Getting to Zero Update

In this issue

 

Arms control

At a meeting of the UK All-Party Parliamentary Group on Global
Security and Non-Proliferation at Westminster on July 10 Ambassador
Max Kampelman reiterated an earlier call in January this year by US
Secretaries Shultz, Kissinger, Perry and Senator Nunn to step back
from the brink of nuclear anarchy. The full text of his speech is
available at: www.basicint.org/nuclear/kampelman.htm.
Amb. Kampelman was in London at the invitation of BASIC to talk
with UK officials and MPs about the growing movement of former
senior US officials and politicians with a shared vision of a world
without nuclear weapons.

The 2007 Carnegie International Nonproliferation Conference,
Tomorrow’s
Solutions
,” June 25-26, in Washington, D.C., addressed
the critical challenges confronting the nonproliferation regime and
offered policy recommendations to stop the spread and use of
nuclear weapons and materials. The conference attracted over 800
experts for the two-day event, representing government officials
from 31 countries, top policy and technical experts, NGO leaders,
funders, academics and the media. Video, transcripts,
presentations, and photo galleries from the conference sessions are
available on CEIP’s new nonproliferation program website. Click
here for full highlights, videos and photos
.

Margaret Beckett, the former UK foreign secretary, gave the Luncheon
Keynote: A World Free of Nuclear Weapons?
, described by Senator
Sam Nunn, Co-Chairman, Nuclear Threat Initiative, as “A game
changing speech.”

Reuters
reported
May 22 that the United States plans to let the START
nuclear arms reduction treaty with Russia expire in 2009 and
replace it with a less formal agreement that eliminates strict
verification requirements and weapons limits. This would continue
President George W. Bush’s practice of repudiating arms control as
a means of curbing nuclear weapons while relying more on
countermeasures like export controls, interdiction and sanctions.
See also this July 4 Washington Post
article
and this by Ian Davis, BASIC’s Co-Executive Director:

Comment is free: Armageddon in the offing?

Hans Blix writes about the prospects for global arms control in
this Boston Review article.

See also:

 

United States

On June 6, the $31.6 billion House Energy and Water
Appropriations Bill was completed by the House Appropriations
Committee. As written, the bill would spend $1.1 billion over the
president’s request. The bill report appropriated zero funds for
both RRW and the nuclear bomb plant. The committee sited a lack of
a comprehensive U.S. nuclear weapons strategy and stockpile plan as
its reasoning for giving no funds to these two programs. On July 17
the full House passes the Energy and Water Bill.

On June 28 the $32.3 billion Senate Energy and Water
Appropriations Bill is completed by the Senate Appropriations
Committee. The bill report appropriated $66 million for RRW, and
limits any money to be spent on design and cost studies only. The
bill gives no money to the nuclear bomb plant. The bill is $1.8
billion over the president’s request. On July 9-18 the full Senate
considered the Defense Authorization Bill on the floor. Debate was
not completed and the bill will be reconsidered in September.

The Washington Post
reported
June 18 that Congress is moving to change the
direction of the Bush administration’s nuclear weapons program by
demanding the development of a comprehensive post-Sept. 11, 2001,
nuclear strategy before it approves funding for a new generation of
warheads.

On June 13 the New York Times
reported
that a federal advisory panel recommended that
thousands of former workers at the Rocky Flats, Colorado a nuclear
weapons plant be denied immediate government compensation for
illnesses that they say result from years of radiation exposure.
The Washington Post
reported
May 12 that thousands of nuclear arms workers have
seen their cancer claims denied or delayed.

On May 9 three U.S. congressmen introduced the Ending
Nuclear Trafficking Act
. The bill would designate the transfer
of nuclear weapons, material or technology for terrorism purposes
as a crime against humanity punishable under U.S. law; give U.S.
courts jurisdiction over any instance of nuclear smuggling around
the world if the intended recipient is a terrorist planning to
attack the United States, or in cases where there is a link to U.S.
citizens, companies, financing or material support; and mandate
that the U.S. representative to the United Nations request that
other nations also establish nuclear smuggling as a crime against
humanity punishable in their courts and by international
tribunals.

See also:

 

India

On July 17 the United States and India
began a high-level effort
to conclude a controversial nuclear
cooperation agreement that the State Department said was still
within reach. This June 7 Asia Times article
reports on complications over the U.S.-India nuclear deal. For
details see
here
, here,
and
here
.

 

Iran

A team of technical, legal and political directors from the UN
nuclear watchdog arrived
in Tehran on July 11
to draw up a framework to resolve the
outstanding issues about Iran’s nuclear program. Asia Times
reports
that Iran and the IAEA will draw up a plan of action within the
next 60 days to resolve all the “outstanding issues”, which include
“information relevant to the assembly of centrifuges, the
manufacture of centrifuge components … and research and
development of centrifuges or enrichment techniques”. In addition,
Iran has agreed to the IAEA’s inspection of the heavy-water reactor
under construction in Arak, as well as to short-notice inspection
of the uranium-enrichment facility in Natanz.

On July 9 the IAEA
announced
that Iran has slowed the expansion of its disputed
uranium enrichment program. Also on July 9 the Washington
Post

reported
on tunneling near Iran’s nuclear facility at Natanz.
See also this ArmsControlWonk article
and this Institute for Science and International Security report,

New Tunnel Construction at Mountain Adjacent to the Natanz
Enrichment Complex
.

On May 25 the Institute for Science and International Security
released its review of the IAEA report,
Iran Making Progress but Not Yet Reliably Operating an Enrichment
Plant
. The IAEA’s latest
report
on Iran was released May 23. The New York Times

reported
that Iran appears to have solved most of its
technological problems and is now beginning to enrich uranium on a
far larger scale than before. For detail see this ArmsControlWonk

post
.

See also:

North Korea

On July 19 the IAEA
approved
inspectors returned to North Korea to verify steps by
Pyongyang to dismantle its nuclear weapons program. The day before,
the IAEA had
reported
that North Korea had shut down its nuclear reactor and
four related facilities. This followed an announcement on July 15
by North Korea that id had begun closing its main nuclear reactor,
a plutonium facility at Yongbyon, shortly after receiving a first
boatload of fuel oil aid. .

The IAEA announced
July 3 that the Director General had circulated his report on
Monitoring and Verification in the Democratic People´s
Republic of Korea, following a visit by an Agency team to North
Korea, 26-29 June 2007. The IAEA´s 35-member Board considered
the report at its meeting on July 9 in Vienna.

On June 28, the North Koreans let an IAEA assessment team visit
Yongbyon
. This was the first time since 2002 that IAEA
inspectors had been allowed inside North Korea. Before the team
left the country, the government struck a technical agreement that
would allow the IAEA to oversee the shutdown of the facility.

 

United Kingdom

The Sydney Morning Herald
reported
May 15 that, according to new research, New Zealand
sailors used as “human guinea pigs” in UK nuclear tests in the
1950s suffered serious genetic damage may. This may pave the way
for a multibillion-dollar lawsuit against the British
Government.

 

Pakistan

China

Nuclear energy

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