August 29, 2022

Michael Krepon: a Life Building Peace

George Perkovich | The Nonproliferation Review

Michael Krepon’s passing in July has elicited many deserved tributes. Those who didn’t know Michael well before will now have learned that he started his post-higher-education career as a leader of a nongovernmental organization protesting against the Vietnam War and advocating reform of US foreign policy, then became a congressional staffer, and then served in the Carter administration as a relatively young office director in the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency. From there, his Washington career took not-uncommon steps through a Council on Foreign Relations fellowship to a senior research position at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. That is when I first encountered and admired Michael’s writing on arms-control verification.

Shelling Temporarily Disconnects Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Plant from Ukraine Grid

Emma Graham-Harrison and Isobel Koshiwa | The Guardian

Fires caused by shelling cut the last remaining power line to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant on Thursday, temporarily disconnecting it from Ukraine’s national grid for the first time in nearly 40 years of operation, the country’s nuclear power firm, Energoatom, has said.

Iran Drops Another Key Demand as Prospects for Revived Nuclear Deal Increase

Natasha Bertrand | CNN

Iran has dropped another key demand related to nuclear inspections as negotiations continue over reviving the Iran nuclear deal, a senior administration official tells CNN. It’s a development that could make a breakthrough more likely after Tehran dropped another key request last week. Iran had previously demanded that as a condition of re-entering the deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the International Atomic Energy Agency had to close its investigation of undeclared nuclear material found at Iranian sites in 2019. But Iran has now dropped that demand, the senior administration official said on Tuesday.

Biden Urged to Act Swiftly on Ukraine Nuclear Plant

Joe Parkinson and Drew Hinshaw | The Wall Street Journal

President Biden should take urgent action to make the deteriorating situation at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear-power plant an administration priority and demand an immediate inspection by the International Atomic Energy Agency before its occupation causes a transnational radiological disaster, according to a private bipartisan letter to the White House from dozens of former senior government officials and nonproliferation experts. The letter, signed by former U.S. government energy undersecretaries for nuclear security and assistant state secretaries for nonproliferation and arms control and seen by The Wall Street Journal, adds to pressure on Mr. Biden to do more to address Russia’s nearly six-month occupation of Europe’s largest nuclear plant, which has transformed the 6.7-gigawatt facility into a military base where employees deemed to be loyal to Ukraine have been shot and tortured.

Japan Turns Back to Nuclear Power in Post-Fukushima Shift

Kana Inagaki and Leo Lewis | The Financial Times

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has moved to restore Japan’s status as a nuclear-powered nation for the first time since the 2011 Fukushima crisis, accelerating the restart of reactors and signaling the construction of new plants. Kishida’s decision to throw his political weight behind the nuclear power sector is intended to rein in soaring energy costs for households and companies and to support Japan’s nuclear technology manufacturers.


Khan, the Bomb, and the Struggle for Democracy in Pakistan

Sadia Tasleem | South Asian Voices

Speaking to a political rally in Peshawar on May 14, 2022, Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Imran Khan raised doubts about the safety of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons in the hands of what he called “thieves”— referring to the new regime that replaced him after a Vote of No Confidence (VoNC) in Parliament—and noted “dropping an atomic bomb would be better than handing the helm to these people.” In a TV interview a few weeks later, on June 1st, Khan brought up nuclear weapons yet again – this time outlining the doomsday scenario that might unfold if the establishment didn’t take the “right decisions.” Khan stated, “Pakistan is going towards a default. If that happens then which institution will be [worst] hit? The army. After it is hit, what concession will be taken from us? Denuclearization.” While the nuclear rhetoric of the statements draws media attention for Khan, the statements themselves further ingrain the military’s assumed role in national security