Friday, 15 November 2019
logo
Up-to-the-minute perspectives on defence, security and peace
issues from and for policy makers and opinion leaders.
        



dv-header-dday
     |      View our Twitter page at twitter.com/defenceredbox     |     
nuclear

By DAVID E. SANGER and WILLIAM J. BROAD of the New York Times

Published: February 18, 2010

WASHINGTON — The United Nations' nuclear inspectors declared for the first time on Thursday that they had extensive evidence of "past or current undisclosed activities" by Iran's military to develop a nuclear warhead, an unusually strongly worded conclusion that seems certain to accelerate Iran's confrontation with the United States and other Western countries.

Yukiya Amano, the new head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, is being watched to see how he deals with Iran.

The report confirms that Iran has enriched small quantities of uranium to 20 percent, but makes no assessment of how close it might be to producing a nuclear weapon, which Tehran denies it is seeking to do.

Read more...  

By Martin Groarke

According to a report by the Nuclear Threat Initiative, scientists at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico are in the process of developing 'detailed, virtual models of nuclear reactor facilities to help provide more true-to-life training to inspectors' whose job it is to monitor such sites for the illicit diversion—to non-peaceful purposes— of nuclear material. Reportedly involving the same computer tools as those used in the production of today's animated films, the team at Los Alamos have already built a three-dimensional model of a reactor in Idaho, including small details such as wiring, warning markers and radiation indicators. The system has been provided to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and, according to Kelly Michel, the official in charge of the project, has already helped IAEA safeguards officials to notably improve their inspection test scores.

Read more...  

By Lauren Williamson, Great North News correspondent

A British newspaper incorrectly reported that wikileaked diplomatic cables revealed the US was set to exploit the UK in its renewed arms reduction treaty with Russia. The February 5 article in The Telegraph called into question the UK-US "special relationship," reporting that the US would share secret UK Trident missile data with Russia as part of the New START treaty which went into effect earlier this month. The allegations were quickly echoed by news entities around the world from the Daily Mail to Iran's PressTV.

US Assistant Secretary of State PJ Crowley immediately dismissed the report. "There was no secret agreement and no compromise of the UK's independent nuclear deterrent," Crowley told the press.

UK officials substantiate this.

Though the Foreign Office would not comment on the specifics of the treaty, in an official statement to Great North News, UK Foreign Secretary William Hague expressed support for the New START deal and its work "towards our long-term goal of a world without nuclear weapons."

But regarding The Telegraph report, Dr. Julian Lewis, New Forest East MP and expert on defence and disarmament, said he found the article's content surprising.

"The idea that this was a clandestine deal is utter nonsense," said Dr. Lewis, calling the story "sensationalised" and emphasising that the US "never has, never will" provide external entities information on missile performance.

By and large, the New START deal is a straightforward extension of the original START, or Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, which was an historic bilateral agreement between the US and USSR to drawdown strategic arms, including intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) and submarine launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs). The old START, which expired in 2009, effectively limited the number of warheads allowed on US and Russian missiles, while allowing for an information exchange and inspection-verification process between them. Part of the deal required each nation to share information about weapons transfers to third parties.

The Arms Control Association explains that Britain uses only one ballistic missile system for issuing nuclear warheads, the Trident II SLBM, which is provided by the US. An example of a third party missile transaction governed by START would be the return of UK missiles to the US for service checks and reconditions, followed by missile replacements.

The New START deal continues most of the old treaty's provisions, further limiting deployed strategic nuclear warheads to 1,550, deployed and non-deployed strategic launchers and heavy bombers to 800, and deployed strategic launchers and heavy bombers to 700. The main differences in the new agreement, according to Dr. Lewis, is that the US and Russia are now allowed five days to provide third party transaction information, as opposed to 48 hours, and that part of the data provided includes the unique identifier of the missiles exchanged.

Some analysts are concerned that this gives Russia too much detail on the size of the UK's arsenal. While Dr. Lewis agrees that this information will, over time, provide Russia a clearer picture of the number of missiles the UK possesses, the UK's overall security strategy is not compromised, since providing Russia the unique identifier numbers to UK missiles falls far short of full disclosure.

"The truth is that it is rather irrelevant information," Dr. Lewis said.

The number of warheads mounted on each missile supplied by the US still remains unknown to outside nations, and Britain's minimum strategic nuclear deterrent remains intact, as does its relationship with the US.

"The important thing is that we are always at liberty to vary the number of warheads on a missile," said Dr. Lewis.

 

By Nikos Lampas

A rather wide discussion takes place these days, due to the fact of the ongoing Nuclear Summit in D.C, regarding the possibility of a nuclear attack originating from non-state actors. The international community in general seems to come in terms with the possibility of terrorist organizations mounting an attack of non-conventional nature. The recent statement of President Obama that "the single biggest threat to U.S. security, both short-term, medium-term and long-term, would be the possibility of a terrorist organization obtaining a nuclear weapon," clearly enhances the insecurity that states experience regarding the dimensions of the terrorist threat. Many analysts, including highly esteemed scholars such as Sam Nunn, precipitate the insecurity that states feel by adding, "President Obama is focusing high-level attention on the threat that already exists out there, and that's tremendously important." A fundamental belief that permeates the ongoing summit is that "its key objective is to get basic consensus that nuclear terrorism is a global threat -- and needs to be a core mission of the IAEA".

Read more...  

..............estimate of world's stockpiles of nuclear weapons from the Federation of American Scientists and the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists. (Under the 2002 Moscow Treaty the USA and Russia are committed to reducing stockpiles to between 2200 aand 1700)

Russia...............2790
USA.................2126
France................300
China..................180
UK.....................160
Israel....................80
Pakistan...............60
India....................60
North Korea .....<10

A five yearly review of the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty is to take place in May 2010

 

By Yusuf Yerkel,

The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) passed the fourth round of sanctions on Iran on June 9, 2010. Since then there has been no indication that Iran has become more cooperative and willing to open up its nuclear facility. In fact, economic sanctions against Iran have not prevented the pursuit  of uranium enrichment activities at all. Nowadays the propaganda of waging war against Iran as a resolution has been speculated around various administrations, in particular in the US and Israel. Whether such speculations will materialize remains to be seen. However "appealing" waging war against Iran is for some neo-cons, Turkey's paradigm stands as a potential conciliatory approach for conflict resolution not only in the case of Iran but also in other regional crisis.

The security culture of 'zero problems' with its neighbours is the primary reference point within which Turkey's stance on Iran should be analyzed. Rather than implementing hard power policy, the soft power approach has become the fundamental instrument in resolving regional problems. As the Turkish foreign minster Davutoglu pronounced, Turkey has adopted a new language in regional and international politics that prioritises civil-economic power.

Turkey's new security culture puts more emphasis on economic integration, cultural and political dialogue and room for diplomacy in conflict resolutions. According to Turkey, pursuing merely political engagement among regional actors would render the relationship very fragile in the light of crisis, whereas deepening ties by various non-political mechanisms offers the opportunity to overcome crises. In fact, Turkish President Abdullah Gul in his recent speech at Chatham House raised this point by arguing that boosting economic cooperation, which will in turn translate into prosperity, has the potential to prevent political problems from arising in zones of conflict in various regions.

Read more...  

By Lauren Williamson

Iranian nuclear negotiations have been underway again in Geneva between Iranian officials and diplomats from the P5+1 countries. Yet according to Reuters, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad doesn't plan to discuss his country's specific nuclear programme and will be opting instead to chat about nuclear issues generally or other global problems. As Ahmadinejad sees it, the heavy-weight weapons-wielders of the world are about to scold him – again – arguing his country should not play with guns.

It is unlikely that this round of talks will yield a less defiant Iran, as Tehran has been doggedly determined in its nuclear pursuit. This is especially true in light of Sunday's revelation by the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran who claims Iran is now fully capable of producing nuclear fuel. It can now successfully make yellow cake, or uranium powder which, when refined, can become fissile nuclear bomb material.

Currently, Iran is returning to the negotiating table after a 14-month break. But the history of the issue has deep roots. The Institute for Science and International Security says Iran outlined nuclear ambitions in the 1950s, later signing the Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT) – which does allow for the pursuit of peaceful nuclear energy programmes. From the 1980s through the 2000s Iran conducted undeclared nuclear-related activity, violating conditions of the NPT. Instead of pursuing its peaceful programme transparently, as it had agreed, Iran has been shirking it obligations to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). And its non-compliance has resulted in brutal economic sanctions from the international community since 2006.

Read more...  

By David Hoghton-Carter, UK Defence Forum Research Associate

The UK's strategic deterrent, Trident, has come in for a lot of flak recently. With budgets tight, there are plenty of rumblings from political circles and the blogosphere alike that it should be first to face the axe. After all, Trident is undeniably a costly programme, and it's difficult to see what benefits we gain from it through the opaque lens of national security.

Here at the UK Defence Forum, we've long taken an interest in this debate, and there are plenty of basic questions to answer. It's right to take account of the views of those who are in principled opposition to Trident, but conventional anti-nuclear arguments can fail to take into account the wide variety of potential weapons that can utilise atomic technology. The prospect of replacing or renewing Trident is itself controversial, and has been discussed at length in the House of Commons. Nevertheless, I'd like to take a take a moment to refute some of the common arguments posed against maintaining the deterrent into the future.

Read more...  

By Ariel Cohen, PhD

As President Medvedev of Russia is coming to visit Barack Obama, the Administration's spokesmen are desperately trying to convince us that the "reset" policy with the Russia has paid off. They argue that Russia and the United States have developed a real partnership, as demonstrated by the signature of the New START treaty, Russian support for the U.N.'s sanctions on Iran, and transit agreements to move troops and supplies into Afghanistan through Russian territory and air space.

Senator John Kerry (D-MA), the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, thinks that a new era of U.S.-Russian cooperation has dawned. A closer look at the bilateral relationship, however, reveals that the cost for this cooperation and its often symbolic success has been very high.

Read more...  

By Baker Spring

The White House plans to submit the April 8, 2010, the Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms Treaty (New START) between the Russian Federation and the United States of America to the Senate for ratification today. The Senate should focus less on the text of the Treaty, its Protocol and Annexes because these documents were made available to the Senate and the public earlier. Instead, the Senate should focus more on the two documents that will accompany today's submission and that have so far not been made public. The first is the section-by-section analysis of the Treaty. The second is the so-called Section 1251 report.

Read more...  
Start
Prev
1
 

Cookies
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies on the Defence Viewpoints website. However, if you would like to, you can modify your browser so that it notifies you when cookies are sent to it or you can refuse cookies altogether. You can also delete cookies that have already been set. You may wish to visit www.aboutcookies.org which contains comprehensive information on how to do this on a wide variety of desktop browsers. Please note that you will lose some features and functionality on this website if you choose to disable cookies. For example, you may not be able to link into our Twitter feed, which gives up to the minute perspectives on defence and security matters.