Seismic Hazards and Radiation Risks at Los Alamos
July 11, 2012 | Edited by Benjamin Loehrke and Leah Fae Cochran
Shake, rattle, and glow - Los Alamos National Laboratory is underestimating the risk of radiation leaks caused earthquakes, notes a Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board Report. If an earthquake started a fire at the facility, the estimated radiation dose for a person at the boundary of the facility would be 4 times what LANL estimated - potentially requiring greater safety controls at the facility.
--Los Alamos is situated near geological fault lines and faces significant earthquake risk. Mia Steinle at POGO has the story and the full report. http://bit.ly/MiAeNp
CBM on SLCMs - As a confidence building measure for future arms control efforts, the United States and Russia “should resume the data exchanges on deployed nuclear-armed sea-launched cruise missiles that ended with the expiration of START,” writes Jeffrey Lewis at Arms Control Wonk.
--Lewis proposes that the two countries resume SLCM data exchanges in identical text from the START process, but set a lower limit (from the previous 880) for deployed SLCMs. Verification would still be a challenge, notes Lewis, but the data alone would be a good first step toward a more comprehensive arms control treaty. http://bit.ly/L8C2Zi
Sanctions 101 - “Induce the government that is the target of our sanctions to concede by getting it to understand that we will continue to punish it if it does not concede and will stop punishing it if it does. It's really that simple,” writes Paul Pillar in The National Interest.
--This is not what is happening in the Iran talks, says Pillar. He observes, “The P5+1 have failed to identify what would bring such relief, instead offering only the tidbit of airplane parts and the vaguest of suggestions that they might consider some sort of relief in the future. The Iranians are thus left to believe that heavy pressure, including sanctions, will continue no matter what they do at the negotiating table, and that means no incentive to make more concessions.” http://bit.ly/MVO668
DoD Iran report - The Pentagon’s “Annual Report on Military Power of Iran” has been made public. Included is DoD’s assessment of Iran’s ballistic missile and nuclear programs. Steven Aftergood at FAS’ Secrecy News has the report. (pdf) http://bit.ly/PMfGDx
100th PSI member - St. Lucia is the 100th country to support the Proliferation Security Initiative, a U.S. effort to “bolster legal efforts, share data and take action to interdict unconventional weapons, their means of delivery and associated items”. The Global Security Newswire has the story. http://bit.ly/LN9AxQ
Long-range? - Lesly McNeish warns against taking media reports on the “long-range” of Iran’s July 3 missile test at face-value. The range tested (up to 1,300 kilometers) is much shorter than the U.S. definition of long-range missiles, and a heavy warhead could shorten range further, she says.
--”Trusting Tehran's assertions contributes to the false narrative that the threat from Iran is exploding and requires ‘decisive’ action. The bigger picture, which accounts for technological and other hurdles to Iran developing a deliverable nuclear weapon, shows that the United States and our allies have time for persistence and patience.” Nukes of Hazard has the story. http://bit.ly/PQtSN4
Nuclear strikeout - What would happen if you tried to hit a baseball pitched at 90% the speed of light? The webcomic XKCD “sat down with some physics books, a Nolan Ryan action figure, and a bunch of videotapes of nuclear tests and tried to sort it all out.”
--Apparently, the event starts when the ball leaves the pitcher’s hand at 600 million mph and, 30 nanoseconds later, ends as a nuclear fireball engulfs the baseball diamond and surrounding city. http://bit.ly/O5WcmZ
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