Category Archives: Nuclear

The Second Coming of MIRVs: The Future of Strategic Arms Competition

Some 18 years ago, India and Pakistan conducted successive nuclear tests, joining China as Southern Asia’s three overt nuclear powers and transforming the region into a nuclear trilemma. Both India and Pakistan have developed their arsenals at a measured pace, at least compared to historical standards. Today, however, there are concerns that we could be witnessing a potential slow-moving, but cascading, arms competition in the region following China’s deployment of multiple independently targetable re-entry vehicles (MIRVs), or multiple-warhead missiles, in 2015. In contrast to city-busting nuclear payloads sufficient to hold population centers at risk, MIRVs enable a single missile to carry several nuclear warheads, potentially to strike several distinct targets. MIRVs are particularly destabilizing because they enable the possessor state to target an adversary’s nuclear assets in a preemptive first strike.

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The Second Coming of MIRVs: The Future of Strategic Arms Competition

North Korea says it has resumed plutonium production: report | Reuters

North Korea says it has resumed plutonium production by reprocessing spent fuel rods and has no plans to stop nuclear tests as long as perceived U.S. threats remain, Japan’s Kyodo news agency reported on Wednesday.

 

North Korea’s Atomic Energy Institute, which has jurisdiction over the country’s Yongbyon nuclear facilities, also told Kyodo it had been producing highly enriched uranium necessary for nuclear arms and power “as scheduled.”

“We have reprocessed spent nuclear fuel rods removed from a graphite-moderated reactor,” the institute told Kyodo in a written interview.

North Korea says it has resumed plutonium production: report | Reuters

Now’s Not the Time to Lower America’s Nuclear Guard, Mr. President

According to The Washington Post, the administration is debating options including declaring a “no first use” policy, reducing the alert status of U.S. nuclear weapons, and further delaying the modernization of America’s increasingly obsolete nuclear arsenal.

Proponents of these ideas claim they would reduce tensions and the risk of escalation or inadvertent nuclear conflict. Unfortunately, the opposite is true: Despite their superficial appeal, these measures would be deeply destabilizing.

Now’s Not the Time to Lower America’s Nuclear Guard, Mr. President

Obama’s Dangerous Plan to Abandon a Key Nuclear Deterrent

Now he’s contemplating one more, by far the most dangerous of all: unilateral nuclear disarmament, or at least a rough approximation thereof. After reducing the size of our nuclear arsenal to dangerous levels, the Washington Post reports that Obama is considering a “no first use” policy with regard to nukes.

As General Sir Richard Shirreff, NATO’s deputy supreme allied commander from 2011 to 2014, said in a BBC Radio 4 interview, Russia has hardwired “nuclear thinking and capability to every aspect of their defense capability.” Renouncing first-use will only encourage Russia or another aggressor with nukes to strike first at what is perceived to be an opponent with one arm deliberately tied behind its back — and to target our nuclear assets so they can’t be used in retaliation. Far from diminishing the likelihood of a nuclear confrontation, then, it could actually trigger one.

President Obama & Nuclear Deterrence: No First Use Policy Is Dangerous | National Review

Fewer Nukes Could Make the World Less Safe – Bloomberg View

Paradoxically, though, this means there’s a danger to having too few nukes. If stockpiles decline to the point that one side thinks it can wipe out the other with a first strike and suffer an acceptable level of retaliatory damage, the situation becomes unstable. Each side has an incentive to risk an attack. Improvements in the U.S. ability to track nuclear-armed submarines contribute to this danger, since that raises the tantalizing possibility of destroying the enemy’s second-strike capability in a surprise assault.

So if the danger in the 1980s was that the world had far too many nuclear weapons, the danger in the 21st century may be that the U.S. and Russia have too few. Although President Barack President Obama’s recent speech in Hiroshima, calling for the eventual abolition of nuclear weapons, makes for good optics, actually pursuing that policy might remove the strongest protection against nuclear war. Meanwhile, shrunken nuclear stockpiles should make us a little more fearful of ever electing a president who might think that launching a first strike would be anything less than madness.

Fewer Nukes Could Make the World Less Safe – Bloomberg View

Failing To Modernize Nuclear Technology Is Threat To National Security | The Daily Caller

The effect of modernizing nuclear technology and weaponry would assure allies that they do not need their own nuclear capabilities. Modernization would also serve to deter other countries from engaging in warfare with the U.S., as well as deterring “escalation to de-escalation.” A country may choose to engage in nuclear warfare if they are losing a conflict to escalate their way out of crisis and force surrender.

For example, there is intel that Russia may be considering these strategies and training in nuclear warfare in an increased manner.

“It is concerning to see that the Russians are clearly continuing to look at nuclear weapons as a clear and important part of their arsenal and they are building it up both in size and type… they have violated the INF treaty for example,” said Hon. Scher.

The panel has claimed that some of the current U.S. technology is over 30 years old.

Failing To Modernize Nuclear Technology Is Threat To National Security | The Daily Caller

Secret document reveals key Iran nuclear constraints will ease in 10 years | The Times of Israel

In January 2027, Tehran can start installing thousands of advanced centrifuges, cutting time needed to make a bomb to 6 months or less

Key restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program imposed under an internationally negotiated deal will ease in slightly more than a decade, cutting the time Tehran would need to build a bomb to six months from present estimates of a year, according to a document obtained Monday by The Associated Press.

The document is the only part linked to last year’s deal between Iran and six foreign powers that hasn’t been made public. It was given to the AP by a diplomat whose work has focused on Iran’s nuclear program for more than a decade, and its authenticity was confirmed by another diplomat who possesses the same document.

Secret document reveals key Iran nuclear constraints will ease in 10 years | The Times of Israel

Nuclear Escalation Is Getting More Likely, It’s Time To Step Up Missile Defense | The Daily Caller

How serious is the current geostrategic balance? Are we in danger of any number of crises escalating to open conflict? And how should the U.S. respond? Should we deploy better military capabilities or ramp up our diplomacy, or both?

Certainly the Russian government has openly declared its willingness to use nuclear weapons against the United States and its European allies should NATO militarily step in to stop Russian aggression in Ukraine or the Baltics. On July 4th, RT published an essay — “U.S. Military Strategy Could Culminate in Nuclear Conflict” — warning that any armed conflict in Ukraine or the South China Sea would not be confined to those regions. The RT essay went on to note while the U.S. remained relatively unscathed in World War II, today’s military capabilities of China and Russia left no guarantee that the U.S. homeland would remain a sanctuary.

Nuclear Escalation Is Getting More Likely, It’s Time To Step Up Missile Defense | The Daily Caller

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.

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