After the March 2011 meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station in Japan, which breached reactor containment systems and resulted in the evacuation of about 150,000 people living within 20 kilometers of the site, many people in Japan and elsewhere were concerned about contamination outside the evacuation zone. The amount of radioactivity in seafood, for example, was of particular interest.
On September 18, the residents of Scotland will determine whether to remain in the United Kingdom or become independent for the first time since 1707. On the surface, this referendum seems to only affect those living in the United Kingdom, but a more detailed look reveals an issue of significant international importance—the future of Great Britain’s nuclear deterrent.
Within the next few years, autonomous vehicles—alias robot cars—could be weaponized, the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) fears. In a recently disclosed report, FBI experts wrote that they believe that robot cars would be “game changing” for law enforcement. The self-driving machines could be professional getaway drivers, to name one possibility. Given the pace of developments on autonomous cars, this doesn’t seem implausible.
The complicity of scientists, willing or unwitting, in the smuggling of radioactive materials has been a long-standing concern of the nonproliferation community. After the disintegration of the Soviet Union, the US Cooperative Threat Reduction program offered alternative livelihoods to impoverished nuclear scientists, in hopes of dissuading them from selling their knowledge to governments or terrorists seeking nuclear weapons or materials.
Sixty-nine years ago, at 8:15 in the morning on August 6, the first atomic bomb exploded over Hiroshima. Three days later, another bomb was dropped on Nagasaki. Estimates vary as to the number of people who died in those blasts, but the figure of at least 130,000 deaths for Hiroshima seems to be generally accepted, with another 70,000 for Nagasaki as of surveys conducted in November 1945.
The downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over Ukraine, apparently by Russian-trained separatists using a Russian missile launcher. The US government’s determination that Russia has violated the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty of 1987 by testing ground-launched cruise missiles. Increasingly stringent US and European economic sanctions against Russia's government and key areas of the country's economy. Troubles in and around Ukraine are straining relations between Russia and the United States and raising the prospect of a new Cold War.