Latest IAEA Report Not a Game Changer
The latest IAEA report on Iran, released last week, confirmed early estimates that Iran has installed over 1,000 new centrifuges in its underground Fordow plant and also stated that the recent activity at the Parchin military complex may “significantly hamper the Agency’s ability to conduct effective verification.” Arms Control Association experts Tom Collina and Daryl Kimball assess that the report is “not a “game-changer” in terms of Tehran’s capability to build a nuclear arsenal if it were to decide to do so.”
The report comes in the wake of the announcement that the IAEA is establishing a special Iran Task Force to monitor and inspect the Iranian nuclear program.
No One Puts Bibi in the Corner
A New York Times article notes that the IAEA report may “put Israel in a corner,” narrowing the window for an Israeli strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities. American officials, however, reaffirm a commitment to keeping Iran from getting a nuclear weapon and continue to assert that there is still “time and space” for the current policy to succeed.
Looking at Iran but Thinking Japan
Speaking on the opening day of the Nonaligned Movement summit in Tehran, Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khameini declared that Iran “has never been after nuclear weapons, ”added however that Iran “will never abandon its right to peaceful use of nuclear energy.” AP’s Brian Murphy observes that Iran could be orienting its efforts around achieving a latent nuclear capability similar to Japan.
DPRK Program Concerning: IAEA Report
Although overshadowed by Iran, on Thursday the IAEA released its annual report on the North Korean nuclear program, noting that the North had made “significant progress” in the construction of a light water reactor. The report also stated that the North’s nuclear program is “a matter of serious concern” and that statements regarding the North’s uranium enrichment activities are “deeply troubling.”
Leveraging its Nuclear Program
CFR’s Scott Snyder argues that North Korea’s nuclear program may be used as “internal justification” for enacting gradual economic reforms and surmises that after its December elections South Korea’s new leader may seek a more stable relationship with the North, independent of Northern denuclearization.
A.Q. Khan, the former head of Pakistan’s nuclear program, has recently announced his intention to create his own political party, the Tehreek-e-Tahaffuz Pakistan (the Movement for the Protection of Pakistan). At once a domestic hero and international pariah, Khan has stated that his party will not field candidates but rather “create political awareness amongst the youth regarding who to vote for and who not to vote for.”
Scientists: Nuclear Energy May Aid Space Exploration
While there are myriad challenges to overcome, nuclear power may prove integral to supporting permanent life on the moon. Scientists are experimenting with using nuclear-powered LED technology to induce photosynthesis in plants, one step in providing food for lunar colonists.
Octogenarian Nun Breaks into “Fort Knox of Uranium”
A recent report from the U.S. Energy Department’s inspector general found that “multiple system level failures,” “troubling displays of ineptitude,” and “poor communication” contributed to the July breach of a nuclear facility by several activists, including an 82-year old nun. The Y-12 National Security Complex, which is described as the “Fort Knox of uranium”, houses the “largest inventories of nuclear material in the world,” according to one expert.