FAS Roundup: January 23, 2012
India’s rejection of nuclear weapons for warfighting, future of nuclear power, reclassificiation of nuclear weapons information and much more.
From the Blogs
- Dept of Energy Wants to Reclassify Some Info as “Restricted Data”: Steven Aftergood writes that the Department of Energy has asked Congress to amend the Atomic Energy Act to allow certain nuclear weapons information that has been removed from the “Restricted Data” classification category to be restored to that category. In a letter to Congress requesting the proposed amendment, Energy Secretary Steven Chu suggested that the current arrangement leaves some nuclear weapons design information inadequately protected.
- Indian Army Chief- Nukes Not for Warfighting: On January 15, 2012, General V.K Singh said that India’s nuclear weapons “are not for warfighting.” Hans Kristensen writes that the rejection of nuclear warfighting ideas is a welcoming development in the debate over the role of nuclear weapons in South Asia.
- Foreign Military Assistance and More from CRS: Secrecy News has obtained new CRS reports on chemical facility security, nuclear power plant design, and U.S. military detainee policy.
- Whither Nuclear Power?: In the aftermath of the Fukushima accident, Germany and Switzerland have put a halt to their nuclear power programs, America’s nuclear renaissance has slowed, and Japan is trying to figure out how to substitute alternative energy sources for nuclear power. Dr. Y writes on the ScienceWonk Blog that it is understandable that the world might feel an aversion to nuclear power at the moment, but it is no more dangerous than any other form of energy.
- Army Foresees Expanded Use of Drones in U.S. Airspace: The Army issued a new directive last week to govern the growing use of unmanned aircraft systems or “drones” within the United States for training missions and for “domestic operations.” Much of the Army’s UAS activity will be devoted to UAS operator training conducted at or near military facilities. But beyond such training activities, the military also envisions a role for UAS in unspecified “domestic operations” in civilian airspace.
- Radioactive Tissues?: On January 12, 2012, Bed, Bath, & Beyond announced that it had received a shipment of steel tissue holders (manufactured in India) that were contaminated with radioactive cobalt-60. Dr. Y agrees that the tissue boxes are radioactive, but the question is whether or not they are sufficiently radioactive to cause health problems.
- Testimony of Reporter Sought in Sterling Leak Case: In a brief filed in the case against former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling (who is accused of leaking classified information), prosecutors told the U.S. Court of Appeals that New York Times reporter James Risen should be compelled to testify at Mr. Sterling’s trial and to reveal whether it was Mr. Sterling who leaked information to him about a CIA program to disrupt Iran’s nuclear weapons program.
- Hans Kristensen, director of the Nuclear Information Project, spoke on a panel hosted by the Arms Control Association regarding the future of the U.S. Nuclear Arsenal in Washington, DC on January 20, 2012.
- Miles O’Brien examined the hazards and benefits of nuclear energy on Nuclear Aftershocks which aired on PBS’s Frontline on January 17, 2012. FAS President Charles Ferguson spoke about the implications for U.S. nuclear safety after the Fukushima nuclear power plant accident. If you missed the episode, you can view it on Fronline’s website here.
- Stop the Madness: Yousaf Butt, Scientific Consultant to FAS, writes in Foreign Policy that despite all the hype, Iran’s nuclear program has yet to violate international law. Butt argues that only by shifting the conversation from the impossible goal of eliminating Iranian nuclear capability to focusing on better monitoring processes of the program can the United States prevent a harmful rush to war.
Amend the American Medical Isotopes Production Act of 2011
- FAS President Charles Ferguson signed a letter to Representatives Fortenberry, Upton and Markey urging them to amend S. 99, the American Medical Isotopes Production Act of 2011, which was passed by the U.S. Senate on November 17, 2011. Read the letter here.
Volunteer Opportunity for DC Members
- FAS will have a booth at the 2nd Annual USA Science and Engineering Festival which will be held on April 28-29 in Washington, DC. We are looking for volunteers to staff our booth-come share your knowledge and career experiences with festival attendees! If you are interested in volunteering, please contact Melanie Stegman at [email protected]
FAS in the News
- Jan 19: Nature, “Paul M. Doty (1920 – 2011)”
- Jan 19: Military.com News, “New Strategy Could Presage U.S. Nuclear Arsenal”
- Jan 18: Reuters, “Not-so-covert IranWar Buys West Time, Raises Tension
- Jan 17: Reuters Magazine, “WikiLeaks’s 16th Minute”