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Archive for the ‘nuclear’ Category

CRS — Ballistic Missile Defense in the Asia-Pacific Region: Cooperation and Opposition (April 3, 2015)

June 29, 2015 Comments off

Ballistic Missile Defense in the Asia-Pacific Region: Cooperation and Opposition (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

The growing number and modernization of ballistic missiles in the Asia-Pacific region poses a security challenge for the United States and its allies and is thus a concern for many in Congress. The United States has made ballistic missile defense (BMD) a central component of protection for forward-deployed U.S. forces and extended deterrence for allied security. The configuration of sensors, command-and-control centers, and BMD assets in the region has slowly evolved with contributions from treaty allies, primarily Japan, Australia, and South Korea.

Observers believe that North Korea has an arsenal of hundreds of short-range ballistic missiles and likely dozens of medium-range Nodong missiles; the extended-range Nodongs are considered capable of reaching Japan and U.S. bases there. Longer-range North Korean missiles appear to be under development but remain unreliable, with only one successful test out of five in the past 15 years. The U.S. intelligence community has not yet concluded that North Korea can build nuclear warheads small enough to put on ballistic missiles, but there is significant debate among experts on this question.

CRS — U.S. Strategic Nuclear Forces: Background, Developments, and Issues (March 18, 2015)

May 13, 2015 Comments off

U.S. Strategic Nuclear Forces: Background, Developments, and Issues (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

Even though the United States plans to reduce the number of warheads deployed on its longrange missiles and bombers, consistent with the terms of the New START Treaty, it also plans to develop new delivery systems for deployment over the next 20-30 years. The 114th Congress will continue to review these programs, and the funding requested for them, during the annual authorization and appropriations process.

Taking a fresh look at the future of nuclear power

April 13, 2015 Comments off

Taking a fresh look at the future of nuclear power
Source: International Energy Agency

Nuclear power is a critical element in limiting greenhouse gas emissions, and a new Technology Roadmap co-authored by the IEA and the Nuclear Energy Agency outlines the next steps for growth in the aftermath of the Fukushima Daiichi accident in Japan and the economic crisis and its effect on financing.

The new publication finds that the prospects for nuclear energy remain positive in the medium to long term despite a negative impact in some countries in the aftermath of the accident. While nuclear power’s share of global electricity generation was 10% lower in 2013 than in 2010, principally because of Japan’s 48 operable reactors remaining idle, it is still the second-largest source worldwide of low-carbon electricity. And the 72 reactors under construction at the start of last year were the most in 25 years.

Yet global capacity must more than double, with nuclear supplying 17% of global electricity generation in 2050, to meet the IEA 2 Degree Scenario (2DS) for the most effective and efficient means of limiting global temperature rise to the internationally agreed maximum.

Technology Roadmap: Nuclear Energy 2015 Update offers a vision of the best ways to accomplish that growth, looking at current and new technologies; the need to meet increased safety requirements and improve constructability through optimised design, standardisation and more efficient supply chains; financing options and implementation of waste-management solutions. The Roadmap also addresses the challenge of decommissioning hundreds of reactors that will reach the end of their operating life by the middle of the century as well as building the necessary infrastructure and capacity building in newcomer countries. And it stresses the importance of restoring public confidence in nuclear power.
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CRS — Nonstrategic Nuclear Weapons (February 23, 2015)

March 6, 2015 Comments off

Nonstrategic Nuclear Weapons (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

The FY2013 Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 4310, Section 1037) indicated that it is the sense of Congress that “the United States should pursue negotiations with the Russian Federation aimed at the reduction of Russian deployed and nondeployed nonstrategic nuclear forces.” The United States and Russia have not included limits on these weapons in past arms control agreements. Nevertheless, some analysts and Members of Congress have argued that disparities in the numbers of nonstrategic nuclear weapons may become more important as the United States and Russia reduce their numbers of deployed long-range, strategic nuclear weapons.

CBO — Projected Costs of U.S. Nuclear Forces, 2015 to 2024

February 23, 2015 Comments off

Projected Costs of U.S. Nuclear Forces, 2015 to 2024
Source: Congressional Budget Office

CBO estimates that over the 2015–2024 period, the Administration’s plans for nuclear forces would cost $348 billion, an average of about $35 billion a year, and an amount that is close to CBO’s December 2013 estimate of $355 billion for the 2014–2023 period. (Both estimates are given in nominal dollars; that is, they include the effects of inflation.) Although the two estimates of total costs are similar, projected costs for nuclear programs of both the Department of Defense (DoD) and the Department of Energy (DOE) have changed. Over the next 10 years, CBO estimates, DoD’s costs would total $227 billion, which is about $6 billion (or 3 percent) more than the 10-year estimate published in 2013, and DOE’s would total $121 billion, which is about $13 billion (or 9 percent) less than CBO’s 2013 estimate.

This report describes the major differences between the two sets of estimates. The cost projections have risen for some categories of expenses but have declined for others. One might expect the total to increase because the current estimate spans a 10-year period that begins and ends one year later than the estimate published in December 2013 (2015–2024, compared with 2014–2023 for the December 2013 estimate) and thus includes one later year of development in modernization programs (development costs typically increase, or ramp up, as a program proceeds). Nevertheless, budget-driven delays in several programs, including a three-year delay for the new cruise missile and its nuclear warhead and longer delays in some programs for extending the useful lives of nuclear warheads, have reduced the costs projected for the next decade.

Back to the Future: Advanced Nuclear Energy and the Battle Against Climate Change

February 10, 2015 Comments off

Back to the Future: Advanced Nuclear Energy and the Battle Against Climate Change
Source: Brookings Institution

A new Brookings Essay examines innovative nuclear reactor designs that could power the world with nuclear waste and reignite American leadership in the fight against climate change.

National Academies Press — Most Downloaded Reports in 2014

January 13, 2015 Comments off
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