Category Archives: Nuclear

The World’s Nuclear Arsenal Is Getting Smaller But Deadlier

Nuclear weapons in Asia are on the rise. China, North Korea, India, and Pakistan are all increasing their nuclear arsenals and modernizing their delivery systems. The report says that China is “gradually increasing its nuclear forces as it modernizes its arsenal.” China has an estimated 260 nuclear weapons, but it has so far refrained from producing the nuclear fuel to create more. China  in the past has built gigantic, city-busting megaton nukes to make up for inaccurate missiles, but as accuracy improves they may dismantle existing weapons to create more smaller missiles. China is also preparing to send its latest nuclear missile submarines to sea and is placing multiple warheads on long-range land-based nuclear missiles.

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The World’s Nuclear Arsenal Is Getting Smaller But Deadlier

Exclusive: North Korea restarts plutonium production for nuclear bombs – U.S. official | Reuters

North Korea has restarted production of plutonium fuel, a senior U.S. State Department official said on Tuesday, showing that it plans to pursue its nuclear weapons program in defiance of international sanctions.

The U.S. assessment came a day after the U.N. nuclear watchdog said it had “indications” that Pyongyang has reactivated a plant to recover plutonium from spent reactor fuel at Yongbyon, its main nuclear complex.

Exclusive: North Korea restarts plutonium production for nuclear bombs – U.S. official | Reuters

Tomorrow Never Comes: Neglecting the Nuclear Force

In 2014, following several high-level embarrassments, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel ordered two enterprise-level reviews of nuclear forces. Remarking on their findings, Hagel said, “The internal and external reviews I ordered show that a consistent lack of investment and support for our nuclear forces —over far too many years — has left us with too little margin to cope with mounting stresses.” Until now, documented problems with America’s nuclear enterprise have focused primarily on personnel issues— a lack of focus by the missile crews, pilots, technicians, or the leaders of those charged with handling America’s most powerful weapons. However, the persistent lack of investment in the nuclear enterprise suggests that the reasons for lapsed focus are actually structural, and thus require structural solutions. The findings of the 2014 nuclear enterprise reviews were not new. In 2008, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates fired Air Force Secretary Michael Wynne and Chief of Staff General Michael Moseley for their “drifted focus” away from the nuclear mission. New Air Force leaders spent the next six years refocusing the service on the nuclear mission. The nuclear enterprise’s structural problems require urgent attention, most of all how resources are allocated for nuclear forces.

Tomorrow Never Comes: Neglecting the Nuclear Force

US military uses 8″ floppy disks to coordinate nuclear operations

Report says many Federal IT systems use outdated and unsupported software and hardware that are ‘at least 50 years old’ in some cases

Maybe they use the ’80s flick “War Games” as a training film, too.

The U.S. Defense Department is still using — after several decades — 8-inch floppy disks in a computer system that coordinates the operational functions of the nation’s nuclear forces, a jaw-dropping new report reveals.

The Defense Department’s 1970s-era IBM Series/1 Computer and long-outdated floppy disks handle functions related to intercontinental ballistic missiles, nuclear bombers and tanker support aircraft, according to the new Government Accountability Office report.

US military uses 8″ floppy disks to coordinate nuclear operations

Obama’s Asian nuclear nightmare – POLITICO

Fueled by Trump’s rhetoric and North Korea’s threats, Japan and South Korea are eyeing nuclear weapons of their own.

North Korea is expanding its nuclear arsenal and upgrading its ballistic missiles. China is growing and modernizing its stockpile. Most strikingly, Pentagon planners worry that Japan and South Korea might explore developing nuclear arms of their own for the first time—promoted in part by the recent conclusion by U.S. and South Korean intelligence agencies that North Korea’s bizarre regime can now mount a small nuclear warhead on missiles capable of striking Japan and South Korea.

Obama’s Asian nuclear nightmare – POLITICO

China’s Nuclear Subs Are Ready to Terrorize the Sea – The Daily Beast

Beijing will soon be able to launch nuclear missiles from the sea. And that’s going to make it harder to deter any future Chinese aggression.

China’s about to join an exclusive club for nuclear powers. After decades of development, 2016 could be the year the Chinese navy finally sends its ballistic-missile submarines—“SSBN” is the Pentagon’s designation—to sea for the first time for operational patrols with live, nuclear-tipped rockets.

If indeed the Jin-class subs head to sea this year, China will achieve a level of nuclear strike capability that, at present, just two countries—the United States and Russia—can match or exceed.

China’s Nuclear Subs Are Ready to Terrorize the Sea – The Daily Beast

Iran breaches nuclear deal and UN resolution for the third time – Al Arabiya English

Iranian leaders have breached both the resolutions and the nuclear agreement for the third time since the nuclear deal went into effect in January 2016. Iran has repeatedly test-fired, long-range ballistic missiles and laser-guided surface-to-surface missiles.

In October and November, just after the nuclear deal was reached, Iran tested a new ballistic missile capable of carrying multiple warheads.

In March, Iran again test-fired two ballistic missiles. More recently and for the third time, the Iranian government fired a test missile two weeks ago which was accurate to 25 feet, which is characterized as zero error, according to the Brigadier General Ali Abdollahi, the Iranian military’s deputy chief of staff, and Iran’s semi-official Tasnim news agency.


But, the United Nations Security Council resolution (Paragraph 3 of Annex B of resolution 2231, 2015) is clear. The resolution “calls upon Iran not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using such ballistic missile technology.”

Iran breaches nuclear deal and UN resolution for the third time – Al Arabiya English

Could North Korea Secretly Build an Iranian Bomb? | The National Interest

The idea of collaboration should come as no real surprise, as it’s seemingly well-known that the Iran and North Korea are reported to have been cooperating at some level on ballistic missiles going back to at least the late 1990s. For instance, it’s long been asserted that some Iranian ballistic missiles (e.g., the Shahab) are based on North Korean ballistic-missile technology (e.g., the Nodong) or transfers (e.g., the Scud).

Equally alarming is the New York Times report suggesting that the 2013 North Korean nuclear test may have been conducted “for two countries.” That notion was raised by unattributed U.S. government sources and gives support to concerns that Pyongyang and Tehran may be cooperating on more than ballistic missiles. This wouldn’t be the first time such an allegation has been leveled at Tehran and Pyongyang informally, but perhaps the first time it’s been acknowledged by Washington, taking into account a source not willing to be identified.

Could North Korea Secretly Build an Iranian Bomb? | The National Interest

Japan and South Korea May Soon Go Nuclear – WSJ

On Friday North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un praised his country’s recent hydrogen bomb test and satellite launch as “unprecedented” achievements that will “bring the final victory of the revolution.” Such rhetoric is nothing new, but North Korea’s nuclear-weapons program and a growing sense that security arrangements with the U.S. aren’t sufficient has eroded the Japanese taboo against nuclear weapons. On April 1, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s cabinet announced that Japan’s constitution did not ban his country from having or using nuclear arms.

Meanwhile, South Korea’s ruling-party leaders have urged President Park Geun-hye to stockpile “peaceful” plutonium as a military hedge against its neighbors. A Feb. 19 article in Seoul’s leading conservative daily, the Chosun Ilbo, went so far as to detail how South Korea could use its existing civilian nuclear facilities to build a bomb in 18 months.

Japan and South Korea May Soon Go Nuclear – WSJ

North Korea’s nuclear program: What do we know? – CNN.com

North Korea’s missile development program began in the 1960s, and by 1971 the country had signed an agreement with China to develop and produce ballistic missiles. It has also partnered with Iran on missile development.
By 1984, according to the Nuclear Threat Initiative, it had developed the Hwasong-5, a homegrown version of the Scud missile.
 
Since then it has developed or is developing as many as eight delivery vehicles. The submarine-based Bukgeukseong-1, a Polaris-variant, is the latest in development. North Korea is believed to have fired one off the east coast of the Korean peninsula in April.
 
Its intermediate-range Nodong (also called Rodong) was developed in the late 1980s and successfully test-launched in 1993.
 
 
North Korea’s arsenal has weapons which can potentially reach the continental United States. …

North Korea’s nuclear program: How is it developing? – CNN.com