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Carnegie Endowment for International Peace | Proliferation News
January 22, 2009

2009 Carnegie International Nonproliferation Conference

  • Heading for the Fourth Nuclear Age
    Proliferation Paper
  • Despite Historic Pact, U.S. Firms Are Hampered in Setting Up Reactors in India
    The Washington Post
  • Reassessing the Role of Nuclear Weapons
    Arms Control Today
  • A Vital Nuclear Step Towards the World After Oil
    The National
  • North Korea Says It Has 'Weaponized' Plutonium
    The New York Times
  • Swiss Nuclear Smuggling Suspect Claims CIA Link
    Associated Press
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Heading for the Fourth Nuclear Age

Ariel E. Levite, Proliferation Paper
1951 Nevada Nuclear TestIn a new Proliferation Paper published by the Institut Franšais des Relations Internationales' (Ifri) Security Studies Center, Ariel E. Levite examines the evolution of the global nuclear order since the advent of nuclear weapons in 1945 to present by breaking down the sixty-plus years of nuclear history into three analytically distinct "ages," each lasting roughly twenty years. By doing so, Levite traces back the roots of the current nuclear predicament to some early seeds of trouble which have gradually grown more profound.

Despite Historic Pact, U.S. Firms Are Hampered in Setting Up Reactors in India

Rama Lakshmi, The Washington Post
It took three years of diplomatic wrangling to get a controversial agreement signed late last year to allow India to participate in global civilian nuclear trade, but U.S. business executives now say there are more hurdles to overcome before they can start setting up reactors and selling fuel to India.

Editor's Note: This article correctly highlights some of the challenges that U.S. firms face in selling nuclear-related material, equipment and technology to India, but errs in a few ways. For example, GE and Westinghouse are unlikely to be chafing at the bit to sell reactors before India passes a nuclear liability law since that law should protect them from bankruptcy in the event of an accident. Second, although India has a uranium shortage, U.S. firms are not positioned, now or in the future, to help relieve that problem. India will likely purchase uranium from the big suppliers – Canada or Kazakhstan. Until light water reactors are built, India will have no need for foreign conversion, enrichment and fuel fabrication services because most of its reactors are indigenous heavy-water-moderated reactors that use natural uranium. The only American light water reactors – at Tarapur – have been recently resupplied with fuel by Russia. India may choose to hold up nuclear contracts until the U.S. Congress approves subsequent arrangements detailing consent rights to reprocess, but the urgency of its uranium shortage is not leverage over that process. In general, Russian and French nuclear vendors hold advantages over U.S. vendors in domestic and foreign sales because they are subsidized by their governments. The article should have noted that the U.S.-India Business Council covers a lot of other kinds of commerce, including defense sales, and it would be interesting to see if progress in other areas were being held up by lack of progress in nuclear commerce.

Reassessing the Role of Nuclear Weapons

Daryl G. Kimball, Arms Control Today
Beginning Jan. 20, U.S. nuclear weapons policy can and must change. The U.S.-Soviet standoff that gave rise to tens of thousands of nuclear weapons is over, but the policies developed to justify their possession and potential use remain largely the same.

A Vital Nuclear Step Towards the World After Oil

Charles Ferguson, The National
The UAE and the United States opened a new chapter in cooperation last week by signing a nuclear energy agreement. As long as the US Congress does not object, the deal will be enacted, placing the UAE on the road to becoming the first Arab nation with nuclear power plants.

North Korea Says It Has 'Weaponized' Plutonium

Choe Sang-Hun, The New York Times
The North Korean military declared an "all-out confrontational posture" against South Korea on Saturday as an American scholar said North Korean officials told him they had "weaponized" enough plutonium for roughly four or five nuclear bombs.

Swiss Nuclear Smuggling Suspect Claims CIA Link

Frank Jordans, Associated Press
A Swiss man suspected of involvement in the world's biggest nuclear smuggling ring claims he supplied the CIA with information that led to the breakup of the black market network led by Pakistani scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan.


Produced twice-weekly, Proliferation News provides a free summary of news and analysis on efforts to prevent the spread and use of nuclear weapons. Visit Carnegie's Nonproliferation Program website for further information and resources. Please send your comments and suggestions to the Editor at

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