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"Though we have acheived progress, our work is not over. That is why I support the mission of the Arms Control Association. It is, quite simply, the most effective and important organization working in the field today." 

– Larry Weiler
Former U.S.-Russian arms control negotiator
August 7, 2018
Press Releases

Experts Available and Key Resources on the P5+1 Talks With Iran

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Includes Audio from March 26 Press Conference

For Immediate Release: March 26, 2015

Media Contacts: Kelsey Davenport, director of nonproliferation policy, 202-463-8270 ext. 104; Daryl G. Kimball, executive director, 202-463-8270 ext. 107; Greg Thielmann, senior fellow, 202-463-8270, ext. 103; Matthew Bunn, board member and Havard Belfer Center researcher, 617-495-9916.  

(Washington, D.C.)--This week, top diplomats from the P5+1 (China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States) and Iran are meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland, to hammer out a political framework agreement for a comprehensive, long-term nuclear deal to block Iran's potential pathways to a nuclear weapon.

Over the past several weeks, progress has been made on many difficult issues but some gaps remain. Meanwhile, some members of Congress are threatening to advance new Iran sanctions legislation and set unrealistic requirements for a nuclear deal, including Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), who has said that he will seek action on his controversial bill, S. 615, next month. 

Our experts are prepared to provide insights and analysis on both the negotiations in Lausanne and the debate in Washington, D.C.

Below are must-read resources on the negotiations, agreements, and role of Congress from the Arms Control Association: 

More resources are available in our online briefing book, "Solving the Iranian Nuclear Puzzle."

Sign-up today for our "P5+1 and Iran Nuclear Talks Alert" newsletter for the latest developments and analysis surrounding the negotiations delivered straight to your inbox.

Follow @KelseyDav and @DarylGKimball for the latest updates on Twitter.

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The Arms Control Association is an independent, membership-based organization dedicated to providing authoritative information and practical policy solutions to address the threats posed by the world's most dangerous weapons.

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This week, top diplomats from the P5+1 and Iran are meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland, to hammer out a political framework agreement for a comprehensive, long-term nuclear deal...

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2014 Arms Control Person of the Year Announced

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2014 "Arms Control Person of the Year"
Austria's Director for Arms Control, Nonproliferation, and Disarmament Ambassador Alexander Kmentt
 

For immediate release: January 8, 2014
 
Press contact: Daryl G. Kimball, Executive Director, (202) 463-8270 x 107
 
(Washington, D.C.) Austria's Director for Arms Control, Nonproliferation, and Disarmament Alexander Kmentt received the highest number of votes in an online poll to determine the "2014 Arms Control Person of the Year." Nine other worthy candidates were nominated by the staff of the Arms Control Association for their significant achievements and contributions to reducing the threats posed by the world's most dangerous weapons in the past year.

Ambassador Kmentt, who started his career at the Austrian Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs in 1994 and has been a leading disarmament diplomat for many years, was recognized for organizing the third International Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons, Dec. 8-9, 2014 in Vienna, which drew delegations representing 158 states, the United Nations, and civil society.

For the first time in the series of conferences on nuclear weapons use, the list of participants included countries recognized as nuclear-weapon states by the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT)--the United Kingdom and the United States. In addition, an unofficial representative from China attended the meeting. Two other nuclear-armed states, India and Pakistan, took part in the previous two meetings and were also present in Vienna.

Building on the work of the two previous humanitarian impacts conferences, the Vienna meeting expanded the agenda to include the physical impacts of nuclear weapons use, the health effects of nuclear weapons production and testing, the application of international law to the consequences of nuclear weapons explosions, and the shortfalls in international capacity to address a humanitarian emergency triggered by the use of nuclear weapons.

Kmentt was also recognized for Austria's pledge at the close of the conference "... to cooperate with all relevant stakeholders ... in efforts to stigmatise, prohibit and eliminate nuclear weapons in light of their unacceptable humanitarian consequences and associated risks."

"Ambassador Kmentt deserves enormous credit for making the third conference on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons the most inclusive and extensive yet," said Daryl G. Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association. "The Vienna conference has changed the international conversation about nuclear weapons and provided renewed urgency to the effort to move toward a world free of nuclear weapons," he said.

"The majority of states parties to the NPT will expect the upcoming Review Conference in May to take into account the findings and conclusions of the Vienna conference and prompt the world's nuclear weapon states to make faster progress on their NPT Article VI commitments," added Kimball.

The runner-up in the vote for the 2014 Arms control Persons of the Year were the team of Ahmet Üzümcü, director general of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and Sigrid Kaag, head of the OPCW-UN Joint Mission, for successfully overseeing the elimination of Syria's 1300 metric tons of chemical weapons, constituting a major steps toward a world free of chemical weapons.

Although Syria has continued to use chlorine as a weapon in violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention, the OPCW-UN operation--involving personnel, equipment, and resources from the United States, Russia, and 28 other countries--has prevented further, large-scale attacks involving Syrian President Bashar Assad's sarin and mustard gas arsenal and eliminated the risk that these deadly weapons might have come under the control of non-state terrorist groups, including Daesh (a.k.a. ISIL).

Pope Francis was the second-runner-up in online voting. He was nominated for guiding the Catholic Church to revise its position on the morality of nuclear deterrence for the first time in many years. The Holy See document, "Nuclear Disarmament: Time for Abolition," issued in December. It argues that: "The strategic nuclear situation has changed dramatically since the end of the Cold War. Rather than providing security...reliance on a strategy of nuclear deterrence has created a less secure world."  

With a late-surge of online voting over the Christmas holidays, Pope Francis edged out another nominee: the members of the technical and political negotiating teams of Iran, led by Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, and the P5+1 group (China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States) led by EU High Representative Catherine Ashton. They were nominated for making significant progress toward a long-term, compromise solution to address international concerns over Iran's sensitive nuclear activities as part a future, comprehensive nuclear agreement. They will resume negotiations next week in Geneva.

The list of all 2014 nominees is available online.

The online poll was open between Dec. 16, 2014 to Jan. 7, 2015.

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Past winners of the "Arms Control Person of the Year" are: Lassina Zerbo  (2013); Gen. James Cartwright (2012); reporter and activist Kathi Lynn Austin (2011),Kazakhstan's Deputy Foreign Minister Kairat Umarov and Thomas D'Agostino, U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration Administrator (2010); Senator Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) (2009 ), Norway's Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre and his ministry's Director-General for Security Policy and the High North Steffen Kongstad (2008), and U.S. Congressmen Peter Visclosky (D-Ind.) and David Hobson (R-Ohio) (2007).
If you find the Arms Control Association's resources and work of value, please consider making a contribution online right now, or by giving a friend or colleague a gift subscription to Arms Control Today this holiday season.
Our continued efforts-and progress on arms control in the years ahead- depend on the support of individuals like you.
 

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The Arms Control Association (ACA) is an independent, membership-based organization dedicated to providing information and practical policy solutions to address the dangers posed by the world's most dangerous weapons. ACA publishes the monthly journal, Arms Control Today.

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Austria's Director for Arms Control, Nonproliferation, and Disarmament Alexander Kmentt received the highest number of votes in an online poll to determine the "2014 Arms Control Person of the Year."

Vote for the 2014 Arms Control Person(s) of the Year!

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The Arms Control Association is dedicated to providing authoritative information and promoting practical solutions to address the dangers posed by the world's most dangerous weapons: nuclear, biological, and chemical, as well as certain types of conventional arms.
 
Every year since 2007, Arms Control Association's staff has nominated several individuals and institutions that best exemplify leadership and action in pursuing effective arms control solutions.
 
Each, in their own way, has provided leadership to help reduce weapons-related security threats. We invite you to cast your vote (one per person) for the 2014 Arms Control Person(s) of the Year.
 
Click here to vote and enter "ACPOY2014" as the password. The vote will beclosed at midnight on January 7 and the results announced January 9.

 

 
 
The nominees are:
  • The members of the technical and political negotiating teams of Iran, the United States, Russia, the UK, France, Germany, and China for making significant progress toward developing long-term, compromise solutions to address concerns about Iran's sensitive nuclear fuel cycle activities, facilities, and uranium stockpiles as part a future, comprehensive nuclear agreement.
     
  • Ahmet Üzümcü, Director General of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and Sigrid Kaag, head of the OPCW-UN Joint Mission, for successfully overseeing the elimination of Syria's 1300 metric tons of chemical weapons, constituting a major advance toward achieving a world-wide ban on chemical weapons. The operation--involving personnel, equipment, and resources from the United States, Russia, and 28 other countries--demonstrated the ability of the international community to work collaboratively to eliminate weapons of mass destruction.
     
  • The members of the International Atomic Energy Agency inspection teams for their more intensive, on-the-ground work to verify Iran's compliance with the November 2013 Joint Plan of Action, which put into place interim confidence-building steps that have halted the progress of the elements of Iran's nuclear program of greatest proliferation concern.
     
  • Ambassador Alexander Kmentt, Austria's Director for Arms Control, Nonproliferation, and Disarmament for organizing the 3rd International Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons, Dec. 8-9, 2014 in Vienna, which brought together 158 governmental delegations, including representatives from India, Pakistan, the United Kingdom and the United States, and for Austria's pledge "... to cooperate with all relevant stakeholders ... in efforts to stigmatise, prohibit and eliminate nuclear weapons in light of their unacceptable humanitarian consequences and associated risks."
     
  • Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) for his advocacy for mine removal, an end to the production of banned antipersonnel mines, and the universalization of the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty. Leahy was instrumental in pressing the Barack Obama administration to announce adjustments in U.S. mine ban policy  earlier this year. Leahy has also been a staunch supporter of victim assistance programs. As a result of the treaty and global mine removal efforts, significantly lower numbers of deaths and injuries from land mines and other explosive remnants of war were reported in the past year.
     
  • Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) for her legislative efforts to curb excessive federal spending on nuclear weapons programs she believes exceed U.S. defense requirements and press the Obama administration to accelerate progress to eliminate excess nuclear warheads and secure dangerous nuclear and radiological materials. In 2014, the appropriations subcommittee she chairs zeroed out research funding for a new nuclear-armed, air-launched cruise missile and she publicly pressed the White House to make policy changes to reduce excess "hedge" weapons in the U.S nuclear arsenal. She helped lead a bipartisan effort to increase funding for programs to secure and eliminate dangerous nuclear and radiological materials.
     
  • Human Rights Watch for conducting field research in conflict zones to document the use of weapons that violate international norms. Their reports help bring international attention to the use of incendiary munitions in the conflict in eastern Ukraine and in Syria and the use of chemical weapons (chlorine in barrel bombs) in Syria.
     
  • The Netherlands Nuclear Security Summit 'Sherpa,' Ambassdor Piet de Klerk, who was his country's lead coordinator and negotiator for the March 24-25, 2014 Nuclear Security Summit in The Hague. The Summit produced a consensus communique and a number of multilateral initiatives to strengthen the security of vulnerable nuclear materials.
     
  • Pope Francis for guiding the Catholic Church to revise its position on the morality of nuclear deterrence for the first time in many years. The Holy See document "Nuclear Disarmament: Time for Abolition" argues that: "The strategic nuclear situation has changed dramatically since the end of the Cold War. Rather than providing security...reliance on a strategy of nuclear deterrence has created a less secure world."
     
  • C. J. Chivers, reporter for The New York Times, for his groundbreaking investigative reports documenting the previously unacknowledged exposure of U.S. troops in Iraq to remnants of Saddam's pre-1991 chemical weapons arsenal and for revealing the improper, secret, open-air disposal methods used by U.S. forces from 2004-2009.
Click here to vote and enter "ACPOY2014" as the password.
 
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Past winners of the "Arms Control Person of the Year" are: Lassina Zerbo (2013); Gen. James Cartwright (2012); reporter and activist Kathi Lynn Austin (2011),Kazakhstan's Deputy Foreign Minister Kairat Umarov and Thomas D'Agostino, U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration Administrator (2010); Senator Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) (2009 ), Norway's Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre and his ministry's Director-General for Security Policy and the High North Steffen Kongstad (2008), and U.S.Congressmen Peter Visclosky (D-Ind.) and David Hobson (R-Ohio) (2007).

 

If you find the Arms Control Association's resources and work of value, please consider making a contribution online right now, or by giving a friend or colleague a gift subscription to Arms Control Today this holiday season.

 

Our continued efforts-and progress on arms control in the years ahead- depend on the support of individuals like you.

# # #    

The Arms Control Association (ACA) is an independent, membership-based organization dedicated to providing information and practical policy solutions to address the dangers posed by the world's most dangerous weapons. ACA publishes the monthly journal, Arms Control Today.

Description: 

Every year since 2007, Arms Control Association's staff has nominated several individuals and institutions that best exemplify leadership and action in pursuing effective arms control solutions.

U.S. NGOs Urge Prompt Action to Make Nuclear Disarmament a Global Enterprise

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Statement to 3rd Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons in Vienna

For Immediate Release: Dec. 9, 2014

Media Contacts: Kingston Reif, Arms Control Association (202-463-8270 x107); Hans Kristensen, Federation of American Scientists (413-695-1089); Sean Meyer, Union of Concerned Scientists (202-331-5429); Catherine Thomasson, Physicians for Social Responsibility (503-819-1170);

(Vienna/Washington) Today at an extraordinary international conference in Vienna on The Humanitarian Impacts of Nuclear Weapons, some 800 diplomats and civil society representatives from more than 150 states discussed the implications of the catastrophic effects of nuclear weapons testing, production, and use.

In a statement to the conference, the leaders of five major U.S.-based organizations—the Arms Control Association, Institute for Energy and Environmental Research, Nuclear Information Project of the Federation of American Scientists, Physicians for Social Responsibility, and the Union of Concerned Scientistsincluding two presenters at the conference, urged prompt action to make disarmament a global enterprise.

Noting that follow-through on the consensus action plan developed at the 2010 Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference has been “very disappointing,” the leaders said “creative, practical ideas are needed to overcome the obstacles and excuses.”

They urged government leaders and civil society to come together around four major objectives, among others:

1. Examine dangerous doctrines. In 2010, all of the NPT nuclear-weapon states committed to “diminish the role and significance of nuclear weapons” and “[d]iscuss policies that could prevent the use of nuclear weapons.”

“Unfortunately,” the NGO statement said, “none of them has undertaken demonstrable, concrete steps to do so.”

Reif and the others said: “At the 2015 NPT Review Conference and elsewhere, the leaders of the world’s nuclear-armed states should be called upon to explain the effects of their nuclear war plans, if these plans were to be carried out, and how they believe the use of hundreds of such weapons would be consistent with humanitarian law and the laws of war as some nuclear-armed states claim.”

“Given the catastrophic consequences of the large-scale use of nuclear weapons against many dozens, if not hundreds of targets, as envisioned in the U.S., Russian, French, Chinese, British, Indian and Pakistani nuclear war plans, it is hard to see how the use of significant numbers of nuclear weapons could be consistent with international humanitarian law or any common sense interpretation of the Law of Armed Conflict,” they wrote.

2. Accelerate U.S.-Russian nuclear cuts and freeze other nuclear-armed nation stockpiles.Further nuclear reductions need not wait for a new U.S.-Russian arms control treaty. As long as both sides continue to reduce force levels below the treaty limits, U.S. and Russian leaders could undertake parallel, verifiable reductions well below New START ceilings,” the five organizations argued. 

“Other countries must get off the disarmament sidelines, particularly China, France, India and Pakistan, which continue to improve their nuclear capabilities. [Their] arsenals,” the statement noted, “are just as dangerous and destabilizing.”

“A unified push for further U.S.-Russian arms cuts combined with a global nuclear weapons freeze by the other nuclear-armed states could create the conditions for multilateral action on disarmament,” they said.

3. Convene Nuclear Disarmament Summits: “In order to provide a forum to follow up on the important discussions held in Oslo, Nayarit, and Vienna,” the NGO leaders said “[n]ow is the time for a group of concerned states to invite the leaders of a representative group of 20 to 30 nuclear and nonnuclear weapon states to a one- or two-day summit on the pursuit of a joint enterprise to achieve a world free of nuclear weapons.”

“The high-level meeting—ideally held near the August 6 and 9, 2015 anniversaries of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki—could be an historic, new, and productive starting point for discussions (not simply speeches) on proposals for advancing nuclear disarmament,” they said.

4. Follow through on the CTBT. “The vast majority of the world’s nations recognize that nuclear explosive testing is no longer acceptable, but due to the inaction of a few, the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) has not formally entered into force. In the interest of global security and out of respect for the victims and survivors of nuclear testing, it is past time to act,” they said.

In their call for action, the leaders of the five organizations cited President Barack Obama’s statement from June 2013 in Berlin: ‘[S]o long as nuclear weapons exist, we are not truly safe. Complacency is not in the character of great nations.’”

“In the coming months and years, creative, bold approaches will be needed to overcome old and new obstacles to the long-running effort to eliminate the potential for nuclear catastrophe,” they said.

The organizations' full statement is available online.

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The Arms Control Association (ACA) is an independent, membership-based organization dedicated to providing authoritative information and practical policy solutions to address the dangers posed by the world's most dangerous weapons.

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In a statement to the conference, the leaders of five major U.S.-based organizations urged prompt action to make disarmament a global enterprise.

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Leading Nuclear Policy Experts and Organizations Call on the United States to Participate in International Conference on Humanitarian Impacts of Nuclear Weapons

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For Immediate Release: October 29, 2014
Media Contacts: Daryl G. Kimball, Executive Director, 202-463-8270 x107

(Washington, D.C.)--A group of more than two dozen leading nuclear policy experts, former U.S. government officials, and peace and security organizations are urging the Barack Obama administration "to authorize U.S. participation in the Dec. 8-9 Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons in Vienna, Austria."

In an October 29 letter to the White House, State Department, and Pentagon, the signatories write that U.S. participation in the Vienna conference "would enhance the United States' credibility and influence at the 2015 NPT Review Conference. U.S. participation would also provide support to key U.S. allies and partners," many of which are also urging the United States to send an official delegation.

The Vienna humanitarian impacts conference, which is the third such meeting since 2013, "is a useful and important venue for raising awareness about the risks of nuclear weapons," the letter signers write, and it "contributes to the oft-repeated U.S. government call for 'extending the nearly 70-year record of non-use of nuclear weapons forever.'"

The United States and the other five original nuclear weapon states--Russia, the U.K., France, and China--have not attended the two previous humanitarian impacts conferences, citing concerns that it could be used as a launching point for negotiations calling for a ban on nuclear weapons or a convention leading to the elimination of nuclear weapons.

"While some participating states and some nongovernmental organizations support such a ban ... this conference is not a negotiating conference and is not intended to launch such an effort. Even if it were, there is no clear consensus among the participants about the direction of any such process," the signers note in their letter, which was addressed to the president's National Security Advisor, Susan Rice, Secretary of State John Kerry, and Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel.

"Nuclear-armed states may have reasons to argue that not all potential uses of nuclear weapons necessarily would lead to humanitarian disaster, and that nuclear weapons may deter other existential threats," says George Perkovich, Vice-President for Studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and one of the letter's signatories.

"But given that the whole world would be affected if they are wrong, they should be willing to discuss these issues with others," Perkovich says. "Unwillingness to do so suggests an arrogance that can only provoke international contempt and resistance."

A decision on the part of the Obama administration not to attend the Vienna conference, the signatories write, "would be a major lost opportunity and a setback for President Obama's own call for action toward a nuclear weapons free world."
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The Arms Control Association is an independent, membership-based organization dedicated to providing authoritative information and practical policy solutions to address the dangers posed by the world's most dangerous weapons.

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In an October 29 letter a group of more than two dozen leading nuclear policy experts and former U.S. government official sare urging the United States to participate in the next humanitarian impacts conference.

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Experts Urge U.S. to Scale-Back Plans and Reduce High Costs of Nuclear Weapons Modernization Plan

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Experts Urge U.S. to Scale-Back Plans and Reduce High Costs of Unsustainable, Unnecessary Nuclear Weapons Modernization Plan 

For Immediate Release
: Sept. 22, 2014

Media Contacts: Daryl G. Kimball, Arms Control Association (202-463-8270 x107); Hans Kristensen, Federation of American Scientists (202-454-4695);Stephen Young, Union of Concerned Scientists (202-331-5429); Angela Canterbury, Council for a Livable World, (202-546-0795); Erica Fein, Women's Action for New Directions (202-544-5055 x2605).
(Washington, D.C.) Leaders and experts from seven national nongovernmental organizations are charging that current plans for maintaining and upgrading the U.S. nuclear arsenal over the next decade and beyond exceed reasonable deterrence requirements as set out by the President in June 2013, are unaffordable, and unless they are significantly adjusted, the nuclear force modernization plan will also deplete resources from higher priority budget needs. 

In a letter to the White House earlier this year, the groups write: "[w]e believe there are more realistic ways to maintain U.S. nuclear forces to meet tomorrow's national security requirements. The President's 2013 guidance allows for a one-third reduction below New START levels, but even if the United States maintains New START warhead levels, it can do so at significantly lower cost."

"Perpetual nuclear modernization is inconsistent with the pledge made 45 years ago by the the United States and the other NPT nuclear-weapons states to pursue nuclear disarmament, and is inconsistent with President Obama's call for the pursuit of a world without nuclear weapons," says Hans Kristensen of the Federation of American Scientists. "Despite the financial constraints, the United States (and other nuclear-armed states) appear committed to spending hundreds of billions of dollars over the next decade on modernizing their nuclear forces," he notes.

In December 2013, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated that the United States plans to spend at least $355 billion to maintain and rebuild the nuclear arsenal and refurbish the nuclear weapons complex over the next decade, and that costs will continue to climb thereafter. A major part of this cost growth is the plan to rebuild all three legs of the existing nuclear "triad" and their associated warheads, including 12 new ballistic missile submarines, up to 100 new long-range bombers, and possibly new land-based ballistic missiles and a new long-range standoff cruise missile. 

The nuclear weapons plans, the costs, and the politics behind them, are described in a front page story in today's edition of The New York Times.

The nuclear weapons experts say that this U.S. spending plan is excessive, and that the United States can save tens of billions of dollars by reducing the number of new missiles and bombers it plans to buy and still maintain nuclear warhead levels established by the 2010 New START treaty with Russia.

Budget limits on future defense spending will force budget trade-offs among various Pentagon programs, the letter notes. The defense budget still needs to be cut by $115 billion from 2016-2019 to meet sequester targets, or about $29 billion per year on average.

These realities have led the White House to launch a National Security Council-led, interagency review of the multibillion-dollar plans to modernize the U.S. nuclear arsenal. This review will inform the administration's fiscal year 2016 budget request to Congress, Ned Price of the National Security Council said in an Aug. 22 e-mail toArms Control Today.

"We believe the current nuclear spending plan is unsustainable and will deplete resources from higher priorities," said Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association. "In its review, the Obama administration needs to make significant changes to existing nuclear force modernization plans that trim back, and in some cases, forgo unnecessary programs, such as a new nuclear-armed cruise missile, and save taxpayer dollars," he said.

The nongovernmental leaders say the United States can maintain planned warhead levels with fewer delivery vehicles. New START allows both sides to field up to 1,550 warheads on 700 long-range delivery vehicles. But the United States could also meet the warhead limit by fielding only about 600 delivery vehicles, saving tens of billions of dollars.

For example, the Navy plans to deploy about 1,000 warheads at sea under New START.  But the United States does not need 12 new submarines to field 1,000 warheads; eight submarines would be enough the groups note in their letter. By reducing the fleet of submarines to eight, the United States would save $16 billion over the next decade, according to the CBO.

The Air Force wants to develop a new nuclear-armed cruise missile, "but it is not clear why it needs both a penetrating bomber and a standoff missile to meet the deterrence requirements of the United States and our allies," said Kimball of the Arms Control Association. 

Earlier this year, Senate Appropriations energy and water subcommittee and the House and Senate Appropriations defense subcommittees cut the administration's request for the new cruise missile.

In its June 17 report accompanying the bill, the Senate Appropriations energy and water subcommittee said it is "reluctant to provide funding for a new cruise missile warhead when the Air Force cannot identify sufficient funding in its budget planning documents to design and procure a cruise missile to deliver a refurbished warhead."

The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) is also pursuing an overly ambitious and costly strategy for warhead refurbishment argue the organizations. The current plan, dubbed "3+2", envisions spending $60 billion to refurbish the arsenal and to use nuclear components that have not previously been tested together, raising reliability concerns.

"The NNSA should instead pursue a simpler refurbishment strategy, avoid risky schemes, and retire warhead types where possible," said Lisbeth Gronlund, co-director of the Global Security Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists.

Cuts in the size and not just the cost of U.S. and Russian stockpiles are also in order, the organizations argue. Last year, President Obama and the Pentagon announced that the U.S. could cut the size of the deployed strategic stockpile by up to one-third. Both sides should work in parallel to reduce force levels below the New START limits.

"Such an initiative would also allow both sides to reduce the extraordinary costs of force maintenance and modernization and could help induce other nuclear-armed states to exercise greater restraint," said Erica Fein, nuclear weapons policy director for Women's Action for New Directions.

"The New York Times did an excellent job of covering our nation's unsustainable, nonsensical nuclear weapons policy. However, there is more to the story," said Angela Canterbury, executive director for Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation. "The current plan is geared towards building more nuclear weapons that we don't need and can't afford. We need to scrap it and the nuclear weapons we don't need. We need to put into place a far more affordable plan to meet the President's goals to make us safer."

The organizations' letter to the White House is available online.
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The Arms Control Association (ACA) is an independent, membership-based organization dedicated to providing authoritative information and practical policy solutions to address the dangers posed by the world's most dangerous weapons.
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Experts from seven national nongovernmental organizations are charging that current plans for maintaining and upgrading the U.S. nuclear arsenal over the next decade and beyond exceed reasonable deterrence requirements.

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As Arms Trade Treaty PrepCom Nears, Experts Analyze Arms Trade and Recommend Action in Arms Control Today

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For Immediate Release July 7, 2010

Media Contacts Jeff Abramson, Deputy Director, Arms Control Association (202-463-8270 ext. 109)

(Washington, D.C.) Next week, representative from more than 100 countries will gather at the United Nations in New York City for preparatory committee meetings on a legally binding international arms trade treaty (ATT). In a special section “Getting a Handle on the Arms Trade” in the July/August edition of Arms Control Today, experts analyze the difficulty of monitoring transfers of conventional weapons and provide recommendations for creating a strong international instrument.

Daniel Mack, policy and advocacy coordinator for arms control at the Brazilian nongovernmental organization Instituto Sou da Paz and a leader within the international community pressing for a robust ATT, analyzes the current international debate in “The Arms Trade Treaty PrepCom: Prepared and Committed?” Detailing the key points of contention in the years that have led up to the July 12-23 PrepCom, Mack calls for states to be ambitious. He says, “The worst case scenario would be to move slowly and ultimately accommodate all views…  into a lowest-common-denominator or toothless instrument that could be ratified by all governments but would make none of their citizens safer.

The full article is available online at http://www.armscontrol.org/act/2010_07-08/mack

In another article, titled “The International Arms Trade: Difficult to Define, Measure, and Control,” Stockholm International Peace Research Institute’s arms transfer program director Paul Holtom and researcher Mark Bromley note that the international arms trade continues to thrive despite the recent economic downturn. In explaining the challenges of defining and estimating the arms trade, Holtom and Bromley find that while the list of major arms suppliers  remains consistent since the height of the Cold War, the list of top importers is considerably different. They note, “If an ATT can be concluded, the next challenge will be to ensure that states have the capacity to control arms transfers (exports, imports, transit, transshipment, brokering, and other activities covered by transfer controls).”

The full article is available online at http://www.armscontrol.org/act/2010_07-08/holtom-bromley

Additional ATT resources are available online from the Arms Control Association at http://www.armscontrol.org/subject/116/date

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As Arms Trade Treaty PrepCom Nears, Experts Analyze Arms Trade and Recommend Action in Arms Control Today 

Arms Control Association Announces New Research Director, Tom Collina

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For Immediate Release: June 8, 2009
Press Contact: Daryl G. Kimball, Executive Director, (202) 463-8270 x 107

(Washington, D.C.) Today, the Arms Control Association announced that Tom Collina will join the staff as its Research Director beginning July 1.

Tom Z. Collina has over 20 years of Washington D.C. experience in arms control and global security issues. He has held senior leadership positions such as Executive Director of the 2020 Vision Education Fund, Director of the Global Security Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists, Executive Director of the Institute for Science and International Security and Senior Research Analyst at the Federation of American Scientists.
Collina portrait
Tom's past research and policy advocacy has focused on advancing efforts to strengthen the nonproliferation regime and reduce the risk of nuclear terrorism, including the indefinite extension of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, negotiation of a the zero-yield Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, and reductions in U.S.-Russian strategic arsenals.

He has published over 50 articles in major magazines and journals and has appeared frequently in the national media, including The New York Times, CNN, and NPR. Tom has testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and briefed congressional staff on numerous occasions. Tom has a degree in International Relations from Cornell University and serves on the Boards of Directors of the Scoville Peace Fellowship and the Janelia Foundation.

Collina will concentrate on nuclear weapons policy, nuclear arms control, missile defense and missile nonproliferation, and nuclear testing policy issues and contribute to the ACA's monthly journal, Arms Control Today.

"We very pleased Tom Collina will be with ACA to augment our already strong research and policy team at this time, when so many important arms control opportunities and decisions are before U.S. and global decision-makers," said Daryl G. Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association.

Energy Dept. Reshuffles Nonproliferation Program

Wade Boese


The Department of Energy announced April 14 that it is shifting control of its program aimed at retrieving tons of previously exported, U.S.-origin nuclear fuel that could be used to build nuclear weapons. Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham said the move would “refocus and strengthen our international campaign to deny terrorists opportunities to seize nuclear materials.”

Abraham reassigned responsibility for the nuclear materials retrieval program from the Energy Department’s environmental management office to its National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA). Department sources said that the reorganization took place because the environmental management office, which is primarily tasked with cleaning up U.S. nuclear sites, was not viewed as giving the international effort sufficient priority. Following much debate, Energy Department officials settled on moving the program to NNSA after initially placing it with another office.

Established in 1996, the Foreign Research Reactor Spent Nuclear Fuel Acceptance Program is designed to return to the United States nearly 20,000 kilograms of enriched uranium, including roughly 5,000 kilograms of highly enriched uranium (HEU) previously exported to 41 countries. The program was launched amid growing concerns that terrorists or “rogue regimes” might buy or steal the material to build weapons.

In the early Cold War years, Washington had required all countries importing U.S. nuclear fuel for peaceful purposes to return it to the United States, but that policy lapsed in 1964.

The Clinton administration intended to limit the program to a 10-year time frame. U.S. officials wanted to pressure other governments to devise their own solutions for dealing with their nuclear waste so the United States did not become everyone’s “garbage can,” according to an Energy Department official interviewed April 23.

In addition, the retrieval program was seen as a necessary complement to another U.S. nonproliferation program to persuade states to convert their research reactors from using HEU fuel, which can be used directly to make nuclear weapons, to less bomb-ready low-enriched uranium fuel. To help convince states to make the switch, the United States needed to provide them with a viable HEU disposal option.

Under the retrieval program, states judged by the World Bank as being economically well-off pay for shipping the nuclear materials back to the United States, while Washington subsidizes the costs for poorer states. The U.S. government charges richer states for the retrieval process because, in part, it alone shoulders the long-term storage expenses.

Since the program’s inception, 1,100 kilograms of HEU have been shipped back to the United States. Depending on the bomb design, this amount could be used to build as many as 30 nuclear weapons.

However, a February 2004 program audit by the Energy Department’s inspector general (IG) reported that current projections indicate that the retrieval program is set to recover only about half of the eligible 5,000 kilograms of HEU by the program’s scheduled end.

A dozen states have declined to participate fully in the program for economic or political reasons. For instance, France, Belgium, and the Netherlands have their own programs either to store or reprocess the material. Yet, the IG audit assessed that at least 56 kilograms of U.S.-origin HEU is currently located in four “sensitive” states not involved in the program. The audit did not identify the four; but Iran, Israel, Pakistan, and South Africa are among current nonparticipants.

Abraham said NNSA’s new responsibilities for the program would include increasing the number of countries participating, expediting shipments, and extending the program’s life. He also called on NNSA to prioritize retrieving materials posing the greatest proliferation threat.

Abraham did not indicate whether the program might broaden its current scope. The IG report found that more than 12,000 kilograms of U.S.-origin HEU, nearly 80 percent of which is in Germany and France, does not currently fall under the rubric of the program. The program’s original mandate applied to enriched uranium shipped to foreign research reactors, but not to fast or special purpose reactors.

President George W. Bush’s Feb. 11 speech urging greater control of weapons-usable materials appeared to influence the reorganization. (See ACT, March 2004.)

Earlier this year, Energy Department officials testified that the retrieval program would be reassigned to the civilian radioactive waste management office. Reportedly, Undersecretary of Energy, Science, and Environment Robert Card, who resigned from his post April 18 for personal reasons, supported this approach. Many program officials, however, favored realignment with NNSA, which also helps Russia retrieve its exported nuclear fuel.

NNSA will ultimately share program duties with the civilian radioactive waste management office. Although a precise division of labor is still in the works, it is generally understood that NNSA will take the lead on policy and the waste management office will transport and store the retrieved nuclear materials.

Corrected online August 29, 2008. See explanation.

 

 

 

 

The Department of Energy announced April 14 that it is shifting control of its program aimed at retrieving tons of previously exported, U.S.-origin nuclear fuel that could be used to build nuclear weapons.

Brazil Denies IAEA Full Access to Enrichment Sites

Dan Koik


The Brazilian government continues to refuse to allow International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors to eyeball equipment at its uranium enrichment plant, citing the need to protect its industrial secrets.

IAEA inspectors who have recently visited enrichment facilities at Resende have arrived to find portions of the site and its equipment concealed. Brazilian officials acknowledged that portions of the plant had been hidden, arguing that Brazil was not required to disclose every detail of the process. They said that inspectors would be allowed to conduct tests on uranium entering and leaving the facility as well as on the surrounding area.

Brazil claims that their enrichment equipment is up to 30 percent more efficient than previously possible and that allowing visual inspections of the equipment will allow competitors to steal its trade secrets. Brazil, which has the world’s sixth-largest natural uranium reserve, hopes that a domestic enrichment facility will allow it to save between $10 and $12 million every year on fuel for its own nuclear reactors and, eventually, to export surplus fuel.

Brazil’s actions have annoyed IAEA officials and other diplomats, who say that, although Brazil is not suspected of developing nuclear weapons, its refusal to allow unfettered access sets a bad precedent at a time when the international community is trying to compel Iran and North Korea to accept similar inspections.

The controversy comes after statements by Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and former Minister of Science and Technology Roberto Amaral raised doubts about Brazil’s commitment to the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT). In a speech last year, Amaral said that Brazil needed to maintain scientific research capabilities in all fields, including the knowledge necessary to produce nuclear weapons. Lula quickly distanced himself from the remarks and Amaral was among the first to resign during a reorganization of the government this year. But Lula’s own nonproliferation credentials had been tarnished when he criticized the NPT as a discriminatory treaty during his campaign for the presidency in 2002. (See ACT, November 2003)

Indeed, Brazilian diplomats have echoed Lula’s earlier remarks in the controversy over inspections of the enrichment facilities. They have taken particular umbrage at President George W. Bush’s February proposal that countries which did not already possess such enrichment technology be prevented from acquiring it. (See ACT, February 2003)

A Brazilian diplomat told The Washington Post, “We don’t like treaties that are discriminatory in their intent.” He said that Bush’s proposal was “unacceptable to Brazil, precisely because we see ourselves as so strictly committed to nonproliferation, to disarmament, to the peaceful uses of nuclear energy.”

In addition to the impasse over inspections, Brazil has refused calls by the IAEA, the United States and others to sign an Additional Protocol to its safeguards agreement with the IAEA under the NPT. An additional protocol expand the IAEA’s authority to detect clandestine nuclear programs and increase the number of nuclear-related activities that a signatory must declare to the agency.

The United States has avoided intervening in the dispute, beyond expressing a desire that Brazil should agree to inspections and sign the Additional Protocol. “It’s a very sensitive subject but I believe our government has a terrific amount of confidence in Brazil,” said Assistant Secretary of State Roger Noriega, “We believe they (Brazil) are committed to meeting their international obligations and this is a matter that is best handled by the IAEA in a multilateral way. We do not want to make this a bilateral issue, because quite frankly the U.S. has confidence that Brazil is a responsible actor.”

The United States also said that it would support Brazilian diplomat Sergio Duarte to chair the 2005 NPT review conference, although Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security John Bolton used the opportunity to call on Brazil to resolve its differences with the IAEA so that “it doesn’t cast a pall over the review conference next year.”

 

 

 

 

The Brazilian government continues to refuse to allow International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors to eyeball equipment at its uranium enrichment plant, citing the need to protect its industrial secrets.

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