On February 16, the strategic forces subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee held a hearing on the oversight of the nuclear weapons laboratories. The nine out of 16 committee members who skipped the hearing — including the congressman who represents the district encompassing the Livermore Laboratory — missed a fine show.
Month: February 2012
One of the time-honored traditions for influencing debates in Washington, DC, is to leak confidential information to the press. The Pentagon Papers, Watergate, Valerie Plame, Wikileaks, are just a few examples of use of the tactic. By exposing classified or private information, a strategic leaker can then rise in high dudgeon to head off the “appalling” policy being considered, or divulge actions that those in the government were not yet ready to publicize.
On December 20, 2011, the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France, ruled that the “use of gas against terrorists during the Moscow theatre siege was justified.” It did not, that is, violate the right to
The Nuclear Security Summit taking place in Seoul next month is expected to reinforce the commitment of the international community to confronting the threat of nuclear terrorism. The summit process provides a unique opportunity to ensure that nuclear security receives the high-level attention it deserves from governments around the world. It also entrusts the participants with a special responsibility not to let this opportunity pass by.
With political upheavals in Egypt, Libya, and Syria, this might seem like a bad time to begin talks on a nuclear weapons-free zone in the Middle East. And, in fact, some claim that meaningful progress on a treaty cannot be made until order is restored — under publicly accountable authorities with clear control of military forces and weapons. Others suggest, however, that undertaking multilateral negotiations now would calm fears, provide transparency about nuclear weapons, and encourage a regional peace process that would contribute to stability. So, which should it be?
It is a fact that nuclear terrorism is a global threat and has become a worldwide concern. But what is particularly frightening is that there is no clearly defined plan for securing all nuclear materials. According to the Nuclear Threat Initiative’s (NTI) Nuclear Material Security Index, there is no global consensus about what steps matter most in achieving nuclear security.
Increasing oil prices and environmental conscientiousness have generated a commensurate spike in interest in renewable energy sources. Most technologies, however, are ill-suited to providing large-scale, base-load power. Solar, wind, hydroelectric, and geothermal power all rely on specific environmental or geographic conditions that are intermittent or uncommon in nature. Furthermore, the places where these conditions do occur are often far from the population centers where power is needed most.
On January 20, a state engineer with the Utah Division of Water Rights approved two applications that would allow Blue Castle Holdings to take a total of 53,600 acre-feet of water from the Green River annually for a proposed nuclear power plant. That’s more than 17 billion gallons a year, enough for a city of 100,000 households.
Last month, the Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future (BRC) released its final report, a culmination of two years’ work on the difficult issue of how best to manage the back end of the nuclear fuel cycle in the United States. We both participated in this process, as a commissioner and as staff director, and find it worthwhile to reflect on how the commission’s process — that is to say, involving the community — shaped our recommendations.
It’s alive! Neurophysiology. Huddled around a warm fireplace one cold summer’s night in 1816, a small group of friends decided to hold a competition to see who could write the scariest horror story. While vacationing in a villa by Lake Geneva, Switzerland, the friends spent their time reading ghost stories and discussing the exciting experiment being performed by the scientists of the day: reanimating dead matter.
As the last American soldiers left Iraq in December, so, too, did many of the journalists who had covered the war, leaving little in the way of media coverage of post-war Iraq.
February 5 marks the one-year anniversary of the New Strategic Arms Reductions Treaty’s (New START) entry into force. Signed by the United States and Russia in April 2010, New START caps each country’s nuclear arsenal at 1,550 deployed strategic warheads, 700 deployed strategic delivery vehicles (long-range missiles and bombers), and 800 deployed and non-deployed strategic launchers (long-range missile tubes on submarines, missile silos, and bombers).