DPRK a “persistent threat”

The U.S. says North Korea remains a “persistent threat” to global security due to its development of nuclear weapons which could be used at “any stage of conflict.” The assessment is part of a Defense Department update of its Strategy for Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction, which also rates the potential threats posed by China, Russia, Iran and terrorist organizations. [node:read-more:link]

Iran shuts out key UN inspectors

Iran’s decision to ban some UN nuclear inspectors is being denounced by the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, as a “disproportionate and unprecedented unilateral measure.” Iran linked its decision to criticism by U.S., Britain, France and Germany and the maintenance of economic sanctions. [node:read-more:link]

Micro-reactor in Alaska

A California company has been contracted by the U.S. Air Force to design, build and operate a nuclear micro-reactor at its Eielson fighter base near Fairbanks, Alaska. Subject to Nuclear Regulatory Commission approval, the 20-megawatt reactor would cost some $60 to procure and $3 million a year to operate and maintain. [node:read-more:link]

More senior changes in China

The leaders of a unit that manages China’s nuclear weapons, General Li Yuchao and his deputy, General Liu Guangbin, have been replaced, respectively, by former deputy naval chief Wang Houbin and Communist Party central committee member Xu Xisheng. No official explanation was given but it has been reported that alleged corruption was being investigated. [node:read-more:link]

Canadian nuclear protocols updated

Federal emergency protocols for dealing with fallout from the use of tactical nuclear weapons in Europe or other radiation sources are being updated, including measures toensure that the government continues to function. The updates are in response to Russian rhetoric during its invasion of Ukraine. [node:read-more:link]

Zelenskyy fears nuclear disaster

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says Russia may be planning a “terror” on Europe’s largest nuclear power station, the Zaporizhzhia plant which has continued to be operated by Ukrainian staff under Russian control. “Radiation knows no national borders, and who it hits is determined only by the direction of the wind,” he said, explaining that he had been warned by Ukrainian intelligence of the possible attack. [node:read-more:link]

Divided views on Russian nukes

Concerns about the prospect of Russia using tactical nuclear weapons against Ukraine have increased after Sergei Karaganov, a prominent foreign and defence policy expert, said Russia must make nuclear deterrence “a convincing argument again by lowering the threshold for the use of nuclear weapons.” However, other Russian experts argue that “the idea that the use of nuclear weapons can halt escalation […] is extremely dubious” because it would “raise the conflict to a whole new level of unpredictability and raise the stakes of confrontation many times over.” [node:read-more:link]

Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant shut down

Ukraine’s nuclear agency, announced June 9 that it had shut down the Zaporizhzhia power station due to the breach of the Kakhovka dam further down the Dnipro River which reduced water levels in the upstream reservoir used to cool the facility. Other factors including artillery shelling near the Russian-controlled site. [node:read-more:link]

Key Ukrainian dam destroyed

The Kakhovka dam and hydroelectric plant in southern Ukraine, which feeds coolant water to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear station, was breached by an apparent explosion June 5. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy blamed Russia, which took control last year of the facility on the Dnipro River near Kherson, for a “terrorist” act which has caused widespread flooding. [node:read-more:link]

U.S. hits back over START II

The U.S. State Department said June 1 that it will stop notifying Russia about missile and launch locations as required by their moribund 193 nuclear arms treaty and has revoked visas for Russian inspectors and aircrews. It said the decision is a “countermeasure” to Russian “violations” of the accord. [node:read-more:link]

Lukashenko: “nukes for all”

After Russia President Vladimir Putin reiterated a plan to deploy tactical nuclear weapons to Belarus, his counterpart there suggested May 28 that any other neighbouring country could expect the same arrangement. “No one is against Kazakhstan and other countries having the same close relations that we have with the Russian Federation,” Lukashenko said on Russian state TV. “It is very simple: join in the Union State of Belarus and Russia. That's all: there will be nuclear weapons for everyone.” [node:read-more:link]

Russia confirms nukes for Belarus

Deployment of Russian tactical nuclear weapons to neighbouring Belarus, a close ally in the war against Ukraine, has been formalized in a May 25 agreement. Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said the arrangement is justified by “an extremely sharp escalation of threats on the western borders of Russia and Belarus.” [node:read-more:link]

More sanctions against Russia

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the other G7 leaders kicked off their summit in Japan today by announcing new sanctions against 17 Russian individuals and 18 “entities” due to human rights abuses in Ukraine. They also announced new funding they said will help to guard against nuclear weapon proliferation. [node:read-more:link]

PM in Hiroshima for G7

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrived in Japan today for the opening of a G7 summit in Hiroshima. Japanese PM Fumio Kishida chose his hometown for the meeting to highlight the risk of a nuclear confrontation as Russia ramps up its rhetoric about Ukraine and its allies. [node:read-more:link]

NATO contractor suspected of espionage

Nikolaos Bogonikolos, a 59-year-old Greek whose company did contract work for NATO, is suspected of helping Russia to obtain military technologies related to quantum computing and nuclear testing. He has been arrested in Paris and the U.S. is seeking his extradition to stand trial for wire fraud and smuggling. [node:read-more:link]


Subscribe to RSS - CBRNE