Non-proliferation spending falls in favor of nuclear weapons
John Fleck, Albuquerque Journal – March 4, 2014
The fiscal year 2015 budget includes additional spending for the National Nuclear Security Administration’s weapons account, rising from from $7.78 billion FY14 to $8.31 billion. One of the major non-proliferation budget items, the “MOX” program, will be put on “cold standby” as the Department of Energy seeks a more cost-effective way to dispose of plutonium. The MOX program, so named for the mixed oxide nuclear power plant fuel it would create from plutonium, will cost $221 in FY15 even in its “standby” state. If the plant were to run as is, it could cost up to $30 billion over the course of its lifetime.
$8.5 billion to be spent on missile defense in FY15
Andrea Shalal, Reuters – March 4, 2014
The FY15 budget includes $99.5 million for early work a new kill vehicle for a ground-based interceptor to be designed by Raytheon, and the Pentagon hopes to field the new kill vehicle along with long-range radar systems by 2020. The $8.5 billion will also fund work on the aforementioned radar system, more acquisitions of Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense interceptors, and other such programs.
Netanyahu urges a nuclear deal that would prevent Iran from enriching uranium
Jeffrey Heller and Matt Spetalnick, Reuters – March 4, 2014
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, speaking to AIPAC just a day after talks with President Obama, stated that any deal that allows Iran to enrich would be a mistake. Without making any specific statements on how Israel would react to such a deal, Netanyahu asserted that he would “do whatever [he] must to defend the Jewish state of Israel.”
US asks Iran to address belief that it worked on nuclear weapons
AP – March 5, 2014
It would not seem that the states negotiating with Iran are pushing for zero enrichment (nor should that be cause for concern), but at an IAEA board meeting in Vienna, a US representative argued that as part of a comprehensive nuclear deal, Iran must address concerns that it may have sought nuclear weapons. Iran has dismissed any such concerns while reiterating its willingness to work with the IAEA in that regard, though concrete steps in that vein have not yet been taken. The next round of talks is set to begin on March 17, though EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton will be in Tehran this weekend.