Category Archives: Nuclear

Fired nuke commander now linked to counterfeit poker chips | The Rundown | PBS NewsHour

The admiral fired last year as No. 2 commander of U.S. nuclear forces may have made his own counterfeit $500 poker chips with paint and stickers to feed a gambling habit that eventually saw him banned from an entire network of casinos, according to a criminal investigative report obtained by The Associated Press.

Although Rear Adm. Timothy M. Giardina’s removal as deputy head of U.S. Strategic Command was announced last year, evidence of his possible role in manufacturing the counterfeit chips has not previously been revealed. Investigators said they found his DNA on the underside of an adhesive sticker used to alter genuine $1 poker chips to make them look like $500 chips.

Nor had the Navy disclosed how extensively he gambled.

Fired nuke commander now linked to counterfeit poker chips | The Rundown | PBS NewsHour

This doesn’t exactly give one confidence in the Navy’s ability to run its nuclear forces. Whoever gave him that job (No. 2 commander of US nuclear forces) should be fired too.

The nuclear gun is back on the table – FT.com

“Both in private and in public, Russia is making explicit references to its nuclear arsenal”

“Thirty years on and the nuclear peace is still holding. But I am becoming a little less secure in my belief that nukes will never be used.”

“My third reason for worry is more immediate: a significant increase in threatening nuclear talk from Russia.”

There are three reasons for my anxiety. First, the spread of nuclear weapons to unstable countries such as Pakistan and North Korea. Second, the growing body of evidence about how close the world has come, at various times, to nuclear conflict. My third reason for worry is more immediate: a significant increase in threatening nuclear talk from Russia.

Both in private and in public, the Russians are now making increasingly explicit references to their country’s nuclear arsenal. A couple of weeks ago, I witnessed a prominent Russian warn an audience, at a private seminar in Washington, that “President [Vladimir] Putin has put the nuclear gun on the table.” The Russian president has indeed told an audience at home that outsiders should not “mess with us”, because “Russia is one of the leading nuclear powers”.

Last week, Pravda – the Soviet mouthpiece during the cold war – ran an article headlined, “Russia Prepares Nuclear Surprise for Nato”. It crowed that Russia has parity with the US in strategic nuclear weapons and boasted: “As for tactical nuclear weapons, the superiority of modern-day Russia over Nato is even stronger. The Americans are well aware of this. They were convinced before that Russia would never rise again. Now it is too late.”

My only hesitation in writing about this is that I have little doubt that one aim of all this nuclear posturing from Moscow is precisely to get western commentators talking about a Russian nuclear threat. Russia is desperate to stop the west supplying military aid to Ukraine. So, they want to get across the message that any such escalation would provoke a ferocious reaction from Moscow and – who knows – perhaps even the use of nuclear weapons.

… Sadly, we may now be returning to an era in which the threat of nuclear warfare can no longer be treated as the stuff of science fiction.

The nuclear gun is back on the table – FT.com

We’ve gone almost 70 years since the introduction of nuclear weapons without a nuclear war. Why should we be worried now? Why is this time different?

You should be worried because the vast majority of people in the US, Russia and China who actually experienced the horrors of war are dead. The new generations that are alive now don’t fear nuclear war, and that is a game-changer. The US has gutted its nuclear arsenal and what remains is rotting – because of no fear. Russia and China have no fear of nuclear war and are actively getting ready for it. They sure as hell aren’t acting like the US. I think that’s a big problem.

Russian Media: Moscow Has Nuclear Surprise – Business Insider

The Russian Pravda has published an article titled “Russia Prepares Nuclear Surprise For NATO,” citing a Sept. 1 US State Department report that signaled US and Russia had reached parity in terms of deployed strategic nuclear weapons. 

Although the article does not explicitly contain threats against NATO or the US, the message of the article is clear: The readily deployable Russian nuclear arsenal is growing and now matches that of the US.

Russian Media: Moscow Has Nuclear Surprise – Business Insider

Iran Possesses All the Technology for a Nuclear Weapon | Algemeiner.com

Four technological achievements are key to completing Tehran’s nuclear weapon:

  • The accretion of enough nuclear materials, highly enriched to weapons-grade or 90 percent;
  • Machining that material into metal for a spheroid warhead so it can fit into a missile nosecone;
  • Developing a trigger mechanism to initiate the atomic explosion at a precise moment during missile re-entry;
  • And, of course, a reliable delivery system.

Start with the nuclear material. Experts estimate that a single bomb would require approximately 25 kilograms of Highly Enriched Uranium, or HEU, with a U-235 concentration of at least 90 percent. Much of Iran’s nuclear enrichment remains at 3.5 and 20 percent levels. But the numbers are deceiving. Enriching to 3.5 percent is 75 percent of the task of reaching weapons-grade. Once Iran has reached 20 percent, it has gone 90 percent of the distance. Today, Iran possesses enough nuclear material for a fast “break-out” that would finish the job, creating enough for five or ten bombs in about six weeks.

Second, that HEU must be metalized and shaped into a dense spheroid compact enough to fit into a missile nosecone. Iran has mastered the metallurgical techniques using other high-density metals such as tungsten, which have been test-detonated in a special chamber to measure their explosive character.

Iran Possesses All the Technology for a Nuclear Weapon | Algemeiner.com

Report: Iran Nuclear Program More Advanced than Previously Believed | Washington Free Beacon

Iran is said to have built and still be in possession of two explosive chambers that have allowed the regime to conduct advanced testing of nuclear weapons, according to new information published by the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), an Iranian opposition group that has exposed Iran’s clandestine nuclear activities in the past.

While the existence of one explosive chamber has been known for some time, the NCRI claims a second device could be hidden at Iran’s Parchin military complex, or at another site somewhere in Iran.

The claims raise new questions about the status and extent of Iran’s nuclear progress as negotiations between Tehran and the West approach their Nov. 24 deadline.

Report: Iran Nuclear Program More Advanced than Previously Believed | Washington Free Beacon

Foundation of US nuclear system showing cracks

The foundation of America’s nuclear arsenal is fractured, and the government has no clear plan to repair it.

The cracks appear not just in the military forces equipped with nuclear weapons but also in the civilian bureaucracy that controls them, justifies their cost, plans their future and is responsible for explaining a defense policy that says nuclear weapons are at once essential and excessive.

Rather, this [issue] is about a broader problem: The erosion of the government’s ability to manage and sustain its nuclear “enterprise,” the intricate network of machines, brains and organizations that enables America to call itself a nuclear superpower.

What have been slipping are certain key building blocks — technical expertise, modern facilities and executive oversight on the civilian side, and discipline, morale and accountability on the military side.

But the problem goes beyond the military and Hagel’s responsibility for nuclear weapons. It extends to the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA). …

Foundation of US nuclear system showing cracks

If you have been following me for awhile, then you know that the entire foundation of the US is cracked. There is really no surprise in this article. Both 9/11 and the financial crash of 2008 indicate that problems have spread far and wide into all corners of American society. Certainly, national security is not immune. And that means American nuclear forces too. In short, America is unable to properly protect itself.

US air force fires two more nuclear commanders amid leadership crisis | World news | theguardian.com

The US air force has fired two more nuclear commanders and disciplined a third, fresh evidence of leadership lapses in a nuclear missile corps that has suffered several recent setbacks including the removal of its top commander.

The most senior officer to be relieved of command was Colonel Carl Jones, second in command of the 90th Missile Wing at FE Warren air force base, Wyoming, in charge of 150 of the air force’s 450 Minuteman 3 nuclear intercontinental ballistic missiles. He was dismissed on Monday “for a loss of trust and confidence in his leadership abilities” and reassigned as a special assistant to the wing commander.

At the 91st Missile Wing at Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota, which also is responsible for 150 Minuteman 3 missiles, Lieutenant Colonel Jimmy “Keith” Brown was relieved of command “because of a loss of confidence in Brown’s ability to lead his squadron”, the air force said.

US air force fires two more nuclear commanders amid leadership crisis | World news | theguardian.com

Are Russian Bombers Flying Nuclear Drills Near Europe—Or Just Testing NATO’s Defenses? – The Daily Beast

Nuclear-capable Russian bombers are flying over the North Sea and the Atlantic. And U.S. Air Force officers are very concerned at what could be a rehearsal of a deadly mission.

Russian bombers may be flying nuclear strike drills over the Atlantic Ocean and North Sea, current and former U.S. Air Force officers believe. At the very least, these officers tell The Daily Beast, the Russian Air Force is aggressively probing what NATO calls European airspace in an effort to gauge the reaction times of the western alliance’s defenses.

“It certainly demonstrates their effort to re-assert themselves in the region and regain their past form,” this official added. “It appears to be successful, certainly from the standpoint that Russian airpower has re-entered the conversation and our NATO allies have had to respond to their incursions. It strikes me as destabilizing.”

Are Russian Bombers Flying Nuclear Drills Near Europe—Or Just Testing NATO’s Defenses? – The Daily Beast

If one looks at this in isolation then who knows. Instead, take a look at a few articles that have come out in the last couple of months:

Given the above, it just seems like Putin is preparing to follow through on his threats.

Nuclear Weaponization in Iran: Tracking the Evidence

As the P5+1 and Iran work to attempt to conclude a comprehensive agreement over Iran’s nuclear program by a November 24th deadline, one vital element must be part of any agreement: resolving the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA’s) outstanding concerns about Iran’s past and possibly ongoing work on nuclear weapons, including nuclear weaponization.  A necessary part of resolving the IAEA’s concerns about Iran’s military nuclear activities is an investigation into alleged high explosives test experiments related to nuclear weapons development at a site in the Parchin military complex, and the role of foreign assistance from a Russian nuclear weapons expert to the activities at this site, including his possible help in developing spherical high explosive multipoint initiation systems.  The IAEA’s evidence about the Parchin site is both credible and multi-sourced.  Inspectors independently interviewed the foreign expert and his statement is part of the basis of the IAEA’s chronology of alleged activities at the site.  Analysis of the evidence about the former Soviet weapons expert and the multipoint detonation system bears revisiting in light of the approaching deadline for the negotiations.

ISIS Analysis of IAEA Iran Safeguards Report: Part II – Iran’s Work and Foreign Assistance on a Multipoint Initiation System for a Nuclear Weapon
By David Albright, Paul Brannan, Mark Gorwitz, and Andrea Stricker
November 13, 2011

Revisiting Danilenko and the Explosive Chamber at Parchin: A Review Based on Open Sources
By David Albright and Robert Avagyan
September 17, 2012

Revisiting Vyacheslav Danilenko: His Origins in the Soviet Nuclear Weapons Complex
By Mark Gorwitz
September 17, 2012

Russia Deploying Tactical Nuclear Arms in Crimea | Washington Free Beacon

Russia is moving tactical nuclear weapons systems into recently-annexed Crimea while the Obama administration is backing informal talks aimed at cutting U.S. tactical nuclear deployments in Europe.

Three senior House Republican leaders wrote to President Obama two weeks ago warning that Moscow will deploy nuclear missiles and bombers armed with long-range air launched cruise missiles into occupied Ukrainian territory.

“Locating nuclear weapons on the sovereign territory of another state without its permission is a devious and cynical action,” states the letter signed by House Armed Services Committee Chairman Howard P. “Buck” McKeon (R., Calif.) and two subcommittee chairmen.

Russia Deploying Tactical Nuclear Arms in Crimea | Washington Free Beacon