U.S., Canada sign MOU on safeguards and nonproliferation

Brent Park, the NNSA’s deputy administrator for Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation, and Richard Sexton (on screen), president and chief executive officer of Atomic Energy of Canada Limited, show the signed agreement. Photo: NNSA

The United States and Canada have signed a memorandum of understanding—Cooperation and Exchange of Information in Nuclear Security, Safeguards, and Nonproliferation Matters—to enable a more effective collaboration between the two countries in the areas of nuclear safety and security.

The five-year agreement was signed virtually on October 16 by Brent Park, the National Nuclear Security Administration’s deputy administrator for Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation, and two Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL) executives: Richard Sexton, president and chief executive officer, and Shannon Quinn, vice president of Science, Technology, and Commercial Oversight.

A national security argument for U.S. leadership on nuclear power

A recent commentary from Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy—the second in a series by the center’s Matt Bowen titled “Why the United States Should Remain Engaged on Nuclear Power”—examines the geopolitical and national security implications of the United States’ relinquishing the international nuclear energy marketplace to China and Russia.

Shellenberger: Stop the war on nuclear

Shellenberger

U.S. civil nuclear cooperation pacts—so-called 123 Agreements—are too strict, says Michael Shellenberger, founder and president of Environmental Progress, in an August 13 City Journal article.

Shellenberger reasons that the 123 Agreements force nations that have expressed interest in developing nuclear energy programs to turn to Russia and China. That result is bad, Shellenberger continues, not only for the American nuclear industry, but also for the global nonproliferation movement.

Senators press Trump for answers on Saudi nuclear capabilities

Van Hollen

Amid news stories of possible undeclared nuclear facilities in Saudi Arabia and China's involvement with them (see here and here, for instance), Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D., Md.) on August 19 led a bipartisan group of senate colleagues in sending a letter to President Trump requesting more information on the matter.

Cosigners included Sens. Rand Paul (R., Ky.), Jeff Merkley (D., Ore.), Susan Collins (R., Maine), Tim Kaine (D., Va.), and Jerry Moran (R., Kan.).

President’s Session: U.S global leadership in nuclear energy and national security

The President’s Special Session of the 2020 American Nuclear Society Virtual Annual Meeting, organized by ANS’s Young Members Group (YMG) and Student Sections Committee (SSC), featured an all-star group of nuclear policy luminaries opining on the current influence of nuclear technology on U.S. national security and where the nation stands with regard to leadership of the future global nuclear industry.

Fact-checking Amazon's new season of Bosch

The latest season of Amazon’s detective series Bosch premiered recently on its streaming service, Prime. The season opens with the murder of a medical physicist and the theft of radioactive cesium, with plenty of drama following as the protagonist tries to solve the murder and end the “catastrophic threat to Los Angeles.” The show is a work of fiction, but let’s take a closer look at the depiction of radiation to sort out the scientific facts.

The setup: The series stars Titus Welliver as Los Angeles Police Department detective Harry Bosch and Jamie Hector as his partner, Jerry Edgar. The first episode of the sixth and latest season begins late in the evening at a Los Angeles hospital. We are shown a nervous-looking medical physicist as he walks into a laboratory, the camera dramatically focusing on the radiation sign on the door. No one else is around as the medical physicist clears out the lab’s inventory of what we find out later is cesium. The physicist then walks the material out of the hospital without anyone giving him a second look.

Nuclear Nonproliferation and Safeguards Education at Universities

I recently attended a Safeguards Education Roundtable at the Argonne National Laboratory sponsored by the Next Generation Safeguards Initiative (NGSI).  University professors and nonproliferation experts from U.S. national laboratories met at this event to discuss safeguards education at universities. The goal of NGSI is to "to develop the policies, concepts, technologies, expertise, and infrastructure necessary to sustain the international safeguards system" as it evolves in the future. A major pillar of the program is developing the next generation of professionals to work in the nonproliferation and safeguards field-and to make sure that the next generation of nuclear professionals is aware of nonproliferation and safeguards issues.

ANS Nuclear Security International Panel focuses on the Middle East and North Africa

The American Nuclear Society's Nuclear Non-Proliferation Technical Group (NNTG) will host a distinguished two-part panel session on the Middle East as part of its embedded topical at the 2013 ANS Winter Meeting and Nuclear Technology Expo in our nation's capitol.

The future of nuclear at #MOXChat

On September 11, the National Nuclear Security Administration (U.S. Department of Energy) hosted a public meeting in Chattanooga, Tenn., concerning its Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement on the disposition of surplus weapons-grade plutonium as mixed-oxide (MOX) fuel for use in power reactors. You may have seen the ANS Call to Action for the hearing and perhaps read the ANS position statement or background information.

Intermission blogging

The draft SEIS meeting for disposition of surplus weapons plutonium in MOX fuel started out relatively smoothly-lots (and I mean lots) of pro-nuclear folks in the room; my initial estimates would put the pro-nuclear folks from the University of Tennessee and Chattannooga State University at over half the crowd present. No zombie sightings as of yet.

Live from Chatanooga - Introductions

Hi folks, Steve Skutnik here-you may know me from The Neutron Economy blog. I'm also currently an assistant professor of nuclear engineering at the University of Tennessee. I'll be here with Suzy Hobbs-Baker (of PopAtomic Studios) and Laura Scheele live-blogging the public hearing on the use of surplus weapons plutonium in MOX fuel. I've also got a healthy contingent of eager students from the University of Tennessee here as well, eager to speak up for the nonproliferation benefits of disposing of surplus plutonium in MOX fuel.

ANS adopts position statement on U.S. global nuclear leadership through export-driven engagement

On Thursday, June 28, the American Nuclear Society's Board of Directors formally adopted a position statement entitled U.S. Global Nuclear Leadership through Export-Driven Engagement. ANS position statements reflect the Society's perspectives on issues of public interest that involve various aspects of nuclear science and technology. The text of the June 2012 position statement is below, and the full list of ANS positions statements can be accessed via the ANS website by clicking HERE.

ANS's Mark Peters testifies to Congress on recycling used nuclear fuel

On  Wednesday, June 6, Dr. Mark T. Peters appeared on behalf  of the American Nuclear Society before the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific.  Peters is the Deputy Laboratory Director for Programs at Argonne National Laboratory and testified at the invitation of the subcommittee.

Congressional debate over terms of future 123 agreements

In 2009, the United States and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) signed a "123" agreement, which allowed the transfer of US nuclear technology (e.g., reactors, etc.) to the UAE. As a condition of the agreement, the UAE gave up all rights to enrich uranium or reprocess spent nuclear fuel, now and at any point in the future. Thus, the UAE agreed to give up significant rights that are granted to it as a signee of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

GE-Hitachi proposes to burn U.K. plutonium stockpile