Russian President Vladimir Putin took "unprecedented" post-Cold War action Sunday, February 27, by ordering his nuclear deterrent forces to be on alert as international tensions over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine spiraled.
The United States said Putin was escalating the war with "dangerous rhetoric", amid signs that the biggest assault on a European state since World War Two was not producing rapid victories, but instead generating a far-reaching and concerted "political, strategic, economic and corporate Western response" less than four days after it started.(REUTERS - "Putin puts nuclear deterrent on alert; West squeezes Russian economy")
Crews at Idaho National Laboratory and the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant nuclear waste repository near Carlsbad met last week to improve safety standards shared between the two facilities after a string of problematic waste shipments from the lab triggered a state investigation.
So far this year, WIPP personnel were alerted to issues with three shipments of transuranic (TRU) nuclear waste from the Idaho lab, leading to suspensions of waste shipments from the biggest shipper of waste to WIPP.
The first incident was reported on April 9, per a letter from the New Mexico Environment Department which regulates the U.S. Department of Energy’s permit to operate WIPP, and involved a liquid substance found on a waste drum that initially tested positive for radioactivity.
This led to an evacuation of the waste handling building, and a temporary halt on shipments of that kind from Idaho National Laboratory while the waste was sent back to Idaho.
An official says the besieged Zaporizhzhia nuclear facility may be closed as residents near the plant are urged to evacuate for their own safety.
ALJAZEERA | September 9, 2022 aljazeera.com
The General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces said in its daily update on Thursday that some villages near the plant were bombed over the past 24 hours by “tanks, mortars, barrel and jet artillery”.
Overnight, Russian forces fired rockets and heavy artillery into the nearby town of Nikopol four times, the area’s regional governor, Valentyn Reznichenko, wrote on Telegram, damaging at least 11 houses and other buildings.
On Wednesday, an official said the nuclear plant may have to be shut down and called on residents in areas near the embattled facility to evacuate for their own safety.
U.N. seeks security zone near damaged Zaporozhzhia nuclear plant
Federal agents seized the document during their search of Mar-a-Lago, the former president’s Palm Beach mansion in Florida, last
KYIV/VIENNA, Sept 6 (Reuters) – Ukrainian forces shot down five Russian cruise missiles on Tuesday, most of them in the south, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said, but he made no mention of a new military success in the east hinted at by officials earlier.
“This morning alone, five of six Russian X-101 missiles were downed,” Zelenskiy said in an evening address. “This is a costly loss for Russia, and it saves many Ukrainian lives. Four of these missiles were downed by the “South” district of the air command.”
Reuters was not able to independently verify Zelenskiy’s statement and there was no immediate response from Russia.
Though Ukrainian officials did not give specific details, several posts on social media from military bloggers and witnesses reported fighting around Balakliia, an eastern town of 27,000 people that lies between Kharkiv and Russian-held Izyum, a city with a major railway hub used by Moscow to supply its forces. One tweet by a Zelenskiy adviser spoke of “great news” coming from the president on the operation in Kharkiv region.
“Of the 64 kilograms of uranium in the Hiroshima bomb, less than one kilogram underwent fission, and the entire energy of the explosion came from just over half a gram of matter that was converted to energy.
That is about the weight of a butterfly.”
The design for the first atomic bomb was frighteningly simple: One lump of a special kind of uranium, the projectile, was fired at a very high speed into another lump of that same rare uranium, the target. When the two collided, they began a nuclear chain reaction, and it was only a tiny fraction of a second before the bomb exploded, forever splitting history between the time before the atomic bomb and the time after.
At 17 seconds past 8:15 a.m. on August 6, 1945, the Enola Gay released the bomb from a height of 31,600 feet above the target, a T-shaped bridge in the center of Hiroshima, Japan.
The morning was cloudless, as the weather plane sent to scout for the Enola Gay had reported in the hour before. If the weather had been poor, the plane would have set its course to one of the two alternate targets. As the bomb fell, a schoolboy closed his eyes and began to count as his friends hid along the way to school.
“’We are entering a dangerous new age,’ [Lovegrove] added, citing the spread of advanced weapons and cyberwarfare.”
Britain’s national security adviser has warned that a breakdown in dialogue among rival powers is raising the risk of nuclear war, with fewer safeguards now than during the Cold War.
As such, he said, Britain strongly supports President Biden’s talking with Beijing.
“Removing U.S. nuclear weapons from Europe and Turkey would not weaken NATO militarily, since nuclear weapons have little or no actual usefulness on the battlefield. If they are truly weapons of last resort, there is no need to deploy them so close to Russia’s border. ”
A bold idea: NATO offers to withdraw nukes from Europe (militarily useless, ineffective deterrents as we’ve just seen, & recklessly dangerous) in return for ending the invasion. Putin gets a “win” which costs us nothing worth having. https://t.co/P5txyLEcMs
— Steven Pinker (@sapinker) July 25, 2022
It is time for bolder efforts to make peace in Ukraine.
War, like fire, can spread out of control, and as President Putin keeps reminding us, this particular conflagration has the potential to start a nuclear war.
At a recent joint news conference with the President of Belarus, Putin announced that Russia would transfer Iskander M missiles to Belarus. Those missiles can carry nuclear warheads, and the move is apparently intended to mirror nuclear sharing arrangements the United States has with five NATO allies — Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy, and Turkey.
U.S. nuclear weapons were introduced into Europe in the 1950s as a stopgap measure to defend NATO democracies whose conventional forces were weak. The number of nuclear weapons in those five countries peaked around 7,300 warheads in the 1960s, then dwindled to about 150 today, reflecting NATO’s growing conventional strength and its diminishing estimation of the military usefulness of nuclear weapons. But even 150 nuclear weapons could be more than sufficient to touch off a dangerous confrontation with Russia.
“Both US and Russian officials have said the torpedoes could deliver warheads of multiple megatons, causing radioactive waves that would render swathes of the target coastline uninhabitable for decades.”
Seoul, South Korea (CNN) The Russian Navy has taken delivery of what is the world’s longest known submarine, one its maker touts as a research vessel — but what others say is a platform for espionage and possibly nuclear weapons.
The Belgorod was turned over to the Russian Navy earlier this month in the port of Severodvinsk, according to the country’s largest shipbuilder, Sevmash Shipyard.
Experts say its design is a modified version of Russia’s Oscar II class guided-missile submarines, made longer with the aim to eventually accommodate the world’s first nuclear-armed stealth torpedoes and equipment for intelligence gathering.
If the Belgorod can successfully add those new capabilities to the Russian fleet, it could in the next decade set the stage for a return to scenes of the Cold War under the ocean, with US and Russian subs tracking and hunting each other in tense face-offs.
The UK’s nuclear plants could be on the frontlines of any conflict with Russia and would be vulnerable to an attack in any future conflict: “If a nuclear power plant was hit by a missile in the UK, Europe or Ukraine, there could be catastrophic widespread radioactive contamination.” – Dr. Paul Dorfman, Associate Fellow, Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU), Sussex Business School, University of Sussex.
The war in Ukraine has put civilian nuclear plants on the frontline of a military conflict for the first time in history, Dr Paul Dorfman has claimed that the conflict in Ukraine has shown that the UK’s own civilian nuclear infrastructure is at risk of attack, and likely cannot be defended.
Units deployed across eight eastern and southeastern NATO countries to deter Russia hostilities will rise in size from 1,000-strong battlegroups to brigades, which comprise around 3,000-5,000 troops with more war-fighting equipment in Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia.
NATO will significantly increase the number of forces on high alert to over 300,000 from 40,000 as part of the biggest overhaul of the alliance’s defences since the Cold War.
With Vladimir Putin‘s invasion of Ukraine changing the security environment across Europe, the head of the alliance also confirmed that allies will expand troop deployments in NATO countries that sit closest to Russia.
Ukraine is not a member of NATO.
The decisions will be set out at a landmark summit this week in Madrid.
“Together, this constitutes the biggest overhaul of our collective deterrence and defence since the Cold War,” Jens Stoltenberg said, in a briefing at NATO headquarters in Brussels on Monday.
He said the 30-member alliance is expected to consider Russia to be “the most significant and direct threat to our security”.
“The risk of global nuclear war has practically disappeared,” Mikhail Gorbachev, the last leader of the Soviet Union, said in his 1991 Nobel Prize acceptance speech, even though Russia and the United States retained their massive nuclear arsenals.
Three decades later, nine countries are members of the nuclear club. Even so, many were reassured last summer when Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Joe Biden during a Geneva summit reiterated the Gorbachev-Regan statement that “a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought.”
But ever since Russia’s late-February invasion of Ukraine, political leaders, nuclear arms control experts, and world citizens have tried to answer some version of the question: Will Putin use nuclear weapons in his war in Ukraine?
The utterances by individuals of note listed below might have been responses to this question. These statements, arranged chronologically, offer a still-unfolding existential narrative on whether nuclear war may or may not be imminent.