June 23, 2016

The Iran Deal’s Future Remains Uncertain

Eli Levite

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) has now been in effect for a year. It has withstood multiple political tests in Washington and Tehran and its key provisions have thus far been implemented by Iran and its seven partners (the P-5, Germany and the European Union). The short-term success of the agreement in peacefully rolling back worrisome aspects of Iranian nuclear activity and subjecting the remainder to more rigorous verification arrangements is reassuring—certainly if we bear in mind that the core of the JCPOA should remain in force for another decade or more. Yet, the future of the agreement nevertheless seems highly uncertain.

North Korea Leader Says Missile Launch Shows Ability to Attack U.S. in Pacific

Jack Kim | Reuters

North Korea leader Kim Jong Un said after supervising the test launch of an intermediate-range missile that the country now has the capability to attack U.S. interests in the Pacific, official media reported on Thursday. South Korean and U.S. military officials have said the North launched what appeared to be two intermediate-range missiles dubbed Musudan on Wednesday. The first of the two was considered a failure. The second reached a high altitude in the direction of Japan before plunging into the sea about 400 km (250 miles) away, they said.

California's Last Nuclear Power Plant To Be Shut Down

Chris Arnold | NPR

The Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant will be shut down by 2025. The plan was announced today by the power utility operating the plant,
along with labor and environmental groups. With its two nuclear reactors operating near several fault lines, safety is a big concern for those who have been calling for the plant's closure. "Right out there, we've got tons of highly radioactive waste, sitting," Linda Seeley tells Lauren Sommer of member station KQED, standing at the front security gate that blocks access to the two big domes sitting on the edge of the Pacific Ocean.

Fennovoima Considers Own Repository for Used Fuel

World Nuclear News

Fennovoima is considering developing its own repository for disposing of used fuel from its planned Hanhikivi nuclear power plant in western Finland. Posiva Solutions is to advise it on site selection. In accordance with the decision-in-principle granted by the Finnish government to Fennovoima in 2010, the company was to submit to the Ministry of Employment and the Economy either a final disposal cooperation agreement with Posiva to participate in the Onkalo repository project at Olkiluoto, or an environmental impact assessment (EIA) program for its own final disposal facility by the end of this month.

Back from the Brink Toward Restraint and Dialogue between Russia and the West

Third Report of the Deep Cuts Commission

Russia and the West are on the brink of a renewed confrontation. Driven by mutual perceptions of insecurity, both NATO and Russia are ramping up their defenses along the Baltic fault line. Some of these increased military activities are inherently dangerous. If not managed properly, close military encounters in adjoining airspaces and on the neighboring seas risk unintended escalation, possibly up to the nuclear level. One of the last remaining pillars of mutual restraint, the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, is subject to heated compliance disputes. At the same time, Washington and Moscow are heavily investing in new and redundant nuclear systems.

‘Limited’ Missile Defense Must Remain So 

Philip Coyle | Breaking Defense

Some members of Congress are rightfully calling for reform to the U.S. national missile defense program, but the change they suggest – removing the word “limited” from current U.S. policy – will carelessly expand the program and waste billions of dollars. If we’re serious about improving national missile defense, Congress must reform the objectives of the Missile Defense Agency to promote innovation and require a strict policy of “fly before you buy.”