CBRNE & Hazmat

Iran denies enrichment claims

A report that it has intentionally enriched uranium to a purity of 84 per cent is being denied by Iran amidst ongoing issues with the International Atomic Energy Agency. It was reported that IAEA inspectors had discovered the enrichment to just below the 90 per cent required for weapons production. An official with the Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran said February 19 that particles with above 60 per cent purity had been found, as they had in the past, but that “does not mean that there has been enrichment over 60 percent.” [node:read-more:link]

Cryptotheft funding North Korea nukes?

New York-based Chainalysis, which analyzes the cryptocurrency market, reported February 1 that North Korea-backed hackers stole US$1.7 billion in 2022, nearly quadruple their theft in 2021 and accounting for 44 per cent of all cryptocurrency hacks last year. Critics say North Korea uses the proceeds to accelerate nuclear weapons development. [node:read-more:link]

Ukraine nuclear plant talks difficult

Brokering a deal on a safe zone around Ukraine’s Russian-controlled Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant is getting harder because of military involvement in talks, International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Rafael Grossi said today. He had hoped to have an agreement in place by the end of 2022 but remains optimistic even though the negotiation table had become “longer and more difficult.” [node:read-more:link]

Nuclear reactor tubes deteriorating?

Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission documents released in response to an Access to Information Act request show that an Ontario power utility has been able operate pressure tubes in its reactors beyond licensed limits. They show that last summer, two tubes from reactors containing uranium fuel and heavy water moderator-coolant at the Bruce Nuclear Generating Station had deteriorated more quickly than expected, gradually increasing their propensity to fracture. [node:read-more:link]

Ukrainian nuclear plant protection urgent

International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Rafael Grossi met in Moscow December 21 with officials from the military and Rosatom, the state nuclear energy, to continue his push for a protection zone around a Russian-occupied nuclear power plant in Ukraine. Rosatom officials called the talks “substantial, useful and frank” but indicated the need for more. Grossi said “it’s key that the zone focuses solely on preventing a nuclear accident” and he is continuing efforts “with a sense of utmost urgency.” [node:read-more:link]

Biden says Iran deal “dead”

The 2015 multinational nuclear agreement from which his predecessor withdrew in 2018 is “dead”, according to U.S. President Joe Biden. His comment in a video of him talking in November with a group of people at an undisclosed location believed to be in California, isn’t being disputed by the White House. “The president's comments are entirely consistent with what we're saying,” National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said December 20, but hedging his comment by adding that “We do not expect an agreement to occur in the near future.” [node:read-more:link]

New nuclear plant in Iran

Iran has broken ground for a nuclear power station near its western border with Iraq. The 300-megawatt plant will take eight years to build at a cost equivalent to some US$2 billion. Other than internationally-condemned facilities for upgrading uranium, Iran has one other power station which went on line in 2011 [node:read-more:link]

START stopped for now

A proposed November 29 reboot of the U.S.-Russia strategic arms limitation talks has been postponed. The State Department said today that the meeting in Cairo has been “unilaterally postponed” without explanation, only that new dates would be forthcoming. [node:read-more:link]

Iran pushes back at nuclear agency

Iran confirmed today that it has begun enriching uranium up to 60 per cent purity at its underground Fordow plant, more than a year after it had started doing so at its above-ground Natanz facility. The announcement evidently is in retaliation to last week’s International Atomic Energy Agency’s call on Iran to cooperate with a years-long IAEA investigation into the origin of uranium particles found at three sites. Weapons-grade uranium-235 is typically enriched to at least 90 per cent but lower purity can still be used. [node:read-more:link]

California nuclear plant gets a boost

The U.S. Administration announced today that it is donating $1.1billion to Pacific Gas & Electric to maintain operations at California’s sole nuclear power station. The first reactor at the Diablo Canyon plant on the coast between Los Angeles and San Jose is slated for shutdown in 2024 and the second in 2025, but the power-hungry state wants them to continue generating for five more years despite decades of anti-nuclear activism and concerns about earthquakes [node:read-more:link]

Ukrainian nuclear plant under fire

Parts of the Russian-controlled Zaporizhzhia nuclear station in Ukraine were damaged today by artillery fire and both countries blamed each others’ forces. “As I have said many times before, you're playing with fire,” said Rafael Grossi, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, called for an immediate ceasefire. [node:read-more:link]

No “dirty bomb” evidence in Ukraine

The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency reported today that his inspectors had found no evidence so far to support Russia’s claim that Ukraine was collecting radioactive material for a “dirty bomb.” At Ukraine’s invitation, the IAEA team spent several days at three sites named by Russia and eventually left with environmental samples for analysis that they would report on “as soon as possible.” [node:read-more:link]

South Pacific nuke testing fallout

A call for help by South Pacific countries to deal with the lingering consequences of nuclear weapons tests in the region in the 1940s and 1950s faces resistance within the UN from countries which tested weapons as well as other modern nuclear states. The call for redress is led by the Marshall Islands where residents facing ongoing issues with high cancer rates and embargoes against visiting former test sites. [node:read-more:link]

Ukrainian nuclear plant control disputed

Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered his officials today to take control of Ukraine's Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant even as the UN warns that power supply to the site remains “extremely fragile.” His deputy foreign minister said the plant, Europe’s largest, “is now on the territory of the Russian Federation” but the head of Ukraine’s state energy company countered that “we will continue to work under Ukrainian law, within the Ukrainian energy system.” [node:read-more:link]

Iran nuclear talks resume

Talks have resumed between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency about the discovery of man-made particles years ago at several Iranian sites. “Dialogue has restarted with Iran on clarification of outstanding safeguards issues,” IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi confirmed September 26. Neither side divulged details. [node:read-more:link]


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