Nuclear Missile Testing Galore

(Updated January 3, 2007) North Korea may have gotten all the attention, but all the nuclear weapon states were busy flight-testing ballistic missiles for their nuclear weapons during 2006. According…

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President Signs US-India Nuclear Cooperation Agreement

On Monday, President Bush signed into law the Henry J. Hyde United States and India Nuclear Cooperation Promotion Act of 2006. The Federation of American Scientists strongly supports better ties—economic, cultural, technical, even security ties—with India. Specifically with energy production, there are many ways in which U.S. know-how could help India and the technology flow is not all one way, for example, India is, along with the United States, one of the world’s leaders in wind energy. But India made tacit acceptance of their nuclear weapons program the price of better relations. The Federation strongly opposed the nuclear deal because of the proliferation implications. We organized petitions to Congress. Thirty seven Nobel Prize winners from our Board of Sponsors signed a letter to the Congressional leadership opposing the agreement. We had a press conference where Michael Krepon and Len Weiss argued against the agreement and we released the Nobelist letter. In the end, however, the president and the Congress seem to have accepted the price set by India and here we are.

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Venezuela’s Military Build-up: Who’s Watching the Guns?

On November 29th, Venezuela received the final shipment of the 100,000 AK-103 assault rifles that it purchased from Russia last year. Despite the high-profile nature of this sale, little is known about Venezuela’s plans for safeguarding the rifles, which would be a hot commodity on the region’s vibrant black market. It’s time to start asking some tough questions about the rifles and President Chavez’s plan for protecting them.

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Entrenched Views of the Defense Science Board

Hans Kristensen has just posted an excellent analysis of the new Defense Science Board (DSB) report Nuclear Capabilities. The report presents what is known to the military as a “target rich environment” so we might make a few more comments over the next couple of days. I want to focus here on the section, starting on p. 2, entitled “Some Entrenched Views on Nuclear Capabilities.” I will leave to the reader the analysis of the word “entrenched.” This section of the DSB report sets up some straw men and then knocks them down. But the straw is a bit tougher than they think.

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Britain’s Next Nuclear Era

After having spent the last several years sending diplomats to Teheran to try to persuade Iran not to develop nuclear weapons, the British government announced Monday that it…

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Jason Releases Summary of Long-awaited Plutonium Aging Report

A key uncertainty affecting our confidence in the long-term reliability of nuclear weapons is the stability of the plutonium in the core, or “pit.” The pit is a sphere or shell of plutonium that is compressed by conventional explosives to create the supercritical mass required to sustain a nuclear chain reaction. In hydrogen bombs, this first part is called the primary. The energy of the primary is used to compress the fusion part of a hydrogen bomb or secondary. For large bombs, the great majority of the energy comes from the secondary, but if the primary produces too little energy, the secondary will fail completely.

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