Michele Kearney's Nuclear Wire

Major News and Commentary Military and Civilian Nuclear Activities

Saturday, May 8, 2010

NPT and the Challenge of Nuclear Disarmament from Dissident Voice by N.D. Jayaprakash

NPT and the Challenge of Nuclear Disarmament
http://dissidentvoice.org/2010/05/npt-and-the-challenge-of-nuclear-disarmament/

Nuclear Energy Emerges as the Best Alternative: Five Days that Will Change American Energy Forever

Nuclear Energy Emerges as the Best Alternative: Five Days that Will Change American Energy Forever
Green Chip Editor Nick Hodge chronicles recent events in the oil and coal industry and concludes that nuclear energy is a much better alternative.

Is Brazil Building a Nuclear Bomb? - Hans Ruhle, Der Spiegel

Is Brazil Building a Nuclear Bomb?
- Hans Ruhle, Der Spiegel

http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,693336,00.html

The myth of missile defense as a deterrent from It is 6 Minutes to Midnight | Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists by Yousaf Butt

The myth of missile defense as a deterrent
from It is 6 Minutes to Midnight | Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists by Yousaf Butt


The Obama administration's long-awaited Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) "establishes U.S. nuclear policy, strategy, capabilities and force posture for the next five to ten years." The review signals a fresh approach to nuclear doctrine; however, its reliance on missile defense as an element of nuclear deterrence is wrong. Such systems are useless, dangerous, and destabilizing, and ramping up reliance on missile defenses because of planned reductions to the U.S.

Friday, May 7, 2010

NAS Open Letter in response to political assault on climate science

NAS Open Letter in response to political assault on climate science
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010...open-letter-nas

Commentary:

Russia to sign deal for proposed nuclear plant in Bangladesh

Russia to sign deal for proposed nuclear plant in Bangladesh
Russia and Bangladesh are expected to sign this month a framework deal for a proposed 600- to 1,000-megawatt nuclear plant in Bangladesh. The two countries signed a memorandum of understanding last year for nuclear energy development. Associated Press of Pakistan

>Iran, Hezbollah and the Bomb

>Iran, Hezbollah and the Bomb
William Harris, Weekly Standard
When Iran gets the bomb, the nuclear club will have a crucial new feature.

http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/iran-hezbollah-and-bomb

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Obama Is Hurting Nonproliferation R. James Woolsey, International Herald Tribune

Obama Is Hurting Nonproliferation

R. James Woolsey, International Herald Tribune

WASHINGTON — There are three ways in which I believe recent decisions by the Obama administration are, unintentionally, actually fostering the proliferation of nuclear weapons rather than constraining them.

When judging the various policies President Obama has put forth in recent weeks to move toward zero nuclear weapons, we should bear in mind the old dictum of Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. — to really understand the law, “look at it as a bad man, who cares only for the material consequences which such knowledge enables him to predict.”

First, the president and others have proposed to enhance nonproliferation by sequestering nuclear material into one international depository. The idea is that those who need enriched uranium for peaceful means can obtain it from...
Read Full Article ››

Pakistan Deal Signals China's Growing Nuclear Assertiveness

Pakistan Deal Signals China's Growing Nuclear Assertiveness
Nuclear Energy Brief China in Pakistan Contrary to guidelines adopted by nuclear equipment supplier states in the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, China is poised to export two power reactors to Pakistan. Mark Hibbs explains how the deal reflects the growing assertiveness of China’s nuclear energy program.

A non-proliferation puzzle from Stephen M. Walt

A non-proliferation puzzle from Stephen M. Walt

Over at the NPT Review Conference, the United States is supporting the idea of a "nuclear weapons free zone" in the Middle East. This position actually goes all the way back to a resolution adopted at the 1995 review, but it's a goal that the United States has soft-pedaled in the past. Even now, U.S. officials have made it clear this goal depends on first achieving a comprehensive peace agreement between Israel and its neighbors.

Makes sense to me. As a practical matter, Israel isn't going to give up its existing nuclear arsenal until its security concerns are met. That would be my position too if I were an Israeli official, because a nuclear deterrent is the ultimate guarantee against military conquest or a WMD attack.

So here’s the puzzle: If Washington clearly understands that Israel won't give up its nuclear weapons until its broader security concerns are resolved (and maybe not even then), why does it simultaneously think that Iran can be convinced to suspend nuclear enrichment without its own security concerns being addressed? Like their predecessors in the Bush adminstration, the Obama administration is still demanding that Iran first abandon its nuclear program and is back to the familiar game of trying to ramp up sanctions in order to compel compliance. The United States says it is willing to talk about Iran’s own security concerns after Tehran plays ball with us, but with no guarantee that we will actually do anything about the issues that bother them.

In other words, in one case the United States recognizes that comprehensive peace and reliable security guarantees are a prerequisite for disarmament; in the other case, we think disarmament must come first and that security guarantees are secondary if not irrelevant. I don’t have any trouble understanding why U.S. policy differs in the two cases, but why supposedly serious people think our approach to Tehran will succeed is beyond me.

Ahmadinejad steals 'smart power' torch

Ahmadinejad steals 'smart power' torch
Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad spoke the language of disarmament and cooled the incendiary tone in a speech at the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty review conference in New York this week. By championing the views of the nuclear "have-nots", Ahmadinejad may score a solid victory in the diplomatic battleground. - Kaveh L Afrasiabi (May 6, '10)

Time for a nuclear samba

Time for a nuclear samba

Iran has all but agreed with President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva's proposal for a nuclear fuel swap deal for Tehran's research reactor. This makes Brazil the mediator between Tehran and the United Nations - rather than the axis of the United States, Britain and France inside the UN Security Council, plus Germany - to finally settle the Iranian nuclear dossier. - Pepe Escobar (May 6, '10)

http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/LE07Ak01.html


http://www.commongroundcommonsense.org/for...p;#entry1108183

Obama reaffirms US support for Israel's nuclear ambiguity from DEBKAfile

Obama reaffirms US support for Israel's nuclear ambiguity from DEBKAfile

US president Barack Obama reaffirmed his commitment to back up Israel's policy of
nuclear ambiguity in a 20-minute telephone conversation with prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu Monday, May 3 in connection with the UN conference on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. Ahead of the start of proximity talks with the Palestinians, Obama assured Netanyahu that the joint US-Egyptian drive for a nuclear-free Middle East would not apply to Israel before a comprehensive peace is forged with all its neighbors.




http://www.debka.com/article/8763/


http://www.commongroundcommonsense.org/for...p;#entry1108066

IAEA: Pressure on Israel to disclose its unacknowledged nuclear arsenal - by George Jahn - 2010-05-06

IAEA: Pressure on Israel to disclose its unacknowledged nuclear arsenal
- by George Jahn - 2010-05-06

Moscow Calls for Nuclear-Free Middle East - 2010-05-05

Moscow Calls for Nuclear-Free Middle East - 2010-05-05

http://globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=18987

Iran Agrees 'In Principle' to Mediation in Nuclear Deal

Iran Agrees 'In Principle' to Mediation in Nuclear Deal

IAEA chief focuses on Israel: Trying to persuade Israel to sign the NPT agreement

IAEA chief focuses on Israel: Trying to persuade Israel to sign the NPT agreement

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Indonesia to Ratify Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Reuters

Indonesia to Ratify Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Reuters

Indonesia announced on Monday it plans to ratify an international treaty banning all nuclear explosions, bringing the pact a step nearer to entering into force.
Full Article

http://in.reuters.com/article/worldNews/id...-48200220100503

Controlling Asia's Nuclear Power Tigers Charles D. Ferguson, Forbes

Controlling Asia's Nuclear Power Tigers
Charles D. Ferguson, Forbes
Asia's nuclear power tigers are becoming more globally competitive in part because of Uncle Sam's policies and the decline of America's nuclear industry. While the United States should welcome nuclear power--a very low carbon emission source--in Asia as long as the highest safety standards are met, Washington needs to address urgently its policies' security consequences: increased potential for nuclear weapons proliferation.
Full Article
http://www.forbes.com/2010/05/04/asia-nuclear-power-markets-economy-national-security.html?boxes=Homepagechannels

Analysis: Who’s afraid of a nuke-free zone in the ME? By EMILY B. LANDAU

Analysis: Who’s afraid of a nuke-free zone in the ME?
By EMILY B. LANDAU

26/04/2010 08:30

Without Iran’s participation in a regional arms-control process, Egypt’s proposal is meaningless.

Global Zero: An Israeli Vision of Realistic Idealism

Global Zero: An Israeli Vision of Realistic Idealism

Israel's Stance on Nuclear Arms Complicates Efforts against Iran Walter Pincus, The Washington Post

Israel's Stance on Nuclear Arms Complicates Efforts against Iran Walter Pincus, The Washington Post

It's buried as Point 31 in a working paper being circulated by Egypt and other nonaligned parties at the Non-Proliferation Treaty review conference in New York: a pledge by countries signing the treaty that they will not permit the transfer of any nuclear-related equipment, information, materials or "know-how" to Israel as long as that country refuses to sign the NPT or put its nuclear facilities under safeguards of the International Atomic Energy Agency.
Full Article

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/conte...0050304341.html

Clinton, Ahmadinejad Trade Jabs at Nonproliferation Treaty Conference Elaine M. Grossman, Global Security Newswire

Clinton, Ahmadinejad Trade Jabs at Nonproliferation Treaty Conference
Elaine M. Grossman, Global Security Newswire
The president of Iran and Washington’s top diplomat squared off yesterday over their nations’ respective nuclear programs at the outset of a monthlong conference in New York (see GSN, May 3).
Full Article

http://gsn.nti.org/gsn/nw_20100504_8954.php

The ICNND: An International Constituency for the U.S. Nuclear Posture Review? Peter Sawczak, Proliferation Analysis

The ICNND: An International Constituency for the U.S. Nuclear Posture Review? Peter Sawczak, Proliferation Analysis

Neither Australia nor Japan speaks for the International Commission on Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament, but as co-chairs of the Commission their goals complement the Obama administration's Nuclear Posture Review in more ways than one.
Full Article

http://www.carnegieendowment.org/publicati...ew&id=40725

Defining Success for the NPT Review Conference Deepti Choubey, Proliferation Analysis

Defining Success for the NPT Review Conference
Deepti Choubey, Proliferation Analysis
PragueThis month, nearly 190 countries will gather at the United Nations in New York to strengthen the global rules for preventing the further spread and use of nuclear weapons. Supporters of President Obama’s agenda to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons see this Review Conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) as a chance for him to save the nonproliferation regime. Critics view it as the next test of whether Obama’s approach to addressing North Korean and Iranian proliferation concerns will pay off. Both are wrong.
Full Article

http://www.carnegieendowment.org/publications/index.cfm?fa=view&id=40726

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Korea Electric, Posco sign deal for nuclear-plant metals

Korea Electric, Posco sign deal for nuclear-plant metals

Korea Electric Power, South Korea's biggest utility, has signed a preliminary agreement with Pohang Iron and Steel Company, or Posco, to develop metal products for nuclear plants. The products would be for reactors and steam generators, Korea Electric said.

Bloomberg Businessweek |

Nuclear energy is carbon-free, economical, reliable

Nuclear energy is carbon-free, economical, reliable

Matt Sonnesyn, a staff member for Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., touted some of the benefits of nuclear energy in response to an April 29 letter criticizing the power source. Aside from being one of the cheapest carbon-free energy sources today, nuclear also does not consume unusually large amounts of water, Sonnesyn writes.

Tennessean (Nashville), The

Nuclear-waste lawyers are going to Nevada in June

Nuclear-waste lawyers are going to Nevada in June
Lawyers representing the Energy Department, Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Nuclear Energy Institute and state and local governments will head to Nevada on June 3 and 4, when administrative law judges on the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board will hold hearings on the administration's move to withdraw the Yucca Mountain license application.. The Atomic Safety and Licensing Board has until June 30 to rule on the project. Las Vegas Review-Journal/Stephens Washington News Bureau

U.S. launches fund drive for peaceful nuclear uses

U.S. launches fund drive for peaceful nuclear uses
UNITED NATIONS

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The United States on Monday announced a drive to raise $100 million over the next five years to help the International Atomic Energy Agency broaden access to peaceful uses of nuclear energy.

The proposal, unveiled before a speech by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to a major U.N. nuclear non-proliferation conference, is part of the Obama administration's campaign to strengthen international controls over nuclear weapons while expanding peaceful uses of nuclear energy.

A State Department statement said the new initiative would raise money to back IAEA programs to help developing countries use nuclear technology to address issues ranging from civilian power to medical treatments.

"The United States has pledged $50 million to this effort and will work with others to meet the $100 million target," in time for the next Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) conference in 2015, the statement said.

"The United States is taking this step in recognition of the growing international interest in power and non-power uses of nuclear energy and the NPT's promise of peaceful nuclear sharing with nations that abide by their nuclear non-proliferation commitments," the statement said.

Clinton was due to speak later at the opening session of the current NPT conference at the United Nations, which has thrown a spotlight on international concern over nuclear programs in Iran and North Korea.

Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad addressed the conference on Monday and said all countries had the right to develop peaceful nuclear programs -- but did not directly address Western fears that his country's nuclear program is aimed at building weapons.

Clinton was also due to announce that the United States would move to ratify proposed nuclear-weapons free zones in Africa and the South Pacific, which include a ban on nuclear tests in those regions.

The United States has also ratified a nuclear-weapons free zone in Latin America and the Caribbean, and is studying signing up to similar pacts in Southeast Asia and Central Asia, the State Department statement said.

Site search is on for Malaysian nuclear plants

Site search is on for Malaysian nuclear plants
04 May 2010


Malaysia's Ministry of Energy, Green Technology and Water has been given the go-ahead to look for suitable sites for a nuclear power plant.

According to reports on state news agency Bernama and prime minister Najib Razak's blog, the country's Economic Council has given its approval for the ministry to look into identifying suitable sites for a nuclear power plant, looking towards a startup date in the early 2020s.

Speaking after a conference on sustainable buildings in Kuala Lumpur, minister for energy, green technology and water Datuk Seri Peter Chin Fah Kui told reporters that a stakeholder consultation would take place once a site had been identified. Chin described nuclear energy as the "only viable option" for Malaysia's long term energy needs.

Malaysia is heavily reliant on gas and coal for its electricity: in 2006, 64% of the country's generation was from gas and 25% from coal. Government policy calls for a reduced reliance on gas, and the country has been taking tentative steps towards nuclear power, with recent reports of a $7 billion budget to build a nuclear power plant by 2025.

A keen user of social networking sites, Najib Razak has recently used his Facebook page to seek out the views of Malaysian citizens on the country's aims to become a low carbon economy. In his latest blog entry, the prime minister asks if nuclear is the right energy source for Malaysia. "Before embarking on such an important decision we must conduct a comprehensive study on it. As such the Government is undertaking feasibility studies on nuclear energy use for electricity generation. I am eager to understand better and to know the findings," he said.

Malaysia has operated a 1 MWt Triga research reactor since 1982. The country has had an international nuclear safeguards agreement in place since 1972 and recently tightened export control laws to thwart the possibility of nuclear technology smuggling.

'What drillers need to learn from nukes'

'What drillers need to learn from nukes'
04 May 2010


If there's one lesson to be learned from the Three Mile Island accident, it's that one player can drag down an entire industry, wrote Mark Mills for Forbes. He called for the offshore drilling industry to learn from the nuclear industry's response to that serious event in creating a peer-based safety regime along the lines of the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations, or its sister organisation the World Association of Nuclear Operators. After the recent Deepwater Horizon accident, "The offshore industry has to get ahead of the curve on developing, implementing, enforcing improvements in offshore operational reliability and safety. Otherwise it will be done by federal overseers, less effectively and certainly in a more unwieldy and painful fashion."

U.S. discloses cache of 5,113 nuke warheads from The Washington Times stories: News by: Eli Lake

U.S. discloses cache of 5,113 nuke warheads from The Washington Times stories: News by: Eli Lake

The U.S. nuclear weapons arsenal contains exactly 5,113 warheads, down from a Cold War high of 31,255, according to numbers that until Monday were among the United States' most closely held secrets. The Pentagon released the exact figures on the U.S. nuclear stockpile as the international conference opened at the United Nations in New York seeking to renew the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, or NPT. The first day of the meeting included a war of words between Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2010/m...-nuke-warheads/

How the NPT Illusion Helps Iran Bret Stephens, Wall Street Journal

How the NPT Illusion Helps Iran Bret Stephens, Wall Street Journal

AP PhotoThere's a reason the NPT has failed the administration. It enshrines a status quo that is 40 years out of date.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000142405...0482279654.html

Why Not Suspend Iran, Syria from NPT?

Why Not Suspend Iran, Syria from NPT?
from RealClearWorld
Ephraim Asculai, Jerusalem Post
Iran and Syria will take their place at the Non-Proliferation Treaty meeting as if they are members in good standing.

Lessons of Non-Proliferation

Lessons of Non-Proliferation
from RealClearWorld
Couloumbis, Ahlstrom & Weaver, RCW
The roots of the Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) go back to 1946 when the U.S. proposed that all nations renounce nuclear weapons and that it turn over all its enriched uranium and its atomic weapons to the United Nations. Opposed by the Soviets, the so-called "Baruch Plan" died.There is no doubt that nuclear weapons, first and only once used to compel behavior, immediately lost the ability to compel behavior as soon as the Soviets acquired them in 1949. So strategy shifted (even if the general public was not aware of it) to deterrence: A credible threat to retaliate against Soviet..

Israel, Iran feel the heat

Israel, Iran feel the heat
from Asia Times Online :: Asian news hub providing the latest news and ...
Both Israel and Iran were targets for criticism as the month-long nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty review conference began this week. Israel's continued refusal to sign the treaty implicitly triggered the threat of a nuclear arms race, according to the 118-member Non-Aligned Movement. Iran, whose president characterized possession of nuclear weapons as ''disgusting and shameful'', was attacked by the US for evading accountability. - Thalif Deen (May 4, '10)

Monday, May 3, 2010

Robert Gates Escalates Iran Tensions, As US Delegates Walk Out On Ahmedinejad Speech At UN from zero hedge by Tyler Durden

Robert Gates Escalates Iran Tensions, As US Delegates Walk Out On Ahmedinejad Speech At UN from zero hedge by Tyler Durden

Just as the White House released a brief note saying the US delegation has walked out on Ahmedinejad's speech at the UN, so Robert Gates was quoted by Reuters saying that "Iran is taking steps to challenge U.S. naval power in the Middle East." The defense secretary added: "Iran is combining ballistic and cruise missiles, anti-ship missiles, mines, and swarming speedboats in order to challenge our naval power in that region." What about weapons of mass destruction? Oh wait... Either way, the only thing from keeping liquidity overflow from taking the Dow to 36,000 is that risk that Oil would hit $1,000/bbl first. And geopolitical events are just what is preventing the JPMs of the world from using the same harsh tactics as they do with PMs. The last thing this administration needs is a middle-east war which would send a gallon of gas to $5, the stock market tumbling, and the clotheless Ponzi economy exposed, as even without paying one's mortgage, if the price of a refill doubles, there are only so many iPads one can buy.

Conflict or containment in the Persian Gulf?

Conflict or containment in the Persian Gulf?
from Asia Times Online :: Asian news hub providing the latest news and ...
1 person liked this
In the absence of effective means to halt Iran's nuclear program without grave consequences - and as sanctions are unlikely to bite - a containment policy, or seizing diplomatic openings as Richard Nixon did as a bridge to the Soviet Union, might succeed in cooling tensions. Such a bold move would lead to greater cooperation in Iraq and Afghanistan and aid the reformist momentum inside Iran. - Brian M Downing (May 2, '10)

Israel Trapped in Nuclear Isolation - This is zionism:

Israel Trapped in Nuclear Isolation - This is zionism:

"Whether Israel likes it or not, its challenging of Iran's nuclear ambiguity is more and more being linked in the international community with its own nuclear opacity. Top-flight nuclear scholars concluded a recent conference in London organised jointly by the School of Oriental and African Studies and the East Jerusalem-based Palestine-Israel Journal with the statement that 'the Iranian nuclear programme has served as a welcome distraction for the Netanyahu administration. (They) have conducted a 'megaphone war' in pointing to Iran as the major threat to the state of Israel and as the primary source of regional instability, in the expectation that this will diminish (or at least mask) domestic and international scrutiny of the faltering peace process. Using the media and public diplomacy, Netanyahu is 'fanning the flames of fear' over an alleged 'existential threat' emanating from Iran.'" Image from

Sanctions: An Important Component of U.S. North Korea Policy - Bruce Klingner, 38 North, US-Korea Institute at SAIS

Sanctions: An Important Component of U.S. North Korea Policy - Bruce Klingner, 38 North, US-Korea Institute at SAIS:



"The debate over the utility of sanctions in foreign policy is usually depicted in binary fashion, i.e. whether the U.S. should use pressure or engagement. The reality, of course, is that sanctions and engagement—along with economic assistance, military deterrence, alliances, and public diplomacy—are all diplomatic tools to influence the negotiating behavior of the other side. Rather than being used in isolation, these tools are most effective when integrated into a comprehensive strategy utilizing all the instruments of national power. ... While a comprehensive integrated strategy utilizing all the tools of coercion and persuasion provides the best potential for achieving North Korean denuclearization, we must realize we may be trying to negotiate the non-negotiable. There may not be any magical combination of benefits and punishments that gets Pyongyang to abandon its decades long quest to develop nuclear weapons. ... The Obama administration’s two-track policy of pressure and negotiations is an improvement over earlier approaches

that veered to either extreme. However, 'strategic patience' is insufficient as a long-term strategy. ... Washington should therefore begin discussions with its allies over possible next steps for policy toward North Korea, particularly in light of a future leadership succession in Pyongyang. It is best to start having the discussion now and coordinating policy rather than simply allowing the status quo to continue….and continue to deteriorate."

Isolating Iran is part of the 'great energy game': Antony Loewenstein by Kourosh Ziabari

Isolating Iran is part of the 'great energy game': Antony Loewenstein by Kourosh Ziabari
http://www.foreignpolicyjournal.com/2010/0...ny-loewenstein/


http://www.commongroundcommonsense.org/for...106966&st=0

The Next 9/11—Made in Israel? by Maidhc Ó Cathail

The Next 9/11—Made in Israel? by Maidhc Ó Cathail
http://www.foreignpolicyjournal.com/2010/0...made-in-israel/

http://www.commongroundcommonsense.org/forums/index.php?showtopic=118935&st=0#entry1106965

Reigniting the NPT by Eileen Fleming

Reigniting the NPT

by Eileen Fleming / May 1st, 2010 (1)

The NPT/Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, was created in 1968, and maintains that nuclear weapons proliferation can only be curtailed if nuclear countries move toward disarmament.

The purpose of the NPT Review, which happens every five years, is to reaffirm the signatories’ commitments to the treaty’s three purposes: disarmament, nonproliferation, and peaceful use of nuclear energy.

Countries without nuclear weapons that signed the NPT, such as Iran, were promised full support in developing other nuclear technologies in exchange for renouncing nuclear weapons. The five nuclear powers that signed the NPT agreed to get rid of their nuclear weapons.

On March 28, 2005, Former President …
(Full article …)

The Costs of Containing Iran - Michael Anton, National Review

The Costs of Containing Iran - Michael Anton, National Review

http://www.commongroundcommonsense.org/forums/index.php?showtopic=80001&st=1480#entry1106843

Sunday, May 2, 2010

The April 2010 Nuclear Security Summit: One More Step Toward the Mountaintop

Issue Brief
The April 2010 Nuclear Security Summit: One More Step Toward the Mountaintop
Authors: Sarah J. Diehl and Paula Humphrey
Monterey Institute for International Studies
James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies

In their landmark January 2008 Wall Street Journal editorial, the Four Statesmen—George Shultz, William Perry, Henry Kissinger, and Sam Nunn—urged world leaders to chart a course to the elusive "mountaintop" of a nuclear-free world. They listed as one important step along the way the acceleration of "work to provide the highest possible standards of security for nuclear weapons, as well as for nuclear materials everywhere in the world, to prevent terrorists from acquiring a nuclear bomb." Following the Four Statesmen's roadmap, in July 2009, President Obama proposed a summit to challenge world leaders to "discuss steps...to secure loose nuclear materials; combat smuggling; and deter, detect, and disrupt attempts at nuclear terrorism."[1] As part of the broader nuclear disarmament goals he originally outlined in Prague, Obama convened this group to foster "an international effort to secure all vulnerable nuclear material around the world within four years."[2] On 12-13 April 2010, the United States hosted the first Nuclear Security Summit in Washington D.C., bringing together 49 world leaders in an effort to foster cooperation and consensus on one further step toward nuclear zero.

The Summit participants issued a broad Communiqué that affirmed their dedication to preventing nuclear terrorism and adopted the four-year timeline proposed by Obama. Participating countries and organizations also agreed on a more specific, but voluntary Work Plan. Although many controversial issues bubbled beneath the surface of the Summit, the convened nations appeared to relegate such disagreements to the sidelines to support the relatively non-controversial goal of nuclear security. Following quickly after the signing of the New START Treaty between the United States and Russia, and the revamped U.S. Nuclear Posture Review, the Summit represents an effort by the U.S. administration to clearly indicate its dedication to nuclear security and its cooperation with other nations on steps toward nuclear disarmament ahead of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty's (NPT) Review Conference in May 2010. This issue brief examines the background and outcomes of the Summit and analyzes its ongoing importance.