Michele Kearney's Nuclear Wire

Major Energy and Environmental News and Commentary affecting the Nuclear Industry.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Global downward trend for nuclear energy to continue, report says

Global downward trend for nuclear energy to continue, report says
The number of nuclear plants worldwide in operation, under construction or in the planning stages is falling, and it remains unclear whether the sector will recover, according to a recent report. The study, commissioned by a German government agency, found that there seems to be a growing gap between realities and trends in the industry and perceptions of a nuclear revival. "With extremely long lead times of 10 years and more, it will be practically impossible to maintain, let alone increase, the number of operating nuclear power plants over the next 20 years," the report added. Nuclear Engineering International


"In Re: The Crusader" By Philip Gold

Winslow Wheeler's career as a military reformist author and commentator, along with his thoughts for the future of defense reform, were the subject of Philip Gold's column in Washington Law and Politics.

"In Re: The Crusader" was first published by Washington Law & Politics and is reproduced below.

"In Re: The Crusader"
By Philip Gold

Were Washington, D.C., a walled city (which in many ways it is), there would be a sign above the gate warning newcomers: “YOU WILL RUN OUT OF PEARLS LONG BEFORE WE RUN OUT OF SWINE.”

And perhaps nowhere are the swine more swinish than in the military-industrial-Congressional empire, or MICE. Still, this column is not about swinish mice or mousy swine, numerous though they be. It’s about a man who, since 1971, has been tossing pearls.

And who remains optimistic.

Winslow Wheeler arrived on Capitol Hill in 1971. He left in 2002 after splitting three decades between the Government Accountability Office (formerly General Accounting Office) and the Senate: defense analyst at the GAO; in the Senate, legislative assistant to four senators, Republican and Democrat, and a final stint as a Republican staffer on the Senate Budget Committee. In the 1980s, he became active in the bipartisan, bicameral Congressional Military Reform Caucus; arguably, he knows as much about the defense budget as anyone who has worked in the field and kept his or her sanity. He has also been, for many years, a public crusader against pork-and against those who pose as guardians of the trough but in reality abide by that old Congressional maxim “To get along, go along.”

In the late 1990s, Wheeler began writing under the not-very-secure pseudonym “Spartacus.” His work circulated privately and on the Internet. Spartacus gained influence and, inevitably, made enemies. In 2002, he wrote “Mr. Smith Is Dead: No One Stands in the Way as Congress Lards Post-September 11 Defense Bills with Pork.” The piece named names and got into specifics. Self-styled “pork buster” John McCain decided to get Wheeler fired. Wheeler resigned and went to work at the Center for Defense Information, a left-of-center D.C. think tank founded by a repentant admiral that ever since has played host to disgruntled retired senior officers and some of the better analysts around. In 2004, Wheeler reprised “Mr. Smith” with a devastating Washington Post commentary, “Don’t Mind If I Do,” that re-skewered McCain. The article was still kicking around during the 2008 campaign.

Wheeler subsequently wrote two books, The Wastrels of Defense: How Congress Sabotages U.S. Security and Military Reform: A Reference Handbook, and edited a 2008 anthology, America’s Defense Meltdown: Petagon Reform for President Obama and the New Congress. Of late, he and fellow defense reformer Pierre Sprey have been taking on the F-35 Lightning II fighter, just one of many horrifically over-budget, endlessly behind-schedule and militarily questionable items in the Pentagon’s current inventory of maybe-someday and never-enough.

I recently had occasion to review Wheeler’s work for my next book, Closing Ranks: The Citizen’s Guide to a New Defense (Praeger, December 2009) and decided to chat him up. I expected an embittered man, as many of the 1970s and ’80s old defense reformers now are, some ostentatiously so. I found instead a citizen not averse to speaking in clear English but also surprisingly upbeat.

On interview day (May 12), Wheeler offered an unexceptional analysis of President Obama’s defense stance: “He’s very concerned [that] he presents a posture as a moderate and [does] not get savaged by the Republicans as an anti-defense Democrat.” He can neither take on the MICE full-frontally nor fold two dismal wars.

Wheeler’s assessment of Defense Secretary Robert Gates is more complex: “He’s a mixed bag. He has done nothing to change the nature of the Pentagon beast but has brought some discipline to OSD [Office of the Secretary of Defense]. He’s clearly in charge.” As proof, he cites Gates’ embargo on the FY 2010 defense budget until it was officially released and his refusal to let the services send their “wish lists” (items not in the budget request) to Congress without prior approval. Gates’ enforcement technique: Cross me and get fired.

But it’s a long legislative season, and, as the poet once wrote, “There’s many a slip ’twixt the zipper and the zip.” Wheeler does not discount the possibility that Congress will once again lard up the Pentagon’s allowance, but suggests that, if it gets out of hand, Gates could recommend a presidential veto. “Gates and Obama,” he concludes, “could shape their own battlefield if they have the guts to do it.”
Yet, unlike many defense analysts (myself included), Wheeler does not see much need for fundamental legislative change. Should we revisit the National Security Act of 1947 and its multitudinous amendments? “No,” he answers. “The people who would do it are buffoons.” He prefers three major changes within the present system:

• Bring down total defense spending to reflect real-world considerations, not the standard troika of plentiful pork, preposterous perils and purposeful procrastination.
• Use the pressure of less money to force the system to start making lots of previously avoidable hard choices.
• Provide an honest analytic and financial-management system that generates valid information, not the self-serving fantasies now used in the Department of Defense and Congress.

All this, he concludes, depends on having enough people with sufficient intelligence and integrity. He says, “Today’s Pentagon people are hopeless. We have to focus on human behavior, not cosmetic changes. Nothing in current law, regulation or structure requires people to make crooked or stupid decisions.”

True. But where are all these good people to be found? And how do you get the American people to take enough of an interest to force their legislators to get serious? There is virtually no organized constituency for defense reform outside certain policy and media circles; citizen hissy-fitting doth not a movement make. Those opposed to change are well organized, well funded and very, very intense. And the next election-there’s always a next election-is coming up.

Wheeler disagrees, and remains hopeful. “This is a new historical moment,” he says. “The experience of the 1980s shows that there is a huge mass constituency for reform, and when the politicians and the Pentagon feel the pressure, they’ll press for better angels. We will know that time is upon us when we see people leveraging decisions with information, not political dogma.”

Perhaps. From the vantage point of 2009, however, it is difficult to see the 1980s as enjoying any mass movement, as opposed to lots of muckraking publicity (not all of it accurate) and elite interest, or what fundamental and enduring changes that decade produced. Still, as the lottery people love to remind us, you can’t win if you don’t play. Citizens who wish to understand defense issues-and there is no defense issue whose contours the American people cannot understand-would do well to pay heed to what Winslow Wheeler and those like him are trying to tell us.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Pakistan Taliban threaten to avenge leader's death

Pakistan Taliban threaten to avenge leader's death
Peshawar, Pakistan (AFP) Aug 26, 2009 - Pakistan's Taliban have threatened to avenge the death of their leader in a US missile strike, as experts warned Wednesday of possible attacks by a new leadership keen to prove its strength. Hakimullah Mehsud late Tuesday declared himself new chief of the feared Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) militia, confirming for the first time that Baitullah Mehsud -- insurgent leader since 2007 ... more


+ Outside View: Merits of a nuclear alliance

+ Outside View: Merits of a nuclear alliance
Tokyo (UPI) Aug 27, 2009 - From early summer of 1945, Japan's defeat in the war against the allied nations led by the United States was a sure thing; it was only a matter of "when." Having experienced the Tokyo Air Raid in March -- in which U.S. bombs killed about 120,000 people, most of them civilians -- and the Battle of Okinawa in April, May and June -- in which 220,000 Okinawa people and military personnel ... more


U.S. to relocate missile defense system

U.S. to relocate missile defense system
Warsaw, Poland (UPI) Aug 27, 2009 - Washington may relocate the controversial missile defense system planned for Eastern Europe to the Balkans, Turkey or Israel, a Polish newspaper reports. The U.S. plan included 10 long-range interceptor missiles in Poland and a radar station in the Czech Republic. That plan will almost certainly be scrapped, Polish daily Gazeta Wyborcza reports. Washington is now looking for alternative ... more


Russian Power Company to Mine Uranium in Mongolia Andrew E. Kramer, The New York Times

Russian Power Company to Mine Uranium in Mongolia
Andrew E. Kramer, The New York Times
Russia's state-owned nuclear power company, whose expansion on the international market in recent years has outstripped the country's capacity to supply uranium fuel to the new power plants, won a large concession on Tuesday to mine uranium in Mongolia.
Full Article

No CTBT, India Needs More Nuclear Tests: Pokhran II Coordinator The Times of India

No CTBT, India Needs More Nuclear Tests: Pokhran II Coordinator
The Times of India
Editor's Note: Senior scientist K Santhanam, who was director of test site preparations for the 1998 Pokhran II nuclear tests, conceded in this interview with The Times of India that India's 1998 test of a thermonuclear device was unsuccessful. This assertion has set off a controversial debate within India's defense and scientific communities. While the seismic data most likely agrees with Santhanam's conclusion, he is using the fact to argue that India needs to resume nuclear testing, rather than signing the CTBT.

A former top official who coordinated India's nuclear weapons programme has cautioned that India should not be "railroaded" into signing the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) as the 1998 Pokhran tests were not sufficient from the security point of view.
Full Article

The ElBaradei Legacy

The ElBaradei Legacy (PDF)
Mark Hibbs and Andreas Persbo, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists
As the International Atomic Energy Agency's director-general, Mohamed ElBaradei stood up to the United States, prevented a widening Middle East conflict, and won the Nobel Peace Prize. Yet as he prepares to leave, the future of the agency is in doubt.
Full Article

Nuclear Zero: Key Issues to be Addressed George Perkovich, Security Index Journal

Nuclear Zero: Key Issues to be Addressed
George Perkovich, Security Index Journal
MissileIn the West today, and perhaps in Russia, leading circles believe that nuclear deterrence is what prevented the U.S. and the Soviet Union from fighting directly during the Cold War. Many assume that these weapons will continue to deter without fail. Both ideas deserve to be questioned.

Is it really true that Soviet leaders were determined to go to war with the United States but were deterred by the existence of nuclear weapons? At what time and place were Soviet leaders willing to go to war against NATO states but chose not to do so because of nuclear counter threats? What specific evidence shows this?
Full Article

India will look at forming nuclear-fuel recycling council

India will look at forming nuclear-fuel recycling council
India's Union Cabinet is scheduled to discuss a plan to establish a Nuclear Fuel Recycle Board, which would be tasked to manage large-scale production of plutonium. The move comes after India became eligible to take part in nuclear trading with countries that have fuel and technology. The Times of India/Transnational News


Udall, McCain have right idea on nuclear revival

Udall, McCain have right idea on nuclear revival
U.S. Sens. Mark Udall, D-Colo., and John McCain, R-Ariz., this week were advocating for the increased development of nuclear energy to combat climate change -- a move lauded by The Denver Post editorial board. "Such reactors would power grids over our cities for decades, running the coming fleets of electric cars, mass transit, and all our many electric gadgets without producing the CO2 that concerns climate-change activists," this editorial contends. The Denver Post


Nuclear power plays key role in South Carolina's energy mix

Nuclear power plays key role in South Carolina's energy mix
With seven reactors, South Carolina is the biggest user of nuclear power in the Southeast, and such facilities supply 52% of the state's electricity, according to the federal Energy Information Administration. South Carolina Electric & Gas plans to build two reactors in the state within a decade, and Duke Energy is also considering one. The Edison Electric Institute estimates that the demand for electricity will climb by at least 30% by 2030. WCIV-TV (Charleston, S.C.)


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

UN Nuclear Agency Prepares to Release Iran Report

UN Nuclear Agency Prepares to Release Iran Report
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) General-Director Mohamed ElBaradei.
Photo AFP

From Voice of America:

United Nations nuclear inspectors are to release their latest report on Iran's nuclear program this week, as Western diplomats build a case for stronger sanctions against Tehran.

The International Atomic Energy Agency is expected to publish its report on Thursday or Friday.

Diplomatic sources in Vienna say Western countries are pushing the IAEA to release even more intelligence reports that they believe will show Iran's intention to build a nuclear weapon.

Read more ....

More News On Iran's Nuclear Program

Policy On Tehran Faces New Test -- Wall Street Journal

Atomic Agency Is Pressed on Iran Records -- New York Times

Western Nations Push IAEA to Disclose Iran Records -- Global Security Newswire

IAEA to report Iran atom slowdown ahead of talks -- Reuters

UAE ready to sign up to safety conventions

UAE ready to sign up to safety conventions
04 August 2009

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has signalled that it is ready to sign up to a number of international nuclear safety conventions, another step on its way to setting up its own nuclear power program.


Experts Mull Potential Middle East Nuclear Umbrella

Experts Mull Potential Middle East Nuclear Umbrella


U.S., Russia Unlikely to Cooperate on Missile Defense, Experts Say

WASHINGTON -- A number of political and security concerns make cooperation between the United States and Russia on missile defense unlikely, experts said this week (see GSN, Aug. 21).

"Politically it's going to be very, very difficult" due to distrust by Russian military leaders of their U.S. counterparts and other "bad atmospherics," Mikhail Tsypkin, an associate professor at the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School, said Tuesday during a panel discussion at the Hudson Institute.

The Bush administration plan to permanently install 10 ground-based interceptor missiles in Poland and a radar station in the Czech Republic has become a major point of contention between Washington and Moscow. The plan -- which U.S. officials argue is intended to defeat Iran's burgeoning long-range missile capabilities -- is under review. However, the Kremlin has argued that the system would pose a threat to its strategic security.

See Full Article...

Western Nations Push IAEA to Disclose Iran Records

The United States and other Western powers are urging the International Atomic Energy Agency to fully disclose information that could shed light on Iran's alleged nuclear-weapon ambitions, the New York Times reported today (see GSN, Aug. 25).

The information includes computer files and other records purported to document nuclear-weapon research undertaken by the Middle Eastern state, including high-explosives experiments relevant to nuclear-weapon detonation as well as an effort to modify an Iranian Shahab missile to accommodate a nuclear warhead. At a closed-door meeting in February 2008 in which the agency shared some of the documents with its governing board, IAEA safeguards chief Olli Heinonen said the information was "not consistent with any application other than the development of a nuclear weapon" (see GSN, Feb. 28, 2008).

Iran, which insists its nuclear ambitions are strictly peaceful, has claimed the documents were falsified.

See Full Article...

Planted News Stories Show New Bid by West to Say Iran Seeks Nuclear Weapons The Leaking Game By GARETH PORTER

August 26, 2009
Planted News Stories Show New Bid by West to Say Iran Seeks Nuclear Weapons
The Leaking Game



Middle East arms buys top $100 billion

Middle East arms buys top $100 billion
Beirut, Lebanon (UPI) Aug 25, 2009 - Middle Eastern countries are expected to spend more than $100 billion over the next five years, largely because of growing fears about Iran's nuclear program and its perceived ambition to undermine Sunni-led Arab regimes, according to an assessment by a U.S.-based consultancy. Most of the procurement will be carried out by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Iraq and Israel, the New ... more


Iran's Sejil missile 'threatens Europe'

Iran's Sejil missile 'threatens Europe'
Tel Aviv, Israel (UPI) Aug 25, 2009 - Uzi Rubin, former head of Israel's ballistic missile defense program, says Iran has made a "technological and strategic breakthrough" with its Sejil-2 intermediate-range ballistic missile, which will be able to hit a swathe of European states in three to four years. That assertion, initially made to Jane's Defense Weekly and reiterated at a U.S. Army-sponsored missile defense conference ... more


Has Iran's Nuclear Program Stalled?

Has Iran's Nuclear Program Stalled?
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visits the Natanz uranium-enrichment facilities, about 200 miles south of Tehran, in April 2008. Ahmadinejad announced on Iranian state television during the visit that Iran has begun the installation of some 6,000 new centrifuges, adding to the 3,000 centrifuges already at the facility. The Office of the Presidency of the Islamic Republic of Iran via Getty Images

Iran Nuclear Expansion 'Stalled' -- BBC

Iran has not expanded the number of centrifuges enriching uranium at its nuclear facilities since the end of May, diplomats have told the BBC.

But they said there had been an increase in the number of centrifuges installed and that they could be brought online within weeks.

It is not clear whether the slowdown is due to technical or political reasons.

Read more ....

More News On Iran's Nuclear Program

Diplomats: Iran's enrichment program stagnates -- AP

Report: Iran has not expanded uranium enrichment since May -- Haaretz

Iran says cooperating with IAEA, West skeptical -- Reuters

Uncertainty Surrounds Iran's Nuclear Capability -- NPR

Timeline: The U.S., Iran And The Nuclear Question -- NPR

TIMELINE: Iran's nuclear program -- Reuters

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

In Focus: Nuclear Security in Pakistan - all NTI resources related to Pakistan's nuclear security, including issue briefs, country profiles, tutorial

In Focus: Nuclear Security in Pakistan - all NTI resources related to Pakistan's nuclear security, including issue briefs, country profiles, tutorials and maps


Nuclear Power in the USA

Nuclear Power in the USA


US Nuclear Power Policy


US Nuclear Fuel Cycle


Europe Could Face Iranian Missiles in 3-4 Years, Former Israeli Official Warns

Europe Could Face Iranian Missiles in 3-4 Years, Former Israeli Official Warns


Egypt Rules Out Joining U.S. Nuclear Umbrella

Egypt Rules Out Joining U.S. Nuclear Umbrella
Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2009

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and his top advisers last week ruled out the possibility of accepting a nuclear protection guarantee from the United States, the Inter-Press Service reported (see GSN, July 22).

See Full Article...


U.S. Diplomats Invited for Nuclear Talks in North Korea

U.S. Diplomats Invited for Nuclear Talks in North Korea
Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2009

Stephen Bosworth, U.S. special envoy to North Korea, shown in June. Bosworth has reportedly been invited to lead a delegation that would participate in bilateral nuclear negotiations with Pyongyang (Andy Wong/Getty Images).

Senior diplomats from the United States have been invited to North Korea for talks on the Asian nation's nuclear program, the Associated Press reported today (see GSN, Aug. 24).

The Obama administration has not yet conducted nuclear negotiations with Pyongyang. It has stated that any bilateral diplomacy would occur only alongside resumed six-party talks, which stalled in 2008 and appeared to have crumbled completely amid the North's nuclear and missile testing in recent months.

However, the regime lately has shown signs of a willingness to re-engage with Washington. It offered to host talks with Stephen Bosworth, the U.S. special envoy to North Korea, and Sung Kim, the administration's top envoy on the nuclear issue, the JoonAng Ilbo newspaper reported. It said the offer was receiving serious consideration in Washington.

See Full Article...


Transform U.S. Nuclear Weapons Policy Daryl Kimball, Defense News

Transform U.S. Nuclear Weapons Policy
Daryl Kimball, Defense News
The U.S.-Soviet standoff that gave rise to tens of thousands of nuclear weapons is over, but the policies developed to justify their possession and potential use remain largely the same. As the administration of President Barack Obama works to complete the congressionally mandated Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) by year's end, it is clear to most that yesterday's nuclear doctrines are no longer appropriate for today's realities.
Full Article

Pakistan's Nuclear Chronology

Pakistan's Nuclear Chronology
Allison Smith, The Stimson Center


Putting the cost of going green in context

Putting the cost of going green in context

Plans to retool the country's energy infrastructure, from Al Gore to Google, are better understood when compared with the nation's past efforts to win World War II and build the Interstate Highway System.


Kurt Zenz House

House studies and develops methods for large-scale capture and storage of human-made carbon dioxide. He is currently a fellow at MIT, where his work is partially supported by the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology. In addition, he is the cofounder, president, and chief scientist of a venture-capital-backed alternative-energy company. He recently patented electrochemical weathering, a novel process that expedites the ocean’s natural ability to absorb carbon dioxide and can be used to produce carbon negative commodities--such as hydrogen, chlorine, and cement. In 2007, Esquire featured him among its "Best and Brightest." He holds a bachelor's degree in physics from the Claremont Colleges and a PhD in geoscience from Harvard University.

Limited options: Deterring North Korea and Iran BY LOWELL H. SCHWARTZ

Limited options: Deterring North Korea and Iran
Washington needs to realize that tried-and-true, off-the-shelf security strategies won't help solve today's most pressing threats--e.g., Pyongyang's nuclear program.


The real cost of new U.S. nuclear reactors BY RYAN ALEXANDER

The real cost of new U.S. nuclear reactors
Loan guarantees for nuclear reactor construction are a poor deal for taxpayers, who will be left with huge liabilities if projects fail or companies default on their loans.


HUGH GUSTERSON Thinking creatively about the North Korean stalemate

Thinking creatively about the North Korean stalemate
Forget stringent designations. To solve the long impasse with Pyongyang, its nuclear weapon status needn't be perfectly clear.





Pakistan seeks US, China aid on energy

Pakistan seeks US, China aid on energy
Pakistan, its cities suffering power cuts on a daily basis as it struggles through its biggest energy crisis, is turning to both the United States and China for help in building a more viable energy platform for its industrial sector. - Syed Fazl-e-Haider (Aug 24, '09)


Iran softens its nuclear stance - for now

Iran softens its nuclear stance - for now
Ahead of a report on Iran's nuclear program and a United States deadline on sanctions, Tehran will allow inspectors into two important facilities, even though the mood in Iran's parliament is not in favor of compromise. The International Atomic Energy Agency has its work cut out keeping Iran on a conciliatory track. - Kaveh L Afrasiabi (Aug 25, '09)


Asian oil exports threaten U.S. refineries

Asian oil exports threaten U.S. refineries
Kolkata, India (UPI) Aug 24, 2009 - Asia has been importing refined oil products like gasoline and diesel from the West for decades to keep the wheels of its economies rolling. But the tables may be turning as the region's two largest economies, India and China, aggressively pursue capabilities to refine imported crude on their own, not only for local use but also for export. Some small European refineries have already ... more

Israel Calls Foul As Iran Tells World To Stop Countering Nuke Drive

Israel Calls Foul As Iran Tells World To Stop Countering Nuke Drive
Tehran (AFP) Aug 24, 2009 - Iran told world powers on Monday they must stop working against its atomic drive and instead adopt a policy of interaction with the Islamic republic to resolve the nuclear crisis. "It is the right time for the other parties to review their policy. Rather than countering Iran, they should interact with Iran," foreign ministry spokesman Hassan Ghashghavi told reporters. World powers and ... more


China Racing Ahead of America in the Drive to Go Solar (New York Times)

China Racing Ahead of America in the Drive to Go Solar (New York Times)


Monday, August 24, 2009

Toward Limitless Energy

Toward Limitless Energy
Washington DC (SPX) Aug 24, 2009 - Chemists are preparing to play an important but often unheralded role in determining the success of one of the largest and most important scientific experiments in history - next year's initial attempts at the National Ignition Facility (NIF) to produce the world's first controlled nuclear fusion reaction. If successful in taming the energy source of the sun, stars, and of the hydrogen ... more


Despite thaw, tough road ahead on NKorea: experts

Despite thaw, tough road ahead on NKorea: experts
Washington (AFP) Aug 20, 2009 - North Korea has been easing sky-high tensions over its nuclear program, but experts warn it will be a tough road ahead before there is any diplomatic breakthrough with the United States. With leader Kim Jong-Il in uncertain health, many analysts believe his ultimate goal is winning US recognition of impoverished Pyongyang as a nuclear power -- an idea adamantly rejected by US policymakers ... more


Airborne anti-missile laser clears test

Airborne anti-missile laser clears test
Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. (UPI) Aug 21, 2009 - Boeing and the U.S. Missile Defense Agency have moved closer to developing an airborne high-energy laser weapon that will shoot down an upcoming offensive missile. The Boeing Co. said the successful first test involved firing the high-energy laser from a modified 747-400F into a calorimeter, also on board, to measure the power of the beam. The test took the aircraft from Edwards ... more


Entergy revives option to construct reactor in Louisiana

Entergy revives option to construct reactor in Louisiana
Entergy's division in Louisiana is keeping its option to build a new nuclear plant in the state. A regulatory filing was made to comply with a 2007 state Public Service Commission rule allowing incentives for the recovery of building expenses for reactors, company spokesman Philip Allison said. The firm is also exploring options to build a new reactor at its Grand Gulf facility in Mississippi. Reuters

Yucca Mountain funding nears its demise

Lawmakers move to end Yucca Mountain proposal
Lawmakers in the House and Senate are moving to halt the proposed Yucca Mountain nuclear-waste facility in Nevada. Both chambers have passed fiscal 2010 bills that match the Obama administration's $197 million appeal to allow the Energy Department to officially keep the project alive while allocating funds for Energy Secretary Steven Chu's plan to establish an alternative plan for the storage and management of nuclear waste.


Inside Obama Administration, a Tug of War Over Nuclear Warheads

Inside Obama Administration, a Tug of War Over Nuclear Warheads


Defense Secretary Robert Gates raised the idea of reinstating the controversial Reliable Replacement Warhead effort during a secret "Principals' Committee" meeting convened by the National Security Council, Global Security Newswire has learned.

In pursuing the initiative, Gates appears to have won the backing of some pivotal Cabinet secretaries, including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. One administration-watcher -- a critic of the replacement-warhead idea -- alleges that several key appointees at the Defense and State departments are now "scheming and maneuvering" to bring the program back to life.

However, Biden has strongly opposed the move, based on the view that pursuing a new U.S. warhead program could undermine Washington's efforts to discourage nuclear weapons proliferation around the globe.

The issue remains unresolved, according to a wide array of policy officials and experts.

Go to link for rest of the article