Sr. Bette Ann Jaster says the governor must make public the results of a risk assessment for a fracked-gas pipeline that runs by Indian Point. Video by Nancy Cutler/lohud Wochit
June 6, 2020
BUCHANAN – The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has selected Niklas Floyd as the new senior resident inspector at the Indian Point nuclear power plant in Buchanan.
Floyd joined the NRC in 2010 as a reactor engineer in the NRC’s Region I Office in King of Prussia, Pa., as part of the agency’s Nuclear Safety Professional Development Program. Upon completion of the program, he became a reactor inspector in the Region I Division of Reactor Safety, conducting in-service reviews of systems and components at nuclear power plants.
He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in materials science and engineering from the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.
Each U.S. commercial nuclear power plant has at least two NRC resident inspectors.
Floyd joins resident inspector Sarah Obadina, serving as the agency’s eyes and ears at the facility, conducting inspections, monitoring significant work projects and interacting with plant workers and the public.
MELBOURNE, Australia — China could stand to lose almost all of its ballistic and cruise missiles if it were to sign a new strategic arms control treaty, according to a new regional security assessment.
The analysis, titled “The End of the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty: Implications for Asia,” is one of the chapters of the annual Asia-Pacific regional security assessment published by the International Institute for Strategic Studies think tank. IISS’ report was released June 5 and covered regional security topics such as Sino-U.S. relations, North Korea and Japanese policy.
China could lose 95 percent of its ballistic and cruise missile stockpile if it signs a treaty similar to the 1980s Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, according to the chapter’s co-authors Douglas Barrie, a senior fellow focused on military air power; Michael Elleman, the director of the Non-Proliferation and Nuclear Policy Program; and Meia Nouwens, a research fellow focused on Chinese defense policy and military modernization.
The treaty, signed between by the United States and the Soviet Union in 1987, banned all ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles systems with ranges between 310 and 3,420 miles (500-5,500 kilometres). The U.S. withdrew from the INF Treaty in August 2019, citing Russian violations of the agreement with its development and fielding of the 9M279 missile, although Russia denies that the missile violated range restrictions.
However, the IISS report suggested the U.S. withdrawal was done with an eye toward China’s missile arsenal, which has grown to what is believed to be the world’s largest inventory of short- and medium-range ballistic missiles. IISS’ own figures estimate China possesses more than 2,200 missiles that fall under the INF Treaty’s restrictions.
These short- and medium-range missiles are important assets in exerting pressure on Taiwan, which China sees as a rogue province and has vowed to reunite with the mainland, by force if necessary, although it continues to describe its fielding of ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles as solely for defensive purposes.
Given these missiles provide China with what Barrie described as a “comparative advantage” in the region, it’s unlikely the country would willingly sign a potential arms control treaty like the INF Treaty.
The U.S, for its part, has already started testing missiles previously prohibited by the treaty, and there have been suggestions that the country might deploy such missiles to the Asia-Pacific region to address an imbalance in such weapons between itself and its rivals without solely relying on air- and sea-launched cruise missiles. (Those cruise missiles existed under the INF Treaty, as they did not violate the pact.)
The report cautioned there is a two-fold risk in deploying such weapons to the Asia-Pacific. Chief among those: exacerbating Chinese concerns that the missiles will be positioned for use against it, increasing the potential for a response from China that could lead to an “action-reaction cycle of weapons development and deployment” and continued regional instability.
The U.S. is also faced with the quandary of basing any potential INF-busting systems, with regional allies and partners unlikely to accede to locating such missiles on their territory, partly because of the diplomatic and economic reprisals Beijing could inflict on them. And there’s precedent here: China targeted South Korea’s economy in response to and expressed its distaste at the deployment of a U.S. missile defense system on South Korean soil in 2017.
As for the U.S. territory of Guam, basing missiles there would limit their utility due to the distances involved.
The IISS report also raised questions about whether U.S. moves to develop and deploy weapons previously prohibited by the INF Treaty will bring China to the arms control negotiating table. However, the think tank conceded that not deploying such weapons is also unlikely to persuade China, noting that that Beijing has shown little appetite for participating in any form of strategic and regional arms control.
JUN 06, 2020
Science & Tech
Alexei Danichev / Sputnik
Moscow, following in Washington’s footsteps, is bringing back equipment capable of deploying tactical nuclear weapons – the kind that isn’t subject to any existing international arms treaties.
Tactical nuclear weapons are meant to be used in battles on frontlines and a dozen kilometers beyond it. They are much smaller than strategic ones, yet remain one of the deadliest means of war ever created.
“Both the Soviet Union and the United States experimented with nuclear armaments,” says professor Vadim Kozyulin of the Academy of Military Science. “Each country researched the possibility of adding a low-yield nuclear charge to rifle saws, anti-infantry and anti-tank mines, as well as tank projectiles and various artillery shells.”
According to Kozyulin, such weapons have still never been used in a combat situation, as the radioactive fallout and contamination of the surrounding area would simply end the assault by killing your entire attack troops together with the enemy.
“One of the key differences between tactical and strategic weapons lies in the fact that the former isn’t regulated by any international treaty. For instance, nuclear warheads for intercontinental ballistic missiles, submarines and nuclear bombers are capped at 1,550 units and 700 carriers in Russia and the United States,” the expert adds. “As for how many ‘smaller’ nuclear warheads each country can have, that part is not covered.”
The world’s powers still can’t come to an agreement on the matter, moreover, both are presently also trying to legally lower the threshold for their use. Simply speaking, it’s how high the threat level must be before a low-yield tactical nuclear weapon can be deployed in a regional conflict.
“The American arsenal could have up to 20,000 tactical warheads, while Russia has no more than 2,000,” says Vladimir Dvorkin, a retired General-Major and former head of the 4th Central Research Institute at the Ministry of Defense.
According to him, in the early 1990s, the Russian arsenal consisted of warheads and air bombs for the ‘Oka’, ‘Tochka’ and ‘Luna’ missiles. Aside from those, Russia also had hundreds of warheads for anti-ship and submarine missiles, as well as anti-air and anti-missile defense ones, nuclear mines and large-caliber artillery shells.
“We started to unilaterally decommission them when the arms race had ended,” he says, adding that we might see countries once again growing their nuclear arsenal in the near future – a direct outcome of the new U.S. military doctrine.
“The document also talks of the role of low-yield nuclear charges for use in local conflicts. Americans are claiming that this is being done as a deterrent, to bolster defenses against the use of tactical nuclear warheads by other actors,” the analyst added.
According to Kozyulin, at present, the U.S. is modernising its BGM-109 Tomahawk cruise missile – one that can be used to carry a warhead. The threat to Russia lies in the fact that the warheads are stationed at the new American base in the town of Redzikowo, in northern Poland, where the U.S. has set up its national missile defense complex.
“Following claims of reducing the nuclear threshold, as well as the appearance of these missile complexes near our borders, Russia has begun returning its large caliber 2S4 ‘Tyulpan’ artillery complexes, for use with 240-mm shells, and 203-mm 2S7 ‘Pion’ howitzers,” Kozyulin says. “Before the breakup of the USSR, they were based in the western part of the country, intended for repelling a NATO offensive by pummelling it with nuclear mines.”
The expert adds that Russia’s defense ministry is also considering other options in the case of a rising threat from attacks using ‘Iskander-M’ tactical nuclear warheads.
“The military can also repurpose the ‘Kalibr’ sea-based cruise missiles, as well as the ‘Kinzhal’ anti-aircraft ones, for use with similar nuclear warheads. We’ll see how the situation develops, but our command does have the capabilities, and they’re currently being discussed,” Kozyulin says.
June 6, 2020
The UN nuclear watchdog has actually revealed major issue at Iran’s continuing failure to permit access to sites the firm wishes to go to.
It is thought the activity there happened long previously Iran accepted suppress its nuclear aspirations in a 2015 offer.
The IAEA says Iran’s enriched uranium stockpile now goes beyond the concurred limitation.
The findings, set out in 2 unreleased reports, are anticipated to be talked about by the firm in mid-June
It comes in the middle of increasing stress in between Iran and the United States, which took out of the 2015 worldwide contract.
Iran has actually constantly rejected that it has actually ever looked for to establish a nuclear weapon, firmly insisting that its programs have actually been tranquil.
What are the findings?
According to AFP news firm, the nuclear watchdog thinks among the sites “may have been used for the processing and conversion of uranium ore” in 2003.
It likewise stated a 3rd website with a possible existence of undeclared uranium went through “extensive sanitisation and levelling in 2003 and 2004”.
The IAEA did not openly called the 3 sites.
The BBC’s Paul Adams takes a look at the current advancements behind the United States-Iran stress
The greatest level of enrichment in the stockpile is 4.5%, breaching the contract’s 3.67% limitation. It is still, nevertheless, listed below the level needed to develop fissile product for a nuclear weapon.
A diplomatic source informed AFP that Iran’s rate of enrichment has not considerably altered because the IAEA’s earlier report in March.
The firm stated it still has access to all nuclear sites required to keep an eye on Iran’s present nuclear activity, regardless of troubles brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, and kept in mind “exceptional co-operation” by Iranian authorities.
What is the Iran nuclear offer?
The offer was checked in 2015 by Iran and China, France, Germany, Russia, the UK and the United States. Under the offer, Tehran accepted suppress its nuclear activity in return for the lifting of sanctions.
Although the contract enabled Iran to build up percentages of uranium for research study, it prohibited the enrichment of uranium, which is utilized to make reactor fuel however likewise, possibly, nuclear weapons.
Iran was likewise needed to revamp a heavy-water reactor being developed, whose invested fuel would include plutonium ideal for a bomb, and to permit worldwide assessments.
Donald Trump has actually been a singing critic of the nuclear offer.
The contract was hailed as a landmark – however in May 2018, President Donald Trump deserted the offer, which he criticised as flawed, and renewed United States sanctions.
That exact same month, the United States tightened its sanctions versus Iran and stated it would try to require all nations to stop purchasing Iranian oil and put pressure on Iran to work out a brand-new nuclear accord.
Since sanctions were tightened up, Iran has actually been progressively breaking a few of its dedications to press the staying signatories to discover a method to offer sanctions relief.
In January 2020, European powers set off an official disagreement system over Iran’s breached of the offer – a relocation that might spell its end.
The balance of power theory is in fact as old as history.
Strategic balance of power is considered essential to ensure the existence of nation states when threatened in the prevailing international system. The desired equilibrium is achieved and maintained through various balancing mechanisms.
Firstly, by building war potential and upgrading combat worthiness both in conventional and non-conventional spheres. This could be symmetrical through visual power potential or asymmetrical including psychological factor also. Secondly, by aligning itself with other threatened states like when the Warsaw Pact bloc was formed up. Thirdly, the worst option available to weaker states is to guard their existence by aligning with stronger powers even if these are aggressors. This is called bandwagoning which states are forced to resort to at times against their conscience when it is felt that the cost of confrontation with stronger powers will be much more than the benefits. Pakistan unfortunately had to adopt this option when the Americans invaded Afghanistan and extracted Pakistani cooperation at gunpoint with a clear warning that “you are with or against us” and that in case of non-cooperation you could be pushed to the stone age.
The balance of power theory is in fact as old as history. It was considered essential to maintain peace and was first applied by the Greek civilisation. European countries however could not maintain the balance of power and remained engaged in religious wars for 30 years. These wars ended in 1648 when the Westphalia peace treaties were signed in which 109 delegates participated at different times in different pacts. This was the beginning of the modern international system where sovereignty of states was to be respected. However thereafter we unfortunately saw the Napoleonic wars, First and Second World Wars, the Korean conflict and Gulf wars. This totally destroyed the concept of universalism which had emerged to encourage greater politico economic relations among sovereign nations without any external pressures or coercion of any type. Resultantly, the League of Nations failed and now we are witnessing the near demise of the United Nations.
In South Asia, in view of Indian refusal to honour UN resolutions on Kashmir and its reluctance to reconcile with the reality of Pakistan because of her hegemonic designs, it was essential to maintain a balance of power to protect our sovereignty and defend the territorial integrity of our country right from Pakistan’s inception. Pakistan therefore, had no choice but to initially join SEATO and CENTO, align with the US in the 50s, and with China and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation in the 60s, while India on the other hand derived strength from non-aligned forums and later aligned with the Soviet Union and now it has secured strategic partnership with the US. Present Indian government under Modi actually believes in the Akhand Bharat concept including amalgamation of all SAARC countries and control of the sea lines of communications from the Strait of Malacca to the Strait of Hormuz in the Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea. This concept was propounded by Chanakya, the adviser to emperor Chandra Gupta Maurya, about 2,300 years ago.
When India created an imbalance by amassing billions of dollars worth of conventional arms, aggressed into former East Pakistan in 1971, and finally had the audacity to undertake nuclear explosions in 1974 with impunity, Pakistan had no choice but to take essential measures to rectify this sudden disturbing distortion in the existing balance of power to allay the looming danger to our national security. The Indian military leadership thereafter came up with the Cold Start Doctrine to exploit our limited depth, proximity of our strategic road-rail communications and population centres to our eastern borders. This was immediately responded by Pakistan through development of tactical nuclear weapons.
It will, therefore, be very fair to conclude that all civil and military rulers in Pakistan played their very effective role to lift Pakistan’s defence capability to ensure the balance of power in South Asia since 1947. The initiation of the nuclear programme and its pursuit with desired vigour by all was no doubt very important to create a credible deterrence. In fact the Fall of Dhaka necessitated this. Visionary leaders of the calibre of ZA Butto initiated the project and all rulers from 1974 onwards pursued it with desired devotion, sincerity and secrecy. The crucial role was however played by the scientists, our military leadership and many unsung heroes.
The bomb was ready by the late 80s but for its international declaration and explosion, Pakistan had to wait for over one decade because of international pressures. Indian arrogance on the other hand created a golden opportunity when they conducted five explosions on May 11, 1998, which was responded by undertaking six explosions by Pakistan’s democratic leadership of PML-N under prime minister Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif on May 28, despite all external pressures and threats of economic sanctions. All politicians, service chiefs, diplomats, media magnets and scientists who gave positive or negative recommendations in the national interest deserve commendations. However, prime minister Nawaz Sharif took the final political decision taking full responsibility on his shoulders for any success or failure. That feather cannot be removed from his cap. Besides such a bold decision can only be taken by a democratic leader who is answerable to the Parliament and the people of Pakistan and not by any dictator who thrives not on public support but foreign guarantees for his rule.
It is now indeed very satisfying to note that nuclear Pakistan has created a strategic balance of power in South Asia through a very potent nuclear deterrence but it is also important at the same time to comprehend that defence potential of a state alone cannot ensure foolproof national security. There are other equally, if not more, important factors like national unity, internal cohesion, prospering economy, political stability, towering political leadership and proactive aggressive foreign policy which play a pivotal role. Unfortunately, at present we see a dismal performance in all these areas. We, therefore, need to pay attention to these factors jointly as a nation. The sitting Prime Minister has to take this initiative and lead the nation from the front.
June 5, 2020
Palestinian strongman Jibril Rajoub says clashes will be inevitable if Israel annexes settlements, warns every young Palestinian “can turn into a powder keg.”
By Paul Shindman, World Israel News
Palestinian officials warned that any move by Israel to annex settlements will result in Palestinian violence.
“If there is annexation, we are going to a confrontation on the ground,” Jibril Rajoub told Kan Radio. A senior member of Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah party, Rajoub heads the Palestinian soccer association and has waged a campaign to get Israel kicked out of FIFA, the international soccer federation.
Before that Rajoub was the general in charge of the Palestinian security services with a reputation built on intimidation.
Earlier, a top adviser to Abbas hinted that a unilateral Israeli move to impose sovereignty over territory Palestinians say should be theirs might lead to a renewal of suicide bombings.
“Every home, every young person… can turn into a powder keg if Israel carries out the annexation. When a person loses hope for peace and justice he can turn into a bomb,” Mahmoud al-Habbash said.
The Hamas terror group also said annexation would be a reason for the spilling of blood, with Hamas official Maher Salah telling a Hamas news website that annexation “is a real threat to the Palestinian national project, and will open new doors of conflict and will increase the fire … we will protect it with our blood.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has made July 1 his target date for beginning to annex Jewish settlements in the Jordan Valley and Judea and Samaria. However, that date may get pushed off as the previously anticipated American approval of any annexation may not be on the same schedule as Netanyahu’s.
Under the plan, Israeli and American officials are mapping the settlements to be annexed in a move that would give Israel approximately 30 percent of the territory in Judea and Samaria and the Jordan Valley, leaving the rest for a future Palestinian state.
Israeli settler leaders are divided on the plan, with some supporting Netanyahu and others openly criticizing the move, saying they are totally opposed to the idea of a Palestinian state and that several settlements would be left unprotected.