FAS Roundup: November 25, 2013

Agreement with Iran, Fall issue of the Public Interest Report, reducing SSBN force and more.

FAS Holiday Membership Drive

FAS will kick off a holiday membership drive on Friday, November 29 and we need your help! The four day drive will end on Cyber Monday, December 1 at midnight. FAS membership will be 50% off for all new members. The promotional link will be sent out on Friday; please pass along the information and link to those in your network who would be interested in our work. 

Thank you for your continued support of FAS; we are very thankful for your participation and feedback. 

Fall Issue of the Public Interest Report

The Fall issue of the Public Interest Report is now available online, featuring articles on the Manhattan Project, spent nuclear fuel in the United States, Iran’s nuclear program and efforts to prevent radiological terrorism.

Fall 2013 Public Interest Report
Volume 66, No 4

CONTENTS:

We Don’t Need Another Manhattan Project
PDF Version

Starting from literally table-top science in 1939, the development of a full-fledged nuclear weapons production system in the United States by late summer 1945 is properly regarded as a near-miraculous achievement. It’s no surprise that the Manhattan Project has long been hailed as one of the great success stories of modern science and technology. But it has become increasingly common to invoke the Manhattan Project as a general exemplar of applied science. By Alex Wellerstein.

President’s Message: Rights and Responsibilities
PDF Version

FAS President Charles Ferguson discusses Iran’s enrichment of uranium and the recent negotiations between the United States and Iran regarding its nuclear program and economic sanctions.

Geopolitical and Cyber Risks to Oil and Gas
PDF Version

There are numerous geopolitical risks for any oil and gas company. Even if a company just works in the United States, it needs to know what is happening in countries all over the world, especially those countries that are large oil and gas producers. Because oil markets are so tightly connected globally, major political events in oil exporting states could seriously affect the price and even availability of oil.  By Paul Sullivan.

Uranium Mining and the U.S. Nuclear Weapons Program
PDF Version

From 1942 to 1971, the United States nuclear weapons program purchased about 250,000 metric tons of uranium concentrated from more than 100 million tons of ore. Although more than half came from other nations, the uranium industry heavily depended on Indian miners in the Colorado Plateau. Until recently, their importance remained overlooked by historians of the atomic age, but Navajos dug up nearly 4 million tons of uranium ore while being sent into harm’s way without their knowledge, becoming the most severely exposed group of workers to ionizing radiation in the U.S. nuclear weapons complex.  By Robert Alvarez.

Global Threat Reduction Initiative Efforts to Prevent Radiological Terrorism
PDF Version

The attacks of September 11, 2001, heightened the nation’s concerns regarding all forms of terrorism in the U.S., including the potential use of radioactive materials in a terrorist act. The possibility of such an attack has been of particular concern because of the widespread use and availability of radioactive materials in the United States industry, hospitals, and academic institutions. This article provides an overview of the Global Threat Reduction Initiative (GTRI) and its work to reduce the amount of vulnerable nuclear and radiological material located at civilian sites worldwide and improve protection of these materials. By Warren Stern and Edward Baldini. 

U.S. Spent Nuclear Fuel: The Up To $80/kgU Solution
PDF Version

A congressional impasse on what to do with U.S. reactors’ spent nuclear fuel could last to 2017 or beyond unless a compromise can be found between the House and Senate. The House has voted to support finishing review of the site license application for the Yucca Mountain repository, but the Senate has not. There are two current suggestions to resolve the impasse. The first is to approve funds to complete the Yucca Mountain site license review and give Nevada control over transportation to the site. The second suggestion is to revisit the payment amounts specified in the “benefits agreements” in the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982 (NWPA). By Clifford Singer.

More from FAS 
PDF Version

News and Notes from FAS Headquarters.

From the Blogs

One Step at a Time With Iran: The P5+1 and Iran settled on a “first step” agreement to resolve concerns about Iran’s potential to develop nuclear weapons and its interest in doing so. In exchange for sanctions relief, Iran will stop enriching uranium to the 20% level, cut its existing 20% stockpile in half and allow enhanced monitoring of its nuclear facilities by the IAEA.  Mark Jansson, Adjunct Fellow for Special Projects, writes that this is a historic golden opportunity to address proliferation risks in a diplomatic matter and the United States Congress has a big role to play in making sure that all risks are addressed. Moving forward, Congress needs to get beyond the talking point of demanding that Iran mothball its nuclear program entirely and think more deeply, and more specifically, about how much is enough to warrant relief from all sanctions attached to concerns about Iran’s nuclear program.

IG Finds Classification Program at EPA Full of Errors: A new review by the Inspector General of the EPA has determined that classified documents at the Agency are riddled with errors. Because the EPA has a minuscule classification program that hardly generates any classified material, it may be seen as a microcosm of the larger U.S. classification system. Inspector General reviews of classification policy are required under the Reducing Over Classification Act.

Making the Cut: Reducing the SSBN Force: A new Congressional Budget Office report proposes reducing the fleet of Ohio-class ballistic missile submarines from 14 to 8 boats in 2020, saving billions of dollars. The Navy has insisted that the current force level of 14 SSBNs is needed. Hans Kristensen writes that the Navy can’t afford these new boats and that it is possible for the U.S. to reduce the number of SSBNs in the fleet to save money, follow the new nuclear employment guidance and better match the force levels of other countries.

Secrecy News From All Over: On November 18, the Director of National Intelligence declassified and released hundreds of records concerning collection under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, illuminating the origins of bulk collection of email metadata, as well as interactions with the FISA Court and Congress. However, the latest disclosures are unlikely to resolve ongoing disputes about NSA intelligence gathering.

Poverty in the United States and More from CRS: Secrecy News has obtained recently released CRS reports on topics such as Internet governance, poverty in the United States and health benefits for members of Congress.

Workshop on Nuclear Education Issues

On November 15, FAS and the Stevens Institute of Technology hosted a workshop on nuclear issues education in Hoboken, NJ. There is a critical need for the public and policymakers to understand the fundamentals behind nuclear weapons, energy, and terrorism.

The workshop brought together individuals from the NGO, academic, and journalism communities to discuss how to implement new tools for increased nuclear courses and education in college curriculum, along with broadening the domain of education for mainstream professionals. 

For more information on the workshop, click here. 

FAS in the News

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