the work of seeking the peace of a world without nuclear weapons.'' More >>>
Sunday, December 14, 2008
December 15, 2008 - Last fall, large majorities in Congress approved a U.S.- India nuclear trade agreement that allows full civil nuclear cooperation—the sale of fuel, technology, and reactors—to India. This agreement may provide opportunity for the U.S. nuclear industry, but it is a myopic tradeoff: It benefits corporations but threatens to escalate the global proliferation of nuclear weapons.
One big problem with the deal is that India could reprocess plutonium from civilian nuclear facilities for use in weapons. India has the necessary production capability; in fact, India tested nuclear weapons in 1974 and again in 1998, and is estimated to have stockpiled between 50 and 250 such weapons. For three decades, the U.S. restricted nuclear commerce with India because of its refusal to comply with international nonproliferation standards for nuclear weapons. India is still one of only three states never to have signed the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT). More >>>
Thursday, December 11, 2008
"We see no reason at this point to have any concern with regards to the security of either countries' arsenal," said Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell, addressing the tensions spurred by last month's terrorist attacks in Mumbai.More >>>
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
WASHINGTON, Dec. 8 -- More than 100 prominent military, political, faith, and business leaders met in Paris December 8-9 for the inaugural conference of Global Zero -- a new international initiative committed to achieving a binding verifiable agreement to eliminate all nuclear weapons by combining high-level diplomacy and policy work with global public campaigning.
A delegation of these Global Zero leaders will hold a press conference in Washington, D.C. on Thursday to discuss the new campaign.
At the press conference, Global Zero leaders will announce the outcomes of the conference, including: next steps in developing the step-by-step plan for eliminating nuclear weapons; new poll results of 21 countries about the idea of an international agreement for getting to zero nuclear weapons; and the unveiling of the new, multi-lingual Global Zero website -- www.globalzero.org -- where people can get involved and show their support by signing the Global Zero declaration.
-- K. Shankar Bajpai, the former Secretary of the Ministry of External
Affairs of India
-- Richard Burt, the former U.S. Chief Negotiator in the Strategic Arms Reduction Talks (START) with the former Soviet Union and former U.S. Ambassador to Germany
-- Shaharyar Khan, the former Foreign Minister of Pakistan
-- Lt. Gen. (ret) Talat Masood of Pakistan
-- Malcolm Rifkind, the former Defense and Foreign Minister of the United Kingdom
Washington DC, December 8,2008 - Previously secret Soviet documentation shows that Mikhail Gorbachev was prepared for rapid arms control progress leading towards nuclear abolition at the time of his last official meeting with President Reagan, at Governor's Island, New York in December 1988; but President-elect George H. W. Bush, who also attended the meeting, said "he would need a little time to review the issues" and lost at least a year of dramatic arms reductions that were possible had there been a more forthcoming U.S. position.
The new documentation posted today by the National Security Archive at George Washington University (www.nsarchive.org) includes highest-level memos from Gorbachev advisors leading up to Gorbachev's famous speech at the United Nations during the New York visit, notes of Politburo discussions before and after the speech and the Reagan-Bush meeting, CIA estimates before and after the speech showing how surprised American officials had been and how reluctant the new Bush administration was to meet Gorbachev even half-way, and the declassified U.S. transcript of the private meeting between Reagan, Bush and Gorbachev on December 7. More >>>
Friday, December 5, 2008
December 5, 2008: The leader of the U.S. Strategic Command said yesterday that "time is not on our side" to modernize the nation's nuclear weapons stockpile, particularly as China and Russia upgrade their nuclear warheads and delivery systems.
"The path of inaction is a path leading toward nuclear disarmament. . . . The time to act is now," Air Force Gen. Kevin P. Chilton told an audience of government, military and civilian arms experts attending the Nuclear Deterrence Summit in Washington.
But Rep. Ellen O. Tauscher (D-Calif.), chairman of the House Armed Services subcommittee on strategic weapons, told the same audience that the nation's nuclear modernization program was in a "holding pattern" until the Obama administration could review studies that are to be completed next year.
Chilton said he was concerned that Congress had effectively killed the Bush administration's Reliable Replacement Warhead program, which is designed to provide a modern, safer warhead with no new capabilities before the end of this decade. Expressing concern that the nation's Cold War stockpile is aging, Chilton said that "a reliable [nuclear] inventory supports nonproliferation goals."
Tauscher, whose California district is the site of one of the nation's leading nuclear weapons labs, became a leader in Congress's effort to eliminate the RRW program. She said the Obama administration should "take the high ground" internationally by developing a comprehensive nuclear weapons policy that includes ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, extending the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty with Russia and modernizing a sharply reduced warhead stockpile.
She called on the United States to boost funding for the International Atomic Energy Agency and prepare a multilateral program to be presented at the 2010 U.N. review of the Non-Proliferation Treaty. More >>>