Category Archives: Nuclear

Clinton Privately Opposed Major U.S. Nuclear Upgrade

Hillary Clinton privately told supporters this year that she would likely scrap a major upgrade to the United States’ nuclear weapons program, according to leaked audio of her remarks.

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At a private event in McLean, Va., in February, Clinton revealed that she would likely cancel plans to upgrade the nation’s cruise missile arsenal. “I certainly would be inclined to do that,” she told a questioner who asked about rolling back the Long Range Stand-Off (LRSO) missile program.

Clinton Privately Opposed Major U.S. Nuclear Upgrade

60 Minutes: Risk of nuclear attack rises – CBS News

What are the chances the next president would have to make a decision on whether to use nuclear weapons? It’s greater than you might think

… For generations nuclear weapons have been seen as a last resort to be used only in extreme circumstances. But in this new Cold War the use of a nuclear weapon is not as unlikely to occur as you might think.

Phillip Breedlove: They see nuclear weapons as a normal extension of a conventional conflict.

David Martin: So to them nuclear war is not unthinkable?

Phillip Breedlove: I think to them the use of nuclear weapons is not unthinkable.

Cecil Haney: It concerns me that Russia has a lot of nuclear weapons. It concerns me that Russia has behaved badly on the international stage. And it concerns me that we have leadership in Russia, at various levels that would flagrantly talk about the use of a nuclear weapon in this 21st century.

Risk of nuclear attack rises – CBS News

US Air Force Set to Replace Intercontinental Nuke Arsenal | Military.com

Hidden underground in steel-and-concrete silos across rural America, more than 400 intercontinental ballistic missiles point to the skies, poised for launch — and ready to obliterate cities across the world.

First designed in the 1960s at the height of the Cold War, the Minuteman nuclear weapons are starting to show their age, and replacement parts are difficult to find for the weapons designed in an analog age.

Also aging are their silos, many built in the 1950s and now rusting as water seeps through the decaying concrete.

US Air Force Set to Replace Intercontinental Nuke Arsenal | Military.com

The Gathering Nuclear Storm – WSJ

Lulled to believe nuclear catastrophe died with the Cold War, America is blind to rising dragons.

Even should nuclear brinkmanship not result in Armageddon, it can lead to abject defeat and a complete reordering of the international system. The extraordinarily complicated and consequential management of American nuclear policy rests upon the shoulders of those we elevate to the highest offices. Unfortunately, President Obama’s transparent hostility to America’s foundational principles and defensive powers is coupled with a dim and faddish understanding of nuclear realities. His successor will be no less ill-equipped.

The gravest danger we face is fast-approaching nuclear instability. Many believe it is possible safely to arrive at nuclear zero. It is not. Enough warheads to bring any country to its knees can fit in a space volumetrically equivalent to a Manhattan studio apartment. Try to find that in the vastness of Russia, China, or Iran. Even ICBMs and their transporter-erector-launchers can easily be concealed in warehouses, tunnels and caves. Nuclear weapons age out, but, thanks to supercomputing, reliable replacements can be manufactured with only minor physical testing. Unaccounted fissile material sloshing around the world can, with admitted difficulty, be fashioned into weapons. And when rogue states such as North Korea and Iran build their bombs, our response has been either impotence or a ticket to ride.

The Gathering Nuclear Storm – WSJ

Ukraine Reports Russia Is Practicing Its Readiness For Nuclear Conflict

Kiev’s military intelligence claims Russian strategic missile forces are carrying out drills.

Ukraine’s military intelligence claims Russia’s nuclear forces have begun training, simulating the conditions of a large-scale conflict.

Kiev’s military intelligence posted a statement on Facebook Wednesday, reporting that Russia’s 33 Guards Rocket Army, based in the western Siberian city of Omsk, had kicked off a nuclear combat practice drill.

Ukraine Reports Russia Is Practicing Its Readiness For Nuclear Conflict

Russian Nuclear Weapons Policy Increasingly Resembles That of North Korea | The Jamestown Foundation

Moscow reacted harshly to North Korea’s most recent nuclear test. “Such explicit disregard for the norms of international law and the opinion of the international community merits the strongest possible condemnation,” the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs declared in a statement (Mid.ru, September 9). The irony, however, is that the nuclear weapons policy of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un increasingly resembles the nuclear policy of Russia’s President Vladimir Putin. By illegally annexing Crimea from Ukraine and unleashing the “secret” war in Donbas, in 2014, Moscow entered into a military confrontation with the West. Meanwhile, North Korea is also confronting “American imperialism.” However, neither the Russian Federation nor the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK—North Korea) have sufficient resources for such a confrontation. Indeed, Russia lacks the military and economic potential of the Soviet Union. Moreover, unlike the Soviet Union, Russia today has no real allies; the current demographic situation does not allow the formation of a five-million-strong Armed Forces; and Russian industry is no longer capable of mass producing conventional weapons.

Russian Nuclear Weapons Policy Increasingly Resembles That of North Korea | The Jamestown Foundation

North Korea ready for another nuclear test any time: South Korea | Reuters

North Korea is ready to conduct an additional nuclear test at any time, South Korea’s Defence Ministry said on Monday, three days after the reclusive North’s fifth test drew widespread condemnation.

“Assessment by South Korean and U.S. intelligence is that the North is always ready for an additional nuclear test in the Punggye-ri area,” South Korean Defence Ministry spokesman Moon Sang-gyun told a news briefing.

North Korea ready for another nuclear test any time: South Korea | Reuters

North Korea’s Fifth Nuclear Test: What It Means – The Atlantic

Many people seem to have trouble accepting that North Korea really is building nuclear weapons. It seems so incongruous, this backward little peninsular nightmare as a nuclear power. But North Korea has conducted five nuclear tests, with progressively larger yields, since 2006. And now the North Koreans claim to have tested a nuclear weapon small enough to arm a missile. Do we believe them? After all, this is North Korea we’re talking about.

North Korea is coming last, in an era when these technologies are 50 years old and have been demonstrated repeatedly by other nuclear powers. In this context, the country’s boasts about building nuclear weapons small enough to arm missiles and making use of thermonuclear materials don’t seem outlandish at all.

North Korea’s Fifth Nuclear Test: What It Means – The Atlantic

North Korea Will Have the Skills to Make a Nuclear Warhead by 2020, Experts Say – The New York Times

Remember the following: North Korea and Iran share nuclear and missile technology. It is likely that Iran will possess that same knowledge as North Korea concerning miniaturized nuclear warheads and the missiles to deliver them.

Military experts say that by 2020, Pyongyang will most likely have the skills to make a reliable intercontinental ballistic missile topped by a nuclear warhead. They also expect that by then North Korea may have accumulated enough nuclear material to build up to 100 warheads.

Siegfried S. Hecker, a Stanford professor who has traveled to North Korea and who formerly directed the Los Alamos weapons lab in New Mexico, the birthplace of the atomic bomb, said North Korea’s progress in missile and nuclear development signals that it has gone from seeing unconventional weapons as bargaining chips to “deciding they need a nuclear weapons fighting force.”

The Pentagon warned Congress in a report earlier this year that one of Pyongyang’s latest missiles, if perfected, “would be capable of reaching much of the continental United States.”

“That means that, rather than simply hitting the West Coast, an operational North Korean ICBM could probably reach targets throughout the United States, including Washington, D.C.,” he wrote in a blog.

North Korea Will Have the Skills to Make a Nuclear Warhead by 2020, Experts Say – The New York Times

“The textbook definition of unstable”: why North Korea’s newest nuclear test is scary – Vox

My guess is that these tests are larger than we think, because they bury them under a lot of rock and that messes up the signal. This is at least 10 kilotons, and I think it is probably 20 kilotons. There is no question that this thing succeeded.

ZB: So what does this increased size tell us?

JL: It’s a compact device that fits on a nuclear warhead. I assume they use both plutonium and highly enriched uranium. But that’s a guess based on what the North Koreans have said.

The North Koreans said, “This is the bomb that is going to go on the missile force.” The language they used is identical, or really similar, to the language they used when Kim Jong Un posed with a mock-up of a bomb. So my guess is that they are the same object: that the mock-up was a bomb that’s going to go on their missile force.

If you look at what everyone else was able to do by their fifth test, no one was unable to make a nuclear weapon that would fit on a missile.

We shouldn’t assume that countries will struggle to make a bomb that will fit on missiles. And five tests in, with pretty solid yields, I think there’s no reason to doubt them. We should be careful not to hold them to a radically different standard than we’ve held every other country.

“The textbook definition of unstable”: why North Korea’s newest nuclear test is scary – Vox

Iran’s Partnership With North Korea On Nukes And Missiles May Scuttle Any Deal – Forbes [Feb. 20, 2015]

While negotiators haggle over the number of centrifuges Iran should keep in its inventory, North Korean engineers, technicians and laborers remain in Iran assisting in constructing and operating the facilities that are the point of all the debate. South Korean intelligence sources estimate hundreds of North Koreans are in Iran as part of an exchange of nuclear know-how as well as missiles made in North Korea.

Still, North Korea and Iran are believed to be exchanging critical stuff – North Korean experts and workers remaining in place while Iran sends observers to check out intermittent North Korean missile launches and see what North Korea is doing about staging a fourth underground nuclear explosion.

Iran’s Partnership With North Korea On Nukes And Missiles May Scuttle Any Deal – Forbes

North Korea conducts fifth nuclear test, claims it has made warheads with ‘high strike power’ – The Washington Post

North Korea defiantly celebrated its fifth nuclear test Friday, claiming that it can now make warheads small enough to attach to a missile and warning its “enemies” — specifically, the United States — that it has the ability to counter any attack.

The test appeared to be much bigger than North Korea’s previous detonations. And although the North’s claim that it mastered the technology to miniaturize nuclear weapons could not be verified — Pyongyang has a track record of exaggeration — Friday’s test underscored the fact that Kim Jong Un’s regime was continuing to make progress on its nuclear and missile programs despite waves of international sanctions and condemnation.

North Korea conducts fifth nuclear test, claims it has made warheads with ‘high strike power’ – The Washington Post