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Merlin
25 Mar 09,, 08:32
For years there has been no news and development from the US and Russia on this important global issue. The 1991 Start I (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty I (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/START_I)) is due to expire at the end of 2009. As this editorial below says, "There is no time to waste."

Watershed Moment on Nuclear Arms (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/25/opinion/25wed1.html)


Mar 24, 2009 [NYTimes Editorial] During the 2008 campaign, President Obama promised to deal with one of the world’s great scourges — thousands of nuclear weapons still in the American and Russian arsenals. He said he would resume arms-control negotiations — the sort that former President George W. Bush disdained — and seek deep cuts in pursuit of an eventual nuclear-free world. There is no time to waste.

In less than nine months, the 1991 Start I treaty expires. It contains the basic rules of verification that give both Moscow and Washington the confidence that they know the size and location of the other’s nuclear forces.

The Bush administration made little effort to work out a replacement deal. So we are encouraged that American and Russian officials seem to want a new agreement. Given the many strains in the relationship, it will take a strong commitment from both sides, and persistent diplomacy, to get one in time.

When President Obama meets Russia’s president, Dmitri Medvedev, in London on April 1, the two should commit to begin talks immediately and give their negotiators a deadline for finishing up before Dec. 5. For that to happen, the Senate must quickly confirm Mr. Obama’s negotiator, Rose Gottemoeller, so she can start work.

Mr. Bush and then-President Vladimir Putin signed only one arms-control agreement in eight years. It allowed both sides to keep between 1,700 and 2,200 deployed warheads. Further cuts — 1,000 each makes sense for the next phase — would send a clear message to Iran, North Korea and other wannabes that the world’s two main nuclear powers are placing less value on nuclear weapons.

Mr. Obama and Mr. Medvedev should also pledge that these negotiations are just a down payment on a more ambitious effort to reduce their arsenals and rid the world of nuclear weapons. The next round should aim to bring Britain, France and China into the discussions. In time, they will have to cajole and wrestle India, Pakistan and Israel to the table as well.

There is a lot President Obama can do right now to create momentum for serious change. We hope his expected speech on nuclear weapons next month is bold. ...

Merlin
25 Mar 09,, 10:42
Things are in motion between US and Russia on a new Start I agreement. But the subsequent steps have to involve the other nuclear armed nations, firstly Britain, France and China, and next India, Pakistan and Israel.

Official: Russia, U.S. could reach strategic arms reduction treaty by December (http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2009-03/20/content_11044719.htm)


MOSCOW, March 20 (Xinhua) -- Russia and the United States could reach an agreement on strategic arms reduction by December, a Russian deputy foreign minister said on Friday.

"We have enough time before December to work out a serious and detailed document," Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told a press conference.

"With political will, all this is quite achievable, and signals from Washington show that they are also determined to move towards such an agreement, which is a positive sign," he was quoted as saying by the Interfax news agency.

Ryabkov said Russia was willing to cooperate with the United States on the missile defense shield on an equal basis. ...

The diplomat also said Moscow was pinning great hopes on an upcoming meeting between Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and his U.S. counterpart Barack Obama scheduled for April 1 in London.

Russian-U.S. relations have sank to a post-Cold War low due to the U.S. missile shield plans, Russia's brief war with Georgia last August and NATO's eastward expansion. Both Moscow and Washington have expressed willingness to reset bilateral relations since Obama took office in January.

The Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), which was signed between the Soviet Union and the United States in 1991, places a limit of 6,000 strategic or long-range nuclear warheads on each side.

Earlier this month, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov agreed on a work plan aimed at renewing the START, which is due to expire this December. ...

Merlin
01 Apr 09,, 16:35
Obama met Medvedev in London to press the 'reset' button.

Q+A: Issues for future U.S./Russia arms deal (http://www.reuters.com/article/GCA-PresidentPostcards/idUSTRE5304LU20090401)


Apr 1, 2009 (Reuters) - Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and U.S. President Barack Obama said on Wednesday they will pursue an arms deal cutting nuclear warheads below levels agreed in 2002 in their first step toward mending relations.

Following are some of the key issues.

HOW WOULD THIS ADVANCE PREVIOUS DEALS?

The leaders said the proposed arms deal would go beyond the 2002 Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty (SORT), which committed both sides to cutting arsenals to between 1,700 and 2,200 warheads by 2012.

It would replace the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START I), which led to the largest bilateral reductions of nuclear weapons in history, and is due to expire in December.

HOW MANY WARHEADS DO BOTH SIDES HAVE NOW?

According to the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Russia currently has 3,113 strategic warheads compared with 3,575 for the United States. (www.carnegieendowment.org)

WHY DOES A NEW DEAL MATTER?

Russia sees START 1 as the cornerstone of post-Cold War arms control and believes that letting it lapse with no replacement could upset the strategic balance. Both sides see a new deal as a way to "press the reset button" on relations, which have been damaged by last year's Russia-Georgia war, differences over a planned U.S. missile shield in Eastern Europe and Moscow's opposition to NATO membership for Ukraine and Georgia. ...

WHAT ABOUT THE U.S. MISSILE SHIELD PLAN?

U.S. plans to develop a missile system in Europe may be drawn into the negotiations as Russia argues that it would also affect the strategic balance and weaken its position. Washington says the system is aimed at intercepting missiles from hostile states such as Iran, and is not directed against Moscow.

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?

Negotiators are due to report back by July, when Obama will travel to Moscow for a summit. A U.S. official said "it's pretty clear that we have to hit some milestones" by then.

Merlin
06 Apr 09,, 07:47
A good insightful analysis from Xinhua.

Is Obama's non-nuclear drive realistic? (http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2009-04/06/content_11138057.htm)


PRAGUE, April 5 (Xinhua) -- When U.S. President Barack Obama enthusiastically called on Sunday for "a world without nuclear weapons" in the picturesque Hradcany Square in central Prague, the 30,000 crowds cheered with thunderous applause.

But for politicians and analysts, questions may rise: Is it realistic? Does he mean business or just play lip service?

Everybody, including Obama himself, knows the road to a non-nuclear world could be bumpy. ..."...perhaps that's not in my lifetime," Obama told the crowds in Prague.

The United States boasts the biggest nuclear arsenal in the world. The country far outnumbers Russia and other major nuclear states, with some 4,000 atomic warheads in stock.

Washington has long put its nuclear advantage at a key point in its national security strategy, and Obama's predecessor, George W. Bush, had adopted a more aggressive policy in maintaining the country's advantage in this regard. ...

In his speech in Prague, Obama not only stated "clearly and with conviction" his country's commitment and leadership in eliminating nuclear arms, but also tabled "concrete steps" in pushing his dream into reality, including hosting a world summit on nuclear security within next year.

The "concrete steps" included efforts to ease the role of nuclear arsenal in U.S. national security strategy, to conclude talks with Russia on a new "legally-binding" strategic arms reduction treaty and to pursue U.S. ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.

Obama's initiative on building "a world without nuclear weapons" was, by no means, a flash of idea.

As early as on his campaign trail, Obama had said his arms-control efforts would follow the parameters laid out by the Nuclear Security Project, whose initiatives, including a plan for sharp reductions in U.S. nuclear stockpiles, were crafted by centrists including former Democratic senator Sam Nunn and former Republican secretaries of state Henry Kissinger and George P. Shultz.

Shortly after his inauguration, the White House website posted Obama's agenda, including his pledges to "stop the development of new nuclear weapons" and work for a worldwide ban on the production of material for nuclear weapons.

However, such call will arouse opposition from home and abroad, Jan Techau, head of the European studies center of the German Council on Foreign Relations, told Xinhua. Obama is faced with potential opposition even within his own cabinet, Techau said. ....

It will also be hard for Obama to persuade other nuclear countries to follow suit.

Nevertheless, Techau said it "is realistic" to expect a cut on nuclear arsenal. For one thing, maintaining an immense nuclear arsenal, capable of destroying the planet for several times, is costly.

A rational cut of nuclear ammunition will also benefit both the United States and Russia, the two biggest nuclear rivals.

Obama's enthusiasm for a non-nuclear world is also attributable to the U.S. strategic consideration concerning Iran and the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula.

"In so doing, President Obama intends to increase Washington's credibility in resolving the Iran issue," Techau said.

Merlin
11 Apr 09,, 08:08
This Economist article analyses the long and complex path towards a world without the bomb.

Safe without the bomb? (http://www.economist.com/opinion/displaystory.cfm?story_id=13446771)


Apr 8, 2009 [Economist] A nuclear-free world may never come about, but there can be safety in trying.

IF HE had hoped his vision of a world free of nuclear weapons would rally universal support for America’s new cause, Barack Obama’s disappointment came all too quickly.

North Korea’s pre-emptive, missile-guided raspberry on April 5th—hours before President Obama outlined his nuclear-free dream in Prague—had long been expected from a regime that treats rule-breaking as a national pastime. Its boss, Kim Jong Il, claims his latest rocket launched a satellite that is now warbling back patriotic songs from space. Others say he tested a nuclear-capable missile that flew about 3,200km (2,000 miles) before plopping into the Pacific (see article). The disappointment came hours later when China and Russia blocked all rebuke of Mr Kim at the UN Security Council, saying he had a right to a space programme, even though a UN resolution supposedly bans his missile work.

Such unhelpful politicking is merely one measure of the challenge in “getting to zero”. Mr Obama acknowledged that his nuclear-free vision may not be realised in his lifetime. ...

So isn’t the visionary Mr Obama just sloganeering? At worst, isn’t this the sort of nuclear-free-but-not-yet ruse that all five officially recognised nuclear powers—Russia, Britain, France and China too—can use to hang on to their bombs?

Safety can come before zero
Nuclear weapons cannot simply be wished away or uninvented. The technology is over 60 years old and the materials and skills needed are widely spread. Still, by infusing his idealism with a dose of realism Mr Obama can do more to create a safer world than simple “Ban the bomb” slogans ever could.

For zero nukes would make no sense if this left the world safe for the sorts of mass conventional warfare that consumed the first half of the 20th century. How many bombs would be needed to prevent that? And with what co-operation and controls to keep these remaining weapons from use? ...

Mr Obama is already committed to using the goal of zero to shape his future nuclear plans. Both America and Russia still have far more nuclear warheads than either wants. ... Encouragingly, Mr Obama and his Russian counterpart, Dmitry Medvedev, have agreed that a modest cut will accompany new weapons-counting rules to be fixed by the end of the year, ...

But other nuclear dangers are growing. As more governments look to civilian nuclear power as a source of clean electricity, tighter controls and other new schemes are needed to help stop would-be cheats or terrorists from exploiting or stealing some of the proliferation-prone technologies and materials for bomb-building. The cheats include not just North Korea, which left the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and exploded a bomb of its own, but also Iran (in the treaty but defying UN calls to halt its suspect nuclear work), Syria and others. ... Unless the official nuclear powers take steps to uphold their side of the NPT bargain that obliges them to work towards abolishing their nukes in exchange for keeping others from seeking the bomb, this opportunity could be lost. The treaty could unravel.

The hazards ahead
Such is the disarmament minefield of today. Navigating a future world of much lower nuclear numbers presents new hazards. As America and Russia get close to 1,000 warheads each, they will want Britain, France and China to put their smaller arsenals on the negotiating table too. Britain has always said it will, China and France have not. And what about India, Pakistan, Israel and others? ....

Mr Obama is right. This and more are the work of decades. The world may never get to zero. But it would help make things a lot safer along the way if others act in concert. If North Korea and Iran can keep counting on the protection of China and Russia in their rule-breaking, progress will be all too slight.

Merlin
25 Apr 09,, 06:32
I'll post this article here as there seems to be no thread that is more suitable.

Now the next big question is whether S Korea and Japan are forced to have their own nuclear arms capability.

N Korea is armed for nuclear war (http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,25381354-2703,00.html)


25 Apr [Australian] THE world's intelligence agencies and defence experts are quietly acknowledging that North Korea has become a full nuclear power, with the capacity to wipe out entire cities in Japan and South Korea.

The new reality has emerged in off-hand remarks and single sentences buried in lengthy reports.

Increasing numbers of authoritative experts -- from the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency to the US Defence Secretary -- admit North Korea has miniaturised nuclear warheads to the extent they can be launched on medium-range missiles, according to intelligence briefings.

This puts the country ahead of Iran in the race for nuclear attack capability and alters the balance of power between North Korea's large but poorly equipped military and the South Korean and US forces ranged against it.

"North Korea has nuclear weapons, which is a matter of fact," IAEA head Mohamed ElBaradei said. "I don't like to accept any country as a nuclear-weapon state, but we have to face reality."

North Korea carried out an underground nuclear test in 2006 but until recently foreign governments believed such nuclear devices were too unwieldy to be mounted on a missile.

With 13,000 artillery pieces buried close to the border between the two Koreas, and chemical and biological warheads, it was always understood the North could inflict significant conventional damage on Seoul, the South Korean capital. But Western military planners had calculated it could not strike outside the peninsula.

Now North Korea's supreme leader, Kim Jong-il, has the potential to order the killing of millions in Japan as well as the South, and to lay waste to US bases and airfields in both countries. This will force Western military strategists to rethink plans for war in Korea and increase the potential costs of any future Korean war.

The shift from acknowledging North Korea's nuclear weapons development program to recognising it as a nuclear power is controversial. South Korea resists the reclassification because it could give the North more negotiating leverage.

The successful work of enabling the nuclear devices to be mounted on weapons happened towards the end of last year, according to Daniel Pinkston, of the International Crisis Group think tank.

The successful work of enabling the nuclear devices to be mounted on weapons happened towards the end of last year, according to Daniel Pinkston, of the International Crisis Group think tank.

The US Forces Joint Command published an annual report Last December that for the first time listed North Korea, alongside China, India, Pakistan and Russia, as one of Asia's nuclear powers. The US Government insisted this did not reflect its official policy -- but then former US defence secretary James Schlesinger delivered a report from a Pentagon task force saying the same thing.

"North Korea, India and Pakistan have acquired both nuclear weapons and missile delivery systems," he said.

US Defence Secretary Robert Gates published an article in Foreign Affairs in January in which he referred to the "arc of nuclear powers running from Israel in the west through an emerging Iran to Pakistan, India, and on to China, North Korea, and Russia in the east". .....

Merlin
25 Apr 09,, 08:21
Once you are recognised as a nuclear power, your voice carry a lot more weight.

Already N Korea has said any anti-missile attack on its satellite rocket/missile from Japan or S Korea would be an act of war. This warning carry much less threatening weight if N Korea is not a nuclear power.

Now N Korea gives this keynote speech warning below to S Korea at their recent one to one meeting.

N. Korea warns of anti-proliferation group (http://www.upi.com/Top_News/2009/04/22/N-Korea-warns-of-anti-proliferation-group/UPI-75341240408625/)


SEOUL, April 22 (UPI) -- North Korea warned South Korea against joining a U.S.-led anti-proliferation program during talks Wednesday in Kaesong, a North Korea border city.

The North Korean delegation at the meeting said South Korea's joining of the Proliferation Security Initiative would lead to an inter-Korean "confrontation," officials told the South Korean news agency Yonhap.

South Korea's Unification Ministry spokesman Kim Ho-nyon confirmed the issue was raised. Previously, Pyongyang has warned joining the anti-proliferation campaign would be considered a "declaration of war." South Korea said it still intends to join the initiative.

"When you look at a message or a keynote speech, there is what can be called an introduction similar to that of a written document. I believe the North Korean side did mention the PSI issue," he said during a news briefing. ...

Officer of Engineers
25 Apr 09,, 15:12
I've gone through all open source intel and there is nothing to indicate that the NKs have nukes that can be mated onto missiles. They have not even performed a zero yield test since their dud in 2006. Unless, they've gone to a simple gun design which is too big to be missile mated, there's not any open source intel out there that would support these positions.

Merlin
26 Apr 09,, 11:19
OOE, I rely mainly on the news media, but it is surprising what one can dig out. Here is one clear statement from the IAEA chief about N Korea.

ElBaradei: N. Korea has nuke weapons (ElBaradei: N. Korea has nuke weapons)


BEIJING, April 24 (UPI) -- North Korea has nuclear weapons and the ability to deliver them, says International Atomic Energy Agency chief Mohamed ElBaradei.

Speaking in Beijing, Elbaradei told reporters, "North Korea has nuclear weapons, which is a matter of fact. I don't like to accept any country as a nuclear weapon state but we have to face reality," The Times of London reported Friday.

ElBaradei said the addition of North Korea as a "fully fledged nuclear power" makes nine countries in the world that have the capability of launching a nuclear missile. They include the United States, Russia, Britain, France, China, India, Pakistan and Israel.

His comments came as Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned after meeting with North Korean Foreign Minister Pak Ui-chun that there would be no easy road to persuading Pyongyang to return to negotiations aimed at brokering a nuclear disarmament.
....

Officer of Engineers
26 Apr 09,, 14:24
I know what he said but I cannot find the intel to support his position.

Officer of Engineers
27 Apr 09,, 23:24
This is the only open source intel that would support his position and it's of dubious value.


North Korea claims to have weaponized plutonium - CNN.com (http://www.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/asiapcf/01/17/korea.nuclear/index.html)

BEIJING, China (CNN) -- Senior North Korean officials say the communist regime has "weaponized" its stockpile of plutonium, according to a U.S. scholar, in a move suggesting that North Korea may have significantly hardened its stance on nuclear negotiations.
Selig Harrison said North Korean officials claimed to have enough plutonium for four or five warheads.

Selig Harrison said North Korean officials claimed to have enough plutonium for four or five warheads.
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Selig Harrison, one of the few U.S. scholars granted access to senior North Korean officials, said at a news conference in Beijing that the officials told him they had weaponized 30.8 kilograms of plutonium, enough for four or five warheads.

The director of the Asia Program at the Center for International Policy, who just returned from a five-day visit to Pyongyang, said senior North Korean officials told him the warheads will not be open for inspection.

If it is true, the news portends a gloomy outlook for the future of the six-party talks that began in 2003 with the goal of getting North Korea to end its nuclear program.

"It does change the game," Harrison said.

South Korea, the United States, Japan, China and Russia are participating in the talks.

A 2007 agreement calls for scrapping nuclear weapons on the Korean peninsula in return for energy aid to the North, normalized relations between the North and the United States and Japan, and a formal peace pact. Video Watch a report on North Korea's nuclear negotiations »
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The North Koreans told Harrison they want the rest of the fuel aid that Japan has promised them.

North Korea had agreed to disable the reactor that had produced plutonium for nuclear weapons. But the United States and its allies have asked it to give up the plutonium it already has, an estimated 30 kilograms, as well as details of any other bomb-producing programs.

Harrison said one possible reason for Pyongyang's tough new stance could be the declining health of leader Kim Jong Il, who reportedly suffered a stroke last year and may no longer be involved in day-to-day decisions.

"People I talked to have many indications that some important things are submitted to him, but he is not working in the way he used to," Harrison said.

He said military hard-liners have taken the lead in demanding from the United States a full declaration and verification of all nuclear weapons sent to South Korea between 1957 and 1991. The hard-liners also seek full normalization of relations with Washington before more talks about scrapping their nuclear arsenal.

On Tuesday, during her Senate confirmation hearing for the secretary of state position, Sen. Hillary Clinton made it clear: de-nuclearization first, then diplomatic normalization.

President-elect Barack Obama has stated his willingness to talk to the North Korean leader.

Harrison also said the North demanded the completion of the light-water reactors as compensation for the dismantling of the Yongbyon nuclear reactor.

The light-water reactor, which is not capable of producing weapons-grade plutonium, was promised to North Korea in the early 1990s for the North giving up its nuclear weapons. Its construction has been suspended.
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North Korea has long considered its nuclear program integral to its national security.

North Korea tested a nuclear weapon in 2006. In June, it acknowledged producing about 40 kilograms of enriched plutonium.

Mercenary
28 Apr 09,, 13:19
If the N.korean plutonium story is indeed true..and it does tie-up with the "Satellite launch" they just had- maybe to test the reach for delivering the warhead to a potential adversary...it may have passed/failed- but S.Korea and Japan will suddenly become "hostages"..its a lose-lose situation all of a sudden.. Keep delivering aid to N.Korea in exchange for not using it on them, or attack N.Korea along with the US and possibly face a few nuclear strikes(there is really no way they can take-out the nukes 100%, because of the mounatinous terrain and missile silos in caves).

Officer of Engineers
28 Apr 09,, 13:39
Only problem is that the NKs tried 3 launch tests and failed 3 launch tests. There isn't a whole lot of confidence in their statements right now. The one nuke test that they did do not only was a dud but their entire theoretical background for that device was way off whack.

So, I really can't take their word that they're a nuclear weapons state.

Merlin
29 Apr 09,, 15:50
Back to the nuclear arms reduction agreement of US and Russia, I'm glad they are going to have a formal START talk soon.

Russia, U.S. to hold first formal START talks in mid May Moscow (http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2009-04/28/content_11269538.htm)


MOSCOW, April 27 (Xinhua) -- Russia and the United States will hold first round of full-fledged talks on nuclear weapons reduction between May 18 and 20 in Moscow, news agencies reported late Monday citing Russian Foreign Ministry.

"We have agreed to hold the first round of talks between the two delegations in the full format in Moscow between May 18 and 20," the Interfax news agency quoted a statement from the ministry assaying.

Officials from Russia and the United States have met in Rome last week for initial talks.

After the initial talks both sides said they were satisfied with the outcomes and were optimistic about future steps in the process, which was aimed at creating a new treaty to replace the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START I) before it expires in December this year. ...

The two sides are expecting a bilateral agreement at the end of 2009. According to Russian and U.S. arms control experts, the new upgraded treaty will seek to reduce arsenals to 1,500 on each side. ...

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and the U.S. State Secretary Hillary Clinton will hold further talks on the issue in Washington on May 7. ...

Swift Sword
29 Apr 09,, 19:11
I've gone through all open source intel and there is nothing to indicate that the NKs have nukes that can be mated onto missiles. They have not even performed a zero yield test since their dud in 2006. Unless, they've gone to a simple gun design which is too big to be missile mated, there's not any open source intel out there that would support these positions.

Sir,

When you say a simple gun assembly is too big to put on their missile, is your use of "big" related to mass or geometry? IIRC, gun assemblies have been made in a number of narrow diameter applications...but then there could be some length vs. air frame balance issues, I suppose.

I agree with your assessment that there is a bit of puffery and exaggeration in many claims about North Korea's program. However, every country that has seriously pursued fission weapons has ended up with the capability and the North Korean effort, even with the failures, appears to be a credible attempt.

Regards,

William

Officer of Engineers
29 Apr 09,, 20:50
When you say a simple gun assembly is too big to put on their missile, is your use of "big" related to mass or geometry? IIRC, gun assemblies have been made in a number of narrow diameter applications...but then there could be some length vs. air frame balance issues, I suppose.Too big as to fit onto the TD rockets.


I agree with your assessment that there is a bit of puffery and exaggeration in many claims about North Korea's program. However, every country that has seriously pursued fission weapons has ended up with the capability and the North Korean effort, even with the failures, appears to be a credible attempt.They went too far in their first attempt. Instead of trying to produce a nuke that works regardless of size, they went for one that could fit onto the TDs. The result was less than credible which meant that their entire theoritical background on the device is wrong. It was not a case of they know where they went wrong. It was a case of they thought it out all wrong ... which means that they were back to square one.

Nevertheless, there has been no intel on even zero yield testing which is a minimum they must do.

So, I cannot accept at face value the NKs claims that they are a nuclear weapons state.

Swift Sword
29 Apr 09,, 22:46
So, I cannot accept at face value the NKs claims that they are a nuclear weapons state.

Sir,

Yes, I agree with that statement. I figure that in the big picture, it is control of the fuel cycle that is the biggest hurdle as a successful test or weaponization could be achieved at less expense and complexity as you pointed out.

It is the availability of fuel that leads me to conclude that the program itself is a credible effort in the general direction even if they have near term weaponization issues.

Have a good evening.

William

Mercenary
30 Apr 09,, 04:48
Not to forget that AQ Khan nexus had a big role in N.Korea's nuclear programme..that coming from a country which has a proven nuclear capability and has successfully mated nuclear warheads onto their medium-range missiles.....you;ve a big reason to be worried..the chances of it being a "dud" is very slim...

Officer of Engineers
30 Apr 09,, 08:53
Not to forget that AQ Khan nexus had a big role in N.Korea's nuclear programme..AQ Khan had no role in NK nukes. Pak nukes are uranium based. The NK nukes and claims are plutonium based. That tossed your theory right there.


that coming from a country which has a proven nuclear capabilityTheir tests were also duds and it would seemed that they knew that they had a problem with their nukes from 1994 (their denied request to test another nuke at Lop Nor) onwards but have not managed to correct them.


and has successfully mated nuclear warheads onto their medium-range missiles.....No evidence of that whatsoever. The last claim by General Musharraf was that these were F-16 delivered.


you;ve a big reason to be worried..the chances of it being a "dud" is very slim...I would bet heavily against you.

Mercenary
30 Apr 09,, 13:21
AQ Khan had no role in NK nukes. Pak nukes are uranium based. The NK nukes and claims are plutonium based. That tossed your theory right there.

Wrong!..Pakistan has plutonium bombs too together with their Uranium tech

Pakistan Nuclear Weapons (http://www.fas.org/nuke/guide/pakistan/nuke/)

With Chinese assistance, Pakistan built the 40 MWt (megawatt thermal) Khusab research reactor at Joharabad, and in April 1998, Pakistan announced that the reactor was operational. According to public statements made by US officials, this unsafeguarded heavy water reactor generates an estimated 8-10 kilotons of weapons grade plutonium per year, which is enough for one to two nuclear weapons. Khusab's plutonium production capacity could allow Pakistan to develop lighter nuclear warheads that would be easier to deliver with a ballistic missile.



Their tests were also duds and it would seemed that they knew that they had a problem with their nukes from 1994 (their denied request to test another nuke at Lop Nor) onwards but have not managed to correct them.


A highly debated topic.. no conclusive evidence on them being a success or a dud...Unless you've taken samples off the air yourself after the test



No evidence of that whatsoever. The last claim by General Musharraf was that these were F-16 delivered.

I would bet heavily against you.

And wrong Again!

Pak has a lot of nuclear-capable missiles of varying ranges plus the warheads to boot. wjhy do you think India is heavily spending on a missile defence shield ? - We wouldn't make such a big deal abt a conventional missle attack

CDI Nuclear Issues Area - Nuclear Weapons Database: Pakistan's Nuclear Delivery Systems (http://www.cdi.org/issues/nukef&f/database/panukes.html)


The f-16s can also be used - but its impossible that US would allow its planes to be used if at all a nuclear strike against India is inevitable

Merlin
30 Apr 09,, 13:55
Back to the nuclear arms reduction agreement of US and Russia, I'm glad they are going to have a formal START talk soon.

Russia, U.S. to hold first formal START talks in mid May Moscow (http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2009-04/28/content_11269538.htm)

....According to Russian and U.S. arms control experts, the new upgraded treaty will seek to reduce arsenals to 1,500 on each side......

This is a technical question. What process does it involve to dispose of 3000 nuclear bombs without the parts being stolen ?

Officer of Engineers
30 Apr 09,, 15:01
Wrong!..Pakistan has plutonium bombs too together with their Uranium techLet me guess. You just read the headlines and not the open source intel on these things.

The Pak nukes have been identified as modified CHIC-4 devices - all Chinese uranium designs. There has been no intel that the Chinese has passed on Pu devices to Pakistan. In fact, the AQ Khan documents obtained through Switzerland and Lybia are all uranium devices. You're grasping.

As for your link, the only thing it says about a possible Pu device was that an air sample contained Pu which is hotly contested by other laboratories. Since you have not done research on this, let me clue you in. The one air sample was corrupted by LA Labs and could not be further used to identify the source of that Pu. However, in 1998, Pakistan did not have enough Pu for a nuke which lead to one of two conclusions - that this was a Uranium boosted device ... or the more likely explaination, the air sample drifted in from India's own test.

However, let's consider the timeline. AQ Khan was under house arrest Feb, 2004. The NKs tested their nuke Oct, 2006. Their last TD fireball was this year. So, in other words, AQ Khan's help was worth didly squat.


A highly debated topic.. no conclusive evidence on them being a success or a dud...Unless you've taken samples off the air yourself after the testIn 1994, the Chinese has refused to test a nuke for Pakistan to "correct" a few errors. The sesmic data from 1998 do not correspond to Pakistani claims and this is from several sources from Japan to Russia to the US. Given the fact that these are proven data collections (correctly measuring American, Russian, Chinese, British, and French nuclear tests ... And Earthquakes in Pakistan and India), it is highly doubtful that the Pakistani claims are legit.


Pak has a lot of nuclear-capable missiles of varying ranges plus the warheads to boot. wjhy do you think India is heavily spending on a missile defence shield ? - We wouldn't make such a big deal abt a conventional missle attackNuclear capable missiles and nuclear mated missiles are two different things. The Pakistanis has yet to test a missile warhead mounted fuse, be it impact or airburst. Such testing is required in order to mount a nuke. Thus far, none of the missile tests have ever included a fuse test ... unless the Chinese also passed on this but highly doubtful since the Chinese long past has gone off uranium nukes.

Also, I suspect that you do not know that the Chinese themselves have moved to a salvo conventional launch to replace nuclear first strikes. So, the mere fact that the Pakistanis are buying and building such missiles do not mean that they are meant to be nuclear delivery platforms. In fact, far from it. A salvo of 3-5 500lb bombs on a TEL site would have the same effect as a nuke.


The f-16s can also be used - but its impossible that US would allow its planes to be used if at all a nuclear strike against India is inevitableLike Russia won't allow India to use BACKFIREs in nuclear delivery role?

I doubt the F-16s were even used ever in that role. We have no evidence of any nuclear delivery training. In fact, we don't have any evidence of any nuclear delivery training by missile or planes but the fact remains there has been one official claim and one official claim only of a nuclear delivery platform and that is the F-16.

Either way, there is absolutely no evidence that Pakistan helped the North Korean nuclear weapons program in anyway. The North Korean device is strictly home grown. There is no help from Pakistan, especially since Pakistan never tested a Pu device whatsoever.

You're gasping if you think Pakistan helped North Korea to become a nuclear weapons state.

Or if Pakistan did help, then she is as inept at Pu design as Kim is.

Skywatcher
30 Apr 09,, 21:59
I don't think that anything ever came of the Indian Russian Backfire deal, did it?

Officer of Engineers
30 Apr 09,, 22:22
Still awaiting the final signature for the go ahead as far as I know.

Mercenary
02 May 09,, 21:29
Still awaiting the final signature for the go ahead as far as I know.

may never happen..strategic bombers carrying nukes doesn't seem to fit into India's overall doctrine...its mostly based on missiles carrying em- land,sea....

Officer of Engineers
02 May 09,, 22:21
The TU-22M is a nuclear capable, naval attack aircraft. Under the NPT, as long as Russia (or the US in the case of the F-16 to Pakistan) don't supply the nukes or any related nuclear weapons technology, ie nuclear fire controls, there is nothing stopping Moscow nor Washington from supplying systems that can be of dual use.

This, however, does not stop India or Pakistan from installing their own nukes and related nuclear weapons technology.

Merlin
03 May 09,, 02:26
We know from news report that N Korea threatens to have another nuclear test unless the UN Security Council apologises, which is very unlikely.

On the one hand, a senior Obama admin says this test is likely. But then the China Foreign Ministry spokesman says this is just a conjecture.

So what next?

US official expects North Korean nuclear test (http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5hCz84Wr8TObAMJutDD4Cmprujw3gD97TJ4481)


1 May WASHINGTON (AP) — A senior Obama administration official says he expects that North Korea will test a nuclear weapon before it is forced back to international disarmament negotiations.

U.S. President Barack Obama's coordinator for weapons of mass destruction policy, Gary Samore, said Friday that North Korea wants to divide the five other countries in the nuclear talks. ....

China: Nuclear Test Might Not Happen (http://www.dailynk.com/english/read.php?cataId=nk00100&num=4864)


30 Apr China yesterday spurned claims that North Korea might carry out a second nuclear test following the imposition of U.N. Security Council sanctions, saying that “It is mere conjecture.” ...

Merlin
04 May 09,, 01:48
What is Pakistan doing? This is dangerous.

Apparently the Pakistan Army still cannot get out of the age old mentality that their main task is to prepare for war with India.

Pakistan nuclear projects raise US fears (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/may/03/pakistan-nuclear-security)


3 May [Guardian] Pakistan is continuing to expand its nuclear bomb-making facilities despite growing international concern that advancing Islamist extremists could overrun one or more of its atomic weapons plants or seize sufficient radioactive material to make a dirty bomb, US nuclear experts and former officials say.

David Albright, previously a senior weapons inspector for the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency in Iraq, said commercial satellite photos showed two plutonium-producing reactors were nearing completion at Khushab, about 160 miles south-west of the capital, Islamabad. ....

Albright warned that the continuing development of Pakistan's atomic weapons programme could trigger a renewed nuclear arms race with India. But he suggested a more immediate threat to nuclear security arose from recent territorial advances in north-west Pakistan by indigenous Taliban and foreign jihadi forces opposed to the Pakistani government and its American and British allies. ....

The Khushab reactors are situated on the border of Punjab and North-West Frontier province, the scene of heavy fighting between Taliban and government forces. Another allegedly vulnerable facility is the Gadwal uranium enrichment plant, less than 60 miles south of Buner district, where some of the fiercest clashes have taken place in recent days.

A suicide bomber blew himself up outside the Kamra air weapons complex near Gadwal in December 2007, injuring several people.

Uncertainty has long surrounded Pakistan's nuclear stockpile. The country is not a signatory to the nuclear non-proliferation treaty or the comprehensive test ban treaty. Nor has it submitted its nuclear facilities to international inspection since joining the nuclear club in 1998, when it detonated five nuclear devices. Pakistan is currently estimated to have about 200 atomic bombs. ...

The warnings about Pakistan's nuclear weapons come ahead of a summit meeting in Washington this week between Obama, President Asif Ali Zardari of Pakistan and President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan. ...

Merlin
07 May 09,, 03:38
This is quite a breakthrough.

Nuclear talks get first breakthrough in 10 years (http://www.reuters.com/article/latestCrisis/idUSN06281930)


UNITED NATIONS, May 6 (Reuters) - Delegates meeting on the 1970 Non-Proliferation Treaty struck their first agreement on the anti-nuclear arms pact in a decade on Wednesday, which diplomats said was largely due to U.S. President Barack Obama.

Three days into a two-week meeting on the landmark arms control agreement, delegates from its 189 signatories agreed on an agenda for a major conference next year, where member states hope to adopt an action plan to overhaul the treaty. ....

NPT signatories have tried for years to overcome sharp divisions, with developing countries complaining that the big nuclear powers have reneged on obligations to disarm while denying them access to nuclear technology.

The last NPT review conference in 2005 descended into procedural bickering and accomplished nothing. ....

DISARMAMENT PLEDGES

The agenda agreed on Wednesday includes a review of disarmament commitments made by the United States, Britain, France, China and Russia in 1995 and 2000. It also includes a discussion of "nuclear-weapons-free-zones" -- which diplomats said would mainly be about Israel's presumed nuclear arsenal.

The disarmament commitments have been very divisive in recent years after former President George W. Bush decided he was not bound by those pledges and insisted they be dropped from the agenda. The French supported that position.

"The Obama administration did an about-face and agreed to bring those commitments back on the agenda," a diplomat said, asking not to be be named. "The French were still trying to block it but gave in overnight when they realized they were alone and isolated."

Western diplomats said they were worried that Egypt and Iran would keep trying to divide the conference by focusing on Israel. But they said they were pleased that Tehran and Cairo were not finding it so easy now to divide signatories. ....

Officer of Engineers
07 May 09,, 03:43
This is quite a breakthrough.I am extremely pleasantly surprised.

Merlin
14 May 09,, 07:58
What are they doing in Pakistan !! This is running out of control.

Pakistan expanding its nuclear capability (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/30648446/)


12 May [MSNBC] On the dusty plain 110 miles southwest of Islamabad, not far from an area controlled by the Taliban, two large new structures are rising, structures that in light of Pakistan’s internal troubles must be considered ominous for the stability of South Asia and, for that matter, the world.

Without any public U.S. reproach, Pakistan is building two of the developing world’s largest plutonium production reactors, which experts say could lead to improvements in the quantity and quality of the country’s nuclear arsenal, now estimated at 60 to 80 weapons.

What makes the project even more threatening is that it is unique.

“Pakistan is really the only country rapidly building up its nuclear forces,” says a U.S. intelligence official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the classified nature of the issue, noting that the nations that first developed nuclear weapons are now reducing their arsenals.

Moreover, he and other U.S. officials say, there long have been concerns about those who run the facility where the reactors are being built near the town of Khushab. They note that a month before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Khushab’s former director met with Osama bin Laden and his deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri, and offered a nuclear weapons tutorial around an Afghanistan campfire.

Then there are the billions in U.S. economic and military aid that have permitted Pakistan’s military to divert resources to nuclear and other weapons projects.

Bottom line: Khushab exemplifies all of the dangers posed by the Pakistani nuclear weapons program. ...

Merlin
19 May 09,, 13:57
Funds from the US is going into increasing Pakistan's nuclear arms. The Obama admin knows about the new nuclear weapons being made.

Pakistan Is Rapidly Adding Nuclear Arms, U.S. Says (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/18/world/asia/18nuke.html?hp)


17 May [NYTimes] WASHINGTON — Members of Congress have been told in confidential briefings that Pakistan is rapidly adding to its nuclear arsenal even while racked by insurgency, raising questions on Capitol Hill about whether billions of dollars in proposed military aid might be diverted to Pakistan’s nuclear program.

Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, confirmed the assessment of the expanded arsenal in a one-word answer to a question on Thursday in the midst of lengthy Senate testimony. Sitting beside Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, he was asked whether he had seen evidence of an increase in the size of the Pakistani nuclear arsenal.

“Yes,” he said quickly, adding nothing, clearly cognizant of Pakistan’s sensitivity to any discussion about the country’s nuclear strategy or security.

Inside the Obama administration, some officials say, Pakistan’s drive to spend heavily on new nuclear arms has been a source of growing concern, because the country is producing more nuclear material at a time when Washington is increasingly focused on trying to assure the security of an arsenal of 80 to 100 weapons so that they will never fall into the hands of Islamic insurgents.

The administration’s effort is complicated by the fact that Pakistan is producing an unknown amount of new bomb-grade uranium and, once a series of new reactors is completed, bomb-grade plutonium for a new generation of weapons. President Obama has called for passage of a treaty that would stop all nations from producing more fissile material — the hardest part of making a nuclear weapon — but so far has said nothing in public about Pakistan’s activities. ...

Merlin
22 May 09,, 11:54
This thread started on the nuclear arms talks of US and Russia. They just had another two days of talks.

They say these talks are successful, but the Russian are unhappy over the anti-missile system in Poland and Czech republic.

U.S.-Russia nuclear talks make positive start (http://www.reuters.com/article/topNews/idUSTRE54J34C20090520)


20 May MOSCOW (Reuters) - The United States and Russia have held two days of successful talks on ways to slash vast stockpiles of Cold War nuclear weapons, a Russian diplomat said on Wednesday.

Finding a replacement for the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START I) before it expires on December 5 could herald a thaw in relations between the world's biggest two nuclear powers.

U.S. President Barack Obama and his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev last month ordered officials to begin the complicated talks needed to find a replacement for START, one of the biggest arms reduction deals in history.

"The talks were held in a constructive spirit, we consider they were successful," a Russian diplomat told Reuters after the first round of formal negotiations ended on Wednesday. He gave no details on where progress had been made.

The diplomat said the next round of talks would be held in Geneva on June 1-3 and that a progress report would be made to Obama and Medvedev at their meeting in Moscow on July 6-8. ...

The talks are complicated by Washington's plan to station elements of an anti-missile system in Poland and Czech Republic, in order to intercept rockets fired from what it sees as rogue states, such as Iran. Russia says the plan will undermine its national security. ...

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Wednesday said the United States must allay Russian concerns over the missile system to achieve a breakthrough in the nuclear weapons talks. ....

Merlin
27 May 09,, 14:45
As usual, these Q+A by Reuters are good. This is about nuclear proliferation risks of N Korea. Click into the link to read more.

Q+A - North Korea: the key global nuclear proliferation risk (http://in.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idINIndia-39908320090527?pageNumber=1&virtualBrandChannel=0)

27 May SINGAPORE (Reuters) - North Korea's nuclear test this week, and reports it has restarted a plant that makes weapons-grade plutonium, have raised fears of further proliferation that could seriously destabilise global security.

WHAT IS NORTH KOREA'S ROLE IN NUCLEAR PROLIFERATION?
Weapons exports are a key source of revenue for North Korea's ramshackle economy, and a means through which Pyongyang cements its ties with other "rogue states" hostile to the West.

What makes the country such a proliferation threat is that it is willing -- indeed, eager -- to sell its weapons technology, materials and know-how to the highest bidders.

And its nuclear test, the country's second, will have sparked the interest of many potential bidders.

A study by the U.S.-based Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis think tank this year estimates that Pyongyang earns around $1.5 billion a year from missile sales.

North Korean missile technology has already been exported to Pakistan, Libya, Iran, Syria and Egypt.

WHAT COUNTRIES MAY SEEK NORTH KOREAN NUCLEAR ASSISTANCE?
Western policymakers are most alarmed by Iran and Syria's desire to boost their nuclear capability. Washington says Pyongyang has already exported missiles and missile technology to Iran and nuclear technology to Syria. ...

There is also a concern that Iran's and Syria's nuclear ambitions may spark an arms race in the Middle East, where only Israel currently has the bomb. Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Gulf states may seek nuclear capability to balance the threat from Damascus and Tehran, analysts say.

WHAT ABOUT AN ARMS RACE IN ASIA?
The latest North Korean test may increase calls in Japan and South Korea to have their own nuclear deterrent rather than relying on the U.S. security umbrella. But analysts say it is very unlikely that these countries would risk Washington's displeasure by developing nuclear bombs, although they may well beef up their conventional missile capabilities.

Another risk is that an existing nuclear power uses Pyongyang's test as an excuse to conduct another test of its own. Most worryingly, a Pakistani nuclear test would further inflame tensions with India and increase instability in South Asia.

COULD MILITANT GROUPS ACQUIRE NUCLEAR KNOW-HOW?
The United States says North Korea has already provided conventional weapons technology and training to the Tamil Tigers and Lebanon's Hezbollah. Al Qaeda and related groups are actively seeking nuclear materials and know-how, and analysts say North Korea would be one of their most likely sources. ...

HOW CAN PROLIFERATION FROM NORTH KOREA BE CONTAINED?
One lesson from attempts to curb Pyongyang's nuclear programme is that sanctions and threats have little effect, or only encourage North Korean defiance. Many analysts say the fact North Korea's defiance and brinkmanship have not brought a decisive response may embolden other would-be nuclear powers. ...

Merlin
30 May 09,, 06:37
For some reason unkown, India repeatedly refuses to sign the Non-Proliferation Treaty. Anybody knows why?

India sticks to its stand on NPT (http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/articleshow/4596476.cms)

30 May [EconomicTimes] BANGALORE: External affairs minister S M Krishna on Friday signalled that India will rebuff renewed American attempts to get the country to sign the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT), weeks ahead of a scheduled visit by United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

India will reiterate its long-standing position on the treaty, which it regards as discriminatory, when Ms Clinton visits the country in July, ....

“Every country has its nuclear policy... Our position has been made very clear,” he said. After a lull of eight years under George W Bush’s presidency, the Barack Obama administration has revived talk that it wants India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea to sign the NPT amid preparations for a conference to review the treaty next year.

India and the United States finalised a civil nuclear agreement last year amid stiff opposition from the nuclear non-proliferation lobby which regards it as a threat to the NPT. India has maintained that it will not sign the treaty as a non-nuclear weapons state. ....

BenRoethig
31 May 09,, 15:54
They have no respect for nukes and still see them as a status symbol.

Merlin
31 May 09,, 16:14
Lets look at the deeper real reason.

I understand from the above link Israel, Pakistan, N Korea and India are the four known nuclear states that have not signed the NPT.

Does this means India would sign only when Pakistan also signs?

Officer of Engineers
31 May 09,, 16:55
Correction, North Korea signed and withdrew from the NPT.

India always claimed that her nukes are China oriented and Pakistan claims that her nukes are India oriented.

Israel wants a trump card against overwhelming Arab numbers.

axeman
31 May 09,, 18:43
They have no respect for nukes and still see them as a status symbol.

India has always said, and has believed in global disarmament. The question is of course - what does India stand to gain by signing the NPT ?

Officer of Engineers
31 May 09,, 19:20
India has always said, and has believed in global disarmament. The question is of course - what does India stand to gain by signing the NPT ?Reprocessing techologies.

axeman
01 Jun 09,, 06:09
Reprocessing techologies.

Doesn't India already have the technology (or will get it as a result of the N-deal) ?

Officer of Engineers
01 Jun 09,, 09:27
Doesn't India already have the technology (or will get it as a result of the N-deal) ?India's reprocessing technologies are nowhere as advanced as the top NSG suppliers.

While there are no conditions with the NSG Waiver to India, the NSG members themselves have decided not to sell reprocessing technologies to India. Both Russia and France stated that reprocessing technologies is not in the offerring.

Expect other restrictions to appear once the NSG decides amongst themselves what non-NPT members can buy (read what they will sell to Israel and Pakistan as well as Indai).

axeman
01 Jun 09,, 17:12
India's reprocessing technologies are nowhere as advanced as the top NSG suppliers.


While the technology may not be as advanced, we still have it. In the past (recent and not-so-recent), all India needed was fuel to meet its civilian requirements and create enough weapons.
In any case, the cons of signing the NPT greatly outweigh the pros. What is probably a more interesting topic is the CTBT.

Officer of Engineers
01 Jun 09,, 21:40
While the technology may not be as advanced, we still have it. In the past (recent and not-so-recent), all India needed was fuel to meet its civilian requirements and create enough weapons.The reprocessing technology is a nice-to-have but not necessarily a need-to-have. Still, it was quite a wake up call that the NSG Waiver does not mean free shopping.

However, to put things in perspective. China upon signing the NPT in 1992 bought reprocessing technologies from Russia and is in the market for new ones from France.


In any case, the cons of signing the NPT greatly outweigh the pros.At this moment, I agree with you but the NSG is in the process of deciding what they will and will not sell to non-NPT members, ie Israel and Pakistan. So, that will have a future consideration to be had.

I think at this moment, anything that would add to a nuclear arsenal is off limits (including reprocessing technologies) but nuclear safety is a paramount that all should have.


What is probably a more interesting topic is the CTBT.Hard topic. Currently, the Indian nuclear arsenal requires no additional testing but with come time, the aged inventory would be a problem since India does not have the test data to check the status of an aged arsenal.

Israel, right now, is facing this delima.

Merlin
11 Jun 09,, 02:33
How about both sides cutting below the 1500 warhead level?

Putin Talks of Giving Up Nukes (http://www.themoscowtimes.com/article/1010/42/378483.htm)

11 June [MoscowTimes] (AP) Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said Wednesday that Russia was willing to abandon nuclear weapons if the United States and all other countries that have them do the same.

"If those who made the atomic bomb and used it are ready to abandon it like, I hope, other nuclear powers officially and unofficially owning them, of course we will welcome and facilitate this process in all ways," Putin said, RIA-Novosti reported.

Putin spoke at a meeting with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who said earlier that the idea of scrapping nuclear arms altogether rather than limiting their proliferation was a real prospect.

In a joint declaration on April 1, Presidents Barack Obama and Dmitry Medvedev ordered negotiators to start work on a new treaty reducing their nuclear stockpiles as a first step toward "a nuclear-weapon-free world."

Meanwhile, Nikolai Solovtsov, the chief of the military's Strategic Missile Forces, said Wednesday that the new treaty must not cut the number of nuclear warheads below 1,500 each.

As it stands now, the United States has 2,200 strategic nuclear warheads deployed; Russia has 2,800.

Russia has linked the treaty to U.S. plans to deploy a missile defense shield in Central Europe, which it opposes. ...

Merlin
21 Jun 09,, 07:32
The IAEA Chief's job is very important as well as politically very difficult.

(I thought he was supposed to step down 6 months ago?)

IAEA chief, Israel lock horns over Syria (http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5i8l9o8EhmAEbE6XOfclVwEAhoG3g)

VIENNA (AFP) — UN watchdog chief Mohamed ElBaradei sparred with an Israeli envoy on Thursday after being accused of bias in the handling of an investigation into Syria's nuclear activities, diplomats said.

The United States meanwhile accused Syria of obstructing the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) probe into allegations that it was building a secret nuclear reactor at a site that was bombed by Israeli jets in September 2007.

Israeli ambassador Israel Michaeli made his accusation to ElBaradei during a debate on Syria at a meeting of the IAEA's 35-member board.

Michaeli urged ElBaradei, an Egyptian, "to avoid political bias in dealing with Syria's nuclear file."

ElBaradei has frequently hit out at Israel for not informing the IAEA of its concerns about the suspect site in Syria before bombing it.

"Israel has responded timely and in good faith to the question addressed to it regarding the possible origin of the uranium particles, traced in the site of the nuclear reactor in Dair Alzour," Michaeli said in remarks, a copy of which was obtained by AFP.

Traces of uranium were found at the site -- known alternatively as Dair Alzour or Al-Kibar -- which Damascus claims came from the Israeli bombs that razed the building.

"Therefore the repeated calls by the director general on Israel to cooperate with this investigation are redundant," the envoy added, accusing ElBaradei of "publicly bashing at Israel."

The IAEA chief was angered by Michaeli's remarks, and according to a transcript of his comments obtained by AFP, described the Israeli envoy's statement as "totally distorted."

"We work here in an organisation that is an organisation of international law. We apply international law, not selectively, but across the board," ElBaradei said.

"When Israel took it upon itself to destroy a facility, what was claimed to be a nuclear facility, without giving the agency the opportunity to verify that ... this was not only making it almost impossible for us to establish the facts, but it was a clear violation of international law," he said.

While the Israeli envoy had said Syria should be "deplored and condemned... Israel, with its action, is deplored by not allowing us to do what we are supposed to do under international law," ElBaradei continued.

Israel "is not even a member of the regime to tell us what tools are available to us," ElBaradei said, referring to Israel's refusal to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

"We would appreciate it if you could stop preaching to us how we can do our jobs." ....

Israel is widely considered to be the Middle East's sole if undeclared nuclear armed state. ....

Merlin
03 Jul 09,, 03:47
The IAEA Chief's job is very important as well as politically very difficult.

(I thought he was supposed to step down 6 months ago?)
The IAEA is now going through the process of electing a new head. The new head Amano, from Japan, will take over in November.

U.N. nuclear watchdog agency elects new head (http://edition.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/asiapcf/07/02/nuclear.watchdog.head.amano/)

9 hrs ago (CNN) -- The United Nations nuclear watchdog agency elected Yukiya Amano as its new director general Thursday, it announced. Amano, of Japan, will replace the current director general, Mohammed ElBaradei, as head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, in November.

The Vienna-based agency aims to guarantee that nuclear programs are not used to build weapons, and helps national governments promote nuclear safety and security. ....

Amano is a career diplomat specializing in arms control, according to his biography on the IAEA Web site. He chaired the organization's board of governors between 2005-06.

Merlin
07 Jul 09,, 10:26
They have taken the first step.

U.S.-Russia Nuclear Agreement Is First Step in Broad Effort (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/07/world/europe/07prexy.html?bl&ex=1247112000&en=ba0583be46d95963&ei=5087%0A)

6 July [NYTimes] MOSCOW — President Obama signed an agreement on Monday to cut American and Russian strategic nuclear arsenals by at least one-quarter, a first step in a broader effort intended to reduce the threat of such weapons drastically and to prevent their further spread to unstable regions.

Mr. Obama, on his first visit to Russia since taking office, and President Dmitri A. Medvedev agreed on the basic terms of a treaty to reduce the number of warheads and missiles to the lowest levels since the early years of the cold war. .

The new treaty, to be finished by December, would be subject to ratification by the Senate and could then lead to talks next year on more substantial reductions. ...

Mr. Obama hailed the arms agreement as an example for the world as he pursued a broader agenda aimed at countering — and eventually eliminating — the spread of nuclear weapons, a goal he hopes to make a defining legacy of his presidency.

While the United States and Russia together have 95 percent of the world’s nuclear weapons, Mr. Obama also views Russia as an influential player in deterring nuclear programs in Iran and North Korea. ....

Merlin
10 Jul 09,, 03:51
This is the next step. (You can disregard the tone of the tabloid paper title below.)

Brown's nuke strike on Iran (http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/2527895/PMs-new-deal-at-global-summit-Gordon-Browns-nuke-strike-on-Iran.html)

Today [Sun] GORDON Brown and Barack Obama last night ordered a nuclear weapons showdown - to stop them spreading to rogue states like Iran.

The PM and the US President summoned up to 30 world leaders to Washington next spring for a crunch nuke summit.

It will see the nuclear powers agree to slash their stockpiles of weapons - if other states agree not to build any.

Under the new rules, rogue nations who sign up to the deal would have to prove to inspectors they had no nukes.

Iran, which has signed the non-proliferation treaty banning the spread of the weapons, would have to open its doors. ...

Nine nations have nukes - the UK, US, France, Israel, Russia, China, Pakistan, India and North Korea. Others, including Iran and some African nations, are trying to build them.

Mr Brown said Britain would reduce its arsenal of 160 Tridents only if ALL the other nuclear powers cut the numbers of their warheads.

President Obama and Russian President Dmitri Medvedev agreed to slash their countries' stockpiles last week. ...

At least 30 countries are expected to attend the summit ...

The agreement will also see the nuclear weapons powers helping others like Iran develop atomic energy if they vow to steer clear of arms. ....

Merlin
16 Jul 09,, 04:55
The key man in any effort for global effort in nuclear arms control is of course Obama. And this WSJ article explains how he has moved this to the top of the national-security agenda.

Obama Puts Arms Control at Core of New Strategy (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124761759094642419.html)

15 July [WSJ] WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama has moved nuclear deterrence to the top of the national-security agenda -- and in his dealings in the past month with Iran, North Korea and Russia, revealed the issue to be an organizing principle to his foreign policy.

Mr. Obama has restarted moribund arms talks with Moscow, pushed for sanctions against Pyongyang, and sought nuclear talks with Tehran despite his condemnation of its crackdown on protesters. Those moves, significant shifts from policies of the Bush White House, were designed to put efforts to halt the spread of weapons of mass destruction at the center of policy-making, senior Obama administration officials say. ....

Several officials said the White House views President Ronald Reagan as a model, noting that Mr. Reagan engaged with Soviet leaders on arms control even as he condemned their human-rights record. A senior official said White House summit planners examined Mr. Reagan's early meetings with Mikhail Gorbachev for guidance before Mr. Obama met with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev last week. ....

Current and former Obama foreign-policy advisers said Mr. Obama's emphasis on nuclear arms sprang from his work in the Senate with Sen. Richard Lugar, the Indiana Republican who spearheaded post-Cold War efforts to secure fissile material in the former Soviet Union.

The advisers say that focus has since broadened into an attempt at rebuilding the entire international arms-control regime, particularly the Cold War-era Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and the U.N.'s International Atomic Energy Agency, out of fear that the decades-old controls are weakening from inattention. ....

Merlin
24 Sep 09,, 06:45
This UN Security Council meeting chaired by Obama is historic and special. Resolutions drafted by the US had been circulated, and some amendments had been made.

Obama to chair historic UN council nuclear meeting (http://www.reuters.com/article/latestCrisis/idUSN23426328)

UNITED NATIONS, Sept 24 (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama will chair a historic meeting of the United Nations Security Council on Thursday that is expected to ask nations with nuclear weapons to scrap their deadly arsenals.

When the leaders of the 15-nation council gather at U.N. headquarters in midtown Manhattan, Obama will preside over the meeting, the first time a U.S. president has chaired a Security Council summit since the elite panel was established in 1946.

Diplomats said council members were expected to unanimously adopt a U.S.-drafted resolution that declares there is a "need to pursue further efforts in the sphere of nuclear disarmament" and urges all countries that have not signed the 1970 nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) to do so.

The council meeting, which takes place on the second day of the annual U.N. General Assembly session, will be the fifth time the Security Council has met at the level of heads of state and government. It will also be the first council summit to focus exclusively on nuclear proliferation and disarmament.

The first Security Council summit was on Jan. 31, 1992, and was chaired by British Prime Minister John Major. U.S. President George H.W. Bush and Boris Yeltsin, president of the newly created Russian Federation, were among the participants.

The resolution calls for an end to the proliferation of atomic weapons and demands that parties to the NPT keep their promises not to develop atomic warheads. The final draft, obtained by Reuters, has only undergone minor changes since it was circulated to the council two weeks ago. [ID:nB731605]

All five permanent Security Council members -- the United States, Russia, China, Britain and France -- have atom bombs.

But NPT signatories without nuclear arsenals have complained for decades that the world's official nuclear powers have failed to live up to their commitments while seeking to prevent other countries from joining the "nuclear club." .....

Merlin
25 Sep 09,, 02:09
Yes, he got it. The resolution was passed unanimously at the UNSC.

Nuclear-free vision praised (http://www.straitstimes.com/Breaking%2BNews/World/Story/STIStory_434118.html)

Resolution endorsed in a historic UN session chaired by US leader

25 Sept [StraitsTimes] WASHINGTON - UNITED States President Barack Obama on Wednesday [Singapore time, Thursday NYC time] won unanimous approval from the United Nations Security Council for his key foreign policy objective of building support for a world without nuclear weapons and forestalling the chilling possibility of nuclear-armed terrorists.

It was a historic occasion at the UN headquarters in New York. It was only the fifth time the 15-member Security Council has met at the level of heads of state and government. It was also the first time a US President has presided.

'Although we averted a nuclear nightmare during the Cold War, we now face proliferation of a scope and complexity that demands new strategies and new approaches,' he said, in introducing his resolution.

'Just one nuclear weapon exploded in a city, be it New York or Moscow, Tokyo or Beijing, London or Paris, could kill hundreds of thousands of people.'

Mr Obama called the UN measure 'historic' as it represented 'our shared commitment to a goal of a world without nuclear weapons'.

Significantly, China and Russia - two members which often stymie US initiatives in the Security Council - committed themselves to the resolution's goals.

These include negotiating a new treaty to halt the production of weapons-grade uranium and plutonium, and retooling the decades-old Non-Proliferation Treaty, which has not been effective in checking the spread of nuclear weapons.

Washington has argued that a new thrust for non-proliferation and disarmament is called for because nuclear-bomb technology has spread, creating the prospect of arms races and increasing the chances of terrorists buying, building or stealing a nuclear weapon.

The ambitious and multi-pronged initiative also contains support for another key agreement, the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. The treaty, adopted by the General Assembly in 1996, has yet to take effect because some countries, including the US, have not ratified it. Mr Obama must put his money where his mouth is by winning Congressional ratification for it. .....

Merlin
11 Dec 09,, 04:39
For some reason, this topic is not of interest to other members of this forum board.

Anyway, the START I treaty between US and Russia has recently expired recently on Dec 5, 2009. Both sides are interested to sign a new one with reduction in the number of nuclear warhead and delivery missile. But the draft negotiations are so complex that the draft could not be ready in time.

They say it is very close, perhaps by the end of this year.

Russia, U.S. seen closing in on arms deal (http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE5B957820091210)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - In another era, the world's fate could hang in the balance.

U.S. and Russian officials appear tantalizingly close to a new arms deal to replace the 1991 START treaty, the biggest nuclear weapons reduction in history and a lynching in the post-Cold War balance of power.

But despite the public optimism in Washington and Moscow, the existing START treaty lapsed on December 5 with no new agreement in place and officials are still unable to detail when and where the final version may be approved. ....