. Military Space News .

US still fixated by nuclear terror
by Staff Writers
Seoul (AFP) March 23, 2012

India says nuclear terrorism a 'continuing concern'
New Delhi (AFP) March 24, 2012 - India, which is rapidly expanding its atomic power programme, said Saturday that nuclear terrorism is a "continuing concern" ahead of a summit on atomic safety to be held next week in Seoul.

The summit will focus on the threat from nuclear-armed terrorists and follows one in Washington convened by US President Barack Obama in 2010 on the same subject.

Nuclear terrorism "remains a continuing concern," Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said as he left for the two-day summit which opens on Monday in the South Korean capital.

Coal-dependent India is one of the few countries in the world that is seeking to increase its nuclear energy quickly as it aims to overcome a peak overall power shortage of around 12 percent.

"I will highlight the high priority we attach to nuclear security, safety and non-proliferation" at the summit, Singh said in a statement, adding it was vital to reassure the public about safety measures.

Singh, who will be among leaders or senior officials from 53 nations attending the meeting, said the summit has become "even more important" after the devastating Fukushima accident in Japan last year.

India has been caught in the backlash against atomic power caused by the tsunami-led meltdown at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi power plant.

Work resumed earlier in the week on one of two Russian-backed 1,000-megawatt nuclear reactors in the Indian southern state of Tamil Nadu's Koodankulam region that had been held up over safety concerns.

The Koodankulam plant is one of many India hopes to build as part of its ambitions to produce 63,000 megawatts of nuclear power by 2032 -- a nearly 14-fold increase from current levels.

Nuclear energy has been a priority for India since 2008 when then US president George W. Bush signed into law a deal with New Delhi that ended a three-decade ban on US nuclear trade with the country.

During his trip, Singh will also hold talks with the South Korean leadership, including the country's president, Lee Myung-Bak.

Visions of a mushroom cloud over a US city may have led America into a dubious war in Iraq, but the threat of nuclear terror has lost none of its power to fixate US leaders and shape foreign policy.

President Barack Obama put counter proliferation at the center of his political project, earning himself a Nobel Peace Prize, and has worked to secure radioactive material around the globe ever since.

He arrives in Seoul for the second Nuclear Security summit on Sunday in the next step in that quest, though the meeting will be overshadowed by nuclear standoffs with Iran and North Korea.

Views among scientists differ on whether a terror group like Al-Qaeda could build and detonate a primitive nuclear bomb on a US city.

But no president will take the threat lightly after seeing the impact of mass terrorism wreaked by the September 11 attacks in 2001.

Obama said while hosting the first nuclear summit in Washington two years ago that a nuclear strike on a major populated area could change the global security landscape for years to come.

"The ramifications economically, politically and from a security perspective would be devastating," he said.

Analysts say that Obama's concern is justified.

"What we have seen is increasing evidence of intentions... it is not just Al-Qaeda, it is other organisations as well," said Sharon Squassoni, of the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

"It is pretty shocking how much material is out there. 1440 tonnes of highly enriched uranium, 500 tonnes of separated plutonium (which is) weapons ready."

Between 33 and 110 pounds (15 to 50 kilogrammes) of uranium enriched to 90 percent could make a simple nuclear bomb, while 14 pounds (6 kilogrammes) of plutonium would be needed, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists.

Obama's globe trotting has been pared back to a minimum in election year, but his willingness to fly half way around the world to Seoul points to the severity of the nuclear threat.

"You have dozens of nations coming together behind the shared goal of securing nuclear materials around the world, so that they can never fall into the hands of terrorists," said Ben Rhodes, a deputy national security advisor.

Failure, he said, would result in "frankly, ... the gravest national security threat that the American people could face."

Efforts to secure radiological material, in militaries, laboratories or medical establishments are at the center of the broad US agenda with states as diverse as Russia, China, Chile, South Africa, the Ukraine and even ally Canada.

The issue shapes foreign policy -- luring Obama into dialogue with leaders like Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev, despite his poor State Department report card over abuses of political, judicial and press freedoms.

Nazarbayev has earned a meeting with Obama after his cooperation to help secure highly enriched uranium and plutonium with the help of millions of dollars in US taxpayer money.

Analysts say the Obama-led effort to secure nuclear stocks has made progress since the Washington summit -- though there is still some way to go.

"I think America is absolutely safer now than it was three years ago," said Kingston Reif of the Center for Arms Control and Non Proliferation.

"Seven countries have removed all their highly enriched uranium. That is material that is no longer capable of being used by terrorists in some kind of nuclear explosive device."

While America works to secure radioactive stockpiles in the former Soviet Union and elsewhere, senior US officials also worry that a state like Iran or North Korea could pass nuclear materials to a radical group.

Obama deploys one argument against Iran that is strikingly similar to one used by his predecessor George W. Bush to justify the 2003 invasion of Iraq, on the basis of Saddam Hussein's never found weapons of mass destruction.

"There are risks that an Iranian nuclear weapon could fall into the hands of a terrorist organization," he told the US-Israel lobby AIPAC recently.

The showdowns with Iran and North Korea challenge the case that Obama's nuclear agenda, rolled out in a soaring speech in Prague in 2009 is a success.

But experts say, Obama has made some real progress, with 80 percent of commitments made at the Washington summit fulfilled.

He honored a vow to forge a new START treaty with Russia to reduce Cold War nuclear arsenals but is still trying to persuade the Senate to ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.

Slow headway is being made meanwhile towards an updated Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

Related Links
Learn about nuclear weapons doctrine and defense at SpaceWar.com
Learn about missile defense at SpaceWar.com
All about missiles at SpaceWar.com
Learn about the Superpowers of the 21st Century at SpaceWar.com

Get Our Free Newsletters Via Email
Buy Advertising Editorial Enquiries

Pakistan PM 'will meet Obama' at Seoul summit
Islamabad (AFP) March 23, 2012 - Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani is expected to meet US President Barack Obama during a nuclear security summit in South Korea next week, a senior Pakistani official said Friday.

US officials were not immediately reachable to confirm the meeting, which would be the most senior-level face-to-face talks between both countries since American forces killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan last May.

Pakistani-US relations hit an all-time low after that humiliating operation, which Washington said was carried out without Islamabad's knowledge, and subsequent US air strikes killing 24 Pakistani soldiers in November.

But from Monday Pakistani lawmakers are to debate new parameters for getting the troubled relationship back on track, expected to see Pakistan eventually reopen its Afghan border to NATO convoys after a four-month closure.

"The prime minister will meet President Obama on March 27 on the sidelines of the international conference in Seoul," the Pakistani official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

Bilateral relations and "progress in the war on terror" would be discussed, the official added.

Obama last met Gilani in April 2010 on the eve of another nuclear summit in Washington, at a time when the US was seen to be making a concerted effort to reduce anti-American sentiment in Pakistan.

But US-Pakistani relations nosedived dramatically in 2011, firstly over a CIA contractor who shot dead two Pakistanis, then the furore over bin Laden and lastly over the November air strikes.

The last top-level American visit to Pakistan was in October last year when Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged Islamabad to dismantle Afghan militant havens and encourage the Taliban to join peace talks.

The recommendations for a recrafted relationship -- up for debate in Pakistan's parliament -- include a US apology for the November killings, an end to drone strikes against militants on Pakistani soil and taxes on NATO convoys.

Pakistan was incensed by the American refusal to apologise for the November 26 killings and also ordered US personnel to leave a base reportedly used in America's drone war against Al-Qaeda and the Taliban.

But anger has been replaced by a recognition that Pakistan needs to maintain the US alliance. It is a major recipient of US aid and says it wants to play a constructive role in efforts to negotiate an end to the war in Afghanistan.

Experts expect the alliance to be recrafted along more pragmatic lines involving fewer US drone strikes in Pakistan and Islamabad earning up to $1 million a day from taxing the NATO supply route into landlocked Afghanistan.

Some form of American apology for the air strikes is also expected.

Gilani's office said the prime minister is also due to meet Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, King Abdullah of Jordan and Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono during the nuclear summit next Monday and Tuesday.

Fears of extremists gaining access to one of Pakistan's nuclear weapons has increased within the United States, along with a lack of trust in Islamabad over revelations that bin Laden lived unchallenged in the country for years.


. Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Upcoming n-summit aims for world without nuclear weapons
Seoul (IANS) Mar 19, 2012
South Korean President Lee Myung-bak said Monday that the ultimate goal of the upcoming Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul is to obtain a "world without nuclear weapons". "The purpose (of the summit) ultimately lies in making a world without nuclear weapons by minimizing the amount of nuclear materials in the world and strengthening their management," Lee said during his biweekly radio addre ... read more

Congress seeks more U.S. aid for Iron Dome

Northrop Grumman Awarded for Missile Defense C2BMC Contract

Newest US Missile Warning Satellite Exceeding Performance Expectations

Japan says may try to shoot down N. Korean rocket

Tucson site is largest Raytheon facility to receive a superior rating

Lockheed Martin Upgrades Tactical Tomahawk Weapons Control System for Naval Air Systems Command

Raytheon Wins $77.9 Million US Army Missile Subsystem Support Contract

Raytheon Awarded US Army Contract to Counter Rockets

NRL Tests Robotic Fueling of Unmanned Surface Vessels

Russia to build mini drone

Israel assesses eye-in-the-sky platforms

Drones may be controlled by gestures

Raytheon to Continue Supporting Coalition Forces' Information-Sharing Computer Network

Northrop Grumman Wins Contract for USAF Command and Control Modernization Program

TacSat-4 Enables Polar Region SatCom Experiment

'See Me' satellites may help ground forces

US Army reviews mental health diagnoses

Peru upgrades air defense with $140M plan

Ethical considerations of military-funded neuroscience

Northrop Grumman Signs Teaming Agreement With Persistent Surveillance Systems

Delhi boosts military spending 17 percent

Prison sentence for espionage scientist

Dassault says profit rises 10%, confident on fighter sales

Europe's armed forces team up on refuelling aircraft

Lavrov: Putin, Obama to meet in May

Ex-spy boss may spill Gadhafi's secrets

Outside View: A bodyguard of lies

US Marines set to arrive in Australia next month

3D-Printer with Nano-Precision

Nano spiral staircases modify light

Are silver nanoparticles harmful?

HyperSolar Discloses Development Plan for Breakthrough Renewable Hydrogen and Natural Gas Technology

Memory Foam Mattress Review

Newsletters :: SpaceDaily Express :: SpaceWar Express :: TerraDaily Express :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News


The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2012 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement