Security Insiders to Mitt Romney: Nuclear Iran Not World’s Greatest Threat
Sara Sorcher, National Journal – August 7, 2012
Three-quarters of National Journal’s National Security Insiders disagreed with a recent statement by Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who said a nuclear Iran represents the greatest threat to the world.
Contemplating a third nuclear test in North Korea
Frank V. Pabian and Siegfried S. Hecker, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists – 6 August, 2012
A new analysis using seismic information, previous reporting, commercial satellite imagery, and Google Earth tools and geo-positioning refines the locations of North Korea’s two nuclear tests and provides an improved basis for estimating their explosion yields. A recently completed tunnel in the vicinity is judged to be capable of accommodating another test in as little as two weeks, based on comparisons with features of the two test tunnels previously used by North Korea and publicly available data on the Pakistani test program. Similarities in publicized North Korean and Pakistani testing practices lead to speculation that Pyongyang may decide to test both plutonium and highly enriched uranium devices simultaneously. Although there are strong technical and military forces driving Pyongyang to conduct additional tests, so far it appears to have concluded that the political price of another test is too high.
US Nuclear Security
Security Questions Are Raised by Break-In at a Nuclear Site
Matthew Wald and William Broad, New York Times – August 7, 2012
An 82-year-old nun and two fellow pacifists who penetrated the defenses of one of the nation’s most important nuclear weapons facilities last week are due in federal court in Knoxville, Tenn., on Thursday to face charges of trespassing and spray-painting antiwar slogans on a building that houses nuclear bomb fuel. But the incident has also put the Department of Energy’s security system on trial. The security breach, at Oak Ridge in Tennessee, has prompted the Department of Energy to reappraise security measures across its nuclear weapons program and private experts to criticize the agency’s safeguarding of nuclear stockpiles.
U.S. Sweetens Taliban Prisoner Proposal In Bid To Revive Peace Talks
Missy Ryan, Reuters – August 7, 2012
The Obama administration, in a move aimed at reviving Afghan peace talks, has sweetened a proposed deal under which it would transfer Taliban detainees from Guantanamo Bay prison in exchange for a U.S. soldier held by Taliban allies in Pakistan. The revised proposal, a concession from an earlier U.S. offer, would alter the sequence of the move of five senior Taliban figures held for years at the U.S. military prison to the Gulf state of Qatar, sources familiar with the issue said. U.S. officials have hoped the prisoner exchange, proposed as a good-faith move in initial discussions between U.S. negotiators and Taliban officials, would open the door to peace talks between militants and the government of Afghan President Hamid Karzai.
Cooperative Threat Reduction
Lugar visits Moscow to press for renewal of nuclear pact
Chrispian Balmer, Reuters – August 6, 2012
Sen. Dick Lugar (R-Ind.) left for Moscow on Monday as part of a three-nation trip during which he’ll press for extending his signature Nunn-Lugar disarmament agreement, which expires next year. “My visit comes at a time of considerable stress in our bilateral relationship with Russia, great challenges in Ukraine and tremendous opportunity in Georgia,” he said in a statement announcing the trip. “The constant basis for cooperation against existential threats in all three nations has been the Nunn-Lugar program, which has endured despite great differences and dramatic changes.”