FAS Roundup: September 16, 2013

Dutch response to B61-12, waste storage at Yucca Mountain and much more.

From the Blogs

Policy Response to Intelligence Revelations Lags: The government’s fiscal year is set to end in a few weeks and an intelligence authorization bill for fiscal year 2014 is nowhere in sight. Typically, the House and Senate Intelligence Committees  report intelligence bills in late spring or early summer for House-Senate conference and floor action later in the year. Steven Aftergood writes that 2013 has become the most momentous year for intelligence policy in a generation, yet the Senate Intelligence Committee has not held any public hearings since a March threat briefing, and none at all on surveillance policy. Americans seeking insight into the meaning of current intelligence controversies must look elsewhere.

B61-12 Nuclear Bomb Triggers Debate in the Netherlands: The issue of the improved military capabilities of the new B61-12 nuclear bomb entered the Dutch debate with a news story describing NATO’s approval in 2010 of the military characteristics of the weapon. Dutch approval to introduce the enhanced bomb later this decade is controversial because the Dutch parliament wants the government to work for a withdrawal of nuclear weapons from the Netherlands and Europe. The B61-12 is currently being designed for production with a price tag of more than $10 billion for approximately 400 bombs – possibly the most expensive U.S. nuclear bomb ever.

Securing Diplomatic Facilities and More from CRS: Secrecy News has obtained recently released CRS reports on topics such as securing diplomatic facilities and personnel abroad, the crisis in Egypt and the security clearance process. 

Packaging and Storing of Radioactive Waste at Yucca Mountain: How spent reactor fuel is packaged – both for transport and for disposal – has a profound impact on how well the radioactive waste can be isolated from the environment. In a new post on the ScienceWonk Blog, Dr. Y investigates how these casks can be used at Yucca Mountain, as they will be the penultimate barrier between the radioactivity within and the environment.

Snowden Leak Prompted “Considerable Public Interest,” Says FISA Court: The leak by Edward Snowden of a classified order issued by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) helped to arouse significant public interest, said the Court itself in an opinion issued on September 13. Further disclosures are now justified, the Court indicated.

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