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Monthly Archives: October 2015

St. Louis Nuclear Nightmare – West Lake Radioactive Waste Fire – Dr. Caldicott, Bob Alvarez, Dawn Chapman

Nuclear Hotseat #227: SPECIAL

BY ON

A full-length Nuclear Hotseat SPECIAL on the West Lake Landfill in North St. Louis – a Manhattan Project-era radioactive waste dump – and the encroaching underground fire less than a quarter mile away.

FEATURED INTERVIEWS:

  • The history of the West Lake Landfill nuclear waste with Bob Alvarez, who served as senior policy adviser to the Energy Department’s secretary and deputy assistant secretary for national security and the environment from 1993 to 1999. He is a senior scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies and wrote the landmark November, 2013 report: The West Lake Landfill: A Radioactive Legacy of the Nuclear Arms Race.
  • The medical consequences faced by those exposed to the West Lake radioactive waste with Dr. Helen Caldicott, arguably the single most articulate and passionate advocate of citizen action to remedy the nuclear and environmental crises in the world.   A medical doctor and former instructor in pediatrics at Harvard Medical School, she co-founded Physicians for Social Responsibility – which won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1985 – and was herself nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by Nobel Laureate Linus Pauling. She is the author of Nuclear Power is Not the Answer.
  • What it’s like on the ground in the North St. Louis neighborhoods impacted by the radioactive waste with Dawn Chapman, a mother who lives less than two miles from the West Lake Landfill. She Admins the Facebook West Lake Landfill page.

LISTEN HERE:  

DOWNLOAD – CLICK HERE

Is de Pallasreactor een gelopen race?

Stichting Laka | Henk van der Keur | 28 oktober 2015

Al sinds de eerste aankondiging van de bouw in 2003 heeft stichting Laka campagne gevoerd tegen een nieuwe kernreactor in Petten. Dat was in het begin geen makkelijke opgave. Vrijwel iedereen was ervan overtuigd dat een onderzoeksreactor noodzakelijk was voor de productie van medische isotopen. Deze radioactieve isotopen worden gebruikt in radiofarmaca voor het stellen van diagnoses en therapeutische behandelingen voor onder meer kanker. Juist daarom werd door pleitbezorgers van onderzoeksreactoren altijd dankbaar gebruik gemaakt van dit argument. Maar onderzoek van Laka bracht al in de jaren negentig aan het licht dat onderzoeksreactoren helemaal niet nodig zijn voor isotopenproductie. Medische isotopen kunnen ook goedkoper, veiliger en relatief schoner worden geproduceerd met deeltjesversnellers. Die boodschap lijkt nu langzamerhand ook door te dringen binnen het politieke establishment.

Opkomst en neergang van isotopenproductie met kernreactoren

De idee dat kernreactoren belangrijk zouden zijn voor medische isotopen is feitelijk een erfenis van het Manhattan Project dat in de Tweede Wereldoorlog. Behalve plutonium voor de productie van de eerste kernwapens, leverde de militaire onderzoeksreactor in Hanford in de Amerikaanse staat Washington vanaf 1943 ook op commerciële schaal radio-isotopen. Dat was het begin van isotopenproductie met onderzoeksreactoren. Daarvoor werden medische isotopen door cyclotrons (ronde deeltjesversnellers) gemaakt. Deze relatief eenvoudige apparaten bleven tot in de jaren vijftig een populaire productiemethode. Daarna stokte de ontwikkeling van cyclotrons doordat kernreactoren het overgrote deel van de productie van medische isotopen overnamen.

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nucleaire complex bij Hanford, Washington

Door de toename van de welvaart in het Westen en de ziektes die daarmee verband houden, waaronder kanker en hart- en vaatziektes, nam de vraag naar medische isotopen sinds de jaren zeventig flink toe. Naast kernonderzoek werd het aandeel medische isotopen steeds belangrijker voor onderzoeksreactoren. Probleem was dat die productiefaciliteit helemaal niet bijdroeg aan het onderhoud van de kernreactoren. Dat was volgens onderzoekers van de OESO in 2010 de voornaamste verklaring voor de aanhoudende crises in de aanvoer van isotopen in het eerste decennium van dit millennium. Ze maakten duidelijk dat het businessmodel van de reactorisotopen niet deugde. De huidige productie draait op een handjevol stokoude reactoren, waaronder de HFR in Petten, die ooit met overheidssubsidies zijn gebouwd. De overheidssubsidies op reactorproductie van isotopen in Petten worden nu afgebouwd en de prijzen van reactorisotopen stapsgewijs verhoogd. Maar de kans dat reactoren het huidige hoge aandeel in de productie van isotopen blijft behouden, lijkt verkeken. De opmars van versnellers is niet meer te stuiten. Dat komt door de snelle opkomst van de PET-scanner, een beeldvormende techniek die uitsluitend op versnellerisotopen draait. De snelle wereldwijde uitbreiding daarvan gaat ten koste van de andere beeldvormende techniek SPECT, die nu nog gebruik maakt van reactorisotopen. Door de verhoging van de prijzen van deze isotopen wordt het voor producenten met cyclotrons (en straks linacs) steeds aantrekkelijker om naast PET-isotopen ook SPECT-isotopen te gaan produceren. Het Internationaal Atoomenergie Agentschap (IAEA, juli 2015) voorziet op korte termijn een omwenteling van reactorisotopen naar versnellerisotopen binnen de Nucleaire Geneeskunde. In maart 2018 zal ‘s werelds grootste producent van medische isotopen, de NRU-reactor in Chalk River, Ontario, gaan sluiten. De Canadezen zijn al vijf jaar bezig met het treffen van voorbereidingen om in 2018 over te schakelen naar een infrastructuur van isotopenproductie die gebaseerd is op versnellers. Eén van de weinige zaken waar we de voormalige conservatieve premier Harper dankbaar voor kunnen zijn.

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Huidige kernreactor in Petten

Pallas belemmert innovatie

Minister van Economische Zaken Henk Kamp blijft het Pallasproject stug verdedigen. Maar uit geheime stukken die recent door radioprogramma Argos zijn onthuld, blijkt dat de provincie er geen toekomst in ziet. Tijdens een geheime vergadering, begin oktober, besloten de Provinciale Staten van Noord Holland om het tweede deel van een lening voor een nieuwe kernreactor in Petten, Pallas, te weigeren. Daarmee hangt de geplande Pallasreactor aan een zijden draadje. Reden voor de weigering is een gebrek aan vertrouwen in de gepresenteerde business case van de Pallasreactor. Met name het feit dat Pallas nog geen private investeerders heeft gevonden weegt zwaar. “De Pallas organisatie loopt met de actualisatie van de business case niet in de pas met het tijdschema dat voor de go/no go-momenten is bedacht.” Schrijft CDA-gedeputeerde Jaap Bond aan de commissie EEB (Energie, Economie en Beleid) van de Provinciale Staten.

Maar het zijn niet alleen economische argumenten. Voor PS weegt ook zwaar dat er twijfel bestaat of een nieuwe Pallasreactor wel nodig is gezien ontwikkelingen in de markt. Pallas is vooral gepland voor de productie van medische isotopen. CDA’er Bond wijst er op dat de OESO voorspelt dat er in 2020 een overschot aan medische isotopen wordt verwacht. Dat komt enerzijds door nieuwe productiefaciliteiten die in aanbouw zijn en door het feit dat medische isotopen ook geproduceerd kunnen worden met behulp van cyclotrons.

Laka verwelkomt de beslissing van de Provinciale Staten. Het is een verstandig besluit op het juiste moment. Het heeft geen zin aan te blijven modderen. Het is zaak nu vol in te zetten op productie van medische isotopen met innovatieve deeltjesversnellers. Dat is de enige mogelijkheid om werkgelegenheid in de kop van Noord-Holland te behouden.

Bestuursakkoord: verschillende interpretaties

Minister Kamp beantwoorde afgelopen week nog Kamervragen over Pallas. Hij liet op geen enkele manier de bestaande twijfel over de voortgang doorschemeren. Dat is vreemd, omdat hij van de beslissing van de Provincie Noord-Holland op de hoogte moet zijn geweest. En des te vreemder omdat bij het afsluiten van de lening in 2012, in een bestuursakkoord is afgesproken dat PS en EZ samen op trekken. Als één partij ermee stopt dan stopt de andere ook. Er is een afspraak tot “consensus” over de gezamenlijke lening van 80 miljoen euro. En die is er dus niet. Het is de vraag of hij nu een andere keuze heeft dan de bijdrage van het Rijk te stoppen.

Volgens Argos houden de Staten de deur nog wel op een kier. De PS verleent namelijk wel toestemming voor de start van de aanbesteding van het ontwerp voor Pallas. Gedeputeerde Bond wijst er op dat, mocht de minister toch besluiten zijn 14 miljoen over te maken aan Pallas, PS van Noord Holland daarvan “zeven miljoen voor haar rekening dient te nemen.” Dat is een gevolg van de afspraken in het bestuursakkoord.

Ondertussen meldt het Noordhollands dagblad dat de Commissaris van de Koning in Noord-Holland, Remkes, aangifte bij de politie gaat doen vanwege een “vermoedelijke schending van een opgelegde geheimhoudingsplicht.” En volgens de provincie zijn er daarnaast ook nog stukken gelekt waar geheimhouding op zit.

Jeremy Corbyn named vice-president of Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament

Labour leader due to address CND conference, described by organisers as the most important gathering of anti-nuclear activists in a generation

The Guardian | Matthew Taylor | 17 October 2015

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Jeremy Corbyn speaks at a Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament event in London to mark 70th anniversary of atomic bombing of Hiroshima. Photograph: Will Oliver/EPA

Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour party leader, is to accept a new role as vice-president of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament as figures show a sharp upturn in support for the organisation.

Corbyn, who is currently vice-chair of CND, will accept the position during a two-day conference in London on Saturday. His acceptance of the role underlines his opposition to nuclear weapons in the face of criticism from within the shadow cabinet.

The Labour leader has long opposed nuclear weapons and said last month that he would tell defence chiefs never to use the Trident nuclear weapons system if he became prime minister.

His appointment highlights the conflict between Corbyn and senior members of the shadow cabinet on the issue of nuclear weapons. The shadow foreign secretary, Hilary Benn, believes that Britain needs a “continuous at-sea deterrent”. He and several other shadow ministers including the deputy leader, Tom Watson, believe that supporting the renewal of Trident is essential to convince voters that Labour can be trusted with the nation’s security.

Kate Hudson, general secretary of the CND, welcomed the move and said the conference would be the most important gathering of anti-nuclear activists in a generation.

“[The] conference takes place at a moment when, for the first time in a generation, the opportunity not to replace Trident collides with a massive popular upsurge against the criminal waste and sheer anachronism of nuclear weapons,” she said.

“Austerity has led many more to question the need to spend £100bn on replacing a nuclear weapons system that doesn’t tackle the real security threats we face. Terrorism, climate change, pandemics and cyberwarfare require a fresh approach.”

CND has seen a big increase in support since Corbyn launched his election campaign. The organisation was attracting about 30 new members a month in June but now has a sign-up rate of more than 200 a month.

A spokesman said the support was still gathering pace, with more than 100 new members joining in the last seven days and thousands of non-paying supporters signing up since the summer.

Corbyn’s longstanding opposition to nuclear weapons has provoked criticism from within the parliamentary Labour party since he became leader last month. After he said he would not authorise the use of nuclear weapons if he were prime minister, the shadow defence secretary, Maria Eagle, described his comments as “unhelpful”. Two leading unions also expressed their opposition to Corbyn’s anti-nuclear stance.

But his supporters say the rise in support for the CND shows how Corbyn’s victory is energising politics beyond Westminster, from anti-nuclear to anti-austerity campaigns.

The former London mayor Ken Livingstone said: “After the years of the Thatcher/Blair tyranny, I think people realise that they can have an influence in politics again; it is worth getting involved, whether it is environmental groups, CND or the Labour party,” he said.

Corbyn is due to speak at a closed session of the CND conference on Saturday. Senior figures from the Green party, and the Scottish National party’s defence spokesman, Brendan O’Hara, will also attend the event.

Hudson said the growing party political support, combined with the increase in new members and supporters, would make it hard for the government to prevent a genuine debate over Trident.

“In Scotland, a majority voted for the anti-Trident SNP; the new leader of the Labour party firmly opposes nuclear weapons and is facilitating a national policy debate in his own party. The Lib Dems will oppose like-for-like replacement. The Green surge represents further opposition … The government will find it increasingly hard to claim it is acting in the national interest if it cannot garner cross-party support for Trident and when it is at odds with growing public opposition.”

The UK has four Trident ballistic missile submarines, and a final decision about whether to replace them is due to be taken in 2016. Previously both the Labour and Tory leaderships were committed to replacing the fleet, a project that is likely to cost well over £100bn over its 30-year lifespan. But now Corbyn has committed Labour to a review of its Trident policy, to be headed by Eagle.

Hudson welcomed Labour’s stance and said the anti-nuclear campaign would continue to gather momentum in the coming months. “Our own organisation has experienced its own surge in membership and we’re preparing for a major national Stop Trident demo ahead of the parliamentary decision in 2016,” she said.

The nuclear verification technology that could change the game

Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists | Kelly Wadsworth | 13 October 2015

The historic agreement between Iran and six world powers to curb the former’s nuclear development, concluded over the summer and expected to be adopted this month, relies heavily on verification. The foreign powers are keen to make sure that Tehran doesn’t acquire enough plutonium or uranium to build a nuclear weapon, and Tehran wants to demonstrate good behavior in order to get sanctions relief. That raises questions about the imperfect verification methods used by the International Atomic Energy Association (IAEA), the organization charged with the task under the Iranian nuclear deal, and the International Monitoring System (IMS), a global network that detects nuclear explosions worldwide. Are they reliable enough? Some would argue no.

There may be, though, a new option for verification on the not-too-distant horizon. Antineutrino detection is an existing technology that, if political and diplomatic hurdles are overcome, could be put in place before the 10-year ban on Iranian enrichment R&D is lifted. And fully developed over the long-term, it holds great promise for monitoring similar deals in the future, and for reinforcing nuclear non-proliferation worldwide. Difficult to evade, antineutrino detection technology could allow the international community to reliably monitor a country’s nuclear activities in real-time, potentially without setting foot in the country. Similar in cost and technological scale to the space-borne reconnaissance methods governments use for detection today, antineutrino detection could not only help identify undeclared nuclear reactors, but could monitor nuclear facilities and detonations throughout the Middle East and beyond. More research and development could make this technology a viable nonproliferation verification option.

The problem with verification today. Current far-field verification methods have been evaded in the past. Even with technology and policy improvements since the Iraq war, in the absence of immediate onsite inspections, the IAEA cannot reliably detect facilities outside its jurisdiction that may be producing weapon-grade uranium or plutonium. To monitor for suspicious activity outside its jurisdiction, the IAEA relies on environmental sampling and US electro-optical and radar satellites, such as the one that discovered Iran’s secret nuclear facility in 2009. Environmental samples are likely to be highly diluted if collected far from the expected site, and reactors can be hidden from satellite reconnaissance via underground facilities and cooling mechanisms to divert their thermal signature. In short, the current IAEA far-field verification system isn’t foolproof.

The IMS, developed by the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty‘s Provisional Technical Secretariat, uses seismic, hydro-acoustic, infrasound, and radionuclide monitoring technologies to detect nuclear explosions around the globe. Not only are these methods inaccurate in pinpointing the exact detonation location due to signal interference, but there is also evidence that countries can decouple and disguise their nuclear test yields to make them difficult for the IMS technologies to detect. For example, a determined proliferator could decouple (or muffle) a nuclear explosion in a large underground cavity, which might appear to a seismic monitor as an earthquake or mining explosion. Radionuclide monitoring is highly susceptible to weather, and releases could even be captured to obscure detection. Antineutrino detectors do not have any of these problems. Because it is impossible to hide or fake the antineutrino signal that a reactor sends out, as long as the detector itself has not been interfered with, it cannot be evaded.

The pioneering technology of antineutrino detection could change the game, providing real-time, accurate, remote monitoring of nuclear endeavors, giving international agencies unprecedented access to knowledge about a particular state’s nuclear activity. And the technology’s effects could go further, for example, by motivating Tehran to be a responsible player in the nonproliferation sphere, and perhaps one day helping to develop a Middle East nuclear-weapon-free zone and with it greater regional stability.

How it works. Antineutrinos are emitted during all fission nuclear processes. Since they are not electrically charged, they pass right through nearly all forms of matter in a straight line. They cannot be blocked or shielded. In fact, an antineutrino could pass through a piece of lead more than a light-year thick (6 trillion miles) before showing any sign of interaction. The concept of using antineutrinos to detect nuclear activities is not new; antineutrinos from a reactor were first detected in 1956. However, technology has only recently caught up to the science, and we now have the ability to build antineutrino detectors at various sizes and costs that could potentially aid in nonproliferation efforts.

Antineutrino detectors are categorized into three different monitoring classes: Near-field (hundreds of meters), mid-field (tens of kilometers), and far-field (hundreds of kilometers). The first category is the most fully developed, and could even be deployed today for verification purposes with a host country’s permission. Near-field antineutrino detection could supplement current IAEA safeguard methods and provide an independently-verified, real-time picture of what’s happening to the nuclear material in a reactor core. The detectors—metal boxes about the size of refrigerators—could catch frequent reactor shutdowns, alerting the IAEA to dubious behavior, and tell inspectors exactly what’s in the fuel mix, showing whether a facility is trying to over-enrich plutonium. Unfortunately, near-field detectors have struggled to gain acceptance in the safeguards community. (Some experts attribute this to a fear that the technology is so good, states won’t allow it on their soil.) Incorporation of such a technology into the IAEA inspections regime would likely be interpreted as an act of “western aggression” against Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) states. It is unlikely that Iran, or any other NAM state, would allow monitoring measures beyond what they have already agreed to without being offered sufficient additional incentives. Still, it is possible that Iran could be persuaded to adopt the technology. The opportunity to host a large-scale project with major economic, scientific, and geopolitical impact could serve as an enticement.

Mid-field antineutrino detectors, meanwhile, have been proven able to monitor the presence or absence of 10 megawatt reactors from up to 10 kilometers away, and with further research and development, could be useful for detecting covert activities outside of the IAEA’s agreed-upon jurisdiction. A country might be amenable to allowing the technology on its soil because of the prestige inherent in hosting a world-class antineutrino observatory, a center that might employ hundreds of scientists with a commensurate physical and economic footprint. Certainly, if Iran were to host one, it would ease international proliferation fears while indemnifying Tehran for any loss in international status caused by curtailing its nuclear program, and could motivate the government to become a responsible player in the nonproliferation sphere.

Though it is farther away, the greatest potential for nuclear verification lies with far-field antineutrino detectors. A far-field observatory could monitor the presence or absence of reactors from up to hundreds of kilometers away, and thus, like the methods employed by the CTBTO, would not have to be based in-country. A decade ago, a team led by John Learned, a University of Hawaii physics professor and pioneer in the antineutrino detection field, developed a plan for a far-field, deep-ocean, 9,000-ton antineutrino observatory that could be used for deterrence monitoring. A far-field detector is estimated to cost in the range of $500 million to $1 billion—which is comparable to the price of the flagship technology, space-borne reconnaissance, currently used by non-proliferation monitors. With sufficient funding, a far-field, deep-ocean observatory could be built now, and could provide nuclear verification from outside a country’s borders that would be very difficult to evade.

Far-field detectors would be the ideal means of verifying compliance with nuclear agreements, as they don’t require the monitored state’s approval; however, their development lacks funding. On the other hand, a mid-field observatory placed within Iran’s borders would promise a consistent and reliable method of verification.

Getting Iran on Board. Near- and mid-field detectors face the disadvantage of having to be installed within the borders of the state being monitored, thereby requiring its approval. This poses a problem when a country like Iran holds a historically hostile attitude toward the United States and international control regimes. Antineutrino observatories, though, could eventually transform 21st century counter-proliferation efforts as dramatically as radar transformed modern warfare in the early 20th century. A single one could have incredible implications for the future of covert proliferation as well as nuclear weapons test monitoring.

While a far-field detector is still a ways away, can Iran be convinced to host a mid-field antineutrino detector? Iranian leadership may well entertain the idea of a world-class antineutrino observatory within the country’s borders, as it would significantly repair the international isolation caused by its non-compliance, bringing with it increased economic activity and international prestige. The presence of an observatory could bring the Iranian nuclear program into full transparency and compliance with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, to which it is already a signatory. The prospect of highly effective verification would decrease liability for countries interested in investing in Tehran’s growing power industry. And, a major scientific center may give Iran the opportunity to reverse some of the brain drain that has plagued it in recent years.

In short, one of the main things Iran wants from the nuclear deal is to repair the self-inflicted damage caused by well-documented non-compliance with internationally imposed nuclear safeguards, and hosting an antineutrino observatory would help it get there. It would attract scientists from around the world, while reassuring the agreement’s other signatories that Tehran cannot develop a “breakout capability,” or ability to quickly build nuclear weapons.

Let’s get started. A mid-field antineutrino observatory holds the answer to the Iran deal’s verification woes. It has the potential to provide real-time, non-disguisable monitoring of Iran and allow Tehran to continue to develop its nuclear power sector, while offering peace-of-mind for the international verification community. And eventually—in perhaps 10 to 20 years—a far-field antineutrino observatory could hold the key to establishing a Middle East nuclear-weapon-free zone, providing the ability to monitor nearly all nuclear reactors and detonations in the Middle East. There should be no debate over further investment in the research.

The insane plan to expand the world’s biggest nuclear plant

Greenpeace International | Daul Jang | 13 October, 2015

Over 3 million people live within 30 km of what is set to become the largest nuclear power plant in South Korea and the world. So why is the government expanding nuclear and locking out safe, clean renewables?

Greenpeace activists holds a non-violent direct action at the Kori Nuclear Power Plant Complex.

Two inflatables with ten courageous and committed activists from around the world departed this morning to protest the expansion of the Kori Nuclear Power Plant, near Busan. They are taking action to highlight the risk of nuclear power and the urgent need to transition to clean, safe renewables.

The situation at Kori is insane, and it’s only getting worse. Here’s why the need for action is so urgent.

1. When the next unit is expected to go online next month, it will become the world’s largest nuclear power plant in terms of installed capacity (6860MW) with 7 reactors in operation.

Greenpeace activists holds a non-violent direct action at the Kori Nuclear Power Plant Complex.

2. What is most disturbing is that there are around 3.4 million people living within the 30km zone around the plant. This compares to 160,000 in the case of Fukushima.

Greenpeace ship the Rainbow Warrior near the Kori Nuclear Power Plant in South Korea

3. When the two planned reactors start operation by 2020, it will become the only nuclear power plant with 10 reactors and more than 10,000 MW in the world.

Greenpeace activists holds a non-violent direct action at the Kori Nuclear Power Plant Complex. In Ulsan, South Korea.

4. More reactors = more risk. One of the critical lessons from the disastrous Fukushima disaster is that multiple reactors means increased risk.

 Greenpeace activists holds a non-violent direct action at the Kori Nuclear Power Plant Complex. In Ulsan, South Korea

5. Since beginning operation in 1978, the plant has continuously encountered problems including malfunctions, lack of safety regulations and poor maintenance. In February 2012 a complete station blackout was deliberately concealed by the high level decision makers at the Kori plant, only to be reported to the Nuclear Safety and Security Commission (NSCC), South Korea’s regulatory body, a month later.

Greenpeace activists holds a non-violent direct action at the Kori Nuclear Power Plant Complex. In Ulsan, South Korea

We aim to expose the intolerable risk of adding two more reactors to the world’s largest nuclear power plant and the threat it poses to the general public and the citizens of Busan. The future is renewables. We’ve already helped convince one big company in South Korea to switch to 100% renewable energy – so what is the South Korean government waiting for? Out with the old, and in with the new!

It’s time to switch on renewables and abandon costly, dangerous nuclear.

Daul Jang is the Project Leader for the Climate and Energy Campaign at Greenpeace East Asia in Seoul.

India, Pakistan’s Nuclear Agendas Concern U.S.

ValueWalk | Brinda Banerjee | October 10, 2015

A United States government official has recently commented on India’s growing nuclear capabilities, revisiting the debate on nuclear advancement in the modern world and its impact on international security and geopolitical ties.

India, Iran, North Korea and Pakistan Pursue Nuclear Growth

A high-ranking official from within the Obama administration has recently likened India and Pakistan to North Korea and Iran in a conversation regarding the countries’ nuclear capabilities. The comment was made in a discussion about countries that are actively pursuing nuclear development and growth even as the international community remains apprehensive about weapons proliferation and the potential fallout of the same.

Addressing a seminar at Oslo, Norway, U.S. official Frank Rose recently said, “India and Pakistan are adding to their arsenals; North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs remain a concern to all; and Iran, despite the landmark nuclear deal, continues its ballistic missile programs”. Mr. Rose currently serves as the Assistant Secretary of State at the Bureau of Arms Control, Verification and Compliance of the United States Department of State.

At present, India possesses between 80 and 100 nuclear warheads while Pakistan’s stockpile is estimated at between 100 and 120 nuclear warheads. Assessments based on Pakistan’s nuclear development goals reveal that the country is poised to own the third-largest supply of nuclear weapons within the next ten years.

At present, Russia and the United States have the biggest nuclear weapons supplies in the world, with both Moscow and Washington totaling in at approximately 1,600 each. China, France and the United Kingdom follow suit with 250, 300 and 225 nuclear warheads respectively.

Security experts interpret Pakistan’s ever-expanding nuclear arsenal as a cause for concern given the country’s history of proliferation. Talk of Pakistan and the nuclear issue is incomplete without mention of Pakistani scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan who was found guilty of selling nuclear weapons technology and information on the black-market to bidders in Iran, Libya and North Korea. The country’s record with nuclear technology, its experiences with internal security challenges and extremism and the historic rivalry with India have all caused the international community to worry about regional security and international fallout should nuclear growth in the region be allowed to continue unchecked.

Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty And Proliferation Concerns

While the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) is the overarching international regulation by way of which the global community aims to prevent nuclear proliferation, the agreement has not been fully effected. This is, due in part to the reluctance of some states to fully agree to the covenant.

The United States and Iran are amongst the countries that have signed the CTBT but are yet to ratify it. Other states that have signed the treaty but not ratified it include China, Egypt and Israel. India, North Korea and Pakistan are the three countries that have not signed the agreement. Signing began in the year 1996; since then, only three countries have been conclusively known to have carried out nuclear testing: India, North Korea and Pakistan. India and Pakistan both conducted two rounds of nuclear tests in 1998 while North Korea organized its tests in 2006, 2009 and 2013.

Banning Not Enough, U.S. Official

In his discussion on the matter in Oslo, Mr. Frank Rose has expressed the concern that simply banning nuclear advancement and weapons proliferation will not be enough to tackle the threat of an extremely nuclear-capable world. The U.S. government official has pointed out that the aforementioned countries’ nuclear development agendas coupled with China and Russia’s interest in augmenting their nuclear strengths contributes significantly to geopolitical insecurity and risks against global harmony.

Mr. Rose has stated that simply introducing treaties such as the CTBT and banning the development, testing and sale of nuclear weapons is not enough to stop the spread of nuclear weapons systems. There continues to be an interest in, demand for and supply of nuclear weapons systems and so other strategies must be identified if the global community is to “effectively deter multiple adversaries with varying capabilities.”

Assessing The U.S.-India Nuclear Arrangement

The nuclear agreement between India and the United States, known as the U.S.–India Civil Nuclear Agreement, is often described as a landmark accord. The agreement states that India can purchase nuclear fuel and nuclear technology from the United States and vice-versa. The agreement has gone through various stages and has been phased out for years owing to several legal considerations and amendments needed in laws in both countries and though it was formalized in 2008 it has still not been fully affected.

The Indo-U.S. nuclear deal was hailed as a modern take on ‘civil nuclear cooperation’ and presented a groundbreaking moment in Indo-U.S. relations since it targeted several concerns of both states while also promoting international standards of peace and security. The nuclear agreement was envisioned to create stronger Indo-U.S. ties while helping the U.S. curb China’s growing influence in Asia and recognizing India in its own right outside of its historical associations with Pakistan. At the same time, the Indo-U.S. nuclear deal would help both countries economically while inducing mutual growth in domestic nuclear energy productions and enabling cross-access. The nuclear agreement between India and the United States is also recognized as an important milestone in the debate on non-proliferation since it was a sign of the U.S.’ trust in India’s track record of non-proliferation, despite New Delhi’s decision to not sign the CTPT.

While the implementation of the Indo-U.S. nuclear agreement has been delayed by technical considerations regarding legalities and regulations, both countries remain committed to the deal. At present, Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd and U.S. business enterprises along with other relevant actors are engaged in discussions on how to best realize the agreement. Speaking on the matter Nisha Desai Biswal, the Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia, has said, “What remains is the commercial negotiations on what is the business proposition that companies can move forward on. And that is going to move forward on its own pace.”

The Indo-U.S. deal is primarily a civil/ business arrangement and while it fosters compliance with international conventions on security and nuclear non-proliferation, its full potential is yet to be realized.

U.S. Considers Nuclear Accord With Pakistan, India Objects

The United States is reportedly exploring options for a nuclear arrangement with Pakistan. The deal, if it were to be realized, would witness a definite capping of Pakistan’s nuclear stockpile in return for a greater supply of nuclear material. The deal will allow the U.S. access to Pakistan’s nuclear production facilities and raw materials. For Pakistan, the tradeoff will include the U.S.’ assistance in purchasing nuclear materials and necessary capabilities from the Nuclear Suppliers Group, which at present does not transact with countries that have not signed the Non Proliferation Treaty.

While Pakistan has demanded a “non-discriminatory approach on nuclear issues” in its pursuit of a nuclear agreement like the one India enjoys with the United States, Islamabad has not been as successful in realizing its ambitions.

However, The Washington Post has reported that Pakistan’s wishes may soon be realized and while the White House is yet to lend credence to these allusions, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s upcoming trip to the United States may indeed spell a new era for Pak-U.S. strategic ties.

Geopolitical analysts have

Iran Tests Long-Range Missile, Possibly Violating Nuclear Accord

The New York Times | Thomas Erdbrink | Oct. 11, 2015

TEHRAN — Iran tested a new guided long-range ballistic missile on Sunday, hours before Parliament, in a rowdy session, approved the generalities of the nuclear agreement reached in July between Iran and world powers, the state news agency IRNA reported.

The missile launch may have violated the terms of the agreement, reached in Vienna with six world powers. According to some readings of the deal, it placed restrictions on Iran’s ambitious missile program.

Experts have been debating the interpretation of a United Nations Security Council resolution, adopted a few days after the accord was agreed upon, that bars Iran from developing missiles “designed to carry nuclear warheads.”

Hard-line Iranian officials had for months been demanding new missile tests, a common practice before the negotiations over the country’s nuclear program began in 2013.

The missile — named Emad, or pillar — is a step up from Iran’s Shahab-3 missiles because it can be guided toward its target, the Iranian defense minister, Hossein Dehghan, told the semiofficial Fars news agency. In recent decades, with Iran’s air force plagued by economic sanctions and other restrictions, the country has invested heavily in its nuclear program and has produced missiles that can reach as far as Europe.

“We don’t seek permission from anyone to strengthen our defense and missile capabilities,” Mr. Dehghan said.

Also on Sunday, members of Parliament voted in favor of a bill approving the generalities of the nuclear agreement, but they had been denied information on its details. State television broadcast the session using only audio and archived images of Parliament.

The head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, Ali Akbar Salehi, who had gone to Parliament to defend the deal, said in a speech that a member had threatened to kill him and bury his body “in the cement of the Arak heavy-water reactor.”

Under the nuclear agreement, a heavy-water plant in Arak will be redesigned and turned into a relatively less dangerous light-water reactor. The threat, which sounded like something from an American gangster film, was made in front of witnesses by a hard-line representative, Ruhollah Hosseinian, according to reports.