FAS Roundup: December 2, 2013

Declassification priorities, control of civilian nuclear fuel cycles, Holiday membership drive and more.

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Implications of the Recent Deal with Iran on Getting Controls on Civilian Nuclear Fuel Cycles

In an op-ed published on the Hiroshima Report Blog of the Center for the Promotion of Disarmament and Non-Proliferation in Japan, FAS President Dr. Charles Ferguson takes a look at one of the largest challenges to nonproliferation: how states can walk up to the line of crossing into nuclear weapons capability by developing uranium enrichment plants or reprocessing plants.  Both of these technologies are dual-use in that the same enrichment plant can be used to make low-enriched uranium useful for fueling peaceful nuclear reactors or to further enrich to high enough concentrations of the fissile isotope uranium-235 useful for powering nuclear weapons. Very few non-nuclear weapon states have one or both of these technologies; the one non-nuclear weapon country that has both enrichment and reprocessing is Japan. Could the new deal with Iran have implications for Japan and other non-nuclear weapon states like South Korea that aspire to acquire enrichment or reprocessing capabilities? The answer is yes.

Read the op-ed here. 

From the Blogs

Prioritizing Topics for Declassification: The Public Interest Declassification Board, which advises the President on classification and declassification policy, is proposing to recommend that certain historically significant topics and events be prioritized for expedited declassification. There is a longstanding disagreement over whether it is appropriate to prioritize some areas for declassification because of their topicality, or whether it is better to gradually declassify everything in an orderly and systematic way. Steven Aftergood writes that a necessary consequence of prioritization of some records for declassification is that other records will be pushed back in the queue. What this means is that, without remedial action, more and more records may never be declassified.

A Pictorial History of the Russian Nuclear Weapon Program: Secrecy News has obtained newly published briefing slides from a Los Alamos history of the Russian nuclear weapons program include rare images and photographs of key personalities and facilities in the Russian (formerly Soviet) nuclear program.

Mexico’s Oil and Gas and More from CRS: New Congressional Research Service reports on topics such as U.S.-China military contacts, Mexico’s oil and gas sectors, and interstate natural gas pipelines.

HPSCI Seeks “Continuous Evaluation” of Security-Cleared Employees: Recent unauthorized disclosures of classified information might have been prevented if U.S. intelligence agencies “continuously evaluated the backgrounds of employees and contractors,” according to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI). In its new report on the FY 2014 intelligence authorization bill, the Committee would require intelligence agencies to “continuously determine whether their employees and contractors are eligible for access to classified information” by using all available transactional records and social media.

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