CBRNE & Hazmat

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]

Putin’s threat downplayed?

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s veiled threat to use nuclear weapons in Ukraine, reinforced by Dmitry Mevedev, a former president and now deputy chairman of the Security Council, is being played down by some officials. “We are not threatening anyone with nuclear weapons,” Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said today. “Criteria for their use are outlined in Russia’s military doctrine.” Russia’s ambassador to the U.S. said he wanted to believe “that despite all difficulties, Moscow and Washington are not on the verge of a collapse into the abyss of a nuclear conflict.” [node:read-more:link]

Biden calls Putin “reckless”

Russian President Vladimir Putin was called “reckless” and “irresponsible” today by U.S. President Joe Biden today for implying that he would use everything in his country’s arsenal to end the conflict he began with Ukraine eight months ago. “Putin has made overt nuclear threats against Europe, in a reckless disregard for the responsibilities of the non-proliferation regime,” Biden told the UN. “A nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought.” [node:read-more:link]

Nuclear plant power restored amid conflict

After being shut down last week because electricity was not available from the national power grid, Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear station, the largest in Europe, has begun receiving power again after power lines damaged by artillery shelling in the area were repaired. All six reactors remain shut down, but the plant needs external power to cool them and avert a meltdown in a situation the UN says remains precarious. [node:read-more:link]

Zaporizhzhia plant shut down

The last operating reactor at Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station, Europe’s largest and one of the biggest in the world, was shut down September 11 to reduce the threat of a radiation disaster amid the ongoing campaign against Russia. Fighting between Russian and Ukrainian forces near the plant has fueled fears of widespread contamination akin to that after the 1986 reactor explosion. [node:read-more:link]

Conflicting messages from Iran

Iran says it is receptive to proposals to resurrect its 2015 nuclear accord but it has coupled that stance with a call for the International Atomic Energy Agency “not to yield to Israel’s pressure” on the issue, going so far as to unveil a drone it says can strike Israel. The mixed message prompted one of the deal’s brokers, Germany, to express regret today that Tehran is not responding to Europe’s call in a truly positive manner. Britain and France are similarly skeptical. [node:read-more:link]

Iran's nuclear status still unclear

The International Atomic Energy Agency says it cannot support Iran’s claim that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes, saying there has been “no progress” in resolving questions about the history of material at undeclared sites. IAEA Director-General Rafael Grossi says he is “increasingly concerned that Iran has not engaged with the Agency on the outstanding safeguards issues . . . and, therefore, that there has been no progress towards resolving them.” [node:read-more:link]

UN nuclear chief very worried

After leading an International Atomic Energy team to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station in Ukraine, the UN agency’s director general said today that the situation remains “very worrying” and warned that ongoing conflict in the area is “playing with fire.” Rafael Grossi called for a safety zone around Europe’s largest station. “This is a measure that one way or the other must be put in place.” [node:read-more:link]

UN inspectors reach nuclear plant

A convoy of UN inspectors managed today to reach Europe's largest nuclear power station, in southern Ukraine, despite the presence of Russian forces embedded in and around the Zaporizhzhia plant. Some of the International Atomic Energy Agency team left after only a few hours but Ukraine's nuclear power operator expects five others to remain for two more days. [node:read-more:link]


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