FAS Roundup- March 11, 2012

Lessons learned from Fukushima, future of nuclear power, Russia’s nuclear forces and much more.

Fukushima: One Year Later

  • Listen to the new edition of the FAS podcast series, “A Conversation With An Expert,”  featuring FAS President Dr. Charles Ferguson. In this podcast, Dr. Ferguson discusses the lessons learned from Fukushima, safety of U.S. nuclear plants, future of nuclear power use, and Japan’s new energy policy post- Fukushima.
  • FAS President Dr. Charles Ferguson is the executive producer and featured in the Council on Foreign Relations nuclear energy multimedia guide, which explores the past, present and future of nuclear power.
  • Fukushima- A Year Later: March 11 marks the one year anniversary of the devastating earthquake and tsunami that devastated northeastern Japan, setting into motion the events that culminated in multiple reactor meltdowns. Dr. Y reflects on a few lessons we have learned as a result of this accident on the ScienceWonk blog.
  • FAS President Dr. Charles Ferguson presented at a conference hosted by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace to examine the impact of the Fukushima accident. Dr. Ferguson spoke about the potential implications for the use of nuclear power post Fukushima and implications for safety, education, economics and waste disposal. You can view the slides from his presentation here.
  • Japan’s Nuclear Dilemma:  In a new interview with Toni Johnson of the Council on Foreign Relations, FAS President Charles Ferguson spoke about Japan’s future energy program and states that Japan’s economy is taking a huge hit due to loss of significant power generation and high imported energy costs. Yet, Japan is not open to renewable energy as an alternative. Post-Fukushima, should Japan use nuclear power?

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New FAS Podcast: One Year Later: Fukushima and the Future of Nuclear Power

March 11th marks the one year anniversary of the 9.0 magnitude earthquake and tsunami that struck the northeast coast of Japan. These natural disasters resulted in the crisis at the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear power plant. One year later, there are massive amounts of nuclear waste and high levels of radiation, and those citizens who live near the plant have not been able to return to their homes.

As a result of this crisis, many questions still remain. What is the future of nuclear power usage not only for Japan, but other countries such as the United States, South Korea, Germany and China? How should Japan properly dispose of the radioactive waste as a result of this accident? Finally, what should Japan’s new energy policy look like post-Fukushima?

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New Nuclear Notebook: Russian Nuclear Forces 2012

More than two-thirds of Russia’s current ICBM force will be retired over the next 10 years, a reduction that will only partly be offset by deployment of new road-mobile RS-24 Yars (SS-27 Mod 2) ICBMs such as this one near Teykovo northeast of Moscow.

By Hans M. Kristensen

Russia is planning to retire more than two-thirds of its current arsenal of nuclear land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles by the early 2020a. That includes some of the most iconic examples of the Soviet threat against the United States: SS-18 Satan, SS-19 Stiletto, and the world’s first road-mobile ICBM, the SS-25.

The plan coincides with the implementation of the New START treaty but significantly exceeds the reductions required by the treaty.

During the same period, Russia plans to deploy significant numbers of new missiles, but the production will not be sufficient to offset the retirement of old missiles. As a result, the size of Russia’s ICBM force is likely to decline over the next decade – with or without a new nuclear arms control treaty.

This and much more is described in our latest Nuclear Notebook published in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.

This publication was made possible by a grant from Carnegie Corporation of New York and Ploughshares Fund. The statements made and views expressed are solely the responsibility of the author.

FAS Roundup- March 5, 2012

FAS Roundup: March 5, 2012

Syria and WMD, Chinese ICBMs spotted, DoD responds to nuclear targeting questions, why sanctions on Iran won’t work and much more.


From the Blogs

  • DoD Responds to Questions on Nuclear Targeting: Are U.S. nuclear forces on hair trigger alert? Not exactly, a Department of Defense official told Congress. “Although it is true that portions of the U.S. nuclear triad are capable of rapid execution upon authorization from the President, a robust system of safeguards and procedures are in place to prevent the accidental or unauthorized launch of a U.S. nuclear weapon,” said James N. Miller, Jr., Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Policy.
  • Chinese Mobile ICBMs Seen in Central China: Hans Kristensen writes that recent satellite images show that China is setting up launch units for its newest road-mobile Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) in central China. Several launchers of the new DF-31/31A appeared at two sites in the eastern part of the Qinghai province in June 2011; which is part of China’s slow modernization of its small (compared with Russia and the United States) nuclear arsenal.
  • Court Says Agency Classification Decision is Not “Logical”: DC District Judge Richard W. Roberts did an astonishing thing that federal courts almost never do: He probed into the decision to classify a government document and concluded that it was not well-founded, in an opinion that was published this week. He ordered the agency to release the document under the Freedom of Information Act.

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