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Russ Wellen

Entries by Russ Wellen

Could "Virtual Deterrence" Actually Increase the Chances of Nuclear War?

(0) Comments | Posted May 8, 2011 | 11:11 AM

Virtual deterrence, while not new, has gained some currency in recent years as a means to both avert nuclear war and expedite nuclear disarmament. "Virtual," in this instance, means abolishing nuclear weapons, which the United States maintains primarily to deter, or prevent, other states from attacking us with theirs. Instead,...

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Nuclear Energy Needs Handouts, Can't Cut It in Free Market

(2) Comments | Posted May 1, 2011 | 9:27 AM

Americans who favor it claim that nuclear energy makes us less dependent on Middle Eastern oil with its attendant price spikes (those that aren't a product of speculation, that is). But nuclear energy plants don't do much to ease the national debt. As Jeff Goodell reports in his Rolling Stone...

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Forces Opposed to Dangerous, Extravagant Nuke Project Get Day in Court

(0) Comments | Posted April 25, 2011 | 8:22 AM

If you're not a regular reader, you may be surprised to learn the federal government seeks to ram through a new nuclear facility that's intolerable on a number of counts.

1. Its intended purpose is to build plutonium pits -- the living, breathing heart of nuclear weapons, where the chain...

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New Nuclear Project Distracts From Existing Safety (Read: Seismic) Issues

(1) Comments | Posted April 18, 2011 | 9:20 AM

"The vastly ambitious CMRR project has greatly detracted from the attention needed to solve existing nuclear safety problems at LANL," writes Greg Mello, executive director of the Los Alamos Study Group (LASG) in its latest newsletter. LANL, of course, is the Los Alamos National Laboratory, one of the United States'...

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Thanks to Fukushima Light Shed on U.S. Nuclear Facility Located on a Volcano

(0) Comments | Posted March 31, 2011 | 7:40 AM

The light shining on the safety of nuclear energy as a result of the Japanese nuclear crisis has been of such powerful wattage that it's even flushing safety issues with nuclear weapons labs and manufacturing facilities out of hiding. Roger Snodgrass reports for the Santa Fe New Mexican.

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Fukushima: Where Do Aliens Store Their Spent Fuel Rods?

(6) Comments | Posted March 23, 2011 | 8:46 AM

When the massive tsunami smacked into Fukushima Daiichi, the nuclear power plant was stacked high with more uranium than it was originally designed to hold. . . the equivalent of almost six years [almost 4,000] of the highly radioactive [spent] uranium fuel rods produced by the plant . . ....
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Leveraging Its Latest Nuclear Setback to Further Tighten the Screws on Iran

(17) Comments | Posted March 3, 2011 | 11:38 AM

Blink and you might have missed it. Or, more to the point, fallen asleep before you got to item number 42 under "Other Matters" of the International Atomic Energy Agency's latest report on Iran's nuclear program. It reads:

On 15-16 February 2011, the agency conducted an inspection at the Bushehr...

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Why Haven't the Burmese Joined the Recent Wave of Pro-Democracy Protests?

(4) Comments | Posted February 23, 2011 | 6:59 AM

At Dictator Watch, Roland Watson asks, "Why Are There No Protests in Burma?"

Thus far Burma's military dictatorship has been immune to the uprisings to which the world has been witness to -- or engaged in -- elsewhere. Perhaps that's because Burma comes in a close...

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What Would End-Timers Do Without the Threat of Nuclear Annihilation?

(2) Comments | Posted February 20, 2011 | 10:02 AM

On January 26, influential country musician Charlie Louvin died at age 83. He and his brother Ira performed and recorded as the Louvin Brothers, until they split up in the early sixties, when Charlie began a solo career. Perhaps because of the spare instrumentation of Charlie's guitar and Ira's mandolin,...

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Does the Taboo Against the Use of Nuclear Weapons Increase Their Allure?

(35) Comments | Posted February 12, 2011 | 9:51 PM

It's only natural that highly charged words find themselves coupled with the word "nuclear." It's almost as if they're attracted by a magnetic force. Three examples spring to mind.

Holocaust: Most frequently, of course, it's used in reference to the slaughter of Jews in World War II. When appended to...

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What's the Real Reason Republicans Want to Do Away With Social Security?

(702) Comments | Posted January 31, 2011 | 7:24 AM

At first glance, Social Security seems innocuous enough. What's not to like? It's as American as, well, the Great American Century. Also, until recent years, it's managed to straddle the political divide from Democratic President Franklin Roosevelt, under whose administration it was instituted, to Republican President Dwight Eisenhower.

But today...

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Is "It's Not Fair" a Childish Response to Being Denied Nuclear Weapons?

(3) Comments | Posted January 27, 2011 | 11:55 AM

As recently as last month, the term "nuclear apartheid," in all its unsavoriness, reared its ugly head again. Iran's ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency denounced the IAEA's approval of a plan for a nuclear fuel bank as "nuclear apartheid" (because of the implied infringement on a state's...

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Thanks to New START, You too Can "Ride Out" a Nuclear Attack

(6) Comments | Posted January 18, 2011 | 6:58 AM

When you think of a nuclear treaty such as New START, a decrease in the number of nuclear weapons naturally comes to mind. While that's been true in the past, New START leaves the nuclear arsenals of the United States and Russia more or less intact. In March 2010 Hans...

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Nuclear Weapons Just Not Sexy Anymore

(1) Comments | Posted January 10, 2011 | 9:30 AM

The incarnation of "sexy," that is, that cropped up a few years ago: exciting or trendy in a general, not erotic, way. That settled, let's move on to a paper that Christopher Ford wrote for the Hudson Institute in which he weighs, in classic nuclear-strategist mode (bearing in mind...

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Torture and the Ticking Time Bomb (Read: Nuclear) Scenario

(1) Comments | Posted December 18, 2010 | 1:55 PM

When the subject of torture in the abstract is broached, the conversation tends to wend its way toward the terrorist and the ticking time-bomb scenario. You know how it goes: a terrorist group announces that a nuclear bomb it's planted in a major American city will be detonated unless its...

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Are Nonproliferation and Disarmament, Once Joined at the Hip, Headed for Divorce?

(0) Comments | Posted December 11, 2010 | 11:13 AM

In the words of the old Sammy Cahn and Jimmy Van Heusen song, as made famous by Frank Sinatra, nonproliferation and disarmament, like love and marriage, "go together like a horse and carriage." Nonproliferation -- preventing states that don't currently possess nuclear weapons -- works in tandem with disarmament --...

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Opposition to New START Pits Republicans Against Traditional Allies

(4) Comments | Posted December 2, 2010 | 8:39 AM

It's not just the Obama administration against which Republican senators under the guidance of Jon Kyl pit themselves when they oppose New START. In fact, perhaps bewitched by Tea Party-style incoherence, they've also placed themselves in the unlikely position of bucking the national defense establishment, to which traditionally they've been...

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The Front Line of Disarmament: Blocking a Nuclear Facility Six Times the Cost of the Manhattan Project

(0) Comments | Posted November 29, 2010 | 7:00 AM

That is, six times the cost of the division of the Manhattan Project (to develop nuclear weapons during World War II) that was based in New Mexico. The heart of it -- what later became known as Los Alamos National Laboratory. Odds are, with the Cold War consigned to history,...

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Senator Kyl's Stalling on New START Is Fraying Washington's Nerves

(14) Comments | Posted November 19, 2010 | 8:44 AM

"Senator Kyl's recent statements begin to seriously call into question where the cat and mouse game between the administration and Kyl's office will end," writes Chris Jones of the Center for Strategic and International Studies in an indispensable post. Minority Whip Kyl (AZ), to whom Senate Minority Leader Mitch...

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Republican Go-to Guy on Nukes Keeps Obama Administration Twisting in the Wind on New START

(24) Comments | Posted November 17, 2010 | 8:23 AM

Along with Richard Lugar (R-IN), Jon Kyl, the Republican Senate whip from Arizona, is Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's (KY) go-to guy on nuclear issues. We wrote yesterday at Focal Points:

After Republicans picked up six seats in the Senate earlier this month, prospects for the passage of the new...

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