Before you take off to enjoy the long weekend, here is a shameless plug for the NTI/CNS “Civilian HEU Reduction & Elimination”:http://www.nti.org/db/heu/index.html pages, which we just updated to reflect the great progress made by the “Global Threat Reduction Initiative”:http://nnsa.energy.gov/nuclear_nonproliferation/1550.htm, most notably, the completion of Soviet-origin HEU fuel “removal from Latvia”:http://nnsa.energy.gov/2006.htm, announced last week. *The Latvia removal brought the total up to about “603.7 kg”:http://www.nti.org/db/heu/pastpresent.html#sovfuel of both spent and fresh HEU fuel* (yes, you can check my math).
My favorite page is the “Civil HEU Stock Map”:http://www.nti.org/db/heu/map.html, which we also just updated (I made a “handy factsheet [PDF]”:http://www.nti.org/db/heu/HEU_Who_Has_What.pdf too). The “IPFM”:http://www.fissilematerials.org also has a cool-looking “HEU Inventory”:http://www.fissilematerials.org/ipfm/pages_us_en/visual/visual/visual.php, but I tend to think that our map is a little more user-friendly. Of course, the “GTRI Map [PDF]”:http://nnsa.energy.gov/nuclear_nonproliferation/documents/GTRI_map3.pdf is also quite nice.
And, to conclude, here a neat picture of casks that were used during last year’s HEU removal from the “Czech Republic”:http://www.iaea.or.at/NewsCenter/News/2007/prague.html. You should also make sure to watch this “cool IAEA video”:http://www.iaea.or.at/NewsCenter/Multimedia/Videos/CNNUnifeed/Rez/index.html that documents the Czech removal.
Peter Scoblic “rocked Bloggingheads.TV”:http://bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/10368 yesterday to promote his new “book”:http://www.powells.com/biblio/1-9780670018826-2, _U.S. Vs. Them: How a Half Century of Conservatism Has Undermined America’s Security._
Based on the first 20 minutes, Peter’s performance is very, very good. J Heilbrunn’s is, however, unexpectedly weak. I honestly have no idea what he’s on about most of the time.
A recent issue of Rosatom’s promotional publication “Vestnik Atomproma”:http://www.minatom.ru/i/FileStorage/Vestnik_03-2008.pdf has some cool pictures of floating NPPs, which I posted below. (“Older conceptions”:http://en.rian.ru/russia/20070927/81397620.html tended to be a little bit on the boring side.)
For the ultimate floating NPP bonanza, you should check out an article in the December 2007 _Jane’s Intelligence Review_ by Ole Reistad and CNS’s own Cristina Hansell, which not only provides a neat history of the floating NPP concept, but is complete with discussion of reactor models, questions about LEU use in the prototype, and a handy map. Reistad and Hansell conclude:
bq. “While … some of the risks of floating nuclear power plants can be assessed, *a full evaluation of the safety and security of the reactors is not possible with the information available*. The initial impetus for the floating plants’ construction was the problem of providing heat and power in the Russian Arctic, but the current drive to produce these plants lays equal emphasis on hopes to lease the facilities to foreign countries for profit… *Russia is currently promising to fuel the floating plants with low-enriched fuel*, a commitment that eliminates the possibility that its fuel could be used to build a nuclear bomb. However, *the idea that the plants could be leased to countries that are otherwise not eligible to receive nuclear technology remains problematic and the economic incentives to reverse the low-enriched fuel decision concerning*.”
Andreas Persbo has a “great post”:http://verificationthoughts.blogspot.com/2008/05/pokhran-ii.html up marking the 10th anniversary of India’s 1998 tests of several nuclear weapons. He has Google Earth placemarks and everything, so check it out.
I will humbly note my “recent post”:http://www.totalwonkerr.net/1608/indian-nuclear-test-1994-edition on India’s aborted 1994 nuclear test.
Here’s a silly post about Russia’s new “Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces”:http://russianforces.org/blog/2008/05/dmitri_medvedev_is_the_new_sup.shtml. There are some serious posts in the works, I promise!
The “President of the Russian Federation”:http://www.kremlin.ru website has been quite dramatically updated with information on Dmitry Medvedev in the last few days. For the Russian speakers, the “Uznai Prezidenta”:http://www.uznai-prezidenta.ru/ update is quite priceless. However, for the English speakers, I want to specifically point out Medvedev’s “Photo Album”:http://www.kremlin.ru/eng/photoalbum.shtml
and the section “About Myself”:http://www.kremlin.ru/eng/articles/article200253.shtml. The quote below is how Medvedev describes his choice of career…
“To be honest, I didn’t give much thought as a child to what I would like to do when I grew up. I liked being out and about, playing games, playing sport, but later, as I grew a bit older, there were several professions that interested me. *I wanted to go into chemistry (I really liked the chemistry experiments we did in school),* and I also wanted to become a teacher.”
As you may have heard, Kiriyenko and Burns “signed”:http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2008/may/104400.htm the Agreement for Cooperation in the Field of Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy today in Moscow. (“RIA Novosti”:http://en.rian.ru/russia/20080506/106730497.html) I’ll update this post with more links later on. For now, here is the corresponding “Rosatom press release”:http://www.rosatom.com/en/news/9811_06.05.2008.
The White House also issued a “press release”:http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2008/05/20080506-5.html stating that the “President is pleased” at the signing of the 123 Agreement, which
bq. “will provide a framework for potential commercial sales of civil nuclear commodities to Russia by U.S companies… [and] pave the way for further cooperation under both bilateral and multinational programs and initiatives on nuclear energy and nonproliferation, such as the July 2007 U.S.-Russia Declaration on Nuclear Energy and Nonproliferation and the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP).”
Check out the “Presidential Determination 2008-19″:http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2008/05/20080506-4.html, which states…
bq. *”I have determined that the performance of the Agreement will promote, and will not constitute an unreasonable risk to, the common defense and security.* Pursuant to section 123 b. of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, as amended (42 U.S.C. 2153(b)), I hereby approve the proposed Agreement and authorize the Secretary of State to arrange for its execution.”
Also, chew on a great Nuclear Threat Initiative “issue brief on the U.S.-Russian 123”:http://www.nti.org/e_research/e3_78.html that a CNS colleague wrote some time back.