In May 2009, North Korea announced that it had conducted its second nuclear explosive test. Although the event generated a seismic signature consistent with a nuclear explosion, it produced no detectable release of radioactive gases or particulates (fallout). This either means that North Korea actually conducted a non-nuclear simulation of a nuclear test, or else it managed to achieve complete containment of a real nuclear explosion. Since detection of radioactive emissions provides the most unambiguous confirmation of a nuclear explosion, the successful containment of a nuclear test could be problematic for verification of a treaty banning such explosions.
This conundrum is explored in a new report from the Congressional Research Service. See “North Korea’s 2009 Nuclear Test: Containment, Monitoring, Implications” (pdf), April 2, 2010.
Congress has refused to make reports like this directly available to the public. Other noteworthy new CRS products obtained by Secrecy News that have not been publicly released include the following (all pdf).
“Federal Building and Facility Security,” March 24, 2010.
A uniform software tool for inputting building permit data would make the U.S. Census Bureau’s Building Permit Survey (BPS) more reliable, and it would also facilitate more fine-grained geographical analysis of new housing development.
The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (USBR) should prioritize funding water projects for local governments that would expand the production of new housing in their service areas if given the water resources to do so.
Congress needs to amend the definition of a manufactured home to remove the phrase “on a permanent chassis.” By doing this, Congress can eliminate wasted construction materials, allow new multifamily design options under the HUD Code, and unleash competition from factory-built manufactured housing.
Satellite images show that the Navy has begun construction of a new nuclear weapons storage and handling facility at Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana.