CBRNE & Hazmat

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]

Russia blocks nuclear treaty renewal

Annoyed by the inclusion of an expression of “grave concern” about Europe’s largest nuclear power station, in Ukraine, Russia has blocked adoption of a declaration by a delayed United Nations conference about renewal of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. The accord is reviewed by its 191 signatories every five years, and participants in the previous review, in 2015, also failed to reach an agreement. [node:read-more:link]

Japan rebooting nuclear options

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida announced today that Japan will restart more idled nuclear plants as it considers next-generation reactors and sustainable options, a decade after the Fukushima disaster saw the country’s nuclear industry shut down. He also said officials had been instructed to come up with plans by year’s end, including how to gain “the understanding of the public” of such a major policy shift. [node:read-more:link]

Russia suspends nuclear inspections

Insisting that it remains committed to its strategic arms control treaty with the U.S., Russia is suspending inspections of its facilities. Citing the coronavirus and western sanctions, the foreign ministry said August 8 that “Russia is now forced to resort to this measure as a result of Washington’s persistent desire to implicitly achieve a restart of inspections on conditions that do not take into account existing realities.” It also accused the U.S. of trying to create “unilateral advantages and prevent Russian inspections of U.S. facilities [node:read-more:link]

Ukrainian nuclear plant “out of control”

Rafael Grossi, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said Aug. 2 that a major nuclear power station in southeastern Ukraine “is completely out of control” since Russian forces seized it shortly after their invasion of the region. “Every principle of nuclear safety has been violated,” he said, demanding IAEA access to the “extremely grave and dangerous” Zaporizhzhya site in the city of Enerhodar. [node:read-more:link]

Armageddon “one miscalculation away”

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres kicked off a long-postponed nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty conference today with a warning that the world faces “a nuclear danger not seen since the height of the Cold War" and is “one miscalculation” from annihilation. “We have been extraordinarily lucky so far,” he stated. “But luck is not a strategy.” [node:read-more:link]

Iran says ready to talk again

UN envoy says his country is ready for the EU to resume brokered discussions with the U.S. on overcoming remaining obstacles to a renewed nuclear agreement. Ambassador Majid Takht Ravanchi told the UN Security Council his country’s “negotiating team is ready to engage constructively . . . if the US acts realistically and shows its serious intention to implement its obligations.” [node:read-more:link]

Iran nuclear talks melt down again

After “two intense days of proximity talks” in Qatar about resuscitating Iran’s moribund multinational nuclear accord, the affair ended unproductively June 29. “We are disappointed that Iran has, yet again, failed to respond positively,” a U.S. official said. The EU, which brokered the meeting, said it would “keep working with even greater urgency to bring back on track a key deal for non-proliferation and regional stability.” [node:read-more:link]


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