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International Nuclear Weapons & Non-Proliferation News

Spring 2011

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Welcome to the Spring 2011 edition of the Acronym Institute’s International Nuclear Weapons  & Non-Proliferation News, comprising a digest of news on global nuclear weapons policy issues as well as wider disarmament developments and proliferation challenges.


This edition has been compiled by Kat Barton and covers a range of nuclear-related issues over the period from Summer 2010 to the end of March 2011.  We open with brief consideration of the impact of the nuclear crisis at Fukushima following the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan, and extend our condolences and support to the Japanese people as they recover and rebuild their shattered communities.   The news review goes on to explore recent challenges to the security of nuclear materials and the global non-proliferation regime in general. There are specific sections on the latest developments and Western efforts to contain the Iranian nuclear programme, a round-up of events on the Korean peninsular including the continuing tensions and the news that North Korea is enriching uranium, and some discussion in both cases of the effectiveness of the international community’s attempts to stem proliferation. Continuing stories suggesting that Myanmar (Burma) and Syria may also be trying to pursue  nuclear weapons capabilities reinforces a growing sense of a non-proliferation regime unable to cope with the modern security environment. This perception is reinforced by an apparently growing acceptance of non-NPT nuclear weapon possessors India, Pakistan and Israel.

This edition also looks back at the circumstances surrounding the ratification of New START and provides an update on missile defence and NATO nuclear weapons, focusing primarily on consideration of NATO’s new Strategic Concept. Towards the end, we look at how the British Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition is pushing through its planned replacement of Trident despite safety concerns and the delay in schedule announced in the government's October 2010 Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR). We then offer a review of developments in nuclear disarmament more broadly including new initiatives, continuing negotiations, implementation of past agreements, and progress – or lack of it – at the Conference on Disarmament. We finish off with a recap on the Wikileaks revelations relevant to disarmament and non-proliferation and a quick summary of other related disarmament news

Nuclear crisis in Japan

Concerns about nuclear safety took international headlines attention away from the plight of the Japanese survivors following the crisis at the Fukushima nuclear power plant, where a force 9 earthquake and tsunami on 11 March 2011 damaged the power, pumps and cooling systems of four reactors, causing a series of explosions and fires and the release of significant quantities of radioactivity. Although after 13 days it appears as if the worst problems are being brought under control, radioactive contamination in local vegetables, milk and worryingly high levels of Iodine 131 in Tokyo’s tap water are causing people in Japan and other countries to rethink the wisdom of continuing to rely on such a vulnerable technology.  The governments of Switzerland, Germany, India, the US and the UK have already either committed to reversing or at least re-examining their policies towards nuclear power, an energy source which with the aid of an extremely vociferous nuclear industry had become gradually more acceptable in recent years.

As the focus of these news reviews is on nuclear weapons and proliferation, issues, we will not go into detail here about the implications of Fukushima for the ‘nuclear renaissance’.  The Acronym Institute’s NPT 2010 briefing ‘Nuclear Power: Rights, responsibilities, questions and alternatives’, written by Chatham House energy analyst Antony Froggatt, raises fundamental political and economic questions, while Rebecca Johnson responds directly to the Fukushima crisis in a short oped commissioned by Kyodo News and a longer piece published by openDemocracy.  By contrast, George Monbiot writes in The Guardian that “the crisis at Fukushima has converted me to the cause of nuclear power”. The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists also provides a particularly useful range of opinion including "The Lessons of Fukushima” by Hugh Gusterson and “Japan's nuclear crisis: The fine line between security and insecurity” by Miles A. Pomper.

The Fukushima crisis has raised other issues too. Alexander H. Rothman and Lawrence J. Korb highlight in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists how the events at Fukushima should create increased impetus for US ratification and entry into force of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) whose international monitoring system has played an important role tracking the radioactive plume from Fukushima. In addition, there is an article on Fukushima and the Seoul 2012 Nuclear Security Summit in which the author says Fukushima could provide the opportunity for a reworking of next year’s Nuclear Security Summit agenda to include nuclear safety and radioactive materials as well as nuclear security. Stephen Kurczy writing in the Christian Science Monitor reported on the need for reform of the IAEA so that it can better deal with the dual challenges of nuclear safety and security. Meanwhile, Walter Pincus reflects in the Washington Post on the potential damage the Fukushima crisis could cause and links these concerns to US nuclear weapons policies. He poses the basic questions: what are nuclear weapons really for, how would we use them and how much can we therefore justify spending on them and asks, “which targets require nuclear strikes, and what’s the minimum number of warheads needed to meet U.S. requirements and obligations to other countries?”

Proliferation Challenges and Updates

Nuclear security was already rising up the agenda in late 2010 following evidence leaked from a secret trial in Georgia that revealed that highly enriched uranium (HEU) was for sale on the black market last year. Writing in openDemocracy, Matthew Moran and Matthew Cottee expressed concerns that fissile materials had been successfully transported across national borders and criticised the UK government for failing to adequately recognise or resource the threat of nuclear terrorism in their recent strategy reviews. Then in March 2011, the US charged a man with smuggling nuclear materials destined for Pakistan’s nuclear programme, police at a Malaysian port seized “possible” nuclear weapons parts and a leaked IAEA report raised concerns that Zimbabwe may be considering exporting uranium to Iran in breach of sanctions. The security of the UK’s nuclear materials was also questioned when security flaws were exposed at Sellafield, the UK’s nuclear reprocessing plant.  There was some positive news too, as 100 tonnes of highly radioactive material in Kazakhstan was finally moved into safe storage, and Belarus, another of the former Soviet Republics, announced that it would be giving up its stock of HEU.

Whilst some countries may be giving up their fissile materials, others are keen to secure rights to enrich, and this, coupled with the precedent set by the controversial US-India nuclear deal, is leading to some worrying developments. Foreign Policy magazine looks at a new US-Vietnam nuclear deal which does not rule out enrichment and concludes that the US may therefore be undermining its own non-proliferation policies. Similarly, Global Security Newswire reports on the commencement of US-South Korean negotiations on a follow-on nuclear co-operation treaty which South Korea hopes will permit it to reprocess spent fuel, forbidden under the existing treaty.

Meanwhile, the IAEA Board approved two projects aimed at constraining proliferation-sensitive technologies: the building of a new nuclear fuel bank possibly in Kazakhstan approved in December 2010, and in March 2011, the nuclear fuel assurance plan – with the hope of reducing the incentive for countries to begin their own domestic enrichment programmes.


Iran's nuclear programme remains a key issue for the international community, and consistently attracts a great deal of media attention. Recent press reports have focused on the latest rounds of talks between Iran and the “P-5 plus 1” (China, France, Russia, the UK, US and Germany). In December 2010, talks were preceded by the unconvincing but carefully-timed announcement by Iran that it would be using locally-mined uranium in future, and the talks themselves resulted in nothing more than a commitment to more talks.

Prior to the talks, several commentators had offered advice on how to approach the issue, including Robert Dreyfuss who, writing in The Diplomat, stated that only if the US acknowledged Iran’s right to enrich uranium would negotiations move forward.  Trita Parsi and Reza Marashi, writing in Foreign Policy, urged Western negotiators to learn lessons from past talks. Meanwhile, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientist's November/December 2010 journal compiled a series of recommendations from the world's leading policy experts on how to deal with the impasse, and in January 2011, former IAEA Deputy Director General Olli Heinonen put forward a proposal that the international community offer to help build a new, more secure research reactor in Iran to replace the Tehran Research Reactor (TRR).

Also in January 2011, Iran signalled a hardening of its stance when President Ahmadinejad fired his relatively moderate Foreign Minister, Manouchehr Mottaki, and replaced him with the country’s top nuclear official, Ali-Akbar Salehi. The US subsequently sought to increase pressure on Tehran by stepping up sanctions, whilst Iran attempted to nurture divisions by inviting certain journalists and officials from some countries to visit nuclear sites to which it had previously withheld IAEA access. The plan seemed to backfire when the major parties to the forthcoming talks declined the invitation. The January 2011 talks made no actual progress on any concrete proposals, with Iran insisting on the precondition that sanctions be lifted and its ‘right to enrich’ be recognized before it would discuss its nuclear programme. No date was set for a further round of talks although both sides agreed they were open to talks in principle. Shortly afterwards in February 2011, Iran appointed Fereydoon Abbasi-Davani, reported to have links to the Revolutionary Guard and the Defence Ministry, as the new head of its Atomic Energy Agency following the December promotion of Ali-Akbar Salehi to Foreign Minister. The move reinforced perceptions that Ahmadinedjad is seeking to consolidate his power.

Following the June 2010 UN Security Council resolution, sanctions have continued to form the centrepiece of the US-led strategy to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability. As of 20 August 2010, Canada, Australia, the European Union and Japan had all agreed to additional sanctions – stronger measures than were required by the June resolution, and international banks as well as several oil companies were also warned over or persuaded not to do business with the Iranian regime. More recently, UK Prime Minister David Cameron - keen to step up the pressure - has called for a European “coalition of the willing” to impose further sanctions on Iran, whilst the US has expressed concerns over whether China is adhering to the sanctions agreed in UN Security Council 1929. As one would expect, there has been much debate over the efficacy of sanctions: some claimed they had bought time for diplomacy; others reported that that they had actually strengthened Ahmadinejad’s position as leader and weakened his rivals.

Addressing this concern in November 2010, US Defense Secretary Robert Gates said sanctions were causing rifts in the Iranian leadership. This view was supported by the most recent US intelligence report on Iran (published in February 2011) which found that Iran was making only slow and scattered progress in its presumed nuclear weapons programme and concluded that there could be renewed debate within the Iranian government on whether to build a bomb. A January 2011 report by the Legatum Institute (a London-based think-tank backed by the Legatum investment group) found that although sanctions hurt Iran economically, the relatively minor calculus attributed to this by the Iranian leadership means that at present the sanctions will not actually produce change. Russia seemed to have come to a similar conclusion when in February 2011 Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov declared that Russia would not support future sanctions as they would only lead to further suppression of the Iranian economy and social problems for its people.

Press reports in the latter half of 2010 demonstrated that sanctions are not the only means by which individual states are taking action over Iran’s nuclear programme. In November 2010, Iran admitted that the Stuxnet computer virus of mid-late 2009 had indeed affected centrifuges at its uranium enrichment plant at Natanz. In January 2011, Reuters reported that the success of the cyber attack – widely believed to have been perpetrated by Israel in collaboration with the US – had resulted in a slowing of the Iranian enrichment programme. However, although a December 2010 Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) report identified Stuxnet as the cause of Iran’s technical difficulties over that period, an ISIS report from February 2011 said that the damage to Iran's nuclear program was actually relatively limited.  Concerns have also been raised by the sometimes mysterious targeting Iranian nuclear scientists, two of whom were killed in 2010. Late 2010 saw fewer media articles raising the spectre of military action against Iran, although former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair suggested in a BBC interview that the ‘West should use force if Iran 'continues to develop nuclear weapons’, while Jeffrey Goldberg writing in The Atlantic magazine claimed that an Israeli attack against Iran would occur by July 2011.  By contrast, the Obama administration appeared less gung ho. US Defense Secretary Robert Gates in November 2010 gave his assessment that a military strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities would provide only a short-term solution.  A report by Professor Paul Rogers published by the Oxford Research Group in July 2010 had made this point even more strongly, demonstrating that an attack would be counter-productive and could lead to a ‘long war'.

Still, as Israeli intelligence chiefs argued over whether or not sanctions had successfully stalled Iran’s nuclear programme, a January 2011 Federation of American Scientists (FAS) report judged that the Iranians are continuing to push forward with their nuclear ambitions and a February 2011 International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) report estimated a minimum of two years before Iran would be able to produce a nuclear weapon. Meanwhile the pro-nuclear British Defence Secretary Liam Fox was rebuked by Prime Minister David Cameron after he made comments claiming Iran could have the bomb by 2012.

The IAEA in September 2010 reported that Iran had increased its total stockpile of low-enriched uranium by 15% and was hampering IAEA efforts to monitor its nuclear work. The IAEA’s November 2010 progress report, which described a temporary halt in low-level uranium enrichment in mid-November, was published shortly after Iranian President Ahmadinejad’s speech to the UN General Assembly and also followed Iranian denials that it had failed to cooperate with the IAEA, which it accused of caving in to Western pressure. 

Following US estimates that 9,000 centrifuges had been installed at Natanz (up from 3,000 in 2007) and calculations that Iran now possesses significant quantities of low-enriched uranium (LEU), the IAEA’s most recent report, published in February 2011, reported on evidence that Iran has been exploring ways to militarise its nuclear programme.  After his admission in a January 2011 Der Spiegel interview that “we still know too little about Tehran's nuclear activities”, IAEA Director-General Amano delivered his March 2011 report to the IAEA Board of Governors’ meeting and called on both Iran and Syria, to cooperate more fully with IAEA inspections in conformity with their safeguards obligations under the NPT.

North Korea

Since the March 2010 sinking of South Korean vessel Cheonan which killed 46 sailors, tensions have run higher than usual on the Korean peninsular. The continuation of Six Party Talks over North Korea’s nuclear programme was held up as the South demanded an apology which the North refused to give, and the US stepped up its sanctions drive against the Communist regime. Even when Jimmy Carter, following a visit to the country, made the case for the resumption of talks – which the North Koreans have now indicated they would be willing to restart – the Obama administration has insisted that North Korea must first meet the conditions imposed by the US for resuming the talks.

In late October 2010, the mood seemed to improve as South Korea began providing food aid to its Northern neighbour and indicated it would be willing to restart talks even without an apology over the sinking of the Cheonan whilst the US too softened its stance. Optimism was short-lived though, as in November 2010 North Korea shelled a South Korean island in disputed waters. The Economist speculated that this display of force may have been aimed at demonstrating the military prowess of North Korean leader-in-waiting Kim Jong-Un, son of current leader Kim Jong-Il who had just been appointed to senior political and military posts in the government. Unsurprisingly the shelling, which resulted in the death of two civilians and two soldiers, provoked South Korea to harden its attitude to the North primarily through joint military drills with the US.

The possibility of redeploying US tactical nuclear weapons (which had been removed from South Korea at the end of the cold war) was mooted in a question to South Korean Defence Minister Kim Tae-young while he was discussing evidence of a uranium enrichment facility in North Korea. The existence of the facility, long-suspected by the US, was revealed in November 2010 by former Los Alamos scientist Siegfried Hecker who had been invited by the North Koreans to inspect their facilities, giving rise to speculation that the confirmed disclosure was a deliberate act designed to flaunt North Korean nuclear capabilities. The revelation followed a series of earlier press reports raising concerns over the North Korean nuclear programme, including the possible resumption of building at the site of the country’s main nuclear reactor and talk of a possible third nuclear test in the pipeline.  While some questioned why more had not been done to block North Korea’s progress in the first place, a US envoy later cast doubt on the likelihood of building work being resumed at the Yongbyon complex. Still, the confirmation of North Korea’s uranium enrichment programme did raise suspicions that additional nuclear sites may remain hidden and led the US to ask China to use its influence to rein in its Communist ally. In addition, the US has since suggested that North Korea may now have plutonium-based warheads capable of being fitted to missiles and delivered by aircraft. Despite its concerns about North Korea’s nuclear programme, however, the US immediately dismissed the idea that it might base short range nuclear forces on the Korean Peninsular again, an assurance reinforced in subsequent statements.

November 2010 also saw the release – previously blocked by China – of a UN report on the enforcement of sanctions designed to prevent North Korea’s development of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles. The report concluded that although sanctions had significantly constrained North Korea’s activities, major proliferation concerns remain, particularly in regard to the regime’s export of nuclear and military technologies to Myanmar/Burma, Iran and Syria. Responding to the report, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists urged a redefinition of “denuclearising North Korea” to take account of the regime’s burgeoning role in global nuclear proliferation. Around the same time, a report emerged that a top North Korean nuclear weapons scientist had been arrested for spying and sent to a concentration camp with his family, thus fuelling speculation that the scientist was thought by the regime to have assisted the UN panel in compiling heir report.

Given the nuclear policies being pursued by Pyongyang and the general sense of instability on the Korean peninsular, it was no surprise that commentators were criticising the Obama administration for failing to deal effectively with the ongoing North Korean nuclear challenges. The Wall Street Journal, for example, argued that the revelations about North Korea’s uranium enrichment programme represented not a failure of intelligence but a failure of policy, whilst Foreign Policy magazine called for ‘active American diplomacy’.

In December 2010, China surprised some by making a public call on North Korea to allow the IAEA to inspect its facilities.  Its initiative, however, was overshadowed by raised levels of hostile rhetoric between North and South Korea.  By the close of 2010, things seemed to have calmed down again, with South Korean president Lee Myung-bak acknowledging that “We have no choice but to resolve the problem of dismantling North Korea’s nuclear programme diplomatically through the six-party talks”. By January 2011 at North Korea’s request talks were back on the table. However the February talks quickly broke down when the South asked the North to accept responsibility for the two military attacks of 2010, prompting North Korean negotiators to walk out. A subsequent offer by North Korea to return to talks was rebuffed by South Korea which also wants an apology for the North’s “aggression”.

India & Pakistan

In March 2011, India and Pakistan both test-fired nuclear-capable missiles, in the latest tit-for-tat missile tests conducted by the regional rivals.  Following on from the US-India nuclear deal, the UK, Australia and until the Fukushima disaster, Japan, became the latest countries planning to export nuclear technology to India, despite significant opposition among non-proliferation experts, especially in Japan and Australia whose International Commission on Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament (ICNND) had criticised the Nuclear Suppliers’ Group (NSG) waiver that enabled the original deal to be brokered in the first place.

Back in India, Parliament passed the Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Bill in August 2010 after the government reluctantly agreed to increase the compensation that could be claimed from suppliers in the event of an accident. However by October 2010 in what has become a dangerous game of cat and mouse, regulations were being redrafted that would undermine the bill’s effectiveness after US nuclear energy companies raised objections. Then on 27 October 2010 aiming to assuage industry and maintain its commitments, India signed the Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage (CSC). This has not yet entered into force. Many believe the Convention is inconsistent with the Indian nuclear liability legislation adopted in August 2010 but for now no one is backing down.

In November 2010 during a visit to India, US President Barack Obama’s comments supporting Indian membership of the NSG and expressing US support for talks between recognised NWS and those outside NPT added to a sense of growing apprehension that non-NPT nuclear possessors like India are gaining increasing acceptance amongst the international community. Concerns such as these are only reinforced by confirmation that the Chinese deal with Pakistan to build two nuclear energy reactors at Chashma will go ahead, thus further undermining the NPT. The news in November 2010 that China will also be building a fifth nuclear reactor in Pakistan further compounded matters. Moreover, shortly after Pakistan took over the Chair of the IAEA’s Board of Governors in September 2010, China managed to side-step US suggestions that its deal with Pakistan be addressed by the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG). This was hardly surprising given the role the US has played, via its deal with India, in legitimising nuclear trade with non-NPT states, but may be somewhat irrelevant anyway according to a report in The Hindu in March 2011 which suggested that the US would not oppose the China-Pakistan deal at the NSG after all. Either way, the deal seems to be going ahead and preparations such as IAEA sign-off on the safeguards agreement for monitoring the new reactors are underway. The fact remains though that the precedent set by the NSG exemption - which allowed the US-India nuclear deal to go ahead and subsequently be followed by China and Pakistan - calls into question the efficacy of the NSG whose raison d’etre is to reduce proliferation by controlling the export of nuclear materials.

Towards the end of 2010, the US – via the White House and Wikileaks – raised concerns over the proliferation risk associated with Pakistan. The subsequent news in February 2011 that Pakistan had doubled the size of its nuclear arsenal caused further unease and also, according to the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, cast doubts over the efficacy of the NPT to deal with proliferation in the 21st century. Additionally, indications in October 2010 that Pakistan was upping the pace of construction at Khushab, the site at which its nuclear weapons are based, were confirmed in February 2011 when the ISIS published analysis stating that what “appears to be a fourth reactor” for producing plutonium (Pakistan’s preferred nuclear fuel) is under construction at the site.


With Arab nations being called upon to open up their nuclear facilities to IAEA inspection, it was unsurprising that in August/September 2010 the Arab League once again tabled a resolution at the IAEA calling on Israel to join the NPT and submit to IAEA inspections. Although a similar resolution tabled in 2009 passed (after 20 years of comparable resolutions), the 2010 resolution failed. This was despite recent revelations that Israel, like its near neighbour Syria, had been unwilling to cooperate with the IAEA, and the news prompted the Arab League to dismiss the September 2010 IAEA report as “weak and disappointing”.

In August 2010, in an International Herald Tribune article timed to coincide with the publication of his new book “The Worst-Kept Secret”, Avner Cohen (with Marvin Miller) argued that “Israel needs to end its policy of nuclear opacity and reinforce its credentials as a responsible nuclear state”. In December 2010, Israel demonstrated its continuing punishment of Mordechai Vanunu by barring him from travelling to Germany to accept the Carl von Ossietsky Prize for his work in promoting disarmament. That same month, Kevin Rudd, then Australian PM, surprised his Israeli hosts by echoing recent calls for the country to join the NPT and submit to IAEA inspections.


Suspicions that the Myanmar military junta may be pursuing a nuclear weapons programme have not abated following a June 2010 report which drew on allegations from a Burmese defector that such a programme was underway. In July 2010, several media outlets including Bloomberg reported on a Jane’s Intelligence Review (subscription only) article that stated that claims of a programme were corroborated by newly available commercial satellite images. Later that month, concerns over links between Myanmar/Burma and North Korea were heightened when North Korea’s foreign minister Pak Ui-chun visited Burma for talks with representatives of the junta.  Joshua Pollack at Arms Control Wonk questioned the validity of claims that nuclear technology was being shared by the two countries, saying that the paper trail of evidence for this led almost entirely back to a 2009 article by Jay Soloman in the Wall Street Journal.

Myanmar’s military junta has continued to deny the existence of a nuclear weapons programme, but the defector Sai Thein Win who first raised concerns continues to repeat his assertions. In an interview published in Norwegian newspaper Morgenbladet and UK daily The Independent he says that whilst a weapon is a long way off, it is definitely being pursued. Naturally, the IAEA has taken an interest in the issue and in December 2010 it requested access to Myanmar/Burma’s nuclear sites although such access has not yet been forthcoming.


The IAEA has maintained a keen interest in Syria’s nuclear programme and in its reports of September 2010, November 2010 and February 2011 has reported a lack of cooperation in response to its requests for access to Syrian nuclear facilities, including Dair Alzour (or al-Kibar), the site bombed by Israel in 2007. In view of research suggesting further nuclear activity linked to Dair Alzour, the IAEA is said to be strengthening its stance whilst the US has begun pushing for a special inspection (carried out when the IAEA considers that information made available by the State concerned is inadequate).

Calls for further IAEA investigation of Syria’s nuclear activities are likely to increase following the news that the country is considering building its first nuclear power plant by 2020, especially in light of a February 2011 ISIS report which found evidence of a second covert nuclear installation. At the March 2011 Board meeting of the IAEA, its Director General Yukiya Amano called on Syria to cooperate more fully with IAEA inspections.


The ratification by the US Senate of the new strategic arms reduction treaty between the US and Russia was a media focal point in the final months of 2010. On 22 December 2010, after a lengthy lead-in and backed by strong support expressed by an extensive list of prominent US and international political and military figures, the US Senate voted overwhelmingly (71-26) to ratify the treaty. A month later, on 25 January 2011, the Russian Duma also ratified the treaty, thereby cementing modest reductions in US and Russian nuclear arsenals. New START entered into force on 5 February 2011, information sharing under the treaty has now begun and US inspections of Russian nuclear weapons could begin as early as April 2011.

The passage of New START through the US Senate ratification process was not a smooth one. From the time that the US and Russia concluded and signed the treaty back in April right up until the week before the vote, a minority of Republicans did their utmost to block the treaty. Former Governor of Massachusetts Mitt Romney kicked off the charge in July 2010 with a factually-inaccurate piece in the Washington Post to which Senator John F. Kerry (Democrat Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee) responded a day later by correcting Romney’s glaring errors and setting the record straight. Senator Jon Kyl (Rep) and George W. Bush’s former UN ambassador, John Bolton, who had failed to gain Senate approval for his nomination in 2005, were New-START’s most vociferous opponents, arguing alternately that it would restrict US missile defence, be violated by the Russians and generally run counter to US national security interests. Aware of Kyl’s influence within the Republican party and his role in preventing ratification of the CTBT in 1999, the Obama Administration’s strategy for New START seemed largely focused on determining the price for Kyl’s support in the hope that he would in turn convince other reluctant Republicans.  

As Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Vice-President Joe Biden underscored the importance of the treaty, eminent Republicans such as Arnold Schwarzenegger and former US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice also expressed their support. Indeed, most of those with direct experience of having responsibility for the US nuclear arsenal, such as seven senior military leaders as well as the top military brass represented by General James Cartwright, the current vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, were unequivocal in their support for ratification. Moreover, op-eds like the one by George Shultz, Madeleine Albright, Gary Hart and Chuck Hagel, and a later one by Henry Kissinger, George Shultz, James Baker III, Lawrence Eagleburger and Colin Powell entitled ‘The Republican case for ratifying New START’ emphasised the strength of bi-partisan support for the treaty.  In addition, a whole host of the most senior foreign policy figures on the international scene stepped forward to urge ratification, including “16 leading Britons”, NATO head Anders Fogh Rasmussen and fourteen of Europe’s Foreign Ministers. But the issue of missile defence continued to loom large due in part to the reference in the treaty’s preamble to an “interrelationship” between nuclear weapons and missile defence and an apparent difference in opinion between the US and Russian lawmakers as to whether the preamble is legally binding. So just three days before the vote, Obama wrote a letter to senators seeking to reassure them by restating his commitment to building a US missile defence system in Europe.

Many were relieved when New START was finally given the requisite two-thirds Senate approval.  Having paid a high price for Republican ratification votes, Obama’s administration may find it difficult to carry through the rest of its arms control agenda, not least ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT).   Having missed several opportunities to take CTBT ratification forward politically, there were murmurings from US officials in February 2011 that their plans to ratify the CTBT would begin with an education drive.  This seemed to be underway the following month when Thomas D'Agostino, head of the U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration, said nuclear testing is not necessary for maintaining the US nuclear arsenal. As follow-on talks to New START get underway between Washington and Moscow, the US is hoping to focus on all types of nuclear weapons, but Russia has indicated its unwillingness to address so-called ‘tactical’ nuclear forces as long as its concerns about US missile defence plans remain unresolved.

Meanwhile, many are perplexed over a US proposal to reduce funding for non-proliferation efforts, especially given that money from the same pot would fund an increase in the budget for US nuclear weapons. So, whilst New START offers reason to be hopeful, there is clear recognition that the treaty is actually very limited in scope and much more needs to be done to reduce nuclear dangers globally. Some, like Foreign Policy’s Josh Rogin, cast doubt over the likelihood of further progress, whilst Amanda Kempa, writing in Der Spiegel, challenged whether Obama is genuinely committed to the goal of a nuclear weapon free world celebrated in his April 2009 Prague speech, noting the inherent contradiction between this objective and his administration’s on-going determination to fund the maintenance and modernisation of US nuclear weapons which he has characterised as essential for the nation’s security.

NATO nuclear policy

In the year running up to NATO’s revision of its Strategic Concept, Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland and Sweden all called for the withdrawal of US ‘tactical’ nuclear weapons from Europe. Reflecting this and the 2010 US Nuclear Posture review, which contained modest changes to US doctrine and security assurances to reflect President Obama’s recognition of the need to reduce reliance on nuclear weapons, the initial draft of the new document included – for the first time in the history of the organisation – calls for nuclear disarmament. As the Lisbon summit drew closer, the recently-formed European Leadership Network for Multilateral Nuclear Disarmament and Non-proliferation (ELN), which comprises over 30 former European ministers and senior military and security officials publically urged NATO leaders to reduce the ‘tactical’ nuclear arsenal in Europe as part of a wide-ranging reform of NATO policy. Several articles, notably in openDemocracy by Acronym Institute Director Rebecca Johnson and in Time magazine by Eben Harrell argued for these short range nuclear weapons to be withdrawn from Europe. A later piece by Paul Meyer, the former Canadian Ambassador for disarmament, criticised the ambiguity of the alliance’s position on nuclear weapons and added his voice to the chorus of those urging NATO to indicate its willingness for the residual US ‘tactical’ nuclear weapons to be removed from Europe as they have “no practical military purpose”.

Meanwhile, Germany – in line with government policy supporting the withdrawal of US nuclear weapons from its soil – issued calls for greater NATO commitment to nuclear disarmament, linking their support for a new missile defence system in Europe to the removal of US tactical nuclear weapons from the continent.  Their most vociferous opponent was France, but Chancellor Angela Merkel broke ranks with her own government’s arguments by siding with NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen and repeating the now familiar mantra that “as long as there are nuclear weapons in the world, we need to have these capabilities”.  Despite reiteration of Germany’s support for “the goal of withdrawal” by Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle during a debate in the Bundestag, a goal endorsed by a majority of Europeans and other NATO Members such as Norway, NATO failed to move with the times. Its new Strategic Concept document (published on 19 November 2010) slightly updated policy in line with the US Nuclear Posture Review, committing  “NATO to the goal of creating the conditions for a world without nuclear weapons” while reconfirming that, “as long as there are nuclear weapons in the world, NATO will remain a nuclear Alliance”.  Outside of Europe, Indian daily The Hindu posed the question many were pondering: “NATO: Fit for what purpose?”.

The issue of a European missile defence system was one of the central discussion points throughout the Strategic Concept negotiations, with a common theme being how to bring Russia, which has consistently expressed reservations, into the fold. But despite the US/NATO fixation with missile defence, technological difficulties with the system persist, as does the contradiction between Obama’s desire to reduce nuclear dangers and his willingness to invest heavily in a system which according to former scientific advisor to the US government Theodore Postol “isn’t the best way to inspire international trust”.

The United Kingdom

The UK’s coalition government had insisted its “Strategic Defence and Security Review” would exclude the country’s nuclear weapons system. However, as had been rumoured in the run-up to its publication, the October 2010 review announced a delay to the main gate decision on Trident until ‘around 2016’. Included in the ‘Value-for-Money’ section of the review, the decision was posited as a response to difficult financial circumstances and pressure on the defence budget (from which Chancellor George Osborne had insisted funds for Trident must come).  Reflecting differences of opinion within the coalition, the Liberal Democrats celebrated the delay as evidence of their influence on coalition politics, a claim that was lent some weight by the heightened debate over Trident at the time. This included much criticism of like-for-like replacement of Trident, an increased interest in alternatives – especially the option of scrapping the policy of continuous-at-sea-deterrence (CASD), and suggestions that Labour, under new leader Ed Miliband, may rethink its policy on Trident.

In November 2010, UK Prime Minister David Cameron and French President Nicolas Sarkozy signed two new treaties on defence and nuclear cooperation respectively. The Nuclear Cooperation Treaty, which was named the Teutates Agreement, has been given a 50 year duration, raising concerns about the intentions of the two European nuclear powers with regard to complying with and implementing the NPT, which marked 40 years since it entered into force. Despite delays to the ‘main gate’ final decision on Trident, recent developments indicate that in practice Trident replacement is already underway. Several parts for the new submarines have been ordered and ministers have confirmed that steel for the first boat's hull will be procured in advance of the main gate. This signing of contracts prior to the official main gate decision date is particularly worrying given another SDSR announcement: that the reason for going ahead with building of two new aircraft carriers was not due to a strategic requirement but because the previous government had signed a contract with BAE Systems with punitive financial penalties attached, making it more costly to cancel one of the aircraft carriers than to proceed with both, although it appears that funding will not be found to equip the carriers with the aircraft that they were designed for.   As the Defence Secretary was challenged in Parliament over financial commitments being made prior to main gate, the exposure of such locked-in funding highlights the way in which government can be held to ransom by profiteers in the defence industries regardless of national security needs, international disarmament developments or other UK financial priorities and needs.

With the procurement process set in motion, UK Parliamentarians have sought information about the costs and contracts, but have been stonewalled, leading to criticisms that the UK government is withholding vital information. In addition, two comment pieces published in February 2011 derided the “culture of secrecy” and highlighted the need for proper Parliamentary and independent scrutiny of Trident renewal.  BBC Radio 4 prompted concerns that history could repeat itself to the detriment of democratic accountability, when it revealed in a documentary programme that civil servants who were supposed to be responsible to Chancellor Denis Healey in the 1970s withheld from him key information relating to the capability of the Polaris nuclear weapons system because they were worried that the secret programme to upgrade Polaris, known as the Chevaline decision, would be cancelled were he to have the full picture.

A new Trident Commission, a cross-party panel organised by the British American Security Information Council (BASIC) and chaired by Lord Des Browne of Ladyton (Lab), Sir Malcolm Rifkind (Cons) and Sir Menzies Campbell (Lib Dem), was launched in February 2011, with the intention of bringing together senior defence, diplomatic, scientific, and political figures to explore UK nuclear weapons policy, including Trident renewal. Defence minister Nick Harvey (Lib Dem) underscored the need for such a Commission when he noted that the paper trail explaining the rationale for replacing Trident was “thin”, thereby drawing further attention to the deepening divisions in the governing coalition over the issue.  Following the Commission launch, the Prime Minister was pushed to affirm his commitment to "full" replacement of Trident by fellow Tory MP Julian Lewis, famous for his unswerving attachment to nuclear weapons.  Lewis’s intervention during Prime Ministers Questions reveals some jitters among proponents of Trident replacement, especially as the Lib Dem party President reiterated his view that like-for-like replacement would not go ahead.

Throughout this period there were several articles in the press regarding safety concerns at British nuclear bases. Partly precipitated by the August 2010 fire at the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) at Aldermaston, health and safety practices at the base came under scrutiny especially when it was revealed that the fires were worse than had previously been reported and MoD reports themselves uncovered flaws in the AWE safety regime. Additional reports from Scotland that the MoD has been ignoring the risk of a terrorist attack on its Clyde-based nuclear submarines and that safety rules at the Faslane and Coulport bases had on occasions been suspended only amplified concerns that government cuts and staff shortages will jeopardise safety at nuclear bases even more. Revelations by Channel 4 that the nuclear reactor being considered for Trident replacement may not be up to modern safety standards caused further unease and led Defence Secretary Liam Fox to publicise his support for a new Pressurised Water Reactor 3 (PWR3) as part of Trident renewal.

Clearly keen to press ahead with replacing Trident, Dr Fox also said in March 2011 that Initial Gate approval would be announced “in the coming weeks”. He had not long before used a BBC Scotland programme to rule out a reduction in the number of submarines from four to three. Still, Scottish opposition to Trident renewal continues to be strong whilst across the British Isles concerns have been raised about the contract for the UK census having gone to US arms manufacturer and maker of Trident missiles, Lockheed Martin.

Prospects for nuclear disarmament

Continuing with the trend of prominent political figures publishing op-eds in support of nuclear disarmament, in September 2010 the German and Japanese Foreign Ministers Guido Westerwelle and Katsuya Okada, wrote in the Wall Street Journal of the need to make nuclear weapons “unattractive” and the importance of international humanitarian law in achieving the goal of nuclear disarmament. Then in January 2011, Russia became the latest nuclear weapon state to publish op eds by a ‘Gang of Four’ of senior former statesmen when Yevgeny Primakov, Igor Ivanov, Evgeny Velikhov and Mikhail Moiseyev wrote in the Telegraph Online’s Russia Now of nuclear disarmament as “not a goal in itself but rather an important area, precondition and method for reorganising international life on more civilised principles and according to the demands of the new century”.

September 2010 also saw the launch of a new initiative by a group of 10 non-nuclear weapon states, spearheaded by Japan and Australia, keen to "work together on concrete and practical measures for a world of decreased nuclear risk as a milestone on our path toward realizing a world without nuclear weapons”. And at a meeting in Hiroshima in November 2010, Nobel Peace Prize Laureates issued a declaration describing nuclear deterrence as an argument that is "totally outdated and must be rejected" and including in its list of demands "the negotiation of a universal treaty to abolish nuclear weapons". November 2010 also marked the tenth anniversary of UN Resolution 1325 on Women Peace and Security, which Acronym Institute Director Rebecca Johnson, in an article published in openDemocracy, commemorated by calling attention to the humanitarian imperative for nuclear disarmament and the role women can play in making it happen.

By contrast, the Conference on Disarmament has remained deadlocked, prompting criticisms from many countries.  A growing number, including US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton appear now to advocate moving fissile material negotiations to an alternative forum.  The prospect of the Geneva-based forum being sidelined in this way provoked opposition from UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon.  Arms Control Association Director Daryl Kimball, meanwhile, proposes ways to move the negotiations forward in an article entitled in Foreign Policy ‘Breaking Pakistan's Nuclear Addiction’.

As 2011 unfolded, the P-5 nuclear weapon states sought to allay concerns by announcing a second confidence-building conference, this time in Paris.  As Libya descended into violence, some commentators recalled the 2003 deal by which Muammar Gaddafi was brought in from the cold by the Bush-Blair alliance in return for giving up all vestige of his regime’s chemical and nuclear weapons capabilities.

The ‘original’ four US horsemen, Kissinger, Nunn, Perry and Schultz, published another Wall Street Journal op-ed in March 2011, this time taking issue with states’ continuing reliance on the concept of nuclear deterrence which they identify as a key driver of proliferation. However, the authors undermine their own logic by falling back on the Obama administration mantra that “as long as nuclear weapons exist, America must retain a safe, secure and reliable nuclear stockpile". David E. Hoffman meanwhile, writing in The Independent, took a different view. He called for a “serious reconsideration of our reliance on nuclear deterrence” which he argued has “lost its overwhelming potency as the backbone of security” and urging the creation of new tools for international relations in the 21st century.


The publication by Wikileaks of several thousand classified diplomatic cables from the US Embassy archive transfixed political readers around the world. Whilst these sensitive documents did not for the most part reveal any major surprises, the previously unpublicised information did provide an interesting insight into governments' approaches to nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. Among them were: publically damaging revelations that Saudi Arabia and other Arab nations urged the US to attack Iran rather than allow its nuclear programme to continue; those relating to proliferation concerns especially over Iran and North Korea, and negotiations on a fissile materials treaty (FMT) including indications that China has distanced itself from Pakistan's obstructive position at the Conference on Disarmament as well as from North Korea’s behaviour as a “spoiled child”; a cable in which British civil servants told the US to ignore Gordon Brown's September 2009 announcement at the UN General Assembly that the UK would consider reducing its nuclear-armed submarine fleet from four to three; several cables which confirmed previously suspected information such as P5 positions on the NPT and a too-cosy relationship between the US and IAEA Head Yukiya Amano. The Acronym Institute was mentioned in at least two known cables, with positive references to our contributions in the run-up to the 2010 NPT Review Conference.

Other News

A small storm in a teacup was provoked by a January 2011 Kyodo News article on China, the English headline to which read “China military eyes preemptive nuclear attack in event of crisis”.  The Chinese government was quick to dismiss the report as “groundless”.  Jeffrey Lewis writing in the Arms Control Wonk blog helpfully deciphers the whole business which appears to be down to a 2004 textbook (printed by the Chinese National Defense University and used to train military officers) being taken out of context and combined with a qualifying ‘you never know what might happen’ comment being transformed into a ‘it’s a distinct possibility’ assertion.

In October 2010, confirmed that despite the Cold War being long over, military projects still dominate space making up almost half of the global spending on space assets and the US ranking as by far the biggest spender.

There was good news for disarmament more broadly as the Cluster Munitions Treaty came into force in August 2010.  In October 2010 the US announced that it has eliminated 80% of its stockpile of chemical weapons. Like Russia, the United States was behind schedule in eliminating its arsenal as required by the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC).  The delays did not give rise to concerns that the cold war superpowers were cheating on the CWC, however, as chemical weapons have been devalued and accorded pariah status. Instead it was recognised that disposing of the chemical weapons arsenals in safe, secure and environmentally responsible ways was more difficult than originally envisaged when the CWC was negotiated. 

Following the 2001 scuppering of multilateral negotiations to strengthen the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BWC) with an international verification regime, commentators are looking at what is possible for the BWC  as it nears its 2011 Review Conference.  For example, David E. Hoffman writing in Foreign Policy draws on an Arms Control Association piece to ask whether the BWC can be given teeth.


1) Nuclear crisis in Japan
2) Proliferation Challenges and Updates
i) Iran
ii) North Korea
iii) India & Pakistan
iv) Israel
v) Myanmar/Burma
3) New START
4) NATO nuclear policy
The United Kingdom
Prospects for nuclear disarmament
Other News

1) Nuclear Crisis in Japan

Radioactive contamination
Japan battles food contamination fears
AlJazeera, 23 March 2011
‘The Japanese government has ordered farms in four prefectures near the stricken Fukushima nuclear power plant to stop shipping a range of products found to have elevated radiation levels, an official has said… Radiation exceeding health limits for infants has also been found in a Tokyo city water purifier… Several countries, including Malaysia, South Korea, Taiwan and China, have moved to subject imports to radiactivity testing. The United States is the first country to block certain imports entirely from Japan's radiation-affected zone, halting milk, vegetable and fruit shipments from areas affected by contamination fears. South Korea and Hong Kong both announced on Wednesday that they were considering similar bans.’

Kyodo News Opinion pieces on Fukushima
Kyodo News Opinion
Includes articles by Mark Fitzpatrick (IISS), Mark Hibbs (Carnegie), Rebecca Johnson (Acronym Institute) Daryl Kimball (Arms Control Association), Jeffrey Lewis (Monterey) & Tilman Ruff (ICAN) among others

Acronym Institute Nuclear Energy Briefing
Nuclear Power: Rights, responsibilities, questions and alternatives
Antony Frogatt, Acronym Institute, May 2010

Lessons from Fukushima
Opinion: After Fukushima, lessons to reduce nuclear terror
Rebecca Johnson, Kyodo News, 17 March 2011
‘Nuclear power is not only vulnerable because of the potential for radioactive catastrophe. It is the wrong energy choice because of the related threats of nuclear weapons proliferation and the unsolved problems of nuclear waste… The future lies in developing better ways to conserve and diversify energy sources, with greater emphasis on localized production. Increased investment in geothermal, wind, wave and solar technologies, for example, would be good for Japan's economy as well as environment, industry and future security.’

openDemocracy on Fukushima
After Fukushima
Rebecca Johnson, Open Democracy, 24 March 2011
‘As we pursue the abolition of nuclear weapons, we also need to phase out reliance on nuclear energy. Both are incompatible with our environmental and human security’

Fukushima made me support nuclear power
Why Fukushima made me stop worrying and love nuclear power
George Monbiot, Comment is free,, 21 March 2011
‘As a result of the disaster at Fukushima, I am no longer nuclear-neutral. I now support the technology. A crappy old plant with inadequate safety features was hit by a monster earthquake and a vast tsunami. The electricity supply failed, knocking out the cooling system. The reactors began to explode and melt down. The disaster exposed a familiar legacy of poor design and corner-cutting. Yet, as far as we know, no one has yet received a lethal dose of radiation… Atomic energy has just been subjected to one of the harshest of possible tests, and the impact on people and the planet has been small. The crisis at Fukushima has converted me to the cause of nuclear power.’

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists Fukushima section
Japan in focus: A collection of the Bulletin's coverage

Implications for nuclear power renaissance
The lessons of Fukushima
Hugh Gusterson, The Bulletin, 16 March 2011
‘This leaves us with a choice between walking back from a technology that we decide is too dangerous or normalizing the risks of nuclear energy and accepting that an occasional Fukushima is the price we have to pay for a world with less carbon dioxide. It is wishful thinking to believe there is a third choice of nuclear energy without nuclear accidents. It is unlikely that all countries will make the same choice here. We are probably moving toward a post-Fukushima world in which some countries will abjure nuclear energy while others expand it.’

Nuclear power: security or insecurity
Japan's nuclear crisis: The fine line between security and insecurity
Miles A. Pomper, The Bulletin, 22 March 2011
‘Japan, particularly after the oil crises of the 1970s, has relied on nuclear power as a means of providing energy security. The national energy security the country has ensured, however, has also created other kinds of insecurity in terms of safety for its country. The world should evaluate the need for a nuclear energy future, and should not forget the dangers involved in this energy source.’

Fukushima & CTBT
Fukushima: Another reason to ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty
Alexander H. Rothman and Lawrence J. Korb, The Bulletin, 23 March 2011
‘Designed to detect nuclear weapons tests, the CTBT's global monitoring stations have been used to track Fukushima's radioactive plume, which reached the West Coast of the United States last week. The system also allowed scientists to issue tsunami alerts. The sheer utility of this monitoring system during Japan's emerging tragedy should serve as a reminder to the Obama administration and the Senate that ratifying the CTBT would strengthen both US and global security. The CTBT's monitoring system is supported by country contributions, which are unlikely to continue indefinitely if no progress is made toward securing the ratifications necessary for the treaty to enter into force.’

Fukushima & 2012 Nuclear Security Summit
Fukushima and the Seoul 2012 Nuclear Security Summit
Duyeon Kim, The Bulletin, 18 March 2011
‘The Fukushima disaster provides the impetus to rework the Seoul 2012 Nuclear Security Summit agenda and include nuclear safety and radioactive materials in addition to nuclear security. Seoul could add a "Korean twist" to the summit by highlighting the safety and security of radioactive sources and nuclear power plants, as well as nonproliferation. We may have come to a point where nuclear safety and security issues are not mutually exclusive, but need to be addressed simultaneously and consistently at the summit level.’

Calls for IAEA reform
Japan nuclear crisis sparks calls for IAEA reform
Stephen Kurczy, Christian Science Monitor, 17 March 2011
‘The Japan nuclear crisis has exposed an industry that lacks sufficient oversight, say some scientists, leading for renewed calls to redefine the mandate of the UN nuclear watchdog so that it can better police nuclear power plants worldwide…. The problems with the agency are myriad, he says: It recommends safety standards, but member states are not required to comply; it promotes nuclear energy, but it also monitors nuclear use; it is the sole global organization overseeing the nuclear energy industry, yet it is also weighed down by checking compliance with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).’

Where are the targets for US nuclear weapons?
How much can we justify spending on nuclear weapons?
Walter Pincus, Washington Post, 14 March 2011
‘The horrific earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan last week lead me to this question: Is it not time to talk realistically about the $200 billion or more we plan to spend over the next decade on strategic nuclear weapons and their land- and sea-based delivery systems?... The questions are: Which targets require nuclear strikes, and what’s the minimum number of warheads needed to meet U.S. requirements and obligations to other countries?’

2) Proliferation Challenges and Updates

Fissile materials for sale on black market
Nuclear bomb material found for sale on Georgia black market
Julian Borger, The Guardian, 7 November 2010
‘Highly enriched uranium that could be used to make a nuclear bomb is on sale on the black market along the fringes of the former Soviet Union, according to evidence emerging from a secret trial in Georgia. Two Armenians, a businessman and a physicist, have pleaded guilty to smuggling highly enriched uranium (HEU) into Georgia in March, stashing it in a lead-lined package on a train from Yerevan to Tbilisi… It reveals that the critical ingredient for making a nuclear warhead is available on the black market and is reasonably easy to smuggle past a ring of expensive US-funded radiation sensors along the borders of the former Soviet Union. What is not clear is how much nuclear material is in circulation and whether any has already been bought by extremist groups.’

The threat of nuclear terrorism
Nuclear terrorism: should the UK be concerned?
Matthew Moran and Matthew Cottee, Open Democracy, 9 November 2010
Reflecting on the Georgian smuggling case, the authors argue: ‘In technical terms, 18 grams of almost weapons-grade HEU does not pose any large-scale threat... The real cause for concern lies in the fact that the HEU was successfully transported across national borders.’ They also criticise the UK’s government’s recent NSS & SDSR for not providing the focus or resourcing to tackle the threat of nuclear terrorism: ‘…while the threat posed by non-state actors is recognized, it appears that the national security review fails to go beyond acknowledging the threat posed by nuclear terrorism… When the UK government is making significant cuts to sensitive areas of national security, there is cause for concern’

US charge man over nuclear exports to Pakistan
Pakistani Man Charged Over Shipments to Pakistan's Nuclear Program
Evan Perez, Wall Street Journal, 9 March 2011
‘U.S. prosecutors on Wednesday charged a Pakistani man with running a smuggling operation that shipped materials and equipment to the agencies operating Pakistan's nuclear program. A grand-jury indictment in Baltimore accuses Nadeem Akhtar, 45 years old, who operated an export firm in Maryland, of obtaining the items from U.S. companies and illegally exporting them to agencies that are on a U.S. Commerce Department blacklist. Prosecutors said the materials include radiation-detection devices, calibration equipment and nuclear-grade resins that can be used "directly or indirectly in activities related to nuclear reactors and the processing and production of nuclear-related materials."’

Possible Malaysian proliferation find
Malaysia seizes 'possible' nuclear weapons parts
AFP, 17 March 2011
‘Malaysian police confirmed on Thursday they have seized two containers which may contain parts used to make nuclear weapons, from a ship bound for western Asia. "I can confirm that we have seized the containers at Port Klang but we do not know yet whether these are possibly parts to help make weapons of mass destruction or nuclear items," national police chief Ismail Omar told AFP. "We are waiting for a report from our nuclear agency on the parts seized before we can make any determination and investigations are still ongoing," he added.’

Fears over Zimbabwe uranium sales to Iran
Zimbabwe to sell uranium to Iran
The Telegraph, 6 March 20011
‘A leaked intelligence report suggests Iran will be awarded with exclusive access to Zimbabwe's uranium in return for providing the country with fuel. The report – compiled by the United Nations' nuclear watchdog – said Iran's Foreign and Co-operative Ministers had visited Zimbabwe to strike a deal, and sent engineers to assess uranium deposits.’

Nuclear security flaws at Sellafield
Sellafield security 'flaws' exposed
Nick Collins, The Telegraph, 15 December 2010
This news was originally reported in The Times which is subscription-only. The Telegraph piece says: 'Anti-terrorism measures at nuclear plants across the country are being scrutinised after potential security flaws were exposed at the Sellafield reprocessing site.'

Kazakhstan moves nuclear materials into safe storage
Kazakhstan Completes Move, Storage Of Nuclear Stash
NPR, 16 November 2010
‘The United States and the former Soviet republic of Kazakhstan have completed moving some 100 tons of highly radioactive material from a Caspian Sea port in the country's west to a safe storage site in northeastern Kazakhstan. The shipments included enough dangerous nuclear material for nearly 800 nuclear weapons. Years in the planning, the project took a year to move the material by rail and road 1,500 miles across the country. The last of the shipments was delivered Monday.’

Belarus gives up HEU
Belarus agrees to give up its stock of weapons-grade uranium
Glenn Kessler and Mary Beth Sheridan, Washington Post, 2 December 2010
‘In a surprise victory for President Obama's campaign to secure nuclear material worldwide, the government of Belarus announced Wednesday that it will give up its stock of highly enriched uranium, a critical component of nuclear weapons.  The deal was disclosed in a joint statement issued after Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton met with Belarusan Foreign Minister Sergei Martynov on the sidelines of a security summit here. The U.S. government had been trying for years to persuade Belarus to give up its highly enriched uranium and seemed to have hit a roadblock last spring.’

US-Vietnam nuclear deal
Is the Obama administration undermining its own nuclear proliferation policy?
William Tobey, Foreign Policy, 11 August 2010
FP magazine asks why the US-Vietnam deal differs from the US-UAE deal which contained a political commitment not to pursue enrichment and reprocessing. This commitment was moved from the preamble of the agreement (where it had been under the Bush administration’s proposals) to the body of the text thus making it binding, but the proposed US-Vietnam deal is set to omit such a commitment.

US-South Korea nuclear deal
South Korea, U.S. Launch Nuclear Reprocessing Talks
Global Security Newswire, 26 October 2010
‘The United States and South Korea yesterday officially launched negotiations on a new nuclear cooperation treaty which Seoul hopes will finally allow it to reprocess spent nuclear fuel… The two allies' decades-old atomic trade deal is to expire in March 2014. It prohibits South Korea from reprocessing used plutonium or enriching uranium -- two processes that in addition to creating nuclear fuel can be used to produce fissile material for a weapon… South Korea wants the right to use pyroprocessing techniques -- a developmental system that advocates say is more resistant to proliferation as it keeps the plutonium combined with other materials.’

IAEA Nuclear Fuel Bank approved
IAEA Board Approves Nuclear Fuel Bank
NPR/Associated Press, 3 December 2010
‘The 35-nation board of the International Atomic Energy Agency approved an IAEA-run repository for nuclear fuel on Friday, in a move meant to limit proliferation by reducing the incentive for starting domestic uranium enrichment programs. The new fuel bank, and one run by Russia that recently went into operation, are meant to strengthen the rationale for nations to seek fuel from outside sources instead of producing it domestically for civilian nuclear reactors. Kazakhstan is the most likely candidate, but the location of the new facility has not yet been formally decided.’

IAEA approves nuclear fuel assurance
IAEA Board Approves Nuclear Fuel Supply Plan
Global Security Newswire, 10 March 2011
The governing board for the International Atomic Energy Agency on Thursday approved a British proposal intended to further ensure nations' access to nuclear fuel for peaceful purposes… Conception of London's plan dates back to 2006 and had backing from the European Union, Russia and the United States. It is intended to complement the fuel banks, but unlike those projects involves no actual facilities. Instead, the fuel assurance calls for establishing bilateral agreements in which supplier nations would ensure provision of nuclear fuel to IAEA member countries with new or growing nuclear power programs.’

2 i) Iran

December talks: locally-mined uranium announcement
Iran unveils use of locally mined uranium for the first time
Julian Borger, The Guardian, 5 December 2010
‘Iran took a step towards nuclear self-sufficiency today, using locally mined uranium for the first time in an act of defiance to the west on the eve of the resumption of talks over its atomic programme… Today's announcement appeared to a signal that such measures would not stop Iran pursuing its nuclear ambitions. For the time being, however, it is little more than a symbolic step as Iran's ore deposits are mostly low grade and its capacity to produce yellowcake is limited. The timing of the announcement is unlikely to be accidental, observers said, coming the day before Iran's chief nuclear negotiator, Saeed Jalili, is due to meet diplomats from six major powers in Geneva, to resume a dialogue over Iran's ambitions after a break of 14 months.’

December talks: we’ll meet again
Iran nuclear talks end on a vague note
Julian Borger, The guardian, 7 December 2010
‘Iran and six world powers today ended talks on Iran's nuclear programme agreeing to meet again in Istanbul next month, but nothing else was agreed, and the gulf between the two sides was as wide as ever. Even the wording of the agreement to meet in Istanbul was disputed within two hours of the end of the Geneva meeting, underlining the fragility of the dialogue.’

Acknowledge right to enrich
Obama’s Hopeless Iran Strategy
Robert Dreyfuss, The Diplomat, 4 November 2010
‘Unless the United States is willing to acknowledge that Iran, a signatory to the Non-proliferation Treaty, has the right to enrich uranium on its own soil, there’s no chance that the negotiations will work. Years of behind-the-scenes Track II, off-the-record discussions between senior Iranian officials and a number of retired US diplomats of the highest rank have shown that only a win-win outcome can resolve the crisis. The ‘win’ that Iran needs is recognition that it has the right to enrich, while the ‘win’ that the United States, the United Nations and the International Atomic Energy Agency needs is Iran’s agreement to abide by iron-clad oversight of its work by IAEA inspectors under strict, intrusive new protocols.’

Foreign Policy urges negotiators to learn lessons of the past
Want to Defuse the Iran Crisis?
Trita Parsi and Reza Marashi, Foreign Policy, 12 November 2010
This excellent piece of analysis proposes that as talks over the Iranian nuclear programme resume: ‘The Obama administration should carefully study the failed negotiations of October 2009 and adjust its approach to take into account the lessons learned from that round of talks.’ And offers ‘five lessons that diplomats should keep in mind before stepping into the room with Iranian negotiators’, as follows:

  • Don't Let the Fuel-Swap Deal Hold the Negotiation Process Hostage (‘In the future, any potential iteration of the reactor deal should be treated as the tactical confidence-building measure it is, not a strategic sine qua non’)
  • Get by with a Little Help from Your Friends (complement security council process with assistance from other states who can inject much-needed trust into the negotiations)
  • Talk to Everyone in Iran – Directly (establish direct channels to communicating with all of Iran’s key stakeholders and revise the "no contact" policy)
  • Don't Forget Human Rights (‘A healthy, long-term relationship with Iran cannot be built if the current reservoir of American soft power among the Iranian population is squandered for the sake of a nuclear deal’)
  • Play the Long Game (‘The Obama administration must go into the talks focused on the long-term benefits of engaging Iran’)

Series of recommendation from The Bulletin
The Iranian quagmire: How to move forward
The Bulletin, November/December 2010, Volume 66, no. 6
‘In this Global Forum, leading foreign policy experts weigh in from around the world on the options for how to move forward with Iran—from diplomacy to fuel swaps to military strikes. Whatever their proposed solutions, the writers express one common theme: We ignore Iran at our own peril. From the US, Thomas R. Pickering (2010), Lawrence J. Korb (2010), and Bennett Ramberg; from Turkey, Mustafa Kibaroglu (2010) ; from Iran, Kayhan Barzegar (2010); and from Israel, Emily B. Landau (2010).’

Proposal to build TRR replacement
Can the Nuclear Talks With Iran Be Saved?
Olli Heinonen, Foreign Policy, 27 January 2011
A proposal by the former IAEA deputy director general Olli Heinonen to build trust and address the Iranian nuclear impasse in the short-term: ‘The offer to help build a new, more secure research reactor to replace the TRR could revive the fuel swap program, in which Iran would agree to send more of its enriched uranium out of the country to be converted into fuel for the new reactor. The outcome would provide Iran with a solid supply of medical isotopes and a new, up-to-date training facility for its scientists. And it would address proliferation concerns by limiting the increase of stocks of enriched uranium and future production of plutonium.’

Foreign Ministry change signals harder line
Iranian president fires foreign minister
Najmeh Bozorgmehr, Financial Times, 13 December 2010
‘Mahmoud Ahmadi-Nejad has unexpectedly dismissed Iran’s foreign minister [Manouchehr Mottaki] and put the country’s top nuclear official [Ali-Akbar Salehi] in the post, in a sign of the intensifying tensions among fundamentalists in the political establishment… Mr Mottaki, who attended a conference in Bahrain at the weekend at which Hillary Clinton, US secretary of state, participated, is considered a more moderate figure than the president and is known to have difficult relations with Mr Ahmadi-Nejad. His dismissal will, therefore, be seen as another attempt by the president to consolidate his power.’

January 2011 talks: US steps up sanctions
US steps up Iran sanctions ahead of talks
Daniel Dombey, Financial Times, 21 December 2010
‘The US has unveiled new sanctions against Iran, in a move that highlights Washington’s drive to keep pressure on the Islamic Republic ahead of a new round of negotiations with Tehran next month. Tuesday’s announcement by the Treasury department, targeted at Iran’s main shipping line and its Revolutionary Guard Corps, also marks the way US and international sanctions now hit Iran’s overall economy.’

January 2011 talks: Invite-only visit to nuclear sites
Iran invites nations to tour its nuclear sites
Associated Press/, 3 January 2011
‘Iran has invited Russia, China, the EU and its allies in the Arab world and developing world to tour its nuclear sites, in an apparent move to gain support prior to a fresh round of talks with six world powers… In a letter made available yesterday to Associated Press, senior Iranian envoy Ali Asghar Soltanieh suggested the weekend of 15 January for the tour, and said meetings "with high-ranking officials" were envisaged… Dated 27 December, the letter offered no details beyond an all-expenses-paid "visit to Iran's nuclear sites."’

January 2011 talks: Major powers decline visit invitation
Iran Holds Tour of Nuclear Facility for International Envoys
Bloomberg, 16 January 2011
‘Iran allowed a group of international envoys to visit one of its uranium enrichment facilities ahead of a new round of talks on its atomic program. No representatives from the major powers that are negotiating with Iran attended the tour. Envoys from Syria, Algeria, Venezuela, Egypt, Oman and Cuba visited the site with Iran’s ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency, Ali Asghar Soltanieh, according to a report by the official Islamic Republic News Agency. The European Union, Russia and China were invited to take part and declined. EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said Jan. 7 it’s the “role” of the IAEA to inspect nuclear sites in Iran.’

January 2011 talks: no progress
Talks on Iran’s Nuclear Program Close With No Progress
Stephen Erlanger, New York Times, 22 January 2011
‘Two days of talks between Iran and six world powers ended in failure on Saturday, with Iran refusing to engage on any concrete proposals to build confidence that its nuclear program is only for peaceful purposes and with no date set for another meeting… Mr. Jalili [Iran’s Chief Negotiator] consistently demanded that first the six acknowledge Iran’s “right” to enrich uranium for peaceful purposes and lift sanctions — “obstacles” and “measures” in Iranian parlance — imposed by the United Nations before engaging on more detailed proposals.  “We had hoped to have a detailed and constructive discussion of those ideas,” Ms. Ashton said. “But it became clear that the Iranian side was not ready for this unless we agree to preconditions related to enrichment and sanctions. Both these preconditions are not the way to proceed.”’

Iran appoints new nuclear chief
Iran names bomb attack survivor as nuclear chief ‎
Najmeh Bozorgmehr, Financial Times, 13 February 2011
‘Iran has appointed a nuclear scientist who is subject to UN sanctions and survived an attempt on his life as the country’s top nuclear official in a rebuff to international pressure to halt uranium enrichment. Fereydoon Abbasi-Davani, who has links with the elite Revolutionary Guards and the defence ministry, will head Iran’s Atomic Energy Organisation, the main body that handles technical aspects of the nuclear programme. Mr Abbasi, 52, replaces Ali-Akbar Salehi, who recently became foreign minister.’

Additional sanctions: EU
EU Formally Adopts New Sanctions Against Iran
Associated Press, 26 July 2010
‘The European Union on Monday formally adopted a package of new sanctions against Iran, targeting the country's foreign trade, banking and energy sectors. The move, which EU leaders had been agreed to in principle in June, is the latest in a series of measures taken by the international community in an effort to halt Iran's nuclear program.’

Additional sanctions: Japan
US lauds Japan for new Iran sanctions
AFP, 4 September 2010
‘The United States praised Japan Friday for imposing new sanctions on Iran that include an asset freeze and tighter restrictions on financial transactions, part of a global response to Tehran's contested nuclear program… The steps come a month after Tokyo approved punitive measures in line with a June UN Security Council resolution which slapped a fourth set of sanctions on Iran over its refusal to halt uranium enrichment work. Japan's new sanctions include a freeze on the assets of 88 companies, banks, state agencies and other entities and of 24 people linked to Iran's nuclear program, which many nations fear masks a drive for atomic weapons.’

International banks
Banks put on notice over Iran business
Daniel Dombey, Financial Times, 15 August 2010
‘Washington has put international banks on notice that they may be cut off from the US financial system for doing business with Iran, as the Obama administration steps up its sanctions drive. Tough new congressional legislation on banks that do business with blacklisted Iranian institutions took effect on Friday with the publication of US Treasury regulations that spell out the risk of sanctions.’

Oil companies
Energy groups agree to end Iran operations
Daniel Dombey and Jonathan Soble, Financial Times, 30 September 2010
‘The US said it had reached agreement with four oil companies that they exit Iran rather than face sanctions, while Japan said a state-owned oil group would end its involvement in a huge Iranian oilfield. James Steinberg, deputy secretary of state, said Statoil, Eni, Royal Dutch Shell, and Total had agreed with the US to end their investments in Iran, following the entry into force of new US unilateral sanctions legislation.’

Unilateral European sanctions
Cameron calls for ‘coalition of willing’ on Iran
Alex Barker, Financial Times, 23 February 2011
‘Britain is calling for a coalition of willing European Union nations to impose fresh sanctions on the “pariah state” of Iran, amid fears that it will no longer be possible to get consensus across all 27 EU states to implement tougher measures as a bloc…. Britain has in the past worked with the EU to impose sanctions as a bloc. It has also acted alone to impose curbs on banks working with or linked to Iran. But it has never before backed the idea of a breakaway group of like-minded European nations joining forces to take action outside the EU mainstream.’

US concerns over Chinese adherence to sanctions
U.S. Concerned Chinese Companies May Be Aiding Iran Nuclear Weapon Effort
Bloomberg, 10 March 2011
‘The U.S. government is concerned Iran may be working with Chinese companies to obtain sensitive technology that may be useful for developing a nuclear weapons capability, Robert Einhorn, the State Department’s special adviser for nonproliferation and arms control, said yesterday… Einhorn’s comments are the latest reflection of unease among U.S. officials and proliferation experts that China remains a gap in enforcing United Nations sanctions on Iran, which the government in Beijing supported last year. “Implementation is not uniform,” said Einhorn, speaking at an event sponsored by the nonprofit Arms Control Association at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington.'

Sanctions aid diplomacy
Iran sanctions buy time for diplomacy
Daniel Dombey, Financial Times, 20 September 2010
‘Tough economic sanctions imposed on Iran by countries across the world have won time and leverage for diplomatic efforts to address Tehran’s nuclear ambitions, the US administration believes… Stuart Levey, the Treasury under-secretary who has helped lead the drive for more sanctions, said that Iran’s leadership had been “caught off guard by the speed, intensity and scope of the measures”. He added that the US sanctions strategy was “creating crucial leverage” for diplomacy “by dramatically isolating Iran financially and commercially”.’

Sanctions strengthen regime
Iran sanctions strengthen Ahmadinejad regime – Karroubi
Saeed Kamali Dehghan, The Guardian, 11 August 2010
‘Punitive international sanctions imposed on Iran have strengthened Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's government and assisted its post-election crackdown on the opposition Green movement, the leading reformist politician and former presidential candidate Mehdi Karroubi has told the Guardian.’

Sanctions cause rifts
Sanctions split Iranian leaders, Gates says
Glenn Kessler, Washington Post, 17 November 2010
‘Sanctions "have really bitten much harder than [Iranian leaders] anticipated," Gates told the Wall Street Journal CEO Council in Washington, citing indications that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is in trouble with the country's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei… [Defense Secretary Robert M.] Gates argued Tuesday that military strikes are just a "short-term solution" that would only make Iran's nuclear program "deeper and more covert." He said they would also unify the Iranian people around an increasingly unpopular government and would "bring together a divided nation; it will make them absolutely committed to obtaining nuclear weapons." "The only long-term solution to avoiding an Iranian nuclear-weapons capability is for the Iranians to decide it's not in their interest," Gates said. "Everything else is a short-term solution - is a two- to three-year solution."

Latest US intelligence report finds Iranian debate over bomb
U.S. report finds debate in Iran on building nuclear bomb
Greg Miller and Joby Warrick, Washington Post, 19 February 2011
‘A comprehensive new U.S. intelligence report concludes that Iran has resumed research on key components for a nuclear weapon, but that the slow and scattered nature of the effort reflects renewed debate within the government over whether to build a bomb, U.S. officials said. The finding represents a significant, if subtle, shift from the main conclusion of a controversial 2007 estimate that Iran had halted its weaponization work. In finding that Iran has again begun taking steps toward designing a nuclear warhead, the new estimate is likely to be seen as erasing doubt that the earlier document created about Iran's intent.’

Sanctions pinching but will not produce change
Sanctions hurt Iran, but compromise unlikely: report
Reuters, Jon Hemming, 17 January 2011
‘President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's management of Iran's economy has been a "disaster" and sanctions are making matters worse, a report said on Monday, but Tehran is still unlikely to compromise on its nuclear program… "The reality is that even if the economy is hurting, it has a very small place in the calculus of Khamenei and Ahmadinejad. Unless the severity of the sanctions dramatically escalates, it is unlikely that Iranian leaders will see the sanctions as a domestic threat to their survival in power,"… "Enormous pressure is required to lead them to compromise on the nuclear program."’ (Jonathan Paris said in a report for the Legatum Institute, a London-based think-tank backed by the Legatum investment group).

Russia will not support future sanctions
Russia can no longer support future sanctions against Iran - Lavrov (Update 1)
Ria Novosti, 15 March 2011
‘"With the approval of Resolution 1929 in [June] last year, practical possibilities to impose sanctions on those related - even indirectly - to the Iranian nuclear program have been exhausted," Lavrov said at a news conference with his British counterpart William Hague… "Further sanctions would mean the suppression of the Iranian economy and creation of social problems for the population," Lavrov said. "We cannot support this."’

Stuxnet virus hits uranium enrichment
Iran admits virus hit uranium enrichment
Najmeh Bozorgmehr and Daniel Dombey, Financial Times, 29 November 2010
‘Mahmoud Ahmadi-Nejad, president, has acknowledged that Iran’s push to enrich uranium has been hit by a computer virus, on the day that a scientist linked to Tehran’s nuclear programme was killed in a bomb attack… “They succeeded in creating problems for a limited number of our centrifuges with the software they had installed in electronic parts,” Mr Ahmadi-Nejad said. “But the problem has been resolved.”

Israel & US behind Stuxnet
Israeli Test on Worm Called Crucial in Iran Nuclear Delay
William J. Broad, John Markoff & David E. Sanger, New York Times, 15 January 2011
‘Though American and Israeli officials refuse to talk publicly about what goes on at Dimona, the operations there, as well as related efforts in the United States, are among the newest and strongest clues suggesting that the virus was designed as an American-Israeli project to sabotage the Iranian program.’

Sanctions and Stuxnet put military attack on back burner
Analysis: Risk of strike on Iran over nuclear plans recedes
Fredrik Dahl, Reuters, 11 January 2011
‘Sanctions and possible sabotage may be slowing Iran's nuclear drive, reducing the risk that Israel might resort to military strikes against the Islamic Republic's atomic sites any time soon… Oliver Thraenert, senior fellow at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs, said: "I do believe people are a bit more relaxed now ... the technical problems the Iranians have are much more severe than expected."’

December 2010 ISIS report identifies Stuxnet as cause of setbacks
Did Stuxnet Take Out 1,000 Centrifuges at the Natanz Enrichment Plant? Preliminary Assessment
David Albright, Paul Brannan & Christina Walrond, ISIS, 22 December 2010
‘If its goal was to quickly destroy all the centrifuges in the FEP, Stuxnet failed.  But if the goal was to destroy a more limited number of centrifuges and set back Iran’s progress in operating the FEP, while making detection difficult, it may have succeeded, at least temporarily.’

February 2011 ISIS report says Stuxnet caused only limited damage
Stuxnet rattled Iran but atom work goes on: report
Reuters, 16 February 2011
‘The Stuxnet computer worm caused relatively limited damage to Iran's nuclear program and failed to stop the Islamic republic stockpiling enriched uranium, a U.S.-based think-tank said in a report. Stuxnet is believed to have knocked out in late 2009 or early 2010 about 1,000 centrifuges -- machines used to refine uranium -- out of the 9,000 used at Iran's Natanz enrichment plant, the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) said.’

The mystery of the missing scientist
Missing Iranian nuclear scientist turns up in US
Saeed Shah, The Guardian, 13 July 2010
‘A missing Iranian nuclear scientist has taken refuge in the Pakistani embassy in Washington following claims that he had been kidnapped by the CIA. Iran accused Saudi Arabia of handing over Shahram Amiri to the US after he went missing during a pilgrimage to Mecca a year ago.’

Attacks on Iranian scientists
Attack on Iranian nuclear scientists prompts hit squad claims
Julian Borger and Saeed Kamali Dehghan,The Guardian, 29 November 2010
‘Tehran today accused the west and Israel of dispatching a hit squad against its atomic programme, after an Iranian nuclear scientist was killed and another injured in co-ordinated attacks… One bomb killed Majid Shahriar, of the nuclear engineering faculty at the Shahid Beheshti University in Tehran… The second bomb injured Fereidoun Abbasi, 52, a nuclear physicist and professor at Shahid Besheshti… Both men were senior figures in nuclear research.’

Déjà vu: Blair & military action
Tony Blair: West should use force if Iran 'continues to develop nuclear weapons'
Mark Tran, The Guardian, 1 September 2010
‘Speaking to Andrew Marr in a BBC interview to be broadcast tonight, Blair says: "I am saying that I think it is wholly unacceptable for Iran to have a nuclear weapons capability and I think we have got to be prepared to confront them, if necessary militarily. I think there is no alternative to that if they continue to develop nuclear weapons. They need to get that message loud and clear."’

Jeffrey Goldberg on the likelihood of Israeli military action
The Point of No Return
Jeffrey Goldberg, The Atlantic magazine, September 2010
In this lengthy piece, Jeffrey Goldberg, perhaps best well known for his 2002 New Yorker article asserting that 'the relationship between Saddam's regime and Al-Qaeda is far closer than previously thought', reflects on interviews he has conducted with 40 current and past Israeli decision makers about a military strike to which he posed the question: “what is the percentage chance that Israel will attack the Iranian nuclear program in the near future? Not everyone would answer this question, but a consensus emerged that there is a better than 50 percent chance that Israel will launch a strike by next July.”

US resists Israeli overtures
US resists Israel call for tough line on Iran
Daniel Dombey and Tobias Buck, Financial Times, 8 November 2010
‘Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister, told Joe Biden, US vice-president, at a weekend meeting in New Orleans that Washington should use tougher language and set out a clearer timeline in the dispute. In particular, he argued that only a “credible military threat” would convince Tehran to change course… But, asked about Mr Netanyahu’s position, Robert Gates, US defence secretary, set out US resistance to the Israeli arguments. “I disagree that only a credible military threat can get Iran to take the actions that it needs to, to end its nuclear weapons programme,” he said on Monday at a ministerial meeting in Australia. “We are prepared to do what is necessary, but at this point, we continue to believe that the political, economic approach that we are taking is, in fact, having an impact in Iran.”’

Military strikes a short-term solution
Sanctions split Iranian leaders, Gates says
Glenn Kessler, Washington Post, 17 November 2010
‘[Defense Secretary Robert M.] Gates argued Tuesday that military strikes are just a "short-term solution" that would only make Iran's nuclear program "deeper and more covert." He said they would also unify the Iranian people around an increasingly unpopular government and would "bring together a divided nation; it will make them absolutely committed to obtaining nuclear weapons." "The only long-term solution to avoiding an Iranian nuclear-weapons capability is for the Iranians to decide it's not in their interest," Gates said. "Everything else is a short-term solution - is a two- to three-year solution."

ORG report ‘Military Action Against Iran: Impact and Effects’
Israeli attack on Iran would start long war--report
Reuters, 15 July 2010
‘An Israeli attack on Iranian nuclear facilities would start a long war and probably not prevent Iran from eventually acquiring nuclear weapons, a think-tank said on Thursday… "An Israeli attack on Iran would be the start of a protracted conflict that would be unlikely to prevent the eventual acquisition of nuclear weapons by Iran and might even encourage it," it said in a report [by the Oxford Research Group].’

Mossad’s outgoing chef says sanctions have stalled programme
Sanctions Slow Iran's Warhead Capability
Jay Soloman and Charles Levinson, Wall Street Journal, 8 January 2011
‘Israel's outgoing intelligence chief said Iran won't be able to build a nuclear weapon until 2015, reflecting a growing consensus among the U.S. and its allies that Tehran's suspected effort to obtain a warhead has been significantly slowed.’

Israel’s new Chief of Military Intelligence says sanctions have not stalled programme
Israel's new top spy: Iran bomb possible in 2 years
Dan Williams, Reuters, 25 January 2011
‘Sanctions have not held up Iran's nuclear program and it could produce bombs within two years, Israel's new top spy said on Tuesday, staking out a conservative timeline in the face of rosier U.S. assessments. The remarks by Major-General Aviv Kochavi, chief of military intelligence, also appeared aimed at asserting authority over the rival Israeli espionage agency Mossad, whose departing chief said this month Iran might not have nuclear arms before 2015.’

FAS: Iran continues of nuclear drive
Report: Iran's nuclear capacity unharmed, contrary to U.S. assessment
Haaretz/Reuters, 22 January 2011
‘Calculations based on IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) data show that Iran has increased its enrichment performance over the past year," said Ivanka Barzashka, an FAS [Federation of American Scientists] research associate. "Contrary to statements by U.S. officials and many experts, Iran clearly does not appear to be slowing down its nuclear drive."’

IISS: 2 years from one Iranian bomb
Iran "more than two years away from a nuclear weapon"
Julian Borger’s blog,, 4 February 2011
‘The International Institute for Strategic Studies has just brought out what it calls its "net assessment" of "Iran's Nuclear, Chemical and Biological Capabilities" - a sober and informed guess on what Tehran's WMD capability might be…. Using the enrichment capacity Iran now has at Natanz, and assuming the main enrichment plant there was reconfigured to turn low enriched uranium (LEU) into weapons-grade highly enriched uranium (HEU), the report's editor, Mark Fitzpatrick, judges it would take a little over a year and seven months to make enough HEU for an initial bomb. Six more months would be needed to turn that HEU into metal and fashion it into a weapon. So, two years one month, if the centrifuges all worked as they are supposed to (quite a big if).’

Cameron rebukes Fox Iran comments
David Cameron rebukes Liam Fox over 'bigging up' of Iran's nuclear ambitions
James Kirkup, The Telegraph, 28 February 2011
‘David Cameron, the Prime Minister, and William Hague, the Foreign Secretary, are understood to be unhappy about the Defence Secretary’s hawkish statements on Tehran’s nuclear ambitions. Sources said Mr Cameron was worried that high-profile warnings about the Iranian nuclear programme could strengthen the domestic position of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s regime by lending it credibility. Mr Cameron is understood to have asked officials to create a new strategy for statements on Iran, which will be seen as a rebuke to Dr Fox, the Government’s most vocal critic of the country.’

Fox claims Iran could have bomb by 2012
Iran could have nuclear weapon by 2012 – Britain
Reuters, 31 January 2011
‘Western powers should work on the assumption that Iran could have a nuclear weapon by next year and an Israeli intelligence assessment of 2015 could be over-optimistic, British Defence Secretary Liam Fox said on Monday… But Fox, answering questions in parliament, said Dagan was "wrong to insinuate that we should always look at the more optimistic end of the spectrum" of estimates of Iran's nuclear capability.’

September 2010 IAEA report
Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement and relevant provisions of Security Council resolutions in the Islamic Republic of Iran
IAEA Board of Governors, 6 September 2010

Stockpile of low-enriched uranium increases
Iran increases nuclear stockpile
James Blitz, Financial Times, 6 September 2010
Iran has increased its total stockpile of low-enriched uranium by 15 per cent, in spite of the pressure on the country exerted by economic sanctions … the IAEA said the country had produced 2,803kg of uranium enriched to the purity needed to run a nuclear power station… But Iran also appears to be having some technical difficulties with its enrichment programme. The IAEA report showed that the number of operational centrifuges at the plant at Natanz had again declined from 3,936 in May this year to 3,772 last month… Of the 8,856 centrifuges installed at Natanz, only 43 per cent are operational.’

Hampering IAEA inspections
Iran accused by UN watchdog of hampering nuclear inspections
Julian Borger, The Guardian, 7 September 2010
The Guardian reports on the IAEA’s quarterly report on Iran's nuclear programme ‘The United Nations' nuclear watchdog today accused Iran of hampering inspections of the country's nuclear programme, banning some inspectors and breaking UN seals on its uranium stockpile… the International Atomic Energy Agency repeatedly complained of Iran's failure to respond to its inspectors' requests for information about its plans and activities. In particular, the report said that Tehran's repeated objections to the accreditation of UN inspectors "hampers the inspection process and detracts from the agency's ability" to monitor Iran's nuclear work’

November 2010 IAEA report
Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement and relevant provisions of Security Council resolutions in the Islamic Republic of Iran
IAEA Board of Governors, 23 November 2010

November 2010 IAEA report reveals temporary halt
UN reveals halt in Iran’s uranium enrichment
James Blitz, Financial Times, 23 November 2010
‘…in a surprise revelation, the IAEA stated that Tehran temporarily stopped low level uranium enrichment in the middle of November, with no reason being given for the halt. The report stated that on November 5, more than 8,000 centrifuges in 29 cascades at Iran’s nuclear plant at Natanz were in operation. But it goes on to say that 11 days later, on November 16, no cascades were in operation. Iran has faced numerous technical problems with its programme in recent years because of the poor quality of equipment that it is using. But the scale of this shutdown suggests Iran’s nuclear programme could have fallen victim to sabotage by intelligence agencies. There have been renewed claims in recent days that the Stuxnet worm, a complex piece of software used for possible cyberwarfare, may have been launched by one or more western governments with the aim of damaging the Iranians’ enrichment programme.’

Ahmedinejad at the 2010 UN General Assembly
Ahmadinejad in New York: it could have been worse
Julian Borger’s Blog,, 26 September 2010
Borger’s blog reflects on Ahmadinejad’s ‘bizarre rhetoric ‘ at the UN GA but says ‘neither side has given up on talks… Away from the spotlight and the supercharged rhetoric, work continued in New York to try to pin down a date from the next round of talks, aimed at resuming bargaining over the Tehran reactor deal as a possible overture to wider discussions. Ahmadinejad said he hoped that the talks would begin in October, but there has been no word so far from the Iranian negotiating team on an exact date.’ Noting the fact that Ahmadinejad ‘is currently in the throes of a power struggle at home’ he concludes: ‘Doing business with a government at war with itself is frustrating, but that are no attractive options, and no one at this stage is ready to give up all hope.’

Iran denies lack of cooperation
Iran Rejects Accusations Regarding Nuclear Inspections
New York Times, 8 November 2010
‘The director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Yukiya Amano, told the General Assembly that the Islamic republic had failed to provide the required cooperation to confirm that all the country’s nuclear material was for peaceful purposes. Iran’s deputy permanent representative, Eshagh al-Habib, protested those statements as “incorrect and misleading,” accusing the agency indirectly of caving in to Western pressure to find fault with Iran.’

US estimates enough uranium for bomb
Iran Continues its `Drive to Enrich Uranium,' Defense Agency's Chief Says
Bloomberg, 10 March 2011
‘Iran has produced “more than enough” low-enriched uranium for a nuclear weapon if it were to further enrich and process the material for bomb use, according to the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency… “Iran has installed nearly 9,000 centrifuges at Natanz and accumulated more than enough” 3.5 percent enriched uranium for a nuclear weapon, if it further enriches and processes the material to higher levels, Burgess says.’

February 2011 IAEA report
Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement and relevant provisions of Security Council resolutions in the Islamic Republic of Iran
IAEA Board of Governors, 25 February 2011

Iran exploring ways to militarise nuclear programme
Signs Iran Exploring Nuclear Weapons, Watchdog Says
Jay Solomon, Wall Street Journal, 26 February 2011
‘The United Nations' nuclear watchdog said it has uncovered new information indicating that Iran is exploring ways to militarize its nuclear program, including ways to affix atomic weapons onto long-range missiles. The quarterly report released by the International Atomic Energy Agency, and reviewed by the Wall Street Journal, also said Tehran continues to expand its production of nuclear fuel… The IAEA presented Iran in 2008 with intelligence it had obtained—both from Western intelligence officials and independently—that indicated Iran had been exploring ways to affix nuclear weapons to its long-range Shahab missiles. Iran rejected the IAEA's information as fabricated. But the IAEA said in its quarterly report that new information has been obtained that increased the concerns that Iran was exploring ways to militarize its nuclear program.’

Der Spiegel interview with IAEA Head
'We Still Know Too Little about Tehran's Nuclear Activities'
Der Spiegel, 11 January 2011
‘We deplore the fact that Iran does not inform us in a timely manner… We still lack comprehensive information about these plants, which we need if we are to develop trust…. We have to approach each other to bridge the credibility gap. Iran now has more than 3,103 kilograms of low-enriched uranium, and 33 kilograms of highly-enriched uranium.’

IAEA Head calls on Iran to cooperate
IAEA Chief Presses Iran, Syria to Come Clean on Nuclear Activities
Global Security Newswire, 7 March 2011
‘The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency on Monday called on Iran and Syria to cooperate more fully with efforts to ensure the nations' nuclear programs are not intended to produce weapons… "Iran is not providing the necessary cooperation to enable the agency to provide credible assurance about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran, and therefore to conclude that all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities," Amano told the board, which is scheduled to meet through Friday. "I request Iran to take steps towards the full implementation of its safeguards agreement and its other obligations."’

2 ii) North Korea

South demands apology
Seoul wants apology before nuclear talks resume
AFP, 20 August 2010
‘South Korea said Friday it wanted Pyongyang to apologise for the sinking of one of its warships before it could consider a resumption of North Korea nuclear disarmament talks. The comments followed a visit by a top Chinese envoy to Pyongyang this week to discuss the disarmament process, which has been stalled since communist North Korea stormed out in April last year.’

US sanctions drive
US steps up North Korea sanctions
Daniel Dombey, Financial Times, 30 August 2010
‘The US on Monday announced some of its toughest sanctions against North Korea, targeting Pyongyang’s alleged drug trafficking, counterfeiting and military activities, as well as “slush funds” used by the country’s elite… It comes as Washington seeks to step up the pressure on Pyongyang over the sinking of a South Korean ship this year and North Korea’s nuclear weapons programme.’

Jimmy Carter urges resumption of talks
North Korea Wants to Make a Deal
Jimmy Carter, New York Times, 15 September 2010
‘DURING my recent travels to North Korea and China, I received clear, strong signals that Pyongyang wants to restart negotiations on a comprehensive peace treaty with the United States and South Korea and on the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula… A settlement on the Korean Peninsula is crucial to peace and stability in Asia, and it is long overdue. These positive messages from North Korea should be pursued aggressively and without delay, with each step in the process carefully and thoroughly confirmed.’

North Korea indicates willingness to resume talks
DPRK top leader Kim Jong Il hopes for early resumption of six-party talks, 30 August 2010
‘Top leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) Kim Jong Il has said he hoped for an early resumption of the six-party talks to ease tension on the Korean Peninsula. Kim expressed the hope during talks with Chinese President Hu Jintao Friday in Changchun, capital of northeast China's Jilin Province.’

US wants to see action from North Korea first
U.S. Wants to See Action From N. Korea to Restart Nuclear Talks
Bloomberg, 16 September 2010
‘The United States wants to see action from North Korea if multinational talks on nuclear disarmament are to restart, State Department Special Envoy on North Korea Stephen Bosworth said. While the U.S. and China are “convinced of the need to resume diplomatic activities” with North Korea, “the burden is clearly on the DPRK” to take actions needed to meet conditions for getting talks started again, Bosworth told reporters in Beijing today after meeting with Chinese officials.’

Mood improves
South Korea sends aid to North as mood improves
Reuters Africa, 25 October 2010
‘South Korea sent its first shipment of rice aid to rival North Korea in more than two years on Monday and said it would consider holding monthly talks with Pyongyang if it was committed to denuclearisation… Tension has started to thaw in the last two months with the South sending food aid and construction materials to its impoverished neighbour. The two states have also held military-level talks and agreed to restart family reunions.’

South Korea open to talks even if apology is not forthcoming
S. Korea Looks for Sincere Gesture from North
Voice of America, 1 November 2010
‘South Korea is no longer adamant that North Korea must apologize for the sinking of a naval vessel before talks on ending its nuclear weapons programs can resume, a senior South Korean official said. Since the sinking of the Cheonan in March, Seoul has repeatedly insisted that Pyongyang first apologize before the six-nation talks can restart. But on Monday, the official told foreign correspondents in Seoul. “We do not directly link [an apology] to the six-party talks” but such a gesture would have an influence on whether they do restart. The official spoke on condition his name not be released.’

US softens stance
Obama Speech Marks Shift on North Korea
Martin Fackler, New York Times, 11 November 2010
‘President Obama said Thursday that the United States would be willing to restart stalled disarmament talks with North Korea if that country showed a “seriousness of purpose,” in what analysts called a slight softening of the stance by Washington and its allies.’

North Korea attacks South Korean island
Ignore us at your peril
The Economist, 25 November 2010
This article reflects on the possible reasons for the latest actions by the North Koreans: ‘The first is that the regime is reverting to familiar gangland tactics to bully its way back to international negotiations under the framework of the stalled six-party talks, chaired by China and including America, Japan and Russia… The second scenario is that North Korea wants to show its own citizens that the leader-in-waiting is at least as tough as his father, Kim Jong Il.’ And also considers the position of the country’s key ally, China: ‘This leaves China alone in a position to break the stalemate, by applying pressure to its unruly ally. But China’s foreign minister has abruptly cancelled a scheduled visit to Seoul, without giving a reason. China’s public reaction, as after the Cheonan’s sinking, was to urge calm and condemn no one. And when China is a milquetoast, it only emboldens the Kim family—making life worse for everyone else.’

North Korea's leader-in-waiting goes on show
Jeremy Laurence, Reuters, 30 September 2010
‘A photograph of a plump, poker-faced young man seated near North Korea's ailing ruler confirmed the rise of Kim Jong-il's youngest son as the leader-in-waiting of the secretive state. Kim Jong-un was this week appointed to senior political and military posts in the isolated state, whose aspirations to be a nuclear weapons power has worried the outside world for years.’

South Korea hardens stance
South Korean president takes responsibility for failing to protect country, signals hardened military stance toward North
Keith B. Richburg, Washington Post, 29 November 2010
‘South Korea will abandon its long-standing policy of not responding militarily to the North's hostile acts, President Lee Myung-bak said, following the artillery bombardment of a South Korean island last week that killed four people, two of them civilians… The United States and South Korea on Sunday began a four-day joint military exercise with participation by the nuclear-powered USS George Washington.’

Return of US nuclear weapons posited
Seoul considers return of US nuclear arms
Christian Oliver and Daniel Dombey, Financial Times, 22 November 2010
‘South Korea’s defence minister has broken a taboo by suggesting that the country might once again host US nuclear weapons. Kim Tae-young told a parliamentary committee that Seoul would consider asking the US to redeploy tactical nuclear weapons, which were withdrawn from the country in 1991. When asked by a legislator whether the weapons should be brought back, Mr Kim said: “I will review what you said in consultation with members of the Extended Deterrence Policy Committee” – a joint US-South Korean body.’

Confirmation of North Korean uranium enrichment
N Korea reveals new uranium facility
Daniel Dombey, Financial Times, 21 November 2010
'The US has reacted with alarm to a report that North Korea has built a new uranium enrichment facility producing material that can be used for making nuclear weapons. The State Department said on Saturday night that Stephen Bosworth, US special envoy for North Korea, was on his way to Seoul, Tokyo and Beijing in the wake of allegations that Pyongyang had built a facility with thousands of centrifuges to enrich uranium.'

Sending signals
North Korea's uranium plant sends a chilling message to Washington
Julian Borger, The Guardian, 23 November 2010
‘North Korea does not as a rule give American academics tours of its most sensitive nuclear sites. Siegried Hecker was shown around Yongbyon not out of a sudden spirit of scientific openness, but to send a message to Washington. That message said: not only are we enriching uranium, we are already very good at it. Hecker, who used to run the US nuclear weapons laboratories at Los Alamos, was whisked around the new enrichment facility with his mouth agape. The place was much bigger than he imagined and much more modern. It means that efforts to cut North Korea off from nuclear technology are failing miserably. The policy of imposing sanctions and refusing to resume talks with Pyongyang until it ceases the most provocative elements of that programme (and apologises for sinking a South Korean battleship this year), is not working.’

Concerns remain
IAEA chief notes "serious concern" about NKorea
Associated Press, 20 September 2010
‘Yukiya Amano [speaking on the opening day of the 2010 IAEA General Conference] says the country has not allowed the Vienna-based watchdog to implement safeguards in the country since December 2002 and he is urging all parties to "make concerted efforts for a resumption of the six-party talks at an appropriate time."’

Building resumes
North Korea 'resumes building at nuclear reactor site'
The Telegraph, 1 October 2010
‘New construction is under way at North Korea's main nuclear reactor, near the site of a cooling tower destroyed in 2008, a private US research institute has said, citing a satellite photo... ISIS said there appeared to be the ongoing construction of two small buildings next to the site of the cooling tower at Yongbyon – which North Korea blew up in June 2008 in front of foreign media to dramatise its commitment to nuclear disarmament… The new activity appears more extensive than would be expected for rebuilding the cooling tower, but its actual purpose cannot be determined from the image and bears watching, ISIS said.’

Talk of a third nuclear test
Activity detected at N. Korea nuclear test site: report
Reuters, 21 October 2010
‘A U.S. satellite has detected increased activity at a North Korean nuclear weapons test site, suggesting it could be preparing for a third test, a South Korean government source was quoted as saying on Thursday. The report comes after satellite images taken last month also showed heightened activity at the North's main Yongbyon nuclear complex, indicating Pyongyang was pushing ahead with its nuclear plans in defiance of international pressure.’

Enrichment revelations lead to questions
North Korea Nuclear Fears Grow
Jay Soloman and Adam Entous, Wall Street Journal, 21 November 2010
‘President Barack Obama and senior U.S. diplomats have in recent months privately shared with their Chinese and Russian counterparts growing U.S. concerns that North Korea was taking steps to enrich uranium and that the effort, unless stopped, would have serious national-security implications, according to people familiar with the matter… But the revelation on Saturday that Pyongyang had already installed thousands of centrifuges to produce nuclear fuel at its Yongbyon nuclear facility is raising questions inside Washington's nuclear-nonproliferation community about why more wasn't done by a succession of U.S. administrations to block the North's atomic advances.’

US envoy casts doubt on building work
No signs of N.Korea nuclear processing: US envoy
AFP, 6 November 2010
‘There are no signs North Korea has resumed nuclear activity at the site where it previously produced weapons-grade plutonium… Charles Pritchard, former top negotiator with North Korea, was quoted as saying on Saturday that the Yongbyon complex -- where the isolated state processed plutonium for past nuclear tests -- did not appear to be in operation. "My reaction is that the reactor, the 5-megawatt reactor, remains shut down, the cooling tower is still destroyed," Pritchard told reporters after a five-day trip to North Korea, Japan's Kyodo news agency reported. "So at this point, I don't believe there is any additional reprocessing or anything going on" at the reactor’.

US says more sites likely
N Korea hiding more sites, says US
Daniel Dombey, Financial Times, 14 December 2010
‘US and South Korean officials say North Korea has more secret nuclear sites in addition to a uranium enrichment plant that Pyong­yang disclosed last month. The remarks highlight the possibility that North Korea’s effort at enrichment, which can yield both nuclear fuel and weapons-grade material, is more extensive and dates back further than had been thought, even after taking into account last month’s announcement of a new site.’

US asks China to rein in North Korea
US asks China to curb nuclear plans of North Korea
Daniel Dombey, Financial Times, 21 November 2010
‘The US has urged China to help rein in North Korea’s nuclear programme after reports that Pyongyang has built an extensive uranium enrichment facility which could add to the country’s stock of atomic weapons material…  “One hopes this plant is a wake-up call to China that their lack of scrutiny of what North Korea is doing inside their country and their lack of attention to export controls and sanctions really have consequences,” said David Albright, president of the Institute for Science and International Security in Washington DC. Mr Albright added that the biggest worry was that North Korea would try to sell enrichment technology abroad, particularly since Pyongyang has an extensive history in the nuclear black market.’

US claims North can deliver nuclear warheads
North Korean Nukes Might Fit on Missiles, Aircraft: U.S.
Global Security Newswire, 11 March 2011
‘North Korea could now possess nuclear warheads compact enough to be fitted to missiles and carried by bomber planes, U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency Director Lt. Gen. Ronald Burgess said on Thursday… "The North may now have several plutonium-based nuclear warheads that it can deliver by ballistic missiles and aircraft as well as by conventional means," Burgess was quoted by the Yonhap News Agency as saying.’

US dismisses redeployment of nuclear weapons
Pentagon Calls Talk of Deploying Nukes to South Korea "Premature"
Global Security Newswire, 23 November 2010
‘The U.S. Defense Department yesterday said it was too early to discuss redeploying tactical nuclear arms to South Korea amid rapidly escalating tensions on the Korean Peninsula, Agence France-Presse reported. A Pentagon spokesman was responding to South Korean Defense Minister Kim Tae-young's suggestion that Seoul might seek the redeployment of U.S. nuclear weapons on its territory. The Defense Ministry subsequently explained Kim's remarks as meaning that "all possible options could be reviewed… He would not say whether redeploying tactical weapons to the South was one of the measures being studied. The United States is thought to have withdrawn its nuclear weapons from South Korea in 1991.’

US reiterates no nuclear redeployment
US rules out nuclear redeployment in S Korea
Daniel Dombey and Christian Oliver, Financial Times, 1 March 2011
‘The US says there is no reason to redeploy nuclear weapons in South Korea in spite of a report in a Seoul newspaper that Gary Samore, the top White House adviser on nuclear proliferation, suggested Washington could favour such a request from Seoul. The White House said: “Tactical nuclear weapons are unnecessary for the defence of South Korea and we have no plan or intention to return them. “Our policy remains in support of a non-nuclear Korean peninsula. There is no plan to change that policy.”’

UN panel sanctions report raises proliferation concerns
North Korea Exports $100 Million of Arms Each Year in Breach of Sanctions
Bloomberg, 10 November 2010
Bloomberg reports on the findings of a panel ‘charged by the UN Security Council with monitoring the enforcement of sanctions intended to block North Korea’s development of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles’: ‘The 75-page report, released today, also cited evidence compiled by the International Atomic Energy Agency, governments and news reports that North Korea is involved in “nuclear and ballistic missile related activities in certain other countries including Iran, Syria and Myanmar.” The panel concluded that although there are gaps in enforcement, UN sanctions are “having the intended impact” and have “significantly constrained” North Korea’s arms sales.’

The Bulletin urges redefinition of denuclearising North Korea
Redefining denuclearization in North Korea
Siegfried S. Hecker, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, 20 December 2010
‘The extent and sophistication of North Korea's centrifuge program demonstrates how poorly export controls limit a determined proliferator. Its current cooperation with the likes of Iran and Burma raise the specter of Pyongyang operating an A.Q. Khan-style import-export proliferation network. Pyongyang would greatly increase the current nuclear threat if it expands HEU production at undisclosed sites, increases the size of its nuclear arsenal substantially, or conducts more tests to enhance its sophistication. Not only must the international community work to limit Pyongyang's nuclear buildup, but the United States must conduct a thorough review of its policies on Northeast Asia security.’

North Korean nuclear scientist sent to concentration camp
Nuclear weapons expert, arrested as a spy, sent to notorious N Korean concentration camp
The Australian, 14 November 2010
‘A top North Korean nuclear weapons scientist has been arrested for spying and sent to a concentration camp with his entire family, according to intelligence leaks in Seoul. “Kim is accused of assisting his father, Kim Song-il, a researcher at the Yongbyon nuclear complex, in delivering top secret documents on nuclear development to a foreign agency,” the source was quoted as saying by the Chosun Ilbo, a South Korean newspaper with strong intelligence contacts. The arrest of the scientist by the State Security Department in May came just as experts were completing a UN report that ties the North Korean regime to sales of nuclear technology and ballistic missiles to Iran, Syria and Burma. There is speculation among diplomats that the scientist has been blamed for disclosures to the expert team, including specialists from Britain and America, who drew up the 75-page report.’

Policy failure, not intelligence failure
Why We're Always Fooled by North Korea
Michael J. Green and William Tobey, Wall Street Journal, 24 November 2010
‘This nuclear revelation is not an intelligence failure. Over the past decade, intelligence analysts have consistently predicted North Korea's path to nuclear weapons and noted the increasing evidence of its missile and nuclear proliferation. The failure has been that of policy makers and pundits who denigrated the analysis, ignored it, or clung to the fallacy that North Korea would abide by a denuclearization deal.’

Time for ‘active American diplomacy’
Time to Get Serious About North Korea
Joel Wit, Foreign Policy, 13 December 2010
‘Obama's policy of ignoring Pyongyang is a proven failure. It's time to try a different strategy… Based on our recent discussions with senior North Korean officials in Pyongyang, more active American diplomacy could prove effective in starting to secure U.S. interests. Pyongyang will have its own reasons for responding to American diplomacy, including discomfort with China's close embrace. U.S. diplomats shouldn't hesitate to take advantage of this geopolitical reality, particularly since a more active American effort, which China will have no choice but to support, can also help push Beijing out of the role of central actor into a supporting role in this unfolding drama.’

China tells North Korea to admit IAEA inspectors
China calls on N Korea to admit inspectors
Kathrin Hille, Financial Times, 21 December 2010
‘In a rare appeal China has called on North Korea to allow international inspections of its nuclear facilities amid signs that recent tension on the Korean peninsula might be easing. Beijing, Pyongyang’s only ally, has refused to criticise it publicly despite coming under intense pressure since a North Korean attack on the South Korean island of Yeonpyeong in November… “We support North Korea to make peaceful use of nuclear energy, but it should also respect inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency under the framework of the six-party talks,” said Jiang Yu, foreign ministry spokeswoman.’

Raised rhetoric
Lee warns of ‘merciless’ strike if attacked
Song Jung-a in Seoul, Financial Times, 23 December
‘North Korea warned on Thursday of a “holy war” against the South using its nuclear deterrent as South Korean President Lee Myung-bak vowed a “merciless counterattack” if its territory is attacked again. Both sides were raising the rhetoric on a day South Korea launched major land and sea military exercises, prompting North Korea to denounce its richer neighbour as a warmonger.’

South reverses stance
Seoul reverses stance on talks with North
Song Jung-a in Seoul Alan Beattie, Financial Times, 29 December 2010
‘Lee Myung-bak, South Korean president, has cleared the way for his country to take part in talks between six nations to dismantle North Korea’s nuclear programme, marking a reversal of the approach of Seoul towards Pyongyang… Mr Lee appeared to shift his country’s position in comments made on Wednesday. “We have no choice but to resolve the problem of dismantling North Korea’s nuclear programme diplomatically through the six-party talks,” he said.'

Open to talks
S Korea accepts North military talks offer
Christian Oliver, Financial Times, 20 January 2011
‘Seoul has unexpectedly agreed to hold high-level military talks with Pyongyang in the first sign of a diplomatic rapprochement since North Korea shelled a South Korean island in November. South Korea had resisted a barrage of overtures from Pyongyang over recent weeks, seeking to avoid rewarding North Korea for its attack with negotiations… However, South Korean government officials said they had accepted Thursday’s offer from Pyongyang because the North Koreans mentioned that last year’s attacks, which took the two Koreas closer to open war than they have been for decades, would be on the agenda.’

North Koreans leave February talks
North-South Korea military talks collapse
Christian Oliver, Financial Times, 9 February 2011
‘North Korean officials have stormed out of talks with their South Korean counterparts, dealing a blow to efforts to reduce tensions on the Korean peninsula. In the first talks between the countries since North Korea shelled a South Korean island in disputed waters in November, South Korean military officials told the North Korean delegation that Seoul could not agree to higher-level diplomatic contacts unless Pyongyang admitted responsibility for two military attacks last year.’

North Korea ready to discuss its nuclear programme
North Korea 'ready to discuss nuclear enrichment'
BBC News, 15 March 2011
‘North Korea has told Russia's deputy foreign minister Alexei Borodavkin that it is ready to discuss its nuclear enrichment plans at six-party talks. The issue is one of several that have blocked the resumption of disarmament talks. South Korea also wants an apology for the North's "aggression".’

South Korea rejects talks offer
S. Korea rejects N. Korea nuclear talks offer
Bangkok Post, 17 March 2011
South Korea on Thursday rejected an offer from North Korea to discuss its new nuclear programme and return to six-party disarmament talks, saying its neighbour must first show peaceful intentions… "This (offer) is insufficient and does not fit the position of the (five) other countries that the right conditions should be created," he [Foreign Minister Kim Sung-Hwan] told reporters.’

2 iii) India & Pakistan


India & Pakistan test fire missiles
Pakistani, Indian Nuke-Ready Missiles Test-Fired
Global Security Newswire, 11 March 2011
‘Pakistan and India on Friday each completed trial flights of ballistic missiles suited for delivering nuclear weapons, Deutsche Presse-Agentur reported. The weapons performed as expected in the tests, which appeared to fall into a pattern of reciprocal missile launches conducted routinely by the regional rivals… It was uncertain whether New Delhi had provided Islamabad advance notice of the launches in keeping with prior practice’

Britain to allow export of civil nuclear technology to India
Nicholas Watt, The Guardian, 28 July 2010
‘Britain is to follow the example of the US and allow the export of civil nuclear technology and expertise to India. The move, which is the most dramatic illustration of a new special relationship David Cameron is hoping to forge with India, will prove controversial because New Delhi is not a signatory to the nuclear non-proliferation treaty.’

Fukushima disaster discourages Japan-India deal
India-Japan Atomic Deal Seen in Jeopardy
Global Security Newswire, 15 March 2011
The future of a potential Japanese-Indian civilian atomic trade agreement was unclear in light of the developing nuclear disaster in Japan, the India Tribune reported on Sunday. Diplomatic officials voiced concern that Tokyo might be discouraged from engaging in nuclear trade with India in the wake of recent explosions and radiation releases at Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.’

Opposition to Japan-India deal
India-Japan Atomic Deal Stalls Over Dual-Use Technology
Global Security Newswire, 24 January 2011
‘Negotiations on a Japanese-Indian civilian atomic trade deal are bogged down over whether to include a prohibition on exports to the South Asian state of technology that could be used to build nuclear arms, Kyodo News reported today… New Delhi has called for its pact with Tokyo to make clear that the atomic deal would not place limits on India's military nuclear activities. Japan has spurned this stipulation in the three previous trade pact meetings. Japan wants a clause that would prohibit the export of Japanese atomic technology should New Delhi decide to carry out any new nuclear tests. India has opposed the requirement, according to sources.’

Opposition to Australia-India deal
Selling uranium to India will do great damage, with little gain to Australia
Richard Broinowski, Sydney Morning Herald, 1 November 2010
‘India made no concessions whatsoever during the US-India deal − no commitment to curb its escalating nuclear weapons program, no commitment to sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, no commitment to stop producing fissile material for weapons. It would be naive to imagine Australia could win concessions from India that the US was unable to do… Prime Minister Gillard has a choice. She can stand with the vast majority of nations in upholding − and attempting to strengthen − the nuclear non-proliferation regime. Or she can stand with the wreckers − Julie Bishop included − and comfort herself with the thought that Australia's uranium export revenue will increase by 1.8 per cent’

ICCND criticises US-India nuclear deal
NSG's 'clean waiver' questioned
Times of India, 13 July 2010
‘As India grapples with the possibility of NSG approving fresh restrictions on transfer of ENR technology, the International Commission on Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament (ICNND), which was formed two years ago by the Australian and Japanese governments, has again raked up the issue of "clean waiver'' to India, suggesting that NSG allowed New Delhi to get away lightly.’

Nuclear Liability Bill passed
India parliament passes nuclear liability bill
Reuters, 30 August 2010
‘India's parliament on Monday approved a bill to open up the country's $150 billion nuclear power market, sealing legislation crucial for the entry of U.S. firms like General Electric and Westinghouse Electric. The legislation, which Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said was critical for India's energy security, was backed by the main opposition after the government agreed to tougher provisions which a business lobby said could hinder the sector's growth.’

Regulations redrafted to mitigate impact of bill
India Weighs Measure to Ease Nuclear Liability
Wall Street Journal, 10 October 2010
‘India is drafting new regulations to assuage nuclear-power companies' concerns over their potential liability for accidents, a move aimed at securing deals with U.S. nuclear suppliers ahead of a visit by President Barack Obama next month, a top Indian official said.’

India signs Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage (CSC)
India signs nuclear liability treaty
The Hindu, 27 October 2010
‘India on Wednesday signed the Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage (CSC), thereby delivering on the last of its commitments stemming from the landmark 2005 nuclear agreement with the United States… India promised the U.S. in 2008 that it would sign the CSC, a treaty that requires signatories to pass a domestic liability law in conformity with a model text. Washington's aim was to ensure that its companies were legally exempted from any liability burden in the event of an accident occurring in an American-supplied nuclear reactor.’

US supports Indian membership of NSG
Obama backs Indian membership of NSG, MTCR and other hi-tech regimes
The Hindu, 7 November 2010
‘The American decision to support India's membership in the NSG, the Missile Technology Control Regime, the Australian Group and the Wassenaar Arrangement was made public on Saturday by Deputy National Security Adviser Mike Froman and is conditional on these clubs deciding, by consensus, to change their rules on who can join. “As the membership criteria of these four regimes evolve,” said Mr. Froman, “we intend to support India's full membership in them. And at the same time, India will take steps to fully adopt the regime's export control requirements to reflect its prospective membership.” …Mr. Froman said the U.S. would “encourage the evolution of a membership criteria of these regimes consistent with maintaining their core principles.”’

US backs calls for talks between recognised NWS and those outside NPT
India, U.S. Back Talks by All Nuclear-Armed Nations
Global Security Newswire, 9 November 2010
‘The United States and India yesterday jointly called for dialogue between the world's five acknowledged nuclear powers and the three nations that have developed nuclear weapons outside of the global nonproliferation regime, the Hindu reported. U.S. President Obama and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh released a joint statement that "affirmed the need for a meaningful dialogue among all states possessing nuclear weapons to build trust and confidence and for reducing the salience of nuclear weapons in international affairs and security doctrines."’


China-Pakistan deal to go ahead
China confirms 2 nuclear reactors for Pakistan
The Daily Times, 28 September 2010
‘China on Tuesday gave its firmest government confirmation yet of plans to build two new nuclear reactors for Pakistan… The spokeswoman, Jiang Yu, said China planned to help Pakistan expand the Chashma nuclear energy complex by building two reactors in addition to one already operating and another nearing completion… “This project is based on an agreement signed between the two countries in 2003 about cooperation in the nuclear power field,” Jiang said.’

And another one
China plans fifth nuclear reactor for Pakistan
Farhan Bokhari, James Lamont and Geoff Dyer, Financial Times, 8 November 2010
‘China plans to supply Pakistan with a fifth nuclear energy reactor, accelerating Beijing’s commitments to its energy-starved south Asian ally, according to Pakistani government ­officials… The supply of a fifth nuclear reactor to Pakistan comes after confirmation this year of Beijing’s agreement to build two 650MW nuclear energy reactors at Chashma, in the central part of Pakistan’s Punjab province.’

Pakistan becomes new chair of IAEA Board of Governors
Pakistan Takes Helm of Global Atomic Agency for 1st Time Since Bomb Tests
Bloomberg, 28 September 2010
‘The South Asian nation took over the International Atomic Energy Agency’s 35-member board of governors, according to a statement by the Vienna-based agency. Pakistan will chair meetings where IAEA inspectors deliver reports on Iranian and Syrian nuclear activities and oversee approval of atomic- technology aid… The country had twice previously led the agency, in 1963 and 1987.’

US seeks NSG consideration of China-Pakistan deal
Atom body should address China-Pakistan deal--U.S.
Reuters Africa, 22 September 2010
‘A senior U.S. official suggested on Wednesday the 46-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) should address Chinese plans to build two new reactors in Pakistan, one of the few countries outside a global anti-nuclear weapons pact. The comments by Thomas D'Agostino, U.S. Under Secretary for Nuclear Security, came a day after China indicated it may see no need to seek approval from the NSG, some of whose members have voiced qualms about the plan to build two new reactors at Pakistan's Chasma nuclear energy complex… On Tuesday, Beijing gave its firmest government confirmation yet of plans to build the two new reactors for nuclear-armed Pakistan, saying it was based on a contract in 2003, shortly before it joined the NSG.’

The Hindu suggests US will not oppose China-Pakistan deal
U.S. to give China a pass on NSG commitments for Pakistan nuclear deal
The Hindu, 20 March 2011
‘The United States has indicated it will not oppose China's building of two nuclear reactors in Pakistan, and will give Beijing a pass on its non-proliferation commitments by allowing the deal to go ahead in spite of concerns that it will violate international guidelines governing nuclear trade… While the American position was that the construction of the two new reactors, Chashma 3 and 4, would be “inconsistent” with China's NSG commitments, the U.S. had “also been very clear on the need to support Pakistan's energy development,” he [U.S. Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs Robert Blake] said. Mr. Blake's comments mark a shift in the U.S. position over the deal, suggesting that the U.S. will neither oppose the deal nor question China over its NSG commitments.’

IAEA signs off on monitoring China-Pakistan reactors
IAEA Board Sets Plan for Monitoring New Pakistani Nuclear Reactors
Global Security Newswire, 9 March 2011
‘The governing board for the International Atomic Energy Agency on Tuesday signed off on a plan for monitoring two nuclear power reactors that China plans to build in Pakistan. The IAEA safeguards agreement for Units 3 and 4 at the Chashma Nuclear Power Plant was approved unanimously without discussion on the second day of the board meeting here. The plan would enter into force after being signed by the IAEA director general or a designated representative and an official from the government in Islamabad. Whether Beijing can steam ahead with the project is an unresolved question.’

White House concerns over Pakistan proliferation
White House Official Puts Pakistan at Top of Proliferation Threats
Global Security Newswire, 19 October 2010
‘"The thing that keeps me up at night? Pakistan," White House Coordinator for WMD Counterterrorism and Arms Control Gary Samore. "This is a country that is facing very serious internal and external security threats, has a dysfunctional political system [and] is seeking to expand its nuclear weapons program." Recent satellite images show Pakistan has made significant progress toward completing its third heavy-water reactor at Khushab, even while the country is racked with insurgency and recovering from devastating floods.’

Wikileaks reveals concerns over Pakistan proliferation
WikiLeaks cables expose Pakistan nuclear fears
David Leigh, The Guardian, 30 November 2010
‘American and British diplomats fear Pakistan's nuclear weapons programme could lead to fissile material falling into the hands of terrorists or a devastating nuclear exchange with India. The latest cache of US embassy cables released by WikiLeaks contains warnings that Pakistan is rapidly building its nuclear stockpile despite the country's growing instability and "pending economic catastrophe".’

Pakistan doubles the size of its nuclear arsenal
Pakistani Nuclear Arms Pose Challenge to U.S. Policy
David E. Sanger & Eric Schmitt, New York Times, 1 February 2011
‘New American intelligence assessments have concluded that Pakistan has steadily expanded its nuclear arsenal since President Obama came to office, and that it is building the capability to surge ahead in the production of nuclear-weapons material, putting it on a path to overtake Britain as the world’s fifth largest nuclear weapons power.’

The Bulletin assesses implications of Pakistani increase
Pakistan doubles its nuclear arsenal: Is it time to start worrying?
Alexander H. Rothman and Lawrence J. Korb, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, 11 February 2011
‘…Pakistan's growing nuclear stockpile is simply the latest reminder of a problem of which experts and policymakers have been long aware: The outdated Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) has become increasingly ineffective at combating proliferation in the twenty-first century, and the international consensus and political will necessary to update the treaty remain out of sight.’

Pakistan ups pace of construction
Pakistan steps up nuclear construction
AFP, 5 October 2010
‘Pakistan appears to have stepped up construction of a new atomic reactor that could help the country produce easier-to-deliver nuclear weapons, a US research institute said… The Institute for Science and International Security, a private US group which is critical of nuclear weapons, said Tuesday it observed progress at Pakistan's tightly guarded Khushab site which is key to plutonium production… It marks a faster pace than for the second reactor, where such towers appeared after six years of construction, it said.’

Fourth plutonium reactor under construction
Nuclear experts say Pakistan may be building 4th plutonium reactor
Joby Warrick, Washington Post, 9 February 2011
‘Pakistan has begun work on what independent experts say appears to be a fourth plutonium-producing reactor at the country's Khushab nuclear complex, a move that could signal a further escalation in Pakistan's arms race with arch-rival India… Commercial satellite photographs taken last month show major new construction at Khushab, a key nuclear installation southwest of Islamabad that generates plutonium for Pakistan's nuclear arsenal. .. The building "appears to be a fourth reactor" for producing weapons-grade plutonium, according to the ISIS [Institute for Science and International Security] analysis, a copy of which was provided to The Washington Post. ISIS said the facility would substantially expand Islamabad's nuclear capacity by allowing it to produce "more plutonium for nuclear bombs."’

2 iv) Israel

Arab nations seek IAEA inspections of Israeli nuclear programme
Nuclear inspection of Israel sought
Al-Jazeera, 15 August 2010
‘Arab nations have urged Washington and several other nuclear powers to push for inspections of Israel's nuclear programme... In a letter sent ahead of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) meeting scheduled for September, the Arab League also sought support for a resolution that calls on Israel to join the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).’

Arab resolution fails
Agency Will Not Ask Israel to Sign Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty
New York Times/Reuters, 24 September 2010
‘The United Nations nuclear watchdog narrowly rejected an Arab-sponsored resolution Friday calling on Israel to join the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. The vote by the International Atomic Energy Agency was a victory for the United States after a tough diplomatic battle. Washington had urged countries to vote down the symbolically important but non-binding resolution, saying it could derail broader efforts to ban nuclear warheads in the Middle East and threaten the current Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.’

Israel declines to cooperate with IAEA
UN Abandons Israel Nuclear Probe as Lack of Information Hampers Assessment
Bloomberg, 3 September 2010
‘United Nations investigators, ordered to write a report about Israel’s atomic capabilities, said they couldn’t compile enough information to assess the extent of the country’s nuclear program… Israel declined to cooperate with IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano’s inquiry on “political and legal” grounds, Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman said in a July 26 letter among the 81 pages of documents, calling the probe “unjustified.” Amano asked Israel to consider signing the Nuclear Non- Proliferation Treaty when he visited the country last month.’

September 2010 IAEA Report on Israel
Israeli nuclear capabilities
IAEA Board of Governors, 3 September 2010

Arab League disappointed by IAEA report
Arab League Slams IAEA Report On Israel
RTT News, 16 September 2010
‘The Arab League on Thursday criticized the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), UN's nuclear watchdog, for producing a "weak and disappointing" report on Israel's nuclear capacities, and pledged to step up efforts to persuade the Jewish nation to join the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). The Arab nations also rejected calls from the US and EU to abstain from pushing for a resolution voicing concerns on Israel's nuclear capabilities at the upcoming 54th annual conference of the IAEA in Vienna next week.’

Avner Cohen on Israel’s nuclear ambiguity
Bringing Israel's Bomb Out of the Basement
Avner Cohen and Marvin Miller, International Herald Tribune, 25 August 2010
This article is timed to coincide with the publication of Avner Cohen’s new book ‘The Worst-Kept Secret’ in which he questions the Israeli policy of ‘nuclear ambiguity’ …‘Opacity [also] prevents Israel from making a convincing case that its nuclear policy is indeed one of defensive last resort and from participating in a meaningful fashion in regional arms control and global disarmament deliberations… Israel needs to end its policy of nuclear opacity and reinforce its credentials as a responsible nuclear state.’

Israel bars Vanunu from accepting prize
Israel stops whistle-blower getting German prize
AFP, 10 December 2010
‘Israel has barred Mordechai Vanunu, who spent 18 years in jail for revealing secrets of the country's nuclear programme, from going to Germany to accept a prize, organisers said on Friday. Vanunu was to be awarded the Carl von Ossietsky Prize in Berlin Sunday for his work promoting disarmament but has not received permission to leave Israel, a spokesman for the International League for Human Rights told AFP.’

Kevin Rudd calls for Israel to sign NPT and submit to IAEA inspections
Rudd calls for inspections of Israel's nuclear facility
John Lyons, The Australian, 14 December 2010
‘Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd has arrived in Israel with a blunt message: allow international inspectors into your nuclear facility…. Mr Rudd told The Australian: "Our view has been consistent for a long period of time, and that is that all states in the region should adhere to the NPT, and that includes Israel." But it is what he added next by referring to International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors that has caught Israeli officials by surprise: "And therefore their nuclear facility should be subject to IAEA inspection."’

2 v) Myanmar/Burma

Original June 2010 report
Nuclear Related Activities in Burma
Robert E. Kelley & Ali Fowle, For the Democratic Voice of Burma, May 2010

Claims corroborated by photos
Myanmar Nuclear Weapon Program Claims Supported by Photos, Jane's Reports
Peter S. Green, Bloomberg, 21 July 2010
‘Allegations by a Myanmar defector that the military-run country is pursuing a nuclear program are corroborated by newly available commercial satellite images, Jane’s Intelligence Review said in an article released yesterday. The photos of buildings and security fences near the country’s capital, Naypyidaw, confirm reports by Major Sai Thein Win of machine tool factories and other facilities alleged to be part of a nascent program to build nuclear weapons, the magazine reported from London.'

Myanmar/Burma links with North Korea
North Korea minister visits Burma amid nuclear fears
BBC News, 29 July 2010
‘North Korea's foreign minister has arrived in Burma for talks with top leaders, reports from the region say... Analysts have raised concerns in recent months that Burma is co-operating with North Korea to develop nuclear technology.’

Doubts cast over nuclear links
Burma, North Korea, and the WSJ
Joshua Pollack,, 1 September 2010
‘If you are reading this, you’ll probably know that North Korea is rumored to be supplying nuclear technology to Burma (a.k.a. Myanmar). The picture is still not very clear, but as far as the available evidence goes, missile exports look like a better bet than nuclear exports… Nevertheless, the suspicion of nuclear trade persists despite a lack of much (public) evidence… What you might not know, though, is that almost everything published on the subject tracks back to a May 29, 2009 article by Jay Solomon… But now, on August 31, 2010, we learn that the exports to Burma actually might have to do with ballistic missiles, and may or may not involve Namchongang.’

May 2009 WSJ article
Tests Point to Spread of Weapons Trade
Jay Soloman, Wall Street Journal, 29 May 2009
‘U.S. and Asian officials said Nomchongang was also detected selling equipment to Myanmar that could be used for a nuclear program. Exchanges between senior North Korean and Myanmar military officers have increased, these officials say. Myanmar may be seeking to replicate North Korea's weapons development as a deterrent to Western pressure, the officials say.’

Myanmar military junta denies seeking nuclear weapon
Myanmar tells U.N. body it will never seek atom bombs
Reuters India, 23 September 2010
‘Myanmar told the U.N. nuclear watchdog on Thursday that allegations it was trying to develop atomic bombs were unfounded and that its nuclear activities had solely peaceful ends… "There have been unfounded allegations reported by international media...that Myanmar is attempting to develop a nuclear weapon programme," the head of the country's delegation, U Tin Win, said in a speech to the IAEA General Conference."We would like to reiterate that the applications of nuclear science and technology in Myanmar are only for peaceful developmental purposes and Myanmar will never engage in activities related to the production and proliferation of nuclear weapons," the Myanmar chief delegate said.’

Defector claims nuclear programme is a long way off
Burmese defector reveals truth about junta's nuclear ambitions
Siman Saetre, The Independent, 5 November 2010
‘In his extraordinary first interview, on the eve of elections, a former major in the secretive regime tells of chaos at the core of the state's weapons programme… International observers fear that the junta has tried to obtain nuclear weaponry as part of its strategy to retain power… But evidence from Sai Thein Win suggests that the programme is so mired in incompetence, corruption and delays that it would take years to develop a nuclear programme… He said the regime installed machinery for their programme but virtually nothing was made, and employees were bored waiting for designs… On two occasions, he says, he attended presentations of the so-called nuclear battalion at another installation at Thabeikkyin, in central Burma… The scientist said he did not doubt that the intention of the so-called nuclear battalion was to construct a reactor, enrich uranium and build a nuclear bomb.’

IAEA presses Myanmar/Burma
Myanmar's Links With Pyongyang Stir Nuclear Fears
Jay Soloman, Wall Street Journal, 17 December 2010
‘The United Nations' nuclear watchdog has written to Myanmar's military government in recent weeks asking to visit sites in the Southeast Asian country allegedly involved in clandestine nuclear activities, according to officials briefed on the correspondence… The IAEA's Department of Safeguards, headed by Belgian Herman Nackaerts, wrote the letter to Myanmar's government seeking to visit suspect sites, according to these officials. It follows at least two other letters the IAEA has written to Myanmar in recent months, seeking clarification of its alleged efforts to develop nuclear technologies at sites in the country's north."[The IAEA] is now officially asking for a visit," said one of the officials briefed on the letter.’

2 vi) Syria

September 2010 stonewalling
Syria stonewalling threatens nuclear probe: IAEA
Reuters, 6 September 2010
‘Syria's refusal to allow U.N. inspectors access to a desert site where secret nuclear activity may have taken place is endangering potential evidence in the investigation, the International Atomic Energy Agency said. It has been over two years since the IAEA was allowed to inspect the site, bombed to rubble by Israel in 2007… "With time, some of the necessary information may deteriorate or be lost entirely," the IAEA chief Yukiya Amano wrote’

November 2010: No progress for IAEA
U.N. nuclear agency makes little progress in Syria
Julia Damianova, Los Angeles Times, 26 November 2010
‘The U.S. may seek special inspections after the IAEA reports that it is still denied access to several suspected nuclear sites… After a report Tuesday from the International Atomic Energy Agency that showed no substantial progress in its investigation of Syria's nuclear activities, Western countries may start to play hardball by implementing the rarely used procedure, the diplomats told The Times this week.’

February 2011: Still no access
Syria stonewalls on site IAEA wants to see: sources
Reuters, 14 February 2011
‘Syria has not granted a U.N. nuclear watchdog request for prompt access to a desert site, rebuffing an appeal for urgent cooperation with a probe into suspected covert atomic activity… It was not clear whether Damascus had made any other concessions in the dispute, which is expected to be high on the agenda of a March 7-11 meeting of the IAEA's 35-nation governing board, in its reply to Amano.’

IISS reports on Al Kibar/Dair Alzour research
Satellite Image Shows Syrian Site Functionally Related to Al Kibar Reactor
David Albright and Paul Brannan, IISS, 1 December 2010
ISIS discusses revelations by the Sueddeutsche Zeitung (in German) relating to three cities in Syria which are near sites suspected of being functionally related to the al-Kibar (Dair Alzour) covert reactor construction project destroyed by an Israeli aerial attack in 2007. ISIS calls for the IAEA to undertake a special inspection of the sites.

IAEA strengthens stance
U.N. Warns Syria on Nuclear Inspections
David Crawford, Wall Street Journal, 1 February 2011
‘The United Nations' nuclear watchdog has toughened its stance toward Syria, warning that lack of cooperation by Damascus won't prevent the publication of a critical report on Syria's nuclear program. The challenge marks a departure in the International Atomic Energy Agency's nearly three-year effort to gain access to several Syrian sites by shifting the burden of proof to Syria… In a November letter to Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem, IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano demanded that Syria cooperate with the IAEA's investigation of an alleged former nuclear facility at Dair Alzour, according to three Western diplomats familiar with the letter. Otherwise, he indicated, the agency would draw and report its own conclusions as to whether the country's atomic program is in international compliance with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, based on the evidence it has already, without Syrian cooperation, according to these people.’

US pushes for IAEA special inspection
U.S. Considers Push for U.N. Action in Syria
Jay Solomon, Wall Street Journal, 6 August 2010
‘The Obama administration is considering pressing the United Nations to pursue a "special inspection" of alleged Syrian nuclear sites, a senior U.S. official said Thursday, a move that could leave Damascus facing a Security Council reprimand if it doesn't comply.’

Syria to pursue nuclear power
Syria says mulls first nuclear power plant by 2020
Reuters, 15 February 2011
‘Syria is considering building its first nuclear power plant by 2020 to meet rapidly growing electricity demand, a document from the Arab state's Atomic Energy Commission showed. The paper posted on the website of the International Atomic Energy Agency did not say whether Syria, which is under IAEA investigation over suspected covert nuclear activity, may also contemplate making its own fuel for such a facility. Any bid by Syria to launch uranium enrichment, like its ally Iran, would likely further alarm the United States and its Western allies about Damascus' atomic activities as such material can also be used to make bombs if refined much more.’

ISIS locates second suspected nuclear site
Second Suspected Syria Nuclear Site Is Found
Jay Soloman, Wall Street Journal, 24 February 2011
‘A second suspected nuclear installation has been identified in Syria, according to commercial satellite photos, providing new evidence that Damascus may have been pursuing atomic weapons before a 2007 Israeli military strike. The publishing Wednesday of the photos by Washington's Institute for Science and International Security could increase pressure on the United Nations to demand expansive new inspections of suspect Syrian facilities during a March board meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency.’

IAEA Head calls on Syria to cooperate
IAEA Chief Presses Iran, Syria to Come Clean on Nuclear Activities
Global Security Newswire, 7 March 2011
‘The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency on Monday called on Iran and Syria to cooperate more fully with efforts to ensure the nations' nuclear programs are not intended to produce weapons… "Iran is not providing the necessary cooperation to enable the agency to provide credible assurance about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran, and therefore to conclude that all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities," Amano told the board, which is scheduled to meet through Friday. "I request Iran to take steps towards the full implementation of its safeguards agreement and its other obligations."’

3) New START

New START ratification
US Senate votes for Russian nuclear arms treaty
Ewen MacGaskill, The Guardian, 22 December 2010
‘With only hours of the Senate left before members headed off for Christmas, senators voted 71 to 26 in favour, a much bigger majority than had been widely predicted. In the end, 13 Republicans defied their own leadership to vote for the treaty.’

Russia ratifies
Russia Approves Arms Treaty
Andrew E. Kramer, New York Times, 26 January 2011
‘The upper chamber of the Russian Parliament gave final approval to the New Start nuclear arms control treaty on Wednesday, a key foreign policy goal of the Obama administration… The treaty, the first major revamping of nuclear disarmament deals since the late cold war era, sets new limits for strategic nuclear warheads and delivery systems, the doomsday weapons of a nuclear exchange. The pact requires the United States and Russia to reduce their nuclear arsenals to levels slightly lower than today’s — down to 1,550 warheads each, from between 1,700 and 2,200 now — within seven years of ratification, and to immediately renew mutual inspections.’

Entry into force
New START Enters Into Force
Global Security Newswire, 7 Feb 2011
‘Russia and the United States on Saturday exchanged ratification instruments for a new bilateral strategic nuclear arms control treaty, formally bringing the pact into force… "Today we exchange the instruments of ratification for a treaty that lessens the nuclear danger facing the Russian and American people and the world," said U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who swapped the treaty documents with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Munich, Germany.’

Information exchange
Nuke Details Swapped Under U.S.-Russian Pact
Global Security Newswire, 22 March 2011
Russia and the United States in recent days started swapping data on their strategic nuclear arsenal assets in compliance with a bilateral arms control treaty that took effect last month, RIA Novosti reported… "With entry into force of [New START], we have begun implementing an extensive regime of mutual monitoring and information exchange," U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Rose Gottemoeller said.’

Starting START Inspections
US to start Russia arms inspections: official
AFP, 18 March 2011
A US team may arrive in Russia next month to inspect the country's latest range of nuclear missiles under a new disarmament treaty signed by the two sides this year, the foreign ministry said Thursday. Full on-site inspections are allowed within 60 days of the treaty going into effect, and a top Russian diplomat said Thursday they could potentially begin in April.’

Mitt Romney
Obama's worst foreign-policy mistake
Mitt Romney, Washington Post, 6 July 2010
‘..the president's New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New-START) with Russia could be his worst foreign policy mistake yet. The treaty as submitted to the Senate should not be ratified.’

John Kerry responds
How New-START will improve our nation's security
John F. Kerry, Washington Post, 7 July 2010
John F. Kerry examines Mitt Romney’s key objections and concludes that ‘He disregarded the views of the best foreign policy thinkers of the past half-century, but more important, he ignored the facts.’

Jon Kyl
The New Start Treaty: Time for a Careful Look (subscription only)
Jon Kyl, Wall Street Journal, 8 July 2010
‘The Senate shouldn't rubber stamp an arms control strategy rooted in a vision of 'nuclear zero' without opening up the negotiating record.’

John Bolton
New Start Is Unilateral Disarmament (subscription only)
John Bolton, Wall Street Journal, 8 September 2010
Another anti-START piece by John Bolton, prominent Republican and (former) member of the Bush Administration, who claims: ‘The treaty's little-noticed limits on conventional weapons systems will reduce our ability to project power around the world.’

Obama strategy for New START
Obama Gamble Pays Off With Approval of Arms Pact
Peter Baker, New York Times, 22 December 2010
This NY Times piece looks at how Obama managed to push through ratification of New START in the final weeks, despite many commentators predicting its demise: ‘The assiduous efforts by Mr. Kerry and Mr. Biden to accommodate Republican concerns proved critical… “As people were able to gain more and more information about it and started to pay attention to the people who were supportive of it, its validity and need became more apparent,” he [Republican Senator George V. Voinovich of Ohio] said.’

Clinton and Gates
Clinton and Gates: Why the Senate should ratify New START
Hillary Rodham Clinton and Robert M. Gates, Washington Post, 15 November 2010
‘For decades, American inspectors have monitored Russian nuclear forces, putting into practice President Ronald Reagan's favorite maxim, "Trust, but verify." But since the old START Treaty expired last December, we have relied on trust alone. Until a new treaty comes into force, our inspectors will not have access to Russian missile silos and the world's two largest nuclear arsenals will lack the stability that comes with a rigorous inspection regime… Every president since the beginning of the Cold War has opted for verifiable arms control deals. Each time, the Senate has backed these treaties by overwhelming margins. The START Treaty, negotiated by Presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush, was approved in 1992 by 93 votes to 6. The Moscow Treaty, negotiated by President George W. Bush, was approved 95 to 0 in 2003. The New START Treaty also deserves prompt ratification. Our national security depends on it.’

Joe Biden
The Case for Ratifying New START (subscription only)
Joe Biden, Wall Street Journal, 24 November 2010
‘At NATO's summit in Lisbon last weekend, President Obama united Europe behind our missile-defense plans and received strong support for the New Start Treaty that is currently before the Senate. In doing so, he proved that missile defense and arms control can proceed hand-in-hand… The Lisbon summit showed that American leadership in Europe remains essential. It also reminded us why the stakes of the New Start Treaty are so high. Our uniformed military supports it. Our European allies support it. Our national security interests are at stake. It is time for the Senate to approve New Start.’

Arnold Schwarzenegger
Schwarzenegger calls opponents of New START 'idiots'
Josh Rogin, Foreign Policy, 28 October 2010
‘"There are those in America that are trying to flex their muscles and pretend they're ballsy by saying, ‘we've got to keep those nuclear weapons,'" the governator told the U.S.-Russia Business Council Oct. 21. "[They think] that's very rugged, when you say that. It's not rugged at all. It's an idiot that says that. It's stupid to say that." He praised President Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev for signing the agreement to reduce both countries' stockpiles of nuclear weapons and said they were in the tradition of the arms control efforts by former President Ronald Reagan and his Secretary of State George Shultz. He called on the Senate to ratify the treaty during the post election lame duck session in Congress, as the administration has been pushing for.’

Condoleezza Rice
New Start: Ratify, With Caveats
Condoleezza Rice, Wall Street Journal, 7 December 2010
‘The treaty helpfully reinstates on-site verification of Russian nuclear forces, but senators should make it clear to Moscow that they don't see it as limiting U.S. missile defenses.’

Seven senior military leaders call for ratification
Former Nuclear Commanders Support New START
Volume 1, Number 13, Arms Control Association, 29 July 2010
‘’Seven former U.S. military commanders of Strategic Air Command and U.S. Strategic Command have announced their support for the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, New START.  In a July 14 letter to senators, the five Air Force Generals and two Navy Admirals wrote that they "strongly endorse [New START's] early ratification and entry into force" because "the treaty will enhance American national security."’

Military top brass
U.S. military backs START despite Republican concerns
Reuters Africa, 16 December 2010
‘Top military officials said on Thursday the United States badly needed ratification of the New START nuclear treaty with Russia, even as Republican senators questioned its implications for national security. General James Cartwright, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters all the military service chiefs were "very much behind this treaty" because it would provide transparency as Russia and the United States modernize their nuclear forces.’

Schultz etc op-ed
It's time for the Senate to vote on New START
George P. Shultz, Madeleine K. Albright, Gary Hart and Chuck Hagel, Washington Post, 10 September 2010
‘The Senate should promptly vote to approve the New Strategic Arms Reductions Treaty (New START) with Russia for one reason: It increases U.S. national security. This is precisely why Defense Secretary Robert Gates declared at the outset of Senate consideration of the treaty that it has "the unanimous support of America's military leadership."’

Kissinger et al op-ed
The Republican case for ratifying New START
Henry A. Kissinger, George P. Shultz, James A. Baker III, Lawrence S. Eagleburger and Colin L. Powell, Washington Post, 2 December 2010
‘Republican presidents have long led the crucial fight to protect the United States against nuclear dangers. That is why Presidents Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush negotiated the SALT I, START I and START II agreements. It is why President George W. Bush negotiated the Moscow Treaty. All four recognized that reducing the number of nuclear arms in an open, verifiable manner would reduce the risk of nuclear catastrophe and increase the stability of America's relationship with the Soviet Union and, later, the Russian Federation. The world is safer today because of the decades-long effort to reduce its supply of nuclear weapons.’

European Leadership Network letter from 16 leading Britons
From 16 Leading Britons, a Plea for the Arms Treaty
Letter, New York Times, 29 November 2010
The overwhelming consensus of opinion across the diversity of Europe, but held strongly here in the United Kingdom, is that ratification of the treaty and our collective security are not mutually exclusive, but mutually essential.’

NATO Chief
Ratify the New Start Treaty
Anders Fogh Rasmussen, New York Times, 6 December 2010
‘NATO and Russia have come a long way. At Lisbon, we agreed to focus on what we can achieve together rather than on what divides us. Our cooperation on missile defense, in fighting piracy and terrorism, and in supporting Afghanistan shows what we stand to gain. Ratifying the New Start treaty would create opportunities for even greater cooperation in the future and enhance European security.’

European Foreign Ministers
New Start Matters
Michael Spindelegger (Austria), Steven Vanackere, (Belgium), Nickolay Mladenov, (Bulgaria), Markos Kyprianou (Cyprus), Lene Espersen (Denmark), Urmas Paet (Estonia), Alexander Stubb (Finland), Michèle Alliot-Marie (France), Guido Westerwelle (Germany), Dimitrios Droutsas (Greece), János Martonyi (Hungary), Micheál Martin (Ireland), Franco Frattini (Italy), Girts Valdis Kristovskis (Latvia), Jean Asselborn (Luxembourg), Tonio Borg, Malta Uri Rosenthal (Netherlands), Radoslaw Sikorski (Poland), Luís Amado (Portugal), Teodor Baconschi (Romana), Mikulás Dzurinda (Slovakia), Samuel ŽZbogar (Slovenia), Trinidad Jiménez (Spain), Carl Bildt (Sweden) & William Hague (UK), International Herald Tribune, 17 December 2010
‘The existence of considerable numbers of Russian and U.S. nuclear weapons and their means of delivery not under a regime of mutual control does, in our view, make Europe less safe… We recognize that New Start is a bilateral agreement between the United States and Russia. However, the treaty will have an impact far beyond the relation between the U.S. and Russia… we — as European foreign ministers — give our full support to the efforts of the governments of the United States and Russia. We urge a swift ratification and implementation of the New Start treaty.’

The START - missile defence “interrelationship”
Russia insists on offensive/defensive link in START
Voice of Russia, 29 December 2010
‘"During the ratification of START in the US Congress the American lawmakers noted that the link between strategic offensive armed forces and antimissile defense systems is not juridically binding for the parties. They referred to the fact that this link was fixed only in the preamble of the document. Such an approach can be regarded as the US’ attempt to find an option to build up its strategic potential and the Russian lawmakers cannot agree with this," Kosachev says… our American colleagues do not recognize the legal force of the treaty’s preamble. The preamble sets a link between strategic offensive arms and defensive arms… The Russian lawmakers insist that all the chapters of the treaty including the preamble are legally binding…’

Obama reassures on missile defence
In letter to Senate, Obama says New START pact won't limit missile defense
Mary Beth Sheridan, Washington Post, 19 December 2010
‘President Obama issued a letter to the Senate on Sunday pledging to fully develop a U.S. missile defense system in Europe, as part of a final offensive to relieve concerns about the nuclear arms pact with Russia as it moves toward a final vote. The letter reiterated administration policy but was an especially extensive and detailed statement on missile defense by the president… Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), who has been leaning toward supporting the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), took to the floor to welcome the president's letter. "A number of people on our side of the aisle have asked for it," he said.’

Next: CTBT ratification
The Senate’s Next Task: Ratifying the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty
Mikhail Gorbachev, New York Times, 28 December 2010
‘The priority now is to ratify the separate treaty banning nuclear testing. The stalemate on this agreement, the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, has lasted more than a decade. …It is fairly certain that once the Senate agreed to ratification, most of the countries still waiting would follow. No country wants to be a “rogue nation” forever, and we have seen that dialogue with even the most recalcitrant governments is possible. Yet dialogue can work only if the United States abandons the hypocritical position of telling others what they must not do while keeping its own options open. Universal ratification of the test ban treaty would be a step toward creating a truly global community of nations, in which all share the responsibility for humankind’s future.’

Educating for the CTBT
Obama Administration to “Educate” Senate, Public on Test Ban Treaty, Official Says
Global Security Newswire, 17 February 2011
‘The Obama administration plans to soon begin to "educate" the U.S. Senate and the public on the strides made in scientific research and nuclear blast monitoring since the country last considered the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty… "I can't say when we will ask the Senate for its advice and consent to the CTBT. To get there we have a lot of work to do because nuclear testing is not a front-burner issue for the American people," Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Ellen Tauscher said’

No need for nuclear testing
No Need for U.S. Nuclear Testing, NNSA Chief Says
Global Security Newswire, 25 March 2011
‘The head of the U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration dismissed the need for additional nuclear testing in order to ensure the nation's nuclear arsenal remains in working order, Arms Control Today reported in its April edition… "In my opinion, we have a safe and secure and reliable stockpile. ... There's no need to conduct underground (nuclear) testing," said Thomas D'Agostino, whose agency oversees the upkeep of the nation's nuclear-weapon complex.’

Tactical nuclear weapons next target?
United States to hold talks on tactical nuclear weapons with Russia
Ria Novosti, 3 February 2011
‘The United States expects to hold talks with Russia on tactical nuclear weapons (TNW) within a year after the New START arms reduction treaty comes into force, President Barack Obama said in a message to the Senate on Wednesday. "The United States will seek to initiate, following consultation with NATO Allies but not later than 1 year after the entry into force of the New START Treaty, negotiations with the Russian Federation on an agreement to address the disparity between the non-strategic (tactical) nuclear weapons stockpiles of the Russian Federation and of the United States," the message reads.’

But Russia not ready
Russia rebuffs US call for new arms talks
News 24, 7 February 2011
‘Russia said on Monday it was premature to set the date for a new round of nuclear disarmament talks on the short-range missiles whose reduction is sought by the United States… A top Russian foreign ministry official said on Monday that Moscow was aware of Washington's desire to start a new round of tactical missile talks. But he said such negotiations could only start once the United States is ready to reconsider its position on a new missile defence shield for Europe and its desire to place weapons in space.’

Now is not the time to cut non-proliferation funding
Keep Up the Pace of Locking Down the Bomb
Matthew Bunn and William Tobey, Huffington Post, 3 March 2011
‘Terrorists are still seeking nuclear and radiological materials to carry out appalling acts of terror… But now, House appropriators, in their efforts to reduce the yawning gap in the federal budget, have proposed to cut over $600 million from the request for these nonproliferation programs… Slowing these efforts down by cutting their budgets would be a serious mistake, undermining U.S. national security… The Obama administration needs to make clear to Congress that these programs are a top national security priority and press to receive its funding request. The House and the Senate need to work together to put together a funding bill that protects these vital programs. The clock is ticking.’

US proposal to reduce funding for non-proliferation
Nuclear Agency Officials Defend Decrease in Nonproliferation Funds
Global Security Newswire, 3 March 2011
‘The Obama administration yesterday defended its proposal to cut nearly $140 million in spending for one agency's efforts to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons around the world. The National Nuclear Security Administration, a semiautonomous branch of the Energy Department, would receive about $11.8 billion in fiscal 2012, an overall spending boost of 5 percent… The White House spending plan asks for $2.5 billion for the agency's "defense nuclear nonproliferation" account, a more than 5 percent, or $138 million, decrease from the present budget cycle request. The program has oversight of the agency's varied global efforts to prevent the spread of nuclear material. Meanwhile, the agency's "weapons activities," which encompass all measures that directly support the nation's thermonuclear stockpile, would receive $7.6 billion, an 8.9 percent boost from the still-unrealized fiscal 2011 proposal.’

The modesty of New START
New START doesn't go far enough
Jim Hoagland, Washington Post, 10 December 2010
‘we now need and can reach a negotiating framework that would include not only Russia and the United States but also China, France, Britain, India and Pakistan. These nations should urgently commit to negotiating the capping, reducing and eventual abolition of their nuclear arsenals - and explicitly urge North Korea, Iran and Israel to freeze further development of nuclear weapons while these negotiations proceed. Only an effort this large can contain the immediate dangers the world faces from the possession of nuclear weapons by wayward states (such as North Korea, Iran and Pakistan in my book) or terrorist groups.’

Doubts over further progress
New START ratified, so what's next for arms control?
Josh Rogin, Foreign Policy, 22 December 2010
‘Since last year, administration officials have been pledging that New START would be only the first in a long line of arms control items they hoped to move through Congress before the 2012 elections. Next up was to be the Congressional [Comprehensive] Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), then perhaps the Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty, followed by the successor to New START, which has not yet been negotiated. Is that still the plan? Kerry said yes, but don't hold your breath.’

Policies remain outdated
Obama Is No Reagan on Nuclear Disarmament
Amanda Kempa, Der Spiegel, 23 December 2010
‘President Obama's arms control policy is rooted in the outdated doctrine of Mutual Assured Destruction, as can be seen in the logic underpinning the New START treaty. Until he articulates a new vision of arms control for a multipolar world, Obama's goal of nuclear abolition will not be realized.’

4) NATO nuclear policy

NATO Strategic Concept draft includes nuclear disarmament
NATO Document Addresses Nuclear Disarmament
Judy Dempsey, New York Times, 30 September 2010
‘Two months before what could be the most important NATO summit meeting in more than a decade, the 28 member states of the alliance have received a draft of its new strategic concept, which for the first time, at the insistence of Germany and other countries, includes calls for nuclear disarmament… The move by Germany and other nations to place disarmament high in the strategic concept comports with President Barack Obama’s declared goal of eventually abolishing nuclear weapons, but it also exposes a rift between European nations that want to rid the Continent of atomic arms and those that want to keep them both for prestige and as a deterrent to longstanding enemies. Germany’s stance has put it at loggerheads with France, a nuclear power. France opposes NATO’s having any role or influence in disarmament issues, fearing that it could undermine France’s sovereignty.’

ELN statement on NATO’s tactical nuclear weapons
Get rid of tactical nuclear weapons, Nato leaders told
Julian Borger’s Blog,, 29 September 2010
‘A group of 34 former European ministers and military officials have published a joint appeal for the tactical arsenal in Europe to be reduced and consolidated in the context of a broad reform of alliance nuclear policy.  The group, calling itself the European Leadership Network has gathered some names that still have clout in Nato, including Klaus Naumann, the German former chairman of the NATO military committee and General Bernard Norlain, who was commander of the French tactical air force, as well as Ruud Lubbers, Helmut Schmidt, Hans Dietrich Genscher and Hans van den Broek.’

Rebecca Johnson on NATO fiddling
NATO: fiddling with nuclear bombs while the planet burns
Rebecca Johnson, Open Democracy, 6 October 2010
‘Next month NATO members meet in Lisbon to agree on a new Strategic Concept. Rebecca Johnson argues that if we treated nuclear weapons as the previous century’s problem to be disposed of, instead of fetishizing them as instruments of high strategic value, we would stand a far better chance of maintaining global security.’

Time Magazine
NATO Ponders What to Do with Its Nuclear Weapons
Eben Harrell, Time magazine, 7 October 2010
‘On Nov. 19, the 28 NATO member nations will meet in Portugal to draft a new strategic concept — the document that lays out how the military alliance plans to use its forces to respond to a range of future threats and possible attacks. But while 21st century dangers such as terrorism, piracy, cyberwarfare and rogue nuclear states should be the focus of attention in the run-up to the summit, it's an anachronism that is causing the biggest disagreement: what to do with NATO's tactical nuclear weapons.’

Former Canadian Ambassador urges modernisation
NATO needs to modernize rusty nuclear policy
Paul Meyer, Toronto Star, 18 November 2010
The former Canadian ambassador for disarmament writes: ‘At a minimum, the new concept should make it clear the alliance embraces the goal of a nuclear weapons-free world embodied in the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty and expressed most eloquently by President Barack Obama in his Prague speech. The disturbing ambiguity of the current text on the function of NATO’s nuclear forces should be replaced with a clear statement that their “sole purpose” is to deter nuclear attack. NATO should also signal its willingness to see the residual U.S. nuclear weapons in Europe withdrawn. These tactical nuclear weapons have no practical military purpose and their political utility would be optimized by repatriating them and encouraging Russia to take some reciprocal action regarding its own stocks of these arms.’

Germany’s Foreign & Defence Ministers
Germany demands Nato show greater commitment to nuclear disarmament
The Guardian, Ian Traynor, 14 October 2010
‘Germany today demanded greater Nato commitment to nuclear disarmament, seeking to link support for a new system of missile defence in Europe to the removal of some 200 ageing tactical nuclear bombs around the continent… At a meeting of Nato foreign and defence ministers in Brussels, called to wrestle with a new 10-year Nato "strategic concept" to be agreed in Lisbon next month, Guido Westerwelle and Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, the German ministers, pressed for an innovative role for Nato in driving nuclear arms reduction… However, the campaign ran into stiff resistance from France, which mocked the proposed missile shield as no better than the failed Maginot Line defences of the second world war. The French back retention of the "force de frappe", France's nuclear arsenal.’

Merkel contradicts official Government policy
Merkel shifts stance to say NATO must keep nuclear defence, 22 October 2010
‘Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday backed NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen's calls for NATO members to retain nuclear capacities as long as other countries had nuclear weapons. The chancellor's comments represented a shift in Germany's stance on disarmament, after pushing for a reduction of nuclear weapons in Europe. The previous argument was that a new missile shield would allow NATO members to cut their arsenals. 'As long as there are nuclear weapons in the world, we need to have these capabilities, as NATO says,' Merkel told journalists after talks with Rasmussen in Berlin.’

Westerwelle reiterates calls for withdrawal
Westerwelle repeats call for withdrawal of NATO nuclear weapons
Deutsche Welle, 11 November 2010
‘German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, speaking during a parliamentary debate, has again called on the country’s NATO allies to remove their stockpiles of nuclear weapons from German soil. A week before a key NATO summit in Lisbon, German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle has reiterated his demand for a full withdrawal of all nuclear weapons stored in Germany. "We continue to support the goal of withdrawal," Westerwelle said during a parliamentary debate on Thursday in Berlin. Disarmament is going to be a "key issue" for Germany at the Lisbon meeting, the foreign minister said.’

New Strategic Concept fails to move with the times
NATO Sets Basis for Tactical Nuclear Cutbacks, But Path Remains Uncertain
Global Security Newswire, 24 November 2010
‘At a summit meeting in Portugal late last week, NATO laid the groundwork for reducing the number of U.S. short-range nuclear weapons based in Europe, but deferred into the future any decision to do so… "This is a very bland consensus document that manages to straddle both moving toward a world without nuclear weapons and retaining NATO as a nuclear alliance," said Miles Pomper, a senior research associate at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies.’

The new Strategic Concept
Active Engagement, Modern Defence
North Atlantic Treaty Organisation
‘It commits NATO to the goal of creating the conditions for a world without nuclear weapons – but reconfirms that, as long as there are nuclear weapons in the world, NATO will remain a nuclear Alliance’

Fit for what purpose?
NATO: fit for what purpose?
Editorial, The Hindu, 24 November 2010
‘It is not enough for NATO to say that, as long as nuclear weapons exist, it will remain a nuclear alliance…. The central problem, however, is that although NATO intends to be “fit for purpose”, there is very little by way of a purpose it can coherently state. Its contribution to global security remains highly questionable.’

NATO seeks Russian cooperation on missile defence
Nato hopes to rebuild ties with Moscow
James Blitz and Daniel Dombey, Financial Times, 26 October 2010
‘Nato believes it is on the verge of a “reset” in its often fraught relationship with Russia, and is taking steps towards collaboration on a missile defence system while boosting co-operation over the war in Afghanistan, the alliance’s top diplomat has told the Financial Times… Mr Fogh Rasmussen said one of the central issues at the summit would be whether Nato and Russia could begin co-operating on the creation of a missile defence shield, which has long been championed by the US. While such a shield in Europe is being built and financed by the US, Washington hopes its allies will support the creation of a Nato-wide command and control system that would improve its coverage and capability.’

Technological difficulties persist
Missile defense program failed second test in a row, U.S. says
Washington Post/Reuters, 16 December 2010
‘A test of the U.S. missile defense program failed Wednesday, the second in a row involving the system, the Defense Department said. The Missile Defense Agency provided no preliminary explanation of the failure, the seventh out of 15 tries for the program. "This is a tremendous setback for the testing of this complicated system," Riki Ellison, head of the Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance, a booster group, said in a statement. He said it raised troubling questions about the reliability of the 30 or so interceptor missiles deployed in silos in Alaska and California.’

The mystery of missile defence
Chris Arsenault, Al-Jazeera, 17 December 2010
‘Despite constant technological problems with the system, the White House has requested $9.9bn for missile defence programmes for the next fiscal year (2011), [Ian] Anthony [of SIPRI] told Al Jazeera. Those vast sums of money concern Theodore Postol, a professor of science and international security at MIT and a former scientific adviser to the head of US naval operations. The weapons expert, hardly a liberal dove, just doesn’t believe missile defence can work technologically… Technological failures and massive financial costs aside, if Barack Obama, the US president, is serious about reducing the possibility of nuclear war, then it seems developing new missile systems isn’t the best way to inspire international trust.’

5) The United Kingdom

‘Securing Britain in an Age of Uncertainty: The Strategic Defence & Security Review’ (SDSR)
Cabinet Office, 19 October 2010

Rumours of main gate delay
Coalition ponders delay to Trident contracts
Alex Barker and Elizabeth Rigby, Financial Times, 16 September 2010
‘Ministers are considering delaying signing contracts for the Trident nuclear deterrent replacement until after the planned 2015 election as they seek to neutralise potential strains in the coalition. The possible postponement comes as the national security council is examining options to reduce costs on a £20bn replacement programme, including downgrading the “continuous-at-sea-deterrence” principle, which has been in force since the 1960s and guarantees that at least one submarine is always at sea.’

FT confirms delay
Trident to be delayed for up to 5 years
Alex Barker and James Blitz, Financial Times, 18 October 2010
‘In an announcement that will be warmly greeted by Mr Cameron’s Liberal Democrat coalition partners, the prime minister is to say that there will be a bigger-than-expected delay in replacing the current fleet of Vanguard submarines – and that the move will not jeopardise round-the-clock deterrence… Britain is committed to replacing the four submarines that launch the Trident D5 missile at a cost of £20bn, with construction of the boats to begin in 2014. Under existing plans, the UK will see the first boat in the new generation of submarines come into service in 2024. The first submarine will now come into service by 2027 at the earliest. The delay means the UK will be able to defer the financial burden of building the submarine platform until the 2020s.’

Trident WILL be funded by MoD
George Osborne insists Trident will be funded by the Ministry of Defence
Laura Roberts, The Telegraph, 18 August 2010
‘On Tuesday night the Chancellor reiterated his position in an interview with Channel 4 News.  He said: ''I'm very clear that the replacement of the nuclear deterrent - the Trident renewal programme - has to come from the Ministry of Defence's budget. And they know that.''’

Coalition cracks over Trident
Nick Clegg: Troops should take priority over Trident
The Guardian/Press Association, 16 August 2010
‘Deputy prime minister reveals tensions within coalition government over the nuclear weapons system… "My own view is that the kind of technology and hardware that we acquired as a country in the past, in an era of cold war conflict ... the role has changed and it's changing very fast and that needs to be reflected in the kinds of things that we spend money on.’

Lib Dems celebrate delay
Victory for the Lib Dems as Trident warheads reduced
Ian Dunt,, 19 October 2010
‘The Liberal Democrats secured a major political victory today, after it was confirmed that the Trident nuclear system will be significantly downgraded… "The UK is now leading the nuclear powers towards disarmament, essential to a more secure and less dangerous world," said Liberal Democrat peer Shirley Williams.’

Criticism of like-for-like replacement
Think again before Trident is all at sea
Menzies Campbell, Financial Times, 16 September 2010
‘The exclusion of nuclear policy from the defence review, and the breakneck speed at which it is being conducted, means such proposals [no CASD, modification of Astute class submarines to carry Trident missiles or a cruise missile nuclear capability based on the Astute submarines] have not been adequately scrutinised… What is clear is that the present hurried process is unnecessary and prejudicial to our strategic interests. We need a fresh debate without the polarisation of the 1980s, not about perception but pragmatism. The economic crisis indirectly provides that opportunity.’

Increased interest in alternatives
Defence Review: buying a replacement for Trident would cripple us
Lord David Owen, The Telegraph, 15 September 2010
‘I am encouraged by the rumour that the next Chief of Defence Staff and the Defence Secretary are “open to alternative solutions” on Trident replacement. A minimum nuclear deterrent is not a static concept. If we are to contribute to the negotiated elimination of nuclear weapons, it will not be credible if the Government cripples the defence budget with a new, super-sophisticated ballistic missile deterrent similar to Trident to last into the years 2050–60. The task is to plan for a minimum level of deterrence for the next two decades at least, which can be eliminated as the next step, perhaps as early as 2025… Deploying a TLAM-N [US Tomahawk Land Attack Missile] equivalent as the UK’s sole deterrent would mean reconceptualising the understanding of deterrence and its core concepts of survivability and assured retaliation at short notice. Nevertheless, the UK would be well advised to deploy a minimum deterrent of this type, which would also allow us to afford more than the presently ordered four new Astute class SSNs with a dual use, conventional and nuclear.’

Scrapping CASD?
Ministers consider fewer nuclear patrols
Alex Barker and James Blitz, Financial Times, 12 September 2010
 ‘Ministers are considering downgrading the policy that keeps a nuclear-armed submarine maintained at sea at all times, in the biggest overhaul of the country’s nuclear posture since the 1960s. A fierce squeeze on the defence budget means the national security council is assessing amendments to the “continuous at-sea deterrence” (CASD) principle adopted after President John F. Kennedy sold Britain the Polaris missile.’

Labour may rethink Trident
Labour may rethink Trident replacement - Ainsworth
BBC News, 4 November 2010
‘Ex-Defence Secretary Bob Ainsworth has said Labour may re-consider its support for replacing Trident. He said that if there was to be no decision for five years and if the cost would fall solely on the defence budget at the cost of other military capability "then we are going to have to think seriously about whether or not there is another way... of maintaining Britain's deterrent, without the huge cost cutting expenditure on the rest of our armed forces."… Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown was at pains to stress Labour's commitment to Trident ahead of the general election, but his successor as Labour leader, Ed Miliband, has indicated that although he remains committed to maintaining a constant nuclear deterrent, he would be prepared to review a "like-for-like" replacement of Trident.’

UK and France sign Nuclear Cooperation agreement
Cameron and Sarkozy hail UK-France defence treaties
BBC News, 2 November 2011
‘The nuclear treaty will establish a centre in the UK to develop testing technology and another one in France to carry out the testing. Warheads will be tested by technical means to ensure their safety and effectiveness, without having to test them by explosion.’

The Nuclear Cooperation Treaty
UK–France Summit 2010 Declaration on Defence and Security Co-operation
2 November 2010

Trident replacement procurement underway
Trident replacement orders under way, 18 February 2011
‘Parts for the replacement nuclear deterrent submarines have already been ordered and the government plans to order steel for the first boat's hull before the decision to continue with the programme is put to MPs, defence ministers have confirmed. Several items will be ordered before the 2016 Main Gate decision is made and the US government has already ordered some parts from American suppliers on behalf of the UK, it was revealed.’

Locked in funding for aircraft carriers raises questions over Trident
Aircraft carriers 'will be spared' in defence review
Peter Wozniak,, 13 October 2010
‘It had been suggested that the cost of the building programme, at £5 billion, would make the carriers prime candidates for cuts in the defence budget. However, it emerged that if the government were to cancel one or more of the vessels at this stage, it may actually cost more money to do so.’

Financial commitments prior to main gate criticised
Debate puts minister in the firing line
North-West Evening Mail, 2 February 2011
[Defence Secretary Liam Fox] faced coalition criticism from Liberal Democrats and his Conservative colleagues as he was questioned about the replacement of Britain’s nuclear deterrent… Liberal Democrat MP Tessa Munt suggested the Ministry of Defence was making too many financial commitments before MPs had approved the construction of the new submarines…. She said: “Will we be so financially committed that the main gate decision will be made irrelevant?”’

Vital info withheld
Government pressed over Trident costs secrecy
Richard Norton-Taylor, The Guardian, 15 January 2011
‘Withholding of key data would make a mockery of value-for-money study into nuclear missile submarines, say critics… The government has been accused of keeping vital information about the cost and contracts for a new Trident nuclear missile system secret despite promises that it would be open and disciplined over spending on defence… officials are declining to publish figures and there are concerns that by the time a formal decision on how to replace the existing Trident fleet is announced – after the 2015 general election, at the Liberal Democrats' insistence – so much will have been spent already and the contracts will have been drawn up so tightly that the outcome will be a foregone conclusion.’

Culture of secrecy
Comment: Culture of secrecy surrounds Trident costs
Katy Clark MP,, 28 February 2011
‘Approval of Initial Gate does not however commit the Ministry of Defence to authorise the construction of submarines. This decision is made at the later Main Gate stage of the process…. The Ministry of Defence however appears to be pre-empting this decision… Due to the fundamental importance of the decision to renew Trident as well as the amount of money due to be spent MPs must have the opportunity to review the Trident replacement programme when it reaches Main Gate and vote on the programme's abandonment or continuation to construction. It would be inappropriate for any orders for construction purposed to be made prior to this vote.’

Need for scrutiny
It will be too late to halt Trident's replacement if we don't talk now
Ian Davis, Comment is Free,, 23 February 2011
‘work on the successor submarine programme to replace the Trident missile system has begun… In addition, the first tranche of long-lead contracts for the new submarines are expected to go ahead shortly. Between 10% and 20% (around £2bn-£4bn) of the total cost of the new submarines is likely to be spent before the "delayed" "main gate" decision in 2015. Who is going to argue for a cheaper alternative (or cancel the project) after that?’

Civil Servants withhold nuclear info from minister
Denis Healey kept in the dark about Polaris upgrade
Mike Thomson, BBC News, 14 March 2011
‘In the mid-1970s, senior civil servants come to the conclusion that Britain should continue with plans to upgrade its nuclear weapons system, Polaris. However, sensing that then Chancellor of the Exchequer Denis Healey might not be convinced by their reasoning, they decide to keep vital facts from him.’

Trident Commission provides scrutiny
Nuclear weapons case to be examined by commission
Richard Norton-Taylor, The Guardian, 9 February 2011
‘The government's decision to go ahead with a new, but as yet undefined, nuclear missile system will be subjected to unprecedented independent scrutiny by a group of senior defence, diplomatic, scientific, and political figures. The new Trident commission will be headed by the former Labour defence secretary, Lord Browne, the former Conservative defence secretary, Sir Malcolm Rifkind, and the former Lib Dem defence spokesman, Sir Menzies Campbell.’

Nick Harvey: case for Trident is “thin”
UK defence minister: case for Trident is 'thin'
Julian Borger’s blog,, 9 February 2011
‘The armed forces minister, Nick Harvey, says he tried to dig up the original justification for Britain's sea-borne deterrent and found very little… Harvey said that looking back through government papers at how key decisions were made, he could find very little detailed argument from government officials justifying UK's doctrine of continuous at-sea deterrence. "When you looking for the paper trail, it is thin," Harvey said.’

Trident still splits coalition
Coalition split on post-Trident nuclear deterrent
Richard Norton-Taylor, The Guardian, 14 February 2011
‘Lib Dem armed forces minister criticises defence secretary Liam Fox's assumption of like-for-like replacement… Deep fissures are opening up among the coalition's senior defence policymakers over the future of Britain's nuclear deterrent, the Guardian can disclose. The splits are being exposed as it emerges that senior officials have not drawn up assessments for ministers about alternatives to replacing the existing Trident fleet of nuclear missile submarines.’

David Cameron affirms plans for ‘full’ Trident replacement
David Cameron 'committed to full Trident replacement'
BBC News, 9 February 2011
‘David Cameron has said he is committed to a "full" replacement for Trident nuclear weapons after claims the Lib Dems could force it to be cancelled. Tory MP Julian Lewis said the Lib Dems were boasting about key decisions being delayed until after the next election. And he urged the prime minister to guarantee he would not scrap Trident as the price of a coalition in the event of another hung Parliament. The exchange came at Prime Minister's Questions in the Commons.’

Lib Dem President claims full Trident replacement will not go ahead
Fears after Lib Dem claims Trident may not be fully replaced
David Maddox, The Scotsman, 12 March 2011
‘A senior Liberal Democrat has fuelled concerns over the future of Britain's nuclear deterrent by suggesting his party has persuaded their coalition partners not to replace it fully. Ahead of the Lib Dem spring conference in Sheffield this weekend, party UK president Tim Farron has boasted that his colleagues in government have already managed to stop a full replacement of Trident.’

Fire at Aldermaston
Residents evacuated after fire at UK's main nuclear weapons factory
Andrew Hough, The Telegraph, 4 August 2010
‘An investigation has been launched into what sparked the blaze at the Atomic Weapons Establishment in Aldermaston, Berks, which maintains the warheads for the UK's Trident nuclear deterrent.’

AWE safety scrutinised
Nuclear arsenals under scrutiny for safety lapses, fires and flood
Jamie Doward, The Observer, 22 August 2010
‘Health and safety practices at the UK's main nuclear weapons base are under intense scrutiny just weeks before it is expected to be granted permission for a multibillion-pound facility to conduct a new generation of radioactive tests.’

AWE fire worse than previously reported
Firefighters 'lost control' of blaze at Aldermaston nuclear weapons base
James Doward, The Guardian, 26 September 2010
‘A major fire at the Berkshire base where the UK's nuclear missiles are assembled was contained only after local fire crews requested back-up from emergency services outside the county, according to record logs of the incident. The logs, obtained by the Observer under the Freedom of Information Act, reveal that the scale of the blaze was far bigger than has previously been acknowledged and have raised new concerns about safety at the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) Aldermaston base in Berkshire.’

MoD reports reveal flaws in AWE safety regime
MoD's own experts reveal nuclear arms safety flaws
Rob Edwards, The Observer, 17th October 2010
‘Dozens of potentially disastrous flaws in the safety regime for nuclear weapons have been exposed by secret Ministry of Defence reports seen by the Observer. Safety procedures at the bomb factory at Aldermaston in Berkshire have been "poor", nuclear weapons convoys have suffered from "crew fatigue" and safety regulations have been ignored by nuclear submarine commanders, according to the MoD's internal safety watchdogs. The reports, released after a three-year freedom of information battle, also show that the "intrinsic safety" of Trident nuclear warheads was put at risk by an argument between Britain and the United States.’

MoD ignores terrorist risk
Revealed: MoD ignoring risk of terror attacks on Clyde nuke subs
Rob Edwards, Sunday Herald (Scotland), 5 September 2010
‘The Ministry of Defence has come under fire from its own expert advisers for failing to take account of the risk of terrorist attack on the nuclear submarine bases on the Clyde. A previously secret report released to the Sunday Herald under freedom of information laws also says there are “uncertainties” in the MoD’s risk estimates for accidents caused by aircraft crashes, fires, floods, explosions and ship collisions… “The coverage of man-made hazards currently excludes sabotage, terrorism, civil unrest and acts of war,” says the report. “Some consideration could have been given to these hazards.”

Safety rules suspended
Fears of public danger after Clyde bomb bases suspend safety rules
The Herald (Scotland), 30 January 2010
‘Rules meant to prevent accidents and radioactive leaks at the nuclear bomb bases on the Clyde have been suspended seven times in the last two years, prompting fears that workers and the public have been put in danger. The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has admitted that normal safety standards have been relaxed on 18 occasions since 2000 at the Faslane submarine base on Gareloch, pictured, and at the Coulport weapons store on Loch Long… The Clyde bases have been criticised by government safety inspectors for failing to improve their arrangements for maintaining vital equipment. These latest revelations come on top of a string of problems with submarine accidents, radioactive leaks and ageing facilities at the bases.’

Cuts jeopardise safety
Defence cuts threaten Trident nuclear safety, warns MoD
Rob Edwards, The Guardian, 27 January 2011
‘The safety of Britain's nuclear weapons and submarines is being jeopardised by staff shortages and spending cuts, according to secret Ministry of Defence reports. The MoD's nuclear safety watchdog [Defence Nuclear Environment and Safety Board (DNESB)] has warned it can no longer ensure Trident warheads and nuclear submarines "remain safe". There was a "lack of adequate resource to deliver (and regulate) the defence nuclear programmes safely".’

Safety concerns over reactors for Trident replacement
Flaws in nuclear submarine reactors could be fatal, secret report warns
Rob Edwards, The Guardian, 10 March 2011
‘Senior MoD safety expert's report brands navy reactors 'unsafe' and warns of potentially fatal leaks of radioactivity… The report, released under freedom of information law and passed to Channel 4 News, also reveals that arguments over the reactor designs have delayed decisions on replacing Trident by 18 months, and added more than £260m to the bill.’

Fox wants new PWR3 reactor for Trident replacement
Fox wants new reactors for Trident
Defence Management, 15 March 2011
‘The government is looking to install a new type of nuclear reactor in the Trident replacement submarines to improve the subs' "safety outlook", Defence Secretary Liam Fox has said. Speaking in the Commons, Fox said: "One decision in the Trident replacement will be whether we move to pressurised water reactor 3 for improved nuclear safety. The government's view is that that is the preferred option, because those reactors give us a better safety outlook.’

Initial Gate imminent
Initial Approval of U.K. Trident Plan Due Soon, Defense Chief Says
Global Security Newswire, 15 March 2011
‘British Defense Secretary Liam Fox on Monday said preliminary government approval of plans to modernize the nation's aging nuclear deterrent is expected in coming weeks, the Press Association reported… "The program to replace the Vanguard system has completed the initial concept studies and we expect an announcement and initial gate approval in the coming weeks," Fox told members of the House of Commons… "There remain ongoing discussions and these have taken longer than anticipated a few months ago," the defense chief said. "It's important, given the size of the project, that we get the decision right."’

Fox rules out move to 3 subs
Trident nuclear fleet cuts ruled out by Liam Fox
BBC News, 23 February 2011
‘A cut in the number of Trident submarines is not possible if the UK's nuclear deterrent is to be maintained, the defence secretary has said. Dr Liam Fox told BBC Scotland that the current technology required the retention of all four submarines.’

Scottish opposition
It is time to give a moral lead and cancel Trident
Iain MacWhirter, The Herald (Scotland), 24 February 2011
‘You may wonder why the MoD has decided that now is the time to throw a media spotlight on Trident, the focus of anti-nuclear feeling in Scotland for three decades. Could it be that they believe the SNP, which opposes nuclear weapons in the Clyde, is no longer a threat? Or at any rate, that Alex Salmond has given up on attempts to banish Trident by creative use of planning laws or environmental regulations? Whatever, the fantastic Mr Fox seems totally unconcerned that he is buying parts for a weapons system that may never be ordered in a country which doesn’t want them.’

Protesters target UK census
Boycott the UK census over links to Lockheed Martin, protesters say
David Sharrock and Jamie Doward, The Guardian, 19 February 2011
‘People are being urged to boycott next month's UK's census because the US arms manufacturer responsible for Trident is involved in gathering the information. Protesters say they are willing to break the law and face a £1,000 fine and a criminal record by refusing to fill in the 32-page questionnaire. Resistance to the decennial census is growing as a coalition of anti-war groups, pacifists, religious organisations and digital activists begin raising public awareness about the role of Lockheed Martin, America's largest arms manufacturer. The company, which makes Trident nuclear missiles, cluster bombs and F-16 fighter jets, won the £150m contract to run the census on behalf of the Office for National Statistics (ONS).’

6) Prospects for nuclear disarmament

Joint WSJ op-ed by German & Japanese foreign ministers
The Moral Challenge of a Nuclear-Free World
Katsuya Okada and Guido Westerwelle, Wall Street Journal, 4 September 2010
In this joint WSJ article, German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle and his Japanese counterpart Katsuya Okada described nuclear disarmament as 'the path that will most reliably minimize nuclear risks and enhance international security,'. They welcomed the commitments pledged at the NPT Review Conference in May, but described the agreement as ‘extremely fragile’ saying that
'without an intensive concerted effort, states will not honour it' They also stressed the importance of making nuclear weapons 'unattractive' and highlighted the importance of international humanitarian law: ‘Morality has recently played an important role in bringing about the success of treaties on land mines and cluster munitions. It is thus no coincidence that the Final Document of May's conference cited the need for states to comply with international humanitarian law.’

Op-ed by Russian Gang of Four in The Telegraph
Nuclear disarmament: the end of the atomic option
Yevgeny Primakov, Igor Ivanov, Evgeny Velikhov and Mikhail Moiseyev, Russia Now, online supplement, 17 January 2011
‘The concept of nuclear deterrence has become an insurmountable obstacle on the long and difficult road to global nuclear disarmament… Thus, nuclear disarmament requires greater confidence among nations, along with greater international security and stability… In this context, nuclear disarmament is not a goal in itself but rather an important area, precondition and method for reorganising international life on more civilised principles and according to the demands of the new century.’ Note: Yevgeny Primakov is Russia’s former prime minister and minister of foreign affairs, Igor Ivanov is a former minister of foreign affairs, Evgeny Velikhov is president of the Russian Scientific Centre “Kurchatov Institute”, Mikhail Moiseyev is former chief of the general staff.

New initiative for nuclear disarmament
Germany joins new international initiative for nuclear disarmament, 23 September 2010
‘Ten countries, including Germany, have joined together to call for a world without nuclear weapons… Meeting on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York, the 10 countries launched a new initiative to work towards a world without nuclear weapons… The initiative includes Canada, Chile, Germany, Mexico, Poland, the Netherlands, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates – none of which owns nuclear weapons… The next meeting of the initiative - called the Cross-Regional Group on Non-Proliferation and Disarmament - will be in Berlin’

Nobel Laureates call for nuclear disarmament and a nuclear weapons convention
Hiroshima Declaration urges no-nuke world, 16 November 2010
‘The World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates ended Sunday with a joint declaration seeking a world without nuclear weapons and participants expressing support for a recently released Nobel Peace Prize winner and one still imprisoned.  The Hiroshima Declaration on the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons said there is "no doubt that the use of nuclear weapons against any populated area must be regarded as a crime against humanity and shall henceforth be prohibited."’

Women, peace & security
No more Little Boy and Fat Man
Rebecca Johnson, Open Democracy, 3 November 2010
‘As a political instrument of power projection and status, nuclear weapons carry a peculiarly masculine symbolism. In the 1980s, Greenham women were at the forefront of challenging masculine ideologies of defence and security. We need to seize the initiative and again become the agents of security transformation.’

Criticisms of lack of progress at CD

For a full list of statements to the CD, see the Reaching Critical Will website

Martin says disarmament conference an example of all that is worst in UN
Irish Times, 25 September 2010
‘Minister for Foreign Affairs, Micheál Martin, told a high-level United Nations meeting on disarmament yesterday that international action on the issue had been unacceptably slow. Mr Martin was speaking in New York at a meeting convened by the United Nations secretary general Ban Ki-moon on Revitalising the Work of the Conference on Disarmament. Ireland joined the Geneva-based Conference on Disarmament in 1999, but as the Minister told yesterday’s meeting, “the conference has not managed to engage in substantive work for well over a decade . . . the status quo cannot continue”.’

Rudd blasts stalled arms control talks
ABC News, 25 September 2010
This short article reports on Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd’s critical comments on the lack of progress at the UN Conference on Disarmament: ‘"This is not just problematic for the international community, it's not just problematic for the integrity and the reputation of the United Nations, it is in fact scandalous and we need to bring it to a halt," he said. Mr Rudd says the group should try to restart its work by the end of next year.’

US 'disappointment' over continued logjam in nuclear pact
AFP, 5 October 2010
‘Rose Gottemoeller, US assistant secretary of state for arms control, verification and compliance, alluded to foot-dragging by nuclear-armed Pakistan and warned "our patience will not last for ever. I have to tell you that I expressed some disappointment at the fact that the conference on disarmament over the last years has been less energetic in terms of pursuing its overall agenda,"’

Clinton urges progress at CD
Clinton Calls For Negotiations on Fissile Material Pact
Global Security Newswire, 1 March 2011
‘Addressing the international Conference on Disarmament in Geneva, Clinton said a ban on the creation of new nuclear-weapon material was "in the interest of every country" and that multinational talks on the pact should begin "without further delay."… "Our patience is not infinite. There is no justification for a single nation to abuse the consensus principle and forever thwart the legitimate desire of the 64 other states to get negotiations under way on an agreement that would strengthen our common security," Clinton said.’

Calls for fissile material talks to move from CD
Fissile Material Talks Could be Shifted From Disarmament Forum
Global Security Newswire, 27 September 2010
‘The United States and other governments threatened Friday to pursue negotiation of a fissile material cutoff treaty outside the international Conference on Disarmament if the current impasse continues at the 65-nation body’

Ban Ki-Moon discourages move away from CD
U.N. Head Discourages Fissile Material Talks Outside Disarmament Forum
Global Security Newswire, 25 February 2011
‘Governments might undermine the international Conference on Disarmament in Geneva, Switzerland, by pursuing negotiations on a fissile material cutoff treaty outside the 65-nation body, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said yesterday… Some Conference on Disarmament member nations have weighed pursuing preliminary talks outside the deadlocked body, but "such a parallel mechanism risks weakening the [conference's] relevance and credibility,” Ban said.’

How to break the fissile materials impasse
Breaking Pakistan's Nuclear Addiction
Darryl Kimball, Foreign Policy, 4 November 2010
The Arms Control Association’s Executive Director addresses the issue of how to move forward negotiations on a fissile material cut-off treaty and reduce dangers on the Indian sub-continent: ‘Stronger, more creative leadership from Washington and other capitals will be necessary to break the dangerous impasse. Here is what President Barack Obama and others can do: Encourage Indian leadership and restraint; Establish independent talks to establish a fissile cutoff; Investigate Pakistan's misuse of IAEA assistance for its weapons work… Taken together, these policies could persuade Pakistan to drop its opposition to negotiations to halt the further production of nuclear-bomb material and help slow an expensive and dangerous arms race in a fraught neighborhood. The alternatives to a peaceful resolution are too terrible to contemplate.’

P5 to hold another confidence-building conference
Nuclear Powers to Discuss Disarmament, Verification Issues
Global Security Newswire, 17 February 2011
‘The five recognized nuclear powers plan to convene later this year to discuss possible confidence-building measures toward atomic disarmament and other nonproliferation issues… France has offered to sponsor talks with its fellow nuclear states… to examine ways to make good on various commitments they made at the end of last year's Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty review conference, according to Assistant Secretary of State Rose Gottemoeller. The meeting would take place in Paris, possibly in June, and continue a process that began in September 2009’

Libya’s disarmament and nuclear crisis averted
In U.S.-Libya Nuclear Deal, a Qaddafi Threat Faded Away
David E. Sanger, New York Times, 1 March 2011
‘In late 2009 the Obama administration was leaning on Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi and his son, Seif, to allow the removal from Libya of the remnants of the country’s nuclear weapons program: casks of highly enriched uranium... Today, with father and son preparing for a siege of Tripoli, the success of a joint American-British effort to eliminate Libya’s capability to make nuclear and chemical weapons has never, in retrospect, looked more important.’

Another WSJ op-ed
Deterrence in the age of nuclear proliferation
H. Kissinger, S. Nunn, W. Perry and G. Schultz, Wall Street Journal, 7 March 2011
“Recently, the four of us met at the Hoover Institution with a group of policy experts to discuss the possibilities for establishing a safer and more comprehensive form of deterrence and prevention in a world where the roles and risks of nuclear weapons are reduced and ultimately eliminated. Our broad conclusion is that nations should move forward together with a series of conceptual and practical steps toward deterrence that do not rely primarily on nuclear weapons or nuclear threats to maintain international peace and security… Reconciling national perspectives on nuclear deterrence is a challenging problem, and comprehensive solutions must be developed. A world without nuclear weapons will not simply be today's world minus nuclear weapons.”

International relations for the 21st Century
Will the new US-Russian arms treaty blunt the nuclear threat?
David E. Hoffman, The Independent, 11 February 2011
‘It is time for a serious reconsideration of our reliance on nuclear deterrence… One of the first things that both Washington and Moscow could do would be to take nuclear weapons off launch-ready alert… In a very real sense, nuclear deterrence, as it was known in the Cold War, has lost its overwhelming potency as the backbone of security. While the bombs won't go away, there's an urgent need to create modern instruments for getting results in international relations: persuasion, coercive diplomacy, defence and resilience against foes.’

7) Wikileaks

US urged to attack Iran
Saudi Arabia urges US attack on Iran to stop nuclear programme
Ian Black and Simon Tisdall, The Guardian, 28 November 2010
‘King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia has repeatedly urged the United States to attack Iran to destroy its nuclear programme, according to leaked US diplomatic cables that describe how other Arab allies have secretly agitated for military action against Tehran. The revelations, in secret memos from US embassies across the Middle East, expose behind-the-scenes pressures in the scramble to contain the Islamic Republic, which the US, Arab states and Israel suspect is close to acquiring nuclear weapons. Bombing Iranian nuclear facilities has hitherto been viewed as a desperate last resort that could ignite a far wider war.’

Proliferation concerns

US trying to remove enriched Pak uranium: WikiLeaks, 29 November 2010
‘US diplomatic cables released on Sunday show that since 2007 the United States has been engaged in a secret effort to remove highly enriched uranium from a Pakistani research reactor. According to the documents released by a whistle-blowing website called Wiki-Leaks, the US administration authorised this effort because American officials feared the material could be diverted for use in an illicit nuclear device.’

WikiLeaks cables expose Pakistan nuclear fears
David Leigh, The Guardian, 30 November 2010
‘American and British diplomats fear Pakistan's nuclear weapons programme could lead to fissile material falling into the hands of terrorists or a devastating nuclear exchange with India. The latest cache of US embassy cables released by WikiLeaks contains warnings that Pakistan is rapidly building its nuclear stockpile despite the country's growing instability and "pending economic catastrophe".’

WikiLeaks: al-Qaeda 'is planning a dirty bomb'
Heidi Blake and Christopher Hope, The Telegraph, 2 February 2011
‘Al-Qaeda is actively tring to secure nuclear material and recruiting rogue scientists to build a radioactive "dirty" bomb, according to leaked diplomatic documents.’

Concerns over Iran

Washington troubled by Iran nuclear fears
James Blitz and Daniel Dombey, Financial Times, 30 November 2010
‘A theme that stands out from the first batch of US diplomatic cables published by WikiLeaks is Washington’s abiding fear about weapons proliferation – particularly concerning Iran’s nuclear and missile programmes… In one document, detailing discussions with Russia last December, US diplomats refer to their belief that in 2005 Iran obtained 19 advanced missiles from North Korea with range to hit Berlin and Moscow… A second document shows how, in 2007, the US was concerned that China had failed to stop the shipment of important missile parts from North Korea to Iran… A third document points to fears generated by Pakistan’s nuclear programme. It suggests that US officials tried – but failed – to get a stock of highly enriched uranium removed from a research reactor in Pakistan.’

Fear of 'different world' if Iran gets nuclear weapons
Simon Tisdall, The Guardian, 28 November 2010
‘Embassy cables reveal how US relentlessly cajoles and bullies governments not to give succour to Tehran… "Without progress in the next few months, we risk nuclear proliferation in the Middle East, war prompted by an Israeli strike, or both," Gates said. If Iran were allowed to develop a nuclear weapon, he added, the US and its allies would face "a different world" in four to five years.
As thousands of leaked state department cables show, Gates's visit was part of a tireless, round-the-clock offensive by US government officials, politicians, diplomats and military officers to curb Iran's nuclear ambitions and roll back its advance across the Middle East.’

Tehran’s hubris may now know no bounds
Suzanne Maloney, Financial Times, 30 November 2010
‘In fact, despite all their juicy details, the WikiLeaks revelations on Iran offer no epiphanies… the hawkishness of Arab leaders on Iran when behind closed doors has long been the region’s worst kept secret… The real problem that the WikiLeaks document dump poses is the repercussions for diplomacy towards Iran and, in particular, the upcoming talks over Iran’s nuclear programme… The leaks will exacerbate two countervailing but equally problematic tendencies among Iran’s leaders – their paranoia and overconfidence… At a time of renewed regional reticence towards Tehran this makes it almost inevitable that the long-awaited nuclear negotiations will end in acrimony.’

North Korea
WikiLeaks: China drags feet on N Korea
Kathrin Hille, Financial Times, 29 November 2010
‘China has been dragging its feet in responding to US requests for it to rein in weapons parts shipments from North Korea to Iran through its territory, according to some of the diplomatic cables made public on the WikiLeaks website. The details revealed in the correspondence show how widely the expectations and attitudes with which Washington and Beijing address non-proliferation issues differ. This could heighten the pressure on Beijing as the US, South Korea and other countries have called on the Chinese government to use its influence to pull North Korea back from its belligerent stance.’

CD negotiations
‘China dumped Pak in Conference on Disarmament’
The Hindu, 1 December 2010
‘A top British diplomat in September 2009 told a visiting American diplomat that China has “dumped” Pakistan in the Conference on Disarmament, according to a US cable leaked by whistleblower site WikiLeaks on Wednesday… “China has ‘dumped’ Pakistan in the Conference on Disarmament (CD), which is a ‘good sign’ Tauscher urged P5 action to get Pakistan to stop blocking progress in the CD on the Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT),” the cable says… Leslie said she was optimistic regarding China’s commitment to multilateral cooperation and she suggested that the U.S. and the UK should push China for progress “until they say ‘stop it’.’

“Spoiled child”
Wikileaks cables reveal China 'ready to abandon North Korea'
Simon Tisdall, The Guardian, 29 November 2010
‘China has signalled its readiness to accept Korean reunification and is privately distancing itself from the North Korean regime, according to leaked US embassy cables that reveal senior Beijing figures regard their official ally as a "spoiled child"… News of the Chinese shift comes at a crucial juncture after the North's artillery bombardment of a South Korean island last week that killed four people and led both sides to threaten war. China has refused to condemn the North Korean action. But today Beijing appeared to bow to US pressure to help bring about a diplomatic solution, calling for "emergency consultations" and inviting a senior North Korean official to Beijing.’

UK civil servants & Trident
WikiLeaks cables: Whitehall told US to ignore Brown's Trident statement
David Leigh, The Guardian, 8 December 2010
‘Two senior Whitehall officials assured US diplomats that the renewal of Britain's Trident nuclear deterrent would go ahead, apparently contradicting then prime minister Gordon Brown's public statements proposing some disarmament by the UK, according to leaked US embassy cables.’


WikiLeaks: Heated debate in Germany over nuclear weapons on its soil
CNN, 1 December 2010
‘A proposal to reduce nuclear weapons highlighted the debate within the German government about when and how to get rid of nuclear weapons on its soil, a new WikiLeaks document shows. Its release also reveals the presence of nuclear weapons in several European countries and Turkey, information not normally released by NATO… German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle has called for the removal of all nuclear weapons from German soil. However, Heusgen distanced the German government from the proposal they had signed onto, claiming that "this had been forced upon them by FM Westerwelle," the cable said.’

WikiLeaks cables: Egypt 'turned down' black-market nuclear weapons deal
Julian Borger, The Guardian, 19 December 2010
‘Egypt was offered nuclear weapons, material and expertise on the black market after the Soviet Union, according to a senior Egyptian diplomat… Maged Abdelaziz, the country's ambassador to the UN, made the revelation to America's top negotiator on nuclear arms control, Rose Gottemoeller, in a conversation reported in a leaked US cable in May last year.’

WikiLeaks cables: planned US missile shield blind to nuclear weapons
Heidi Blake, The Telegraph, 4 February 2011
‘US plans for a missile defence system on Czech soil ran into trouble when defence chiefs realised the proposed radar was blind to nuclear missiles, leaked diplomatic cables show.’

NPT positions
The Cables:
- Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) Bilaterals
- US Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Tauscher's meetings with French officials
- US Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Tauscher's meetings with British Foreign Secretary Miliband
- US Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Tauscher's meetings in London
- US Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Tauscher's December 1-2 visit to Israel
- Ambassador demarches Libyans on proposal to amend the NPT

Nuclear Wikileaks: Cables show cosy US relationship with IAEA chief
Julian Borger’s blog,, 30 November 2010
‘When Yukiya Amano took over as the head of the UN nuclear watchdog last year, American diplomats described him as "director general of all states, but in agreement with us"… The main US concern as Amano prepared to take the helm, was that some of the agency officials that Washington found troublesome, particularly in the EXPO (external relations and policy) department, were renewing their contracts and might be hard to dislodge.’

Acronym Institute
The Cables:
- para 30: John Duncan refers US Assistant Secretary Rose Gottemoeller
to Acronym’s proposals for the NPT Review Conference

- para 15: Executive Director Rebecca Johnson is mentioned as one of the speakers at an international conference in Brazil in preparation for the NPT Review Conference

8) Other News

Kyodo News on China no first strike change
China military eyes preemptive nuclear attack in event of crisis
Kyodo News Agency, 5 January 2011
The Chinese military will consider launching a preemptive nuclear strike if the country finds itself faced with a critical situation in a war with another nuclear state, internal documents showed Wednesday. The newly revealed policy, called ‘‘Lowering the threshold of nuclear threats,’’ may contradict China’s strategy of no first use of nuclear weapons under any circumstances… The People’s Liberation Army’s strategic missile forces, the Second Artillery Corps, ‘‘will adjust the nuclear threat policy if a nuclear missile-possessing country carries out a series of air strikes against key strategic targets in our country with absolutely superior conventional weapons,’’ according to the documents, copies of which were obtained by Kyodo News.’

China rejects claims
China rejects as 'groundless' it will use preemptive nuclear strike, 6 January 2011
‘China rejected Thursday an earlier news report that said the country will consider launching a preemptive nuclear strike under critical situations in a war and slammed it as groundless and borne out of ulterior motives… "From the very first day that China possessed nuclear weapons, the Chinese government made a solemn pledge to never be the first to use nuclear weapons, at any time, under whatever circumstances and has been living up to this promise," he said.’

Arms Control Wonk casts some light
China and No First Use
Jeffrey Lewis,, 15 January 2011         
‘Basically this is an well-known textbook that is widely circulated and cited, which has been taken out of context and then further abused by the translation into English. The Chinese military is not eyeing a preemptive nuclear attack in a crisis…This is a textbook that has circulated, if not widely, at least among scholars for some time now and was little remarked upon by experts because in context it is broadly consistent with what we already knew: China’s no first use policy probably remains a real operational constraint on how China trains, equips and postures its nuclear forces.’

Military dominates space
World's Military Projects Still Dominate Space, 6 October 2010
‘Cold War paranoia may have eased up on the Space Race decades ago, but a new report finds that military projects still take up nearly half of all spending worldwide on space assets. The United States is by far the biggest spender on defense-related space programs, yet its technical savvy also makes it the country most dependent on such systems, according to a report, "Space Security 2010," released in September.’

Cluster Munitions Treaty comes into force
Global cluster bomb ban comes into force
Stuart Hughes, BBC News, 1 August 2010
‘The Convention on Cluster Munitions bans the stockpiling, use and transfer of virtually all existing cluster bombs, and also provides for the clearing up of unexploded munitions. It has been adopted by 108 states, of which 38 have ratified it… Campaigners have hailed the treaty as the most significant disarmament and humanitarian treaty for a decade.’

US eliminates 80% of its chemical weapons
U.S. Eliminates 80 Percent of Chemical Weapons Arsenal
Global Security Newswire, 5 October 2010
‘Only 20 percent of the U.S. arsenal of chemical warfare materials remains to be destroyed, the Army announced yesterday… The United States held 31,500 tons of lethal substances such as mustard blister agent and the nerve agents sarin and VX when it ratified the Chemical Weapons Convention in 1997… The 80 percent milestone "is another positive step in meeting the treaty and our commitment to the American people to safely dispose of the stockpile of chemical weapons," CMA Director Conrad Whyne said in a press release.’

Russia behind schedule but making progress
Russia opens key plant to destroy chemical weapons
Associated Press, 26 November 2010
‘Russia will miss a 2012 deadline for destroying all of its chemical weapons, officials said Friday as they inaugurated a major new plant to dispose of them. The facility at Pochep, tucked between Ukrainian and Belarussian borders 250 miles southwest of Moscow, is the latest of six plants built in Russia in recent years to dismantle its Cold War-era chemical weapons arsenals — the world's largest. Pochep will process nearly 19 percent of Russia's stockpile, or 7,500 tons of nerve agent used in aircraft-delivered munitions. The plant, hidden in a dense birch forest, is key for Russia's commitment to destroy all of its chemical weapons by April 2012 as Russia deals with its vast arsenal of weapons of mass destruction.’

Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) Review Conference
Can this treaty be saved?
David E. Hoffman, Foreign Policy, 18 January 2010
Drawing on a recent article by Jonathan B. Tucker in Arms Control Today, the author looks towards this year’s BWC RevCon: ‘The treaty entered into force 35 years ago, and looks dog-eared. Not only has it been repeatedly violated with impunity, but the rapid pace of change in biotechnology is making it seem less and less relevant. Can it be saved?’

Nuclear disarmament on the agenda

April 2010 marked the one-year anniversary of US President Barack Obama’s Prague speech in which he set out his vision for a world free of nuclear weapons. That, coupled with media interest in the US-Russian negotiations on a successor to the START Treaty and May’s 2010 NPT Review Conference, generated a number of articles on the prospects for nuclear disarmament. We’ve included a small selection of them here…


Index of articles

  1. Nuclear Disarmament Assessments

  2. NPT Review Conference
    - Iran takes centre stage
    - Middle East NWFZ
    - Israel responds to the Rev Con
    - US announces size of its nuclear arsenal
    - Post-conference commentary
    - Acronym blog
    - An initial look back
    - Reaching Critical Will Analysis
    - Issues largely ignored in the press
    - NGO letter on tactical nuclear weapons

    US Nuclear Developments


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