Showing posts with label WMD. Show all posts
Showing posts with label WMD. Show all posts

25 September 2017

Pakistan's nukes stored at nine different locations, at risk of landing up with terrorists

Today’s Times of India has published a news item on 

There is nothing new in it. I have posted the original paper by Hans M. Kristensen & Robert S. Norris on 18 Sep 2017 in my blog site at http://strategicstudyindia.blogspot.in/2017/09/worldwide-deployments-of-nuclear.html

I have a feeling that these issues are deliberately thrown up whenever Pakistan in cornered. For example the recent example of the statement of our Foreign Minister Mrs Sushma Swaraj in United Nations.

What do your think. 

http://strategicstudyindia.blogspot.in/2017/09/worldwide-deployments-of-nuclear.html

Text of Sushma Swaraj's speech at U.N. General Assembly
Sushma Swaraj addressed the 72nd session of United Nations General Assembly on September 23, 2017.

Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj addressed the 72nd session of United Nations General Assembly on September 23, 2017.

Mr. President

Let me begin by offering my heartiest congratulations on your election as President of the 72nd United Nations General Assembly. For those of us fortunate to represent our nations as Foreign Minister this is a particularly happy event: one of us has this honour.

Mr. President

2: India welcomes your efforts to place people at the heart of international diplomacy as you shape policy and lend direction to world affairs from your august chair. I thank you for the theme you have chosen: ‘Focusing on people: Striving for peace and a decent life on a sustainable planet’. People, peace, decency, sustenance and focus define a noble objective.

Mr. President

3: The United Nations was established for the welfare, security, harmony, rights and economic progress of the people of our world. India fully supports your efforts in this great mission.

4: I had spoken before this Assembly last year as well. It is a year that has seen much change both in this Assembly and in the world it represents. We have a new Secretary General at the United Nations. He is determined to prepare and strengthen the United Nations to meet the challenges of the 21st century. We welcome his efforts, and see in him a leader who can give practical shape to a vision.

19 September 2017

Japan’s Imperatives for Nuclear Weapons Arsenal (SAAG Paper No. 487 Dated 05.072002) contextually Reviewed 2017


Japan’s geopolitical and strategic imperatives for nuclear weapons were strongly existent in 2002 and highlighted by me then and when contextually reviewed in 2017 against the backdrop of China-generated North Korea nuclear flashpoint makes a Japanese nuclear weapons arsenal “Inescapable” for Japan’s survival as an Emerged Power.

Commencing with my first SAAG Paper of 2002 (Reproduced as Annexure to this Paper) this Author has been periodically pleading that a strong case exists for Japan to acquire nuclear weapons. Besides repeating Japan’s nuclear weapons imperative in all my writings thereafter reviewing Japan’s security challenges, this Author again wrote a detailed SAAG Paper No.1947 dated 12.09.2006 titled “Japan’s Renewed Imperatives for Nuclear Weapons: An Analysis.”

Japan’s imperatives in 2017 to go in for a nuclear weapons arsenal arise from multiple pressing imperatives, not only geopolitical and strategic but also from Japan’s inherent compulsions and status as an Emerged Power in Asia along with India for balance of power reasons when China’s threatening military rise in Asia is taken into account.

While India as an Asian Emerged Power has stood upto China’s provocative military brinkmanship on the strength of her nuclear weapons and ICBM arsenal capable of hitting Beijing, it the lack of a nuclear weapons arsenal in Japan’s armoury limits Japan’s stature in Chinese perceptions as an Emerged Power, otherwise equal to China.

In 2017, Japan needs no lessons on the imperatives of a nuclear weapons arsenal than to learn from North Korea. The United States is temporising with China and North Korea only because in 2017 North Korea with Chinese comprehensive technological and financial assistance has added nuclear weapons and ICBMs arsenal neutralising United States ‘compellance capabilities’ against North Korea.

America May Push Iran Into Becoming the Next Nuclear Crisis


It’s no secret that the Trump administration is busily building a case to have the United States repudiate the P5+1 nuclear agreement with Iran. Even when the president grudgingly conceded that Tehran was complying with the explicit terms of the accord, he groused that Iranian leaders were violating “the spirit” of the document. A cynic could easily have pointed out that a key reason why nations spell out the binding aspects of an agreement through written provisions—rather than relying on vague oral comments and handshakes—is that only the written clauses constitute true obligations. Disagreements about the “spirit” or intentions could be endless. The preponderance of evidence indicates that Iran has, in fact,abided by its legal obligations under the agreement.

Unfortunately, administration officials and a vocal flock of hawks in the United States seem determined to sabotage the accord. The latest salvo was the speechthat U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley delivered to the ultra-hawkish American Enterprise Institute on September 5. That address contained amultitude of distortions, all of which seemed designed to build a foundation for the administration to repudiate the agreement. Indeed, if Haley’s comments are taken seriously, a drive appears underway to go beyond that step and make the case for war against Iran.

An increasingly popular line of argument among proponents of a militant policy toward Tehran is that North Korea’s behavior is a harbinger of what the United States will face regarding Iran if Washington does not harden its approach. During an appearance on the Fox News program “Tucker Carlson Tonight” in mid-July, prolific neoconservative author retired Col. Ralph Peters warned that if the United States did not confront Iran now, then it would in a few years encounter the same kind of nuclear crisis with that country as the current nightmare with North Korea. Since Peters previously had recommended U.S.military action against Pyongyang, there was little doubt about what type of confrontation he had in mind.

18 September 2017

What North Korea Means – and Doesn’t – for Nuclear Deterrence

By John Borrie, Tim Caughley, and Wilfred Wan
Source Link

Rather than underscoring the enduring logic of nuclear deterrence, the case of North Korea highlights its flimsiness.

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) — North Korea — is an ongoing awkward case for the international community. Despite different approaches and efforts over decades to denuclearize the Korean peninsula, North Korea has developed a nuclear arsenal and continues to carry out nuclear test detonations, most recently on September 3. Moreover, it continues to improve its missile delivery systems, clearly with a view to fielding intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) able to strike targets as far away as its nuclear-armed adversary across the Pacific. Its latest missile test — over Japan once more — came days after the adoption of the latest round of United Nations sanctions in response to its sixth nuclear test.

With no end to the crisis in sight, proponents of nuclear deterrence have spun the North Korean case as proof of the futility of any international effort to move away from continued reliance on nuclear weapons for deterrence. For instance, France, the United Kingdom and the United States jointly condemned the new UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, adopted by 122 countries, on the grounds that it “offers no solution to the grave threat posed by North Korea’s nuclear program, nor does it address other security challenges that make nuclear deterrence necessary.” Yet other approaches to tackling North Korea’s WMD-related programs have not been conspicuously successful either. Nor was it anyone’s intent in the ban treaty negotiations to presume to devise a solution tailored to North Korea.

Worldwide deployments of nuclear weapons, 2017

Hans M. Kristensen & Robert S. Norris

The authors estimate that as of mid-2017, there are nearly 15,000 nuclear weapons in the world, located at some 107 sites in 14 countries. Roughly, 9400 of these weapons are in military arsenals; the remaining weapons are retired and awaiting dismantlement. Nearly 4000 are operationally available, and some 1800 are on high alert and ready for use on short notice. This article reviews the locations of nuclear weapons in all nine nuclear-armed states, as well as those of US weapons deployed outside the United States. 

As of mid-2017, we estimate that there are nearly 15,000 nuclear weapons located at some 107 sites in 14 countries. Roughly, 9400 of these weapons are in military arsenals; the remaining weapons are retired and awaiting dismantlement. Approximately 4150 are operationally available, and some 1800 are on high alert and ready for use on short notice.

By far, the largest concentrations of nuclear weapons reside in Russia and the United States, which possess 93 percent of the total global inventory (Kristensen and Norris 2013Kristensen, H. M., and R. S. Norris. 2013. “Global Nuclear Weapons Inventories, 1945-2013.” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists 69: 75–81. doi:10.1177/0096340213501363.[Taylor & Francis Online], [Web of Science ®], [Google Scholar]). In addition to the seven other countries with nuclear weapon stockpiles (Britain, France, China, Israel, India, Pakistan, and

17 September 2017

Nuclear India: Revisiting Issues, Challenges and Threats


The International Strategic and Security Studies Programme (ISSSP) at the National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS), in collaboration with the Department of International Studies and History, Christ University, organised a workshop titled “Nuclear India: Revisiting issues, challenges and threats” on 24 August 2017. The introductory notes by Air Marshal Vinod Patney and Professor Rajaram Nagappa focused on the importance of understanding the issues and challenges faced by a nuclear India. The first session was led by Air Marshal (Retd) Vinod Patney, currently the Director of Centre for Air Power Studies (CAPS), New Delhi. This session focused upon the topic “Why did India go nuclear and What is India’s Nuclear Doctrine”. He successfully traced down the history from 1945 till 1998. The dynamics within the political structure and the threats from India’s neighbors were discussed upon. He gave brief explanations on the peaceful nuclear explosion by India in 1974 and 1998. Furthermore, India’s Nuclear Doctrine and its two major principles, Credible Minimum Deterrence and No First Use Policy, were elaborated upon.

16 September 2017

Pakistan’s Nuclear Weapons and the Indian Nuclear Doctrine

Sanjana Gogna

For long, the international literature on the nuclear dynamics in South Asia has disregarded the role of China. Indian scholars have consistently highlighted this lacuna in the past. Many experts continue to ignore the Chinese factor in their analyses and advance clichéd assessments and raise alarmist concerns about the nuclear situation in the region.

Lately, there has been a renewed debate in Western academic circles about India’s growing predilection for an offensive nuclear posture. This supposed shift in India’s position is often interpreted as a response to Pakistan’s acquisition of tactical nuclear weapons or even to India’s inability to deter Pakistan from employing cross-border terrorism. Whatever may be the reason that is attributed, analysts alleging such a shift in India’s nuclear posture warn about the consequent heightening of nuclear risks and recommend that India demonstrate responsible nuclear behaviour.

Frank O’Donnell’s recent article, ‘Reconsidering Minimum Deterrence in South Asia: India’s Responses to Pakistan’s Tactical Nuclear Weapons’ published in Contemporary Security Policy (2017), falls in this category. It strives to place in perspective the Indian responses generated by the introduction of the Nasr missile by Pakistan. O’Donnell delineates two ‘official’ (military and the civilian policy-makers), along with three streams of ‘strategic elite’ responses’.

O’Donnell begins by analysing Pakistan’s launch of the ‘Nasr’ and its concept of the full-spectrum deterrence. However, he seems to give credence to Pakistan’s argument that it developed tactical nuclear weapons and conceived of the concept of full spectrum deterrence in response to India’s ‘new pro-active’ military approach in the form of the so-called ‘Cold Start’ doctrine. Needless to assert that there is nothing called a Cold Start doctrine or a new ‘pro-active’ conventional war fighting approach. Each country has the right to retaliate when a war is waged against it, including a proxy war. This is certainly not a ‘new stage of regional nuclear competition’, as O’Donnell puts it.

14 September 2017

Limited Nuclear Wars – Myth and Reality

Paul Rogers

The dramatic recent escalation of rhetoric and military posturing on the Korean peninsula has reawakened suggestions that the United States could use relatively low-yield nuclear weapons in a limited or tactical operation to neutralise North Korea. Indeed, both the idea of nuclear ‘first strike’ and their ‘flexible’ usage on and off the ‘battlefield’ are deeply rooted in historic and current NATO and UK doctrine on nuclear weapons. Given the extraordinarily militarised nature of the inter-Korean border and, increasingly, that between NATO and Russia, the potentially cataclysmic nature of any nuclear exchange must be urgently recalled and avoided at all costs.
Introduction

One of the most common misunderstandings about nuclear weapons in general and Britain’s nuclear weapons in particular is that nuclear strategy is solely about deterring an opponent from attacking you by threatening that opponent with all-out destruction in response. Given the growing risk of a nuclear confrontation over North Korea it is appropriate to point out that this has never been the case. Ever since the start of the nuclear age nuclear weapons have been seen as useable weapons and appropriate in certain circumstances for fighting limited nuclear wars.

As a member of NATO Britain retains the option of using nuclear weapons first and has the means to do so. This briefing is intended to serve as a reminder of this. It will do so by concentrating specifically on British policy, both within NATO and out-of-area, but this applies just as much to the other seven full nuclear powers and, no doubt, to North Korea as well. It applies very much to the United States in particular and its current president, Donald J Trump, who has made it clear that the United States will not allow North Korea to develop the ability to target the continental United States with nuclear weapons.
Early history

The only way stop the North Korean nuclear threat


Our seemingly unending inability to fathom Pyongyang's true objectives, and our attendant proclivity for being taken by surprise over and over again by North Korean actions, is not just a matter of succumbing to Pyongyang's strategic deceptions, assiduous as those efforts may be.

The trouble, rather, is that even our top foreign-policy experts and our most sophisticated diplomatists are creatures of our own cultural heritage and intellectual environment. We Americans are, so to speak, children of the Enlightenment, steeped in the precepts of our highly globalized era. Which is to say: We have absolutely no common point of reference with the worldview, or moral compass, or first premises of the closed-society decision makers who control the North Korean state. Americans' first instincts are to misunderstand practically everything the North Korean state is really about. 

The DPRK is a project pulled by tides and shaped by sensibilities all but forgotten to the contemporary West. North Korea is a hereditary Asian dynasty (currently on its third Kim) — but one maintained by Marxist-Leninist police-state powers unimaginable to earlier epochs of Asian despots and supported by a recently invented and quasi-religious ideology.

And exactly what is that ideology? Along with its notorious variant of emperor worship, "Juche thought" also extols an essentially messianic — and unapologetically racialist — vision of history: one in which the long-abused Korean people finally assume their rightful place in the universe by standing up against the foreign races that have long oppressed them, at last reuniting the entire Korean peninsula under an independent socialist state (i.e., the DPRK). Although highly redacted in broadcasts aimed at foreign ears, this call for reunification of the mijnok (race), and for retribution against the enemy races or powers (starting with America and Japan), constantly reverberates within North Korea, sounded by the regime's highest authorities. 

12 September 2017

The Ultimate Nightmare: North Korea Could Sell Saudi Arabia Nuclear Weapons

Zachary Keck

Pakistan won't sell Saudi Arabia a nuclear bomb, but North Korea might.

One of the gravest concerns about Iran acquiring a nuclear weapon is that it will set off a nuclear arms race in the region, whereas Iran’s acquisition of the bomb prompts its neighbors to follow suit. As President Obama warned in 2012, if Iran gets nuclear weapons, “It is almost certain that other players in the region would feel it necessary to get their own nuclear weapons.”

No country is seen as more likely to go nuclear in response to Iran doing so as Saudi Arabia, Iran’s long-standing rival in the region. Saudi officials have done little to tamp down such fears, instead indulging them repeatedly. Just last month, Prince Turki bin Faisal, Saudi Arabia’s former intelligence chief, told a South Korean conference: “Whatever the Iranians have, we will have, too.”

With a few exceptions, nearly everyone who fears that Saudi Arabia will acquire a nuclear weapon nonetheless concedes Riyadh wouldn’t build a bomb itself. Instead, the general consensus has long held that Saudi Arabia would purchase off-the-shelf nuclear weapons from Pakistan. Indeed, concerns about a secret Saudi-Pakistani nuclear pact date back to the 1970s and 1980s, and have become especially prevalent over the past decade and a half.

11 September 2017

The Risk of Nuclear War with North Korea

By Evan Osnos

A military officer at the D.M.Z. This summer, the prospect of a nuclear confrontation between the United States and North Korea, the most hermetic power on the globe, entered a realm of psychological calculation reminiscent of the Cold War.Photograph by Max Pinckers for The New Yorker

1. The Madman Theory

The United States has no diplomatic relations with North Korea, so there is no embassy in Washington, but for years the two countries have relied on the “New York channel,” an office inside North Korea’s mission to the United Nations, to handle the unavoidable parts of our nonexistent relationship. The office has, among other things, negotiated the release of prisoners and held informal talks about nuclear tensions. In April, I contacted the New York channel and requested permission to visit Pyongyang, the capital of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

The New York channel consists mostly of two genial middle-aged men: Pak Song Il, a husky diplomat with a gray brush cut; and his aide-de-camp, Kwon Jong Gun, who is younger and thinner. They go everywhere together. (The North Korean government has diplomats work in pairs, to prevent them from defecting, or being recruited as spies.) Under U.S. law, they can travel only twenty-five miles from Columbus Circle. Pak and Kwon met me near their office, for lunch at the Palm Too. They cautioned me that it might take several months to arrange a trip. North Korea periodically admits large groups of American journalists, to witness parades and special occasions, but it is more hesitant when it comes to individual reporters, who require close monitoring and want to talk about the nuclear program.

New Nuclear Threat: Terrorists Could Profit from North Korea's Technology

Alan L. Gropman

Pyongyang would not hesitate to sell nuclear technology to build its military and keep Kim Jong-un in luxury.

North Korea almost certainly will not attack the United States or its armed forces or its distant territories with conventional or nuclear weapons. The costs to Kim Jong-un and his country would be monstrous. Kim’s hyperbolic rhetoric is much more a message to the North Korean people than to Americans, and his hyperbolic language is like his father’s and grandfather’s, and means little. What is highly likely, however, is Kim selling nuclear technology to truly dangerous adversaries of the United States—some of which the United States will be less likely to deter.

Nuclear nonproliferation has been an essential part of United States national-security strategy since 1945. It has been a largely successful policy—there are only eight nuclear capable countries in the world and half of them are not U.S. adversaries. The United States (and most other countries) desires no more nuclear capable states.

President Harry S. Truman established the policy when World War II ended by breaking a promise to the United Kingdom, which provided seminal help to the United States in the earliest days of the Manhattan Project. The United Kingdom was promised—but denied after World War II ended—assistance in developing its own atomic weapons.

A War with Russia Would Go Nuclear. Here's Why.

Dave Majumdar

Simply put, if Russia were faced with a large-scale attack that could defeat its conventional forces, Moscow might resort to nuclear weapons.

While a recent RAND Corporation study concluded that Russia could overrun NATO’s member states Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania in the Baltics within sixty hours, the war games did not simulate the use of nuclear weapons. If, however, a war were to breakout between NATO and Russia, nuclear weapons would certainly come into play—especially if the conflict were going poorly for Moscow.

Unlike the Soviet Union, which had a stated “no first use” policy, modern Russia explicitly rejected that pledge in 1993. In fact, as Moscow’s conventional forces continued to atrophy during the economic and social meltdown of the 1990s, Russia developed a doctrine called de-escalation in 2000. Simply put, if Russia were faced with a large-scale attack that could defeat its conventional forces, Moscow might resort to nuclear weapons. In 2010, Russia revised the doctrine somewhat as its conventional forces started to recover from the aftermath of the Soviet collapse—the current version states Moscow would use nuclear weapons insituations “that would put in danger the very existence of the state.”

While the RAND study shows that Russia would be able to take the Baltics fairly easily, the war game didn’t explore what would happen in the event of a NATO counter offensive. The RAND study simply states:

9 September 2017

Building an H-Bomb in Plain Sight

BY ALEX WELLERSTEIN

Usually countries build nuclear weapons in secret—but not North Korea. 

North Korea’s latest nuclear weapon test is by far its largest yet. Preliminary analysis of the seismic signals it generated while exploding under a mountain last week suggest it was at least 100 kilotons in strength, and the North Koreans themselves claim it was “hundreds” of kilotons. (The bomb that destroyed Hiroshima was 15 kilotons.) This has led many analysts to suggest that North Korea has in fact developed a working hydrogen bomb.

North Korea has backed up its claim—sort of—by releasing photographs showing a peanut-shaped weapon that could fit into a missile nose cone. While an external weapon casing cannot tell one much about what actually is inside the weapon (it might be filled with jelly beans for all we know), it’s the clearest signal yet that the North Koreans desperately want the world to consider them a thermonuclear power.

The North Korean Missile Threat

by Niall McCarthy

In one of its most provocotive acts yet, North Korea has test-fired a ballistic missile over Japan's Hokkaido region, prompting its residents to seek cover. And now Pyongyang has tested a powerful nuclear device 6 times more powerful than the bomb dropped on Nagasaki in WW II.

Early analysis suggests the missile was a Hwasong-12 that flew over 2,700km before breaking into three pieces and landing in the North Pacific Ocean approximately 1,180km from the Japanese coast.

North Korea possesses a host of short and medium range systems including rocket-artillery and SCUD tactical ballistic missiles. Its intercontinental ballistic missiles are a whole different ball game and western obervers believe Pyongyang was able to develop that advanced technology under the auspices of its Unha space program.

Using data from the Center for Strategic and International Studies and the Missile Defense Project, the following infographic provides an overview of the key ballistic missiles in North Korea's arsenal. While the Taepodong-2 was probably only used as part of the Unha space program, the Hwasong 14 is notable as being likely capable of reaching the continental United States.

NORTH KOREA'S NUKE TEST REVEALS TERRIFYING CAPABILITIES


NORTH KOREA CONDUCTED its sixth nuclear test on Sunday, claiming that it had detonated a hydrogen bomb that was small and light enough to be mounted on an intercontinental ballistic missile. Pyongyang has made such claims before without proof that it actually possesses those advanced capabilities. Sensors in South Korea, China, and the US indicated, though, that whatever the Hermit Kingdom exploded underground on Sunday was more powerful than the atomic weapons the US used during World War II—a benchmark North Korea had not definitively topped before.

The blast comes on the heels of an unsettling ballistic missile test last week, in which North Korea flew a mid-range projectile over northern Japan's Hokkaido Island. But both recent tests fit into a larger picture over the last three years of North Korea's increasing determination to become a fully capable nuclear power. The Obama administration, which pursued so-called "strategic patience," began to see the necessity of stepping up pressure on North Korea to stop this evolution in the final years of the second term. Trouble is, there are limited options for attempting to address tension with North Korea, and while President Donald Trump has thus far largely followed established paths, namely by levying sanctions, his trademark inflammatory language seems to have emboldened Kim Jong-un rather than cowing him into any type of compliance.

It’s not madness Getting a bomb is insurance, it is North Korea’s strategy. The world will have to live with it

by Praveen Swami

In the spring of 1953, with the war in Korea bogged down in a stalemate, hundreds of soldiers dying in battles of no conceivable tactical gain, 16 men gathered in a room at the Pentagon to discuss what might next be done. “Future Courses of Action in Connection With the Situation in Korea”, prepared by civilian consultants for the National Security Council, wasn’t — as its bland title might have suggested — a road-map for then-ongoing peace-talks, which would culminate in an armistice that summer. It was a radical proposal to break the military impasse, by using nuclear weapons.

General Omar Bradley, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, made the case for the use of nuclear bombs, as he had often done during the war. “Because of the casualties that will be involved in any stepped-up ground action”, he argued, “we may find that we will be forced to use every type of weapon that we have”.

There was just one problem: The Soviet Union’s own nuclear bomb, which it might use if its communist allies were attacked. “The Commies, scattered over one hundred and fifty miles of front, and well dug in, don’t present nearly as attractive a target to us as we do to them”, cautioned James Lawton, the US army chief.

8 September 2017

How Would the U.S. Military Respond if North Korea Attacked with Tactical Nuclear Weapons?

Dave Majumdar

In the event of a war on the Korean peninsula, how would the United States respond to the use of a tactical nuclear weapon on the battlefield that was not aimed at major population centers?

Analysts are divided on the issue, but the majority view is that once the nuclear threshold is crossed, the only possible response would be nuclear.

“Once an enemy uses a nuclear weapon—for any reason—it crosses the nuclear threshold and invites a nuclear response,” arms control expert Joseph Cirincione, president of the Ploughshares Fund, told The National Interest.

“U.S. military commanders would not say ‘Well, it was only an airburst. We should just respond in kind.’ They would answer with an overwhelming, devastating nuclear counter attack. And our nuclear weapons and command and control are designed to operate in a nuclear war environment, not just some puny EMP blast.”

Retired Air Force Lt. Gen. David Deptula, dean of the Mitchell Institute and former service intelligence chief, agreed with Cirincione. “A nuke is a nuke... No such thing as a ‘tactical’ nuke,” Deptula told The National Interest. 

“The terms ‘tactical’ and ‘strategic’ refer to outcomes or effects, not material things like aircraft or weapons.”

A Nuclear North Korea Is Here to Stay

Doug Bandow

North Korea staged its sixth nuclear test. It was probably a boosted atomic rather than hydrogen bomb, as claimed by Pyongyang, and there’s no evidence that the weapon has been miniaturized to fit on a missile. But the test was the North’s most powerful yet. And it follows steady North Korean progress in missile development.

Despite matching Kim Jong-un bluster for bluster, President Donald Trump is doing no better than his cerebral predecessor in halting Pyongyang’s military developments. President George W. Bush had no more success, first targeting the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea as a member of the infamous “axis of evil,” before flip-flopping to negotiate with the current ruler’s father. At least Bill Clinton achieved a temporary freeze of the DPRK’s plutonium program with the Agreed Framework, which ultimately was undermined by both sides.

Despite its relative poverty and isolation, North Korea has confounded the experts and made surprising advances in both nuclear and missile technology. While all projections are conjecture, Pyongyang may become a medium nuclear power with an effective deterrent against the United States.

4 September 2017

Breakthrough In Nuclear Fusion: MIT Researchers Find A Way To Increase Energy Output

Jaideep A Prabhu

An MIT experiment with a new nuclear fusion fuel, producing 10 times as much energy from energised ions as previously achieved, takes us another step closer to achieving limitless clean energy with virtually no toxic byproduct.

The recent announcement by scientists of a major breakthrough in fusion research has gone largely unnoticed or with jaded acknowledgement among energy analysts. A team at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Plasma Science and Fusion Center obtained a tenfold increase in energy output from the Alcator (ALto CAmpo TORo, High Field Torus) C-Mod tokamak in an experimental run last year. The results were so exciting that researchers at the Joint European Torus in Britain decided to replicate them. Success has raised hopes that the first commercial fusion reactors might be on the horizon by the 2030s.

Nuclear fusion is considered by many to be the holy grail of energy, promising limitless clean energy with little to no waste production. Unlike fission, which splits atoms and releases excess binding energy from the daughter products, fusion combines atoms and uses energy left over from a more efficient atomic configuration. However, it has substantial challenges, and promises made from optimism than a grounding in engineering in the early days of the nuclear age – such as Lewis Strauss' famous 1954 declaration that electricity will become too cheap to meter in the future – have not yet panned out, causing scepticism among lay observers.