Hurray for US President Barack Obama and China’s President Xi Jinping, who on November 12 announced new targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the two countries that are the world’s biggest carbon polluters.
One of the most enduring myths about post-revolutionary Iran is that the country’s policies, including those on nuclear matters, are shaped by its leadership’s obsession with martyrdom and Messianic ideals. Many observers, especially in the arms control community, base their analyses on this notion, and it leads to some harrowing conclusions. If, after all, a country’s stance is basically suicidal, there’s no telling what it would do with a nuclear weapon.
The Nuclear Security Summit held in The Hague in March brought together leaders of 53 countries to discuss how to keep nuclear and radioactive material out of terrorists’ hands. Participants included countries with large nuclear energy programs like the United States and France, budding nuclear states like Turkey, and even countries like Gabon that are far from deploying power reactors. Yet Iran, which has one of the world’s most controversial nuclear power programs, was not represented.
The Republican takeover of the Senate and consequent sidelining of the Democratic majority leader, Nevada Sen. Harry Reid, will undoubtedly increase calls for reviving the Energy Department’s proposed nuclear waste repository at Nevada’s Yucca Mountain. The project got a big boost from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) staff when it recently concluded that the Energy Department has “demonstrated compliance with NRC regulatory requirements” limiting long-term radioactive leakage from the proposed repository.