Iran Exaggerates Missile Accuracy

Iran announced today that it had successfully test launched a new version of its short-range Fateh 110 missile, claiming it has an upgraded guidance system that gives it high enough accuracy to “hit and destroy both land and sea targets, enemy concentration points, command centers, missile sites, ammunition dumps, radars and other targets with 100 percent precision.”

This claim is not credible, for the following reason.

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AllThingsNuclear is Moving

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Obama’s Problems with China

If New York Times journalist David Sanger’s new book on President Obama’s foreign policy is accurate, Obama is increasingly frustrated in his efforts to develop a better relationship with China. His senior aides place all the blame on their Chinese counterparts. The President may also want to look a little closer to home.

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Documents Show Japan Repeatedly Rejected Nuclear Weapons

Cross-posted with Ploughshares.

A widely circulated AP story recently suggested the current debate over the future of nuclear energy in Japan brought “muted pro-bomb voices” out of the closet. The AP also alarmed readers by stating that, “Historical documents released in the past two years show that the idea of a nuclear-armed Japan was long talked about behind-the-scenes, despite repeated denials by the government.”

The wording of the AP story makes it seem as if all that secret Japanese talking was in favor of developing nuclear weapons, or at least maintaining the option. In fact, the conclusions of these historical discussions, which occurred in the context of Japanese government decisions on the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), are exactly the opposite.

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Fission Stories #103: Nuclear Time Out

My two nephews are generally good boys, but every now and then their behavior compels my sister-in-law and brother to give them a time-out. The time-outs seem to be effective – if nothing else, it curbs the behavior problems during the time-outs themselves.

A recent nuclear time-out, however, showed this behavior control practice can have its downsides.

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Pools May be “Adequate,” But Dry Casks are Safer


The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) today released its staff paper evaluating Tier 3 recommendations based on lessons learned from the March 2011 nuclear accident at Fukushima.

The paper reiterates the NRC’s position that storing spent nuclear fuel in wet pools at commercial nuclear power plants provides “adequate protection” for public health and safety and the environment. The NRC also stated that it will continue to study spent fuel storage issues for up to five more years.

But “adequate” is not good enough, especially when there is a safer alternative.

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24th International Summer Symposium on Science and World Affairs

For many years, UCS has organized the annual International Summer Symposiums on Science and World Affairs. The most recent, held in Princeton from July 6-13, was number 24. This year’s meeting was hosted by the Program on Science and Global Security at Princeton.

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Fission Stories #102: Under Pressure


On April 25, 2012, workers prepared to restart the Fermi Unit 2 reactor in Michigan from a refueling outage. After the top, or “head,” had been placed back on the reactor vessel that houses the reactor core, procedures required operators to perform a hydrostatic pressure test to check that all the parts had been reassembled correctly.

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China in Focus #7: Remembering the Beijing Olympics

With the Olympics approaching I thought it would be a good time to look back at U.S. views of China during the Obama era. The 2008 summer games in Beijing took place in the context of the successful political campaign that carried Barack Obama into the White House. While China did not figure prominently in the campaign, it is worth remembering that Obama’s democratic opponent, now his Secretary of State, called on President George W. Bush to boycott the opening ceremony. Candidate Obama presaged his administration’s China policy by saying he was “of two minds" on the boycott, preferring to be polite while making it clear he would take a tougher line on China than his predecessors. 

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Lochbaum and Lyman Address NAS on US Response to Fukushima

The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) is working on a study called “Lessons Learned from the Fukushima Nuclear Accident for Improving Safety and Security at US Nuclear Plants.” It is currently in the phase of collecting information through public meetings.

Dave Lochbaum and Ed Lyman were part of a small group of people who addressed the NAS panel yesterday. The slides from their presentation are available here.

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