Saudi Arms Deal Sent to Congress
The Obama administration last month formally notified Congress of a roughly $60 billion arms deal with
According to the notification documents, the deal includes 84 F-15SA tactical fighters, 70 Apache Longbow attack helicopters, AIM-120C/7 advanced medium-range air-to-air missiles, Hellfire missiles, and radar equipment. Congressional notifications list the “not-to-exceed estimate” of possible deals and are subject to reductions.
Congress has 30 days after notification to review the proposed weapons sale before the sale can move forward. To block it, Congress must pass a joint resolution of disapproval during the review period and then override a likely presidential veto. Congress has never successfully done that.
The Saudi arms sale has received some resistance in the House since news of the deal was leaked in September. In a letter that month to President Barack Obama, Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) stated his intention to block any proposed arms deal with
In an Oct. 20 press conference announcing the notification, Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs Andrew Shapiro denied the possibility that the U.S.-Saudi deal would destabilize the
HEU Spent Fuel Removed From
More than 450 kilograms of Russian-origin highly enriched uranium (HEU) spent fuel has been transported from
The effort represents the largest spent fuel shipment campaign in NNSA history, the press release said. Repatriation of Russian-origin fresh and spent HEU fuel is a key of part of the NNSA’s Global Threat Reduction Initiative.
The NNSA declined to say what the enrichment level of the spent fuel was, but in an Oct. 20 e-mail to Arms Control Today, NNSA spokesman Damien LaVera said the spent fuel return was the program’s largest ever in terms of the quantity of uranium-235, as well as in terms of “sheer volume.”
Uranium enriched to levels of 20 percent or more of U-235 is considered HEU.
The campaign involved collaboration among the NNSA,
According to the press release, the spent HEU fuel came from the Ewa and Maria research reactors in Swierk. The Ewa reactor is no longer in use and is in the process of being shut down and disassembled, LaVera said. The Maria reactor is scheduled to be converted in 2012 to run on LEU rather than HEU, he said.
Meanwhile, Ken Baker, the NNSA deputy administrator for defense nuclear nonproliferation, said Oct. 12 at a conference in
Rosatom has confirmed the shutdown of three HEU-fueled research reactors, with an additional five in the process of being shut down and decommissioned, he said.
India Signs Nuclear Liability Convention
At a White House press briefing that day previewing President Barack Obama’s Nov. 6-9 visit to India, Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs William Burns called the signing a “positive step.”
The signing comes two months after
Access to the Indian reactor market was one of the potential benefits cited by advocates of
G. Balachandran, writing for the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, an Indian think tank, said the controversial provisions of the liability law did not legally preclude
Fourteen states have signed the CSC, and four states, including the
Virus May Be Targeting Iran’s Nuclear Program
Stuxnet, a new computer virus, apparently is affecting
More than 60 percent of the known Stuxnet infections are located in
During the past several months, the Bushehr plant has experienced a series of delays in its projected startup date. However, Iranian state-run Press TV reported that Ali Akbar Salehi, head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, dismissed suggestions that Stuxnet had anything to do with the delays.
In an October report, software security firm Symantec concludes that Stuxnet reprograms the industrial control systems of power plants “to make them work in a manner the attacker intended.” In a separate report, Symantec says the virus exploits four “zero-day” vulnerabilities in Microsoft software. Zero-day vulnerabilities are holes in a computer program’s security that were unknown to the developer.