CBRNE

Iran has nukes potential

Nuclear nonproliferation experts have suggested for months Iran had enough highly-enriched uranium to build at least one weapon and now the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency says the stockpile is larger than thought. He said January 24 that while “we need to be extremely careful” in describing the program Iran insists is for peaceful purposes, “they have amassed enough nuclear material for several nuclear weapons, not one at this point.” [node:read-more:link]

Russia renews nuclear threat

Former Russia President Dmitry Medvedev, who is close to Vladimir Putin, said today that a loss in the war with Ukraine “may trigger a nuclear war.” The implicit threat on social media was immediately endorsed by the Kremlin, which said doctrine permits the use of nuclear weapons in response to “aggression against the Russian Federation with conventional weapons when the very existence of the state is threatened.” [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]

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]

Russian minister focused on nuclear

After postponing scheduled strategic arms limitation talks with the U.S. only a few days before they were due to begin in Cairo, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu has spelled out his immediate priorities. He said today that his plan includes expanding nuclear weapons infrastructure and improving missile combat capabilities. [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]

Russia continues to weaponize winter

In addition to killing and injuring Ukrainian civilians today, the latest barrage of Russian missile strikes has forced the shutdown of several nuclear power reactors. That has left much of the capital, Kyiv, and other centres without electricity as winter sets in. [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]

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]

Definitely no nukes in a NATO Finland

Finnish PM Sanna Marin has reiterated that her country will not permit nuclear weapos on its territory if it eventually joins NATO. Her rebuttal November 17 came as her government presented new proposals to reinforce its 1,340 km) border with Russia. Sauli Niinistö, Finland’s president and military commander-in-chief points, out that the nuclear option has never been discussed or even intimated as a condition for membership in the alliance. [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]

Russia and U.S. conduct nuclear drills

Russia has rehearsed its response to a nuclear attack in an exercise involving its strategic forces and Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said that it had gone as planned. The U.S. said October 25 that it had been notified of the Russian event as NATO rehearsed its own use of U.S. weapons in an annual exercise. [node:read-more:link]

Russian intel chief blames West for nuclear threat

Suggestions by President Vladimir Putin and senior officials that Russia could use nuclear weapons in Ukraine are being denied by Sergei Naryshkin, head of the SVR Foreign Intelligence Service. Instead, he claimed to be concerned that “Western rhetoric about the possibility” is fuelling the debate. [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]

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