Monthly Archives: October 2008

Nukes to Lightbulbs

“_Cross-posted from ACW_”:

The amazing Laura Holgate (with Robert Schultz) and the great Pavel Podvig are crossing swords over at the web edition of the _Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists_. The issue: “Megatons to Megawatts”:

Say Holgate/Schultz:

bq. As Pavel Podvig points out in “his July Bulletin Web-Edition column”:, the US-Russia “Megatons to Megawatts” program that is designed to eliminate 500 metric tons of HEU has been one of the most successful and cost-effective programs to reduce nuclear danger. Nonetheless, Podvig argues that extending or expanding the program could increase the risk of nuclear terrorism. Quite simply, _he is wrong_–his conclusion failing to take into account several key points that add up to a compelling case for moving faster and farther to eliminate HEU and its inherent risks.

“Go have a read”:

New ISIS Iran Nuclear Website

ISIS recently beta-launched a “new site”: called ISIS Nuclear Iran. It has a trove of documents and other hot Iran nuclear action.

From what I understand, they want feedback. So check it out. Comments can be sent to

Personally, I am digging the “From the Sky”: feature, which is an “interactive tool…developed using Google maps that allows users to see a broad, annotated overview of Iran’s facilities.”

CFR Iran Blogging has a good lineup of Iran experts “grappling”: with questions like “WTF do we do about Iran’s nuclear program?” Only they’re more articulate. (You will all doubtless be shocked to learn that I am not a CFR member.)

Ah, That Explains Everything

S. Sestanovich in the November/December 2008 issue of _Foreign Affairs_:

bq. Many U.S. foreign policy specialists look at the return of arms control with a *mixture of boredom and regret*. Most stopped viewing Russia as an interesting security problem years ago. In the U.S. military, Russian issues are no longer where the promotions are. When civilian experts bother with the issue of strategic arms reductions, it is usually *not because they think that the U.S.-Russian strategic balance matters* but because they want to revive attention to some related issue, such as “loose” nuclear weapons and materials or the need for the United States and Russia to strengthen nonproliferation efforts by making large cuts in their own arsenals. It is telling that the most significant arms control idea of recent years, advanced by the Cold War veterans Kissinger, Sam Nunn, William Perry, and George Shultz, has been nuclear abolition. *Mere nuclear parity apparently bores them, too.*

“Whole thing here”:

Russian Foreign Policy Concept on Nonproliferation

Apparently, if one compares “Putin’s 2000 foreign policy concept”: and “Medvedev’s 2008 foreign policy concept”:, one might notice some peculiar changes. Not sure what they mean (if anything), but check out what seems like a new emphasis on _nonproliferation_. (Note that I founds these in the Russian versions, but posting in Russian seemed silly.)

So, looking at the section titled “Strengthening International Security”…

Putin’s FP Concept has *no “nonproliferation” reference in the first paragraph*…

bq. Russia calls supports for further decrease of the role of the power factor in international relations, along with the simultaneous enhancement of strategic and regional stability. Toward this end, the Russian Federation shall: unswervingly fulfill the commitments its has taken upon itself in compliance with treaties and agreements in the spheres of *limiting and reducing armaments*, and its participation in negotiating working out and concluding new accords consistent both with its national interests and the security interests of other states;

*As compared to Medvedev’s, which does…*

bq. Russia consistently calls for diminished role of the force factor in international relations with simultaneous enhancement of strategic and regional stability. Towards these ends, the Russian Federation: unswervingly fulfils its international obligations under international treaties in the sphere of *nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction, arms control and disarmament*, as well as takes confidence-building measures in military sphere; participates in negotiations to work out and conclude new accords in these fields consistent with its national interests and on the basis of the principles of equality and indivisibility of security;

Further, in Putin’s FP Concept, *the 2nd paragraph is about arms control and the 3rd is on nonproliferation*…

Russia is prepared to consent for a *further reduction of its nuclear potential on the basis of bilateral agreements with the United States of America, and — in a multilateral format – with the participation of other nuclear powers* on condition that strategic stability in the nuclear sphere will not be upset. Russia shall seek preservation and observance of the 1972 Treaty on the Limitation of Anti-Ballistic Missile Systems – the cornerstone of strategic stability. The implementation of the plans of the United States to create a national missile defense system will inevitably compel the Russian Federation to adopt adequate measures for maintaining its national security at a proper level;

Russia reaffirms its unswerving course toward participating jointly with other states in *averting the proliferation of nuclear weapons, other weapons of mass destruction and means of their delivery, as well as relevant materials and technologies*. The Russian Federation is an ardent supporter of strengthening and developing relevant international regimes, including the creation of a Global system of control over non-proliferation of missiles and missile technologies. The Russian Federation to firmly adheres to its commitments under the Treaty on a comprehensive ban on nuclear tests, and urges all countries of the world to join it;

While in Medvedev’s FP Concept, *the 2nd paragraph is about nonproliferation and the 3rd is about arms control*…

reaffirms its unfailing policy of developing multilateral foundations of *nonproliferation of nuclear weapons, other weapons of mass destruction and means of their delivery*; stands for compliance with the NonProliferation Treaty, the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on Their Destruction, as well as the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on Their Destruction; is actively engaged in international endeavors to control traffic of dualuse materials and technologies; promotes the early entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty; supports a global missile nonproliferation regime on the basis of a legally binding agreement;

is prepared to *negotiate with all nuclear powers a reduction of strategic offensive weapons* (intercontinental ballistic missiles, submarine-launched ballistic missiles as well as heavy bombers and warheads they carry) up to a minimum level sufficient to maintain strategic stability;

promotes the prevention of deployment of weapons in outer space and the establishment of a system of collective response to potential missile threats on an equal basis, and opposes unilateral actions in the field of strategic antimissile defense that are destabilizing international situation;

Ok, some of the content changes were predictable, but why the shift of emphasis? Hmm…

ACW Blogging

As Paul noted, I’m blogging over at “ArmsControlWonk”: this week. Posts will be cross-posted here in a bit.

And, just in case you thought otherwise, folks over at Russia’s Atomenergoprom apparently “are into the idea”: that the “nuclear industry should _intensify its educational and information activities in blogosphere_.”



Anya is blogging all this week at “ArmsControlWonk.”:

Highly recommended. I would have blogged something substantive had I not purchased tickets for tonight’s Billy Bragg show.

Hungary’s Spent HEU Removed

Today “NNSA announced”: the removal of Hungary’s spent HEU fuel stockpile. As has been noted in “this post”:, the spent fuel shipment was only a matter of time. Yet, if I am not mistaken, *Hungary still retains some _fresh_ HEU fuel*.

WMD Financing Porn

The FATF put out something of a “primer”: on the subject a little while back for you to sink your teeth into. The case studies look interesting.

Hans Blix Band


Oh, man…found on teh Google…

There is a “band”: called Hans Blix. That would be great enough, but their “music”: is also really good.

And I _really_ want a T shirt.