Iran Modeled Nuclear Bomb Blast, Document Indicates

November 27, 2012 - Washington, D.C. A leaked, undated chart described as a model prepared by Iranian scientists of a potential explosive force of a nuclear weapon has been provided to the Associated Press. Researchers in Iran have electronically modeled a nuclear armament three times more powerful than the atomic bomb employed during World War II against Hiroshima, Japan, according a chart provided to the Associated Press by a government concerned about Tehran's atomic efforts. The document, which plots power output along a time line measured in microseconds, was one of several documents described in 2011 by the International Atomic Energy Agency as showing the "nuclear explosive yield" of atomic weapons. Fears over a possible push by the country to develop a nuclear-weapon capability are expected to be a key topic at an IAEA governing board session scheduled to begin on Thursday. Iran has bolstered its ability to refine uranium to 20 percent and completed deployment of enrichment centrifuges at its underground bunker complex near Qum, the U.N. nuclear watchdog said earlier this month. Iran insists its atomic ambitions are strictly peaceful and contends the 20 percent material would fuel a medical reactor. Washington and other capitals worry the substance could enable Tehran to more quickly produce bomb fuel with an enrichment level of roughly 90 percent.


Iran Could Ramp up Uranium Enrichment Within Days, Diplomats Say

November 16, 2012 - Washington, D.C. Informed diplomats said Iran appears capable of quickly doubling the number of operational enrichment centrifuges at another site, which would allow it to produce enough uranium for a nuclear weapon in about three months. Iran would need only a few days to double the number of centrifuges producing higher-enriched uranium at a facility hardened against attack, an informed envoy told the Associated Press on Thursday. Activating close to 700 additional devices, on top of a similar number of centrifuges that are already operating, would enable the nation to produce sufficient amounts of uranium for a nuclear weapon in slightly more than 90 days, according to the report.

Iran says it is enriching uranium to 20 percent for a medical research reactor in Tehran. The United States and other nations worry that the current work at the plant near Qum is a key step toward Iranian preparation of weapon-grade uranium, which has an enrichment level of roughly 90 percent. A rapid ramping up at Qum would be of particular concern to Israel, where officials in recent weeks have said they did not expect Iran to reach the "red line" in nuclear progress before spring or summer of next year. Breaching that line could invite Israeli military action, the nation's leaders have threatened.


Russia Drops Fissile Material Deal with U.S.

October 12, 2012 - Moscow. Russia has decided not to extend the Cooperative Threat Reduction deal with the U.S., the key agreement allowing the United States to assist in securing and eliminating Soviet-built weapons of mass destruction. The present U.S. operations are due to cease in 2013. "Russia announced that it had no more need for American finances ... that it could implement the tasks in question entirely on its own," one State Department staffer said. A Russian Foreign Ministry insider stated: "The agreement is thoroughly discriminating. It fails to take into account the changes that took place in the world after its signing in the 1990s." Atomic expert Vladimir Orlov said the Nunn-Lugar initiative "was quite helpful during the years when the Russian budget had no money for nuclear security." The program has absorbed $8 billion to date in U.S. funds. "As matters stand, we do not need American money for it anymore," said Orlov, an analyst with the Center for Policy Studies in Russia. "The heads of the enterprises and institutes accustomed to living on subsidies are the only lobbyists of the Nunn-Lugar program nowadays. So, there is no need to suspect Moscow of any malicious intent or anything. The program has accomplished its mission. Time to let it go."


U.S. Drills "Dirty Bomb" Responses

October 2, 2012 - Washington, D.C. Today, the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) announced the wrap-up of a group of exercises in which national, state and jurisdictional authorities weighed potential reactions to a hypothetical crisis involving multiple radiological "dirty bombs." The last "Amber Waves 2012" drill enabled government personnel to address matters concerning the assumption of administrative powers held by the interagency Federal Radiological Monitoring and Assessment Center during mitigation activities following a radiological strike. "Exercises of this type are crucial to providing an interagency capability to respond to a large scale radiological or nuclear emergency," NNSA Associate Administrator Joseph Krol said in a statement. "We are evaluating and improving our procedures to provide necessary federal support to state and local agencies responsible for protecting the public and environment following a release of radiological materials." Kansas and Missouri hosted the Amber Waves 2012 events, which considered a potential attack incorporating synchronized dirty-bomb strikes in Leavenworth County, Kan., and Kansas City, Mo.


Iran Pursued Nuke Yield Studies, Data Suggests

September 11, 2012 - Washington, D.C. Iran in the last 36 months has pushed ahead with an effort to compute a nuclear weapon's explosive yield, according to data supplied by four governments. The indications — acquired initially by Israel, the United States and two additional Western nations — have been furnished to the International Atomic Energy Agency, envoys said. The information, if judged to be believable, would bolster the U.N. nuclear watchdog's worries over ongoing or nearly contemporaneous nuclear arms activities under way in Iran. The data would fall into line with suspicions that Tehran is pursuing arms studies in several areas, according to the report. The focus of the electronic simulations is normally how an armament's non-nuclear combustible material acts upon its atomic core to generate the fission activity responsible for a nuclear detonation. Kilotons are the standard unit of measurement for the size of such blasts. Atomic arms parts must undergo vetting in tandem with the electronic computations. "You want to have a theoretical understanding of the working of a nuclear weapon that is then related to the experiments you do on the various components," said David Albright, who heads the Institute for Science and International Security in Washington. "The two go hand-in-hand."


IAEA Member Nations Address Radioactive Cargos; 2,200 Incidents Since 1995

July 26, 2012 - Washington, D.C. The Global Security Newswire reports that Representatives from more than 90 International Atomic Energy Agency member nations are participating this week in a discussion aimed at bolstering data-exchange procedures for events linked to the smuggling of radioactive and nuclear substances.  "The illicit trafficking of nuclear and other radioactive materials remains of serious concern to the international community," the Vienna, Austria-based IAEA stated. "To help combat this problem, the IAEA maintains an Illicit Trafficking Database of incidents which, so far, contains over 2,200 confirmed incidents reported to the IAEA by the international community since 1995.  Most of these incidents involve radioactive materials that could cause harm if used by terrorists or handled innocently by people who are unaware that the materials are radioactive.  A small portion of the incidents involve uranium and plutonium -- materials that if acquired in sufficient quantity by terrorists could be used to make a nuclear explosive," the agency said.  It called for additional nations to 116 countries that participate in the trafficking database effort.  This week's gathering is taking place in Vienna.


DHS/USC Study: A Dirty Bomb Delivered to LA Would Mean 180 Deaths and $16 Billion Lost GDP

April 24, 2012 – Los Angeles. A University of Southern California ("USC") team employed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security ("DHS") has concluded that a radiological dispersal device or so-called "dirty bomb" delivered to and detonated in Los Angeles would result in 180 fatalities immediately and $16 billion lost GDP long term. Said the USC team: "Our RDD scenario is based on DHS' National Planning Scenario 11, 'Radiological Attack—Radiological Dispersal Devices.' In this scenario, the attacker uses a combination of explosives and radiological material (cesium-137) to create an RDD. The explosion causes 180 fatalities and 270 serious injuries. Radiological contamination covers approximately 36 city blocks. Twenty thousand potential radiological victims require some level of decontamination and medical treatment. Radiological material settling on streets, buildings, and other outdoor and indoor surfaces cause authorities to close the area until they can complete enough decontamination and remediation to sufficiently reduce public health risks. Using the DHS scenario as a template, we choose a similarly sized downtown Los Angeles region as the RDD attack site: zip code 90071." The researchers considered four potential resource loss effects arising from RDD attack: injuries, deaths, capital damage, and business interruption. All told, the economic loss approached $16 billion.


U.N. Security Council Calls for Improved Nuclear Smuggling Interdiction

April 20, 2012 – New York. The U.N. Security Council on Thursday pressed nations to strengthen their internal capacities to prevent the smuggling of materials that could be used to produce nuclear arms or other weapons of mass destruction. The 15-nation body issued a presidential statement in a follow-up to the 2009 session on nonproliferation headed by President Obama. "The Security Council calls upon all States parties to improve their national capabilities to detect, deter and disrupt illicit trafficking in nuclear materials throughout their territories, in accordance with their national authorities and legislation, and consistent with international law, including relevant international legal obligations, and calls upon those states in the position to do so to work to enhance international partnerships and capacity-building in this regard," according to the statement read by U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice, who this month holds the rotating Security Council presidency. The Security Council also urged states to take all appropriate national measures to strengthen export controls, to control access to intangible transfers of technology and to information that could be used for weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery, to prevent proliferation financing and shipments, and to secure sensitive materials.


Fukushima Cesium-137 Danger Is Greater Than Chernobyl

April 18, 2012 – Bethesda, Maryland. The National Council on Radiation Protection, a Congressionally funded nonprofit, has released a study concerning the Fukushima Daichi plant catastrophe. It concludes that at Fukushima, the amount of long-lived, highly radioactive Cesium-137 is about 134 million curies — roughly 85 times the amount of Cs-137 released at the Chernobyl accident. According to Robert Alvarez, Senior Scholar, Inst. for Policy Studies, at Fukushima, the amount of long-lived, highly radioactive Cesium-137 is about 134 million curies — roughly 85 times the amount of Cs-137 released at the Chernobyl accident as estimated by the U.S. National Council on Radiation Protection (NCRP). "If an earthquake or other event were to cause this Unit 4 pool to drain, this could result in a catastrophic radiological fire involving nearly 10 times the amount of Cs-137 released by the Chernobyl accident," Alvarez wrote.


Ayatollah Khamenei Rejects Western Sanctions

March 20, 2012 – Tehran, Iran. On Tuesday, Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei urged his country to bolster its economic self-reliance in the face of international measures aimed at curbing its suspected nuclear-weapon development activities, Deutsche Presse-Agentur reported. The U.N. Security Council has adopted four sanctions resolutions calling for Iran to halt uranium enrichment -- a process that can yield nuclear-weapon fuel as well as civilian material -- and the United States and European Union in recent months have pursued new steps designed in part to prevent the Middle Eastern state from obtaining money from oil exports. The Persian Gulf regional power has insisted its atomic ambitions are purely nonmilitary in nature. "We have to accept the hardships and challenges but not give in to Western pressures," Khamenei said in an address to mark a changeover in the Iranian calendar. Actions by Western powers would necessitate a boost in Iran's domestic manufacturing and a reduction in its financial reliance on other nations, said the leader, who wields the final word on all Iranian political decisions. "I therefore declare the new (Persian) year as the year of national production and support for local investments," he said. "Success in this regard would mean an end to all enemy plots." "The enemy will despair" following an increase in Iran's economic fortunes, "and its efforts to plot and conspire against us will end," Agence France-Presse quoted Khamenei as saying.


North Korea to Launch a Long-Range Missile into Space

March 16, 2012 – Pyongyang, North Korea. On Friday, North Korea declared its intention to place an orbiting missile into space via a long-range rocket launch as early as this coming April. This is a technological step toward the development of an intercontinental ballistic missile. The announcement was quickly denounced by the United States and regional allies who are concerned the effort is a front for the development and assessment of ICBM technologies, the New York Times reported. Pyongyang's unexpected announcement came just two weeks after the Stalinist state reached a deal with Washington to halt nuclear activities at the Yongbyon complex in exchange for badly needed food assistance. The nuclear shutdown agreement has raised hopes for eventual resumption of the moribund six-party negotiations aimed at permanent North Korean denuclearization. The U.S. State Department said a long-range rocket launch by the North would breach U.N. Security Council resolutions 1718 and 1874 which prohibit North Korean ballistic missile firings. "North Korea's announcement that it plans to conduct a missile launch in direct violation of its international obligations is highly provocative," department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said in released remarks. "We call on North Korea to adhere to its international obligations, including all relevant U.N. Security Council resolutions." A North Korean rocket launch could reverse the recent momentum toward returning to the multinational nuclear talks that encompass China, Japan, the two Koreas, Russia, and the United States. The last round of negotiations was in December 2008. The nuclear shutdown deal with Washington requires the North to refrain from carrying out new long-range missile trials and nuclear tests. In April 2009, North Korea fired what it claimed was a satellite-carrying rocket that flew 1,800 miles before fizzling out over the Pacific. The majority of the international community saw the effort as a long-range ballistic missile test and the U.N. Security Council condemned the rocket launch. Pyongyang made a similar launch attempt in 2006.


New Hints Bin Laden Was in Contact With Pakistani Intelligence Agency

February 28, 2012 - London. Hacked e-mails from a geopolitical research firm claim that former al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was in regular communication with high-ranking Pakistani intelligence and military officers before his shooting death last May by U.S. Navy SEALs, the London Telegraph reported on Monday. E-mails from Stratfor stated that the private "global intelligence firm" had been granted access to documents collected from the house where bin Laden hid with his family for years in Abbottabad, Pakistan. Navy SEALs did collect a trove a documents, cell phones, and digital files from the compound that were passed to the CIA for analysis. An e-mail by a Stratfor researcher was posted on the WikiLeaks website. It indicated that as many as 12 unidentified Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence officials were aware of bin Laden's hiding place. "Mid to senior level ISI and Pak Mil [Pakistani military] with one retired Pak Mil General that had knowledge of the OBL [Osama bin Laden] arrangements and safe house," the leaked e-mail said. "I get a very clear sense we (US intel) know names and ranks." Following the raid, Islamabad insisted that its national security services had no knowledge of bin Laden's presence in Abbottabad, a town not far from the Pakistani capital that hosts an elite military training school. However, a number of U.S. officials have voiced skepticism that no one in the Pakistani national security establishment was aware of bin Laden's whereabouts. The Stratfor e-mail said Washington might use the intelligence gained from the compound to pressure Islamabad in future bilateral engagement. WikiLeaks asserts it has 5 million e-mails from Stratfor that it intends to gradually release with cooperation from participating news organizations. An initial batch of 200 e-mails was published on Monday, February 27, 2012.


Dangerous Radioactive Material Stolen In Egypt

January 19, 2012 – Cairo, Egypt. A safe containing radioactive material at the Dabaa nuclear power plant, which is still under construction, was seized while another also containing radioactive material was broken open and part of its contents taken. In Vienna, an official of the U.N. nuclear agency described the items missing as "low-level radioactive sources" which had been taken from a laboratory at the construction site.  He could not give any details on the nature of the stolen items. "We are in touch with the Egyptian authorities," the official from the International Atomic Energy Agency said. Al-Ahram Newspaper said the government has alerted security authorities and asked that specialized teams help in the search for the stolen material.  More than a dozen people were wounded last week when military police tried to disperse hundreds of Egyptian protesters demanding the relocation of the Dabaa plant.  Plant staff have refused to go to the site because of the deterioration in the security situation there, al-Ahram said. About 500 Egyptians rallied in front of the plant last week to demand that the project be terminated, with some saying they had lost their land on the site.  Soldiers and the demonstrators threw stones at each other and exchanged gunfire after the protesters demolished a wall surrounding the site, a security source and witnesses said.


Saudi Arabia and China Sign Nuclear Deal

January 17, 2012 – Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. China and Saudi Arabia on Sunday (01/16/12) signed an accord that lays the groundwork for the two nations to jointly establish atomic energy facilities and combine efforts in spheres such as the generation of nuclear fuel, the Wall Street Journal reported. Riyadh has already signed atomic collaboration agreements with Argentina, France and South Korea. The oil-wealthy nation is also in nuclear trade talks with the Czech Republic, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States, according to the report. The deal with Beijing was signed at the conclusion of a visit by Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao to Saudi Arabia. Riyadh aspires to construct 16 atomic reactors no later than 2030 at a cost exceeding $100 billion, former Saudi envoy to the United States Turki al-Faisal said in 2011. Saudi Arabia's ambitious atomic energy plans have caused some consternation, as high-profile figures such as al-Faisal have suggested the country might seek to develop nuclear weapons as a counterweight to Iran, according to earlier reports.


Russia Halts Japanese Radioactive Containers

December 6, 2011 – Vladivostok. Russian police in the Pacific port city of Vladivostok have confiscated a shipping container from Japan holding dozens of radioactive car tires. According to a port official a total 29 tires in the shipment were emitting high levels of gamma and beta rays, the Interfax news agency reported on Thursday. "There's a good chance the radioactive tires are a result of the Fukushima accident," said a safety inspector, Ivan Skogorev. Skogorev said that the tires' owner might have them decontaminated, returned to Japan or dumped in a dangerous waste site in Russia. Earlier in April, Vladivostok custom officials suspended a shipment of 49 radioactive contaminated automobiles from Japan, some of which were found to emit hazardous isotopes at six times safe levels. A similar incident was also reported in June. Russia's Far Eastern region is a key consumer of second-hand Japanese cars.  A destructive 9-magnitude earthquake and an ensuing tsunami struck Japan's northern coasts on March 11, setting off a nuclear crisis by knocking out power to cooling systems of reactors at the Fukushima plant and causing radioactive leaks. On November 18, The Japan Times reported that large areas of eastern and northeastern Japan were probably contaminated with concentrations of cesium-137.


Australian Lawmakers to Consider Nuclear Terror Bill

November 28, 2011 – Canberra. Lawmakers in Australia have received a bill intended to bolster the nation's posture against nuclear terrorism, Australian Attorney General Robert McClelland announced today. The Nuclear Terrorism Legislation Amendment Bill 2011 would institute as national law the requirements set on member nations to the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism. "This bill sends a strong message to the international community demonstrating Australia's continued commitment to addressing the threat of terrorism," McClelland said in a press release. "It will also strengthen Australia's case in encouraging our neighboring countries to ratify the 16 international counterterrorism instruments." The legislation increases the number of criminal offenses covered by the 1987 Nuclear Nonproliferation (Safeguards) Act that bans the illicit application of radioactive substances and nuclear plants. It sets a two-decade maximum punishment for crimes listed in the 24-year-old law. "Acts of nuclear terrorism, including conduct relating to radiological and nuclear material, may result in grave consequences and pose a threat to international peace and security," McClelland said. "We need to make sure that any act of nuclear terrorism is treated as a criminal offense."


Japan Cargo Banned in Shanghai Due to Excessive Levels of Radiation

October 18, 2011 – Shanghai. The Shanghai Daily reports that excessive levels of radiation have been discovered in cargo arriving in Shanghai from Japan, following the nuclear leak there in March. Goods with higher than permitted levels of radiation were either returned or destroyed, the Shanghai Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine Bureau said. Officials said some ships from Japan also had radiation levels above national limits. The bureau insisted that checks have remained stringent since an earthquake and tsunami crippled a nuclear power station in Fukushima in eastern Japan and led to radiation escaping. "Inspections cover travelers, ships, flights and cargo," said Lu Zhongshan, deputy director of the bureau. "We can assure the public that no radiation-polluted goods are allowed to enter the country."


Bipartisan Call in Congress for Budget Cut Exemption for NNSA Nonproliferation

September 12, 2011 – Washington, D.C. Members of a key congressional panel on Monday urged the Obama administration to seek in any short-term continuing resolution for the next fiscal year the preservation of robust funding for nuclear weapons and nonproliferation programs. The goal would be to reverse deep funding cuts approved by the House in July. "We write to you to request your support for an 'anomaly' for the National Nuclear Security Administration for any continuing resolution for fiscal year 2012," according to a Sept. 12 letter signed by House Armed Services Strategic Forces Subcommittee Chairman Michael Turner (R-Ohio) and panel member Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and addressed to President Obama. The White House in February requested nearly $2.5 billion for nonproliferation activities and $1.1 billion for the agency's naval nuclear reactor program.

Last week the full Senate Appropriations Committee approved $2.4 billion for nonproliferation accounts. The anomaly sought by Turner and Heinrich would fund NNSA programs at the requested fiscal 2012 level for the duration of any short-term continuing resolution. "We urge the administration to request an anomaly for the NNSA for as long as continuing resolutions for FY12 are necessary," Turner and Heinrich said in the letter, reported by Global Security Newswire. "We believe such a step by your administration is consistent with the consensus support for the modernization of the U.S. nuclear deterrent established during ratification of the New START treaty and support for the important nonproliferation programs administered by the NNSA."


After a Year, Genoa Cobalt Container Is Removed

August 10, 2011 – Genoa, Italy. A year ago July (2010), an MSC containership discharged a container at Genoa's Voltri Terminal that had been loaded in Ajman in the UAE and transhipped at both the Saudi port of Jeddah and the Southern Italian port of Gioia Tauro. At Genoa's Voltri Terminal on discharge, it was discovered to be contaminated with highly radioactive Colbalt-60. Customs officials feared that it might be a "dirty bomb" and it was otherwise dangerous to be near. The contaminated container was immediately removed to a segregated terminal area and barricaded by other containers filled with stones and water. To show how difficult a problem this is, the Genoa customs and port officials took over a year to decide how to dispose of the Cobalt 60 box. After numerous newspaper articles appeared in the Italian press, demonstrations expressing local discontent and constant monitoring, the box was finally opened this week. The opening involved more than 100 people, including fire and nuclear response teams. The Cobalt-60 was placed in a casket of lead for transport to a disposal site. An investigation will now be conducted to determine why and how a Cobalt-60 capsule was in the container. In an article by Felicity Landon, the freight and logistics news service ITF quoted Augusto Russo, a member of the Genoese fire team specializing in nuclear, chemical and biological emergencies, as saying that if anyone had handled the Cobalt 60 box without precautions, they would probably now be dead.


A "Uranium Concentrate" Spill Cripples Ship in Vancouver

August 8, 2011 – Vancouver, Canada. Last January a containership named the MCP Altona was transporting several containers full of “yellowcake,” a uranium concentrate powder which is typically 80% uranium oxide. When the Altona encountered foul weather off the north coast of Hawaii, some containers got loose, the integrity of the containers was compromised, and uranium oxide spilled into the hold of the ship.  Now contaminated with the yellowcake, the containership was ordered back to Vancouver. The Altona initially anchored off Vancouver Island near Ladysmith. The shipper is a Canadian mining company called Cameco. It was shipping the yellowcake to China where it was to be used in nuclear reactors. Officials with Cameco say their plan to contain the yellowcake was approved by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, Transport Canada and Port Metro Vancouver. Cameco also reports that most of the 350-thousand kilograms of radioactive material on the ship has been returned to Saskatchewan.  The ship is the subject matter of a lawsuit filed in Canadian court before the Honorable Mr. Justice Harrington and her movements are the subject of court order.  Like the Fukushima Daichi meltdown which contaminated Japanese outbound containers, these kinds of incident threaten the all important flow of goods through the containership supply chain.


Iran Concealing Nuke-Capable Missile Tests

June 29, 2011 – London. Iran has been conducting undisclosed trial launches of ballistic missiles able to accommodate nuclear warheads, British Foreign Secretary William Hague told Parliament on Wednesday. "Iran has also been carrying out covert ballistic missile tests and rocket launches, including testing missiles capable of delivering a nuclear payload in contravention of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1929, and it has announced that it intends to triple its capacity to produce 20 percent enriched uranium," CNN quoted Hague as saying at the House of Commons. Iran last year began further refining low-enriched uranium from its stockpile, ostensibly for producing medical isotopes at an existing research reactor in Tehran. The United States and other Western powers, though, have feared the process could help Iran produce nuclear-weapon material, which has an enrichment level around 90 percent. Tehran has insisted its nuclear ambitions are strictly peaceful. Hague pledged to "maintain and continue to increase pressure on Iran to negotiate an agreement on their nuclear program, building on the strengthening of sanctions" unveiled in recent weeks. The United Kingdom contends the Middle Eastern nation has fired medium-range ballistic missiles in at least three unpublicized trials since last October, the Associated Press reported. At the same time, Iran has acknowledged launching 14 missiles in this week's drill. "On the back of the recent [International Atomic Energy Agency] report and the unanswered questions about its nuclear program, [the undisclosed missile tests] only serve to undermine further Iran's claims that its nuclear program is entirely for civilian use," a British Foreign Office representative added.


Al-Zawahiri Promoted to Head Al-Qaeda

June 16, 2011 – Northwest Pakistan. Ayman al-Zawahiri, the longstanding right-hand man to Osama bin Laden, has been chosen to take the place of the deceased terrorist figure in leading al-Qaeda, the Associated Press reported on Thursday. Al-Zawahiri is thought to be hiding somewhere close to the Afghanistan-Pakistan line. Experts do not anticipate any serious challenge will be made by other al-Qaeda members for the No.1 position left vacant when bin Laden was killed by U.S. special forces last month in Abbottabad, Pakistan. "The general command of al-Qaeda, after completing consultations, decided that the sheik doctor Abu Mohammed Ayman al-Zawahiri take the responsibility and be in charge of the group," reads a statement ostensibly issued by al-Qaeda that was carried on affiliated extremist websites. An Egyptian surgeon who founded the extremist group Egyptian Islamic Jihad before joining with bin Laden, al-Zawahiri is noted for his organizational and tactical thinking and was the force behind al-Qaeda's shift from a top-down structure to a cell-based form that allowed members to operate largely independent of the organizational leadership. Al-Zawahiri also encouraged al-Qaeda's adoption of suicide bomber tactics.


"Pakistani Taliban" Take and Hold Military Base in Karachi

May 23, 2011 – Karachi, Pakistan. Claiming revenge for the elimination of Osama Bin Laden, six militants took and held for 16 hours a military base in Pakistan's principal commercial center, Karachi. Pakistani armed forces retook the military base following 16 hours of fighting, Reuters reported. An estimated contingent of six individuals, armed with firearms and grenades, harmed or wrecked two aircraft at the PNS Mehran facility and surrounded the site's central office, Pakistani Interior Minister Rehman Malik said. The ensuing battle resulted in the deaths of no fewer than 10 Pakistani troops and injuries to 20 military personnel; three gunmen died, a fourth was thought to have been interred in debris and two others to have escaped, the official said. The facility is located 15 miles from Masroor Air Base, a potential holding site for Pakistani nuclear weapons, according to Reuters. The militants, each between 20 and 25 years of age, infiltrated the Karachi facility by climbing two ladders to the top of its concrete perimeter barrier and cutting through roughly 5 feet of barbed wire. The Pakistani Taliban characterized the strike as a revenge attack for the death of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. "It was the revenge of martyrdom of Osama bin Laden. It was the proof that we are still united and powerful," spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan told Reuters. The incident raises new questions about whether the Pakistani armed forces can defend installations from attacks such as the 2009 assault on the army's central facility in Rawalpindi, according to Reuters. The Pakistani armed forces' Strategic Plans Division oversees the country's estimated arsenal of between 60 and 120 nuclear weapons, Reuters reported.


Osama Bin Laden Is Killed in Daring Commando Raid

May 1, 2011 – Washington, D.C. Late this evening, President Barak Obama announced that Osama Bin Laden was killed in a fire fight in Abbottabad Pakistan. U.S. commando forces raided a "mansion" in this city of ~300,000 people, 70 miles north of the Pakistani capital, Islamabad. Some 500 yards from an important Pakistani military academy, the mansion was built in 2005 and had 12-15 foot perimeter walls topped with barbed wire. In a daring attempt authorized by President Obama just last Friday, April 29th, and carried out today, the U.S. commandos flew into the Bin Laden compound by helicopter and tried to apprehend Bin Laden. In the consequent fire fight Bin Laden, his son and two other unidentified persons were killed. The American commandos did not suffer any casualties. So ended the Al Qaeda leader and principal perpetrator of the murder of over 3,000 Americans during the September 11, 2001 attacks on New York and Washington, D.C.


China Turns Away MOL Ship for Radiation

March 29, 2011 – Xiamen, China. The Journal of Commerce reported today that Chinese authorities rejected a container ship operated by MOL, Japan's second-largest shipping line, saying they had detected high levels of radiation. The MOL Presence originated in California, stopped in Tokyo for only a few hours on March 17, and arrived in China on the night of March 21. The vessel was forced to stay off the Chinese port of Xiamen. It returned to Japan. Japan has asked China to carry out a radiation check on ships and airplanes arriving from Japan in a "rational" manner, the Japanese government said on Tuesday. "We have asked the Chinese government to handle the matter based on a rational judgment," an official at the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism said.

"We have also asked the Chinese government to provide specific figures, such as radiation levels found in tests and standard levels. Unless we have such figures, we cannot cope with (the situation)," the official told the Journal of Commerce, asking not to be named. Japan has conveyed these requests to China through diplomatic channels, but it has not yet received any formal reply, the official said.

Earlier this month, China also turned away a Japanese cargo plane operated by All Nippon Airways at Dalian airport because Chinese authorities said its loads had radiation levels that exceeded limits. The plane had departed from Narita Airport.


VERITAINER INTRODUCES THE VERIRAD SCANNING TECHNOLOGY
VeriRAD design will bring 100% radiation detection to the port's perimeter

March 23, 2011 - Fremont, CA. VeriTainer Corporation, the world leader in crane mounted scanning technology, is introducing the VeriSpreader® VeriRAD. The VeriRAD technology is a low cost, scalable solution designed to seamlessly address radiation scanning at terminals worldwide. Based on VeriTainer's patented crane mounted scanning technology, this industry driven solution will provide perimeter radiation protection for ports. The technology has been field tested at 4 ports worldwide having performed over 2 million detector lifts without failure.

"With what we are seeing in Genoa and Japan, terminals are demanding asset protection from highly radioactive containers" said John Alioto, CEO of VeriTainer. "In response to this need, we designed the VeriRAD system to specifically address this threat," Alioto went on to say.

The VeriRAD is a sub-system of the port-proven VeriSpreader® System. While the VeriSpreader is a full scale anti-terrorist technology, the VeriRAD provides simple and efficient perimeter detection of highly radioactive freight at global terminals. This low cost and highly scalable system integrates into existing spreader bars and can be installed and operating in a matter of weeks.

"In response to a number of on-going radiological security beaches we are seeing today, we designed the VeriRAD to seamlessly address the most likely radiological threats to ports and their terminal operators," said Dr. Eugene Yamamoto, Chief Physicist at VeriTainer. Yamamoto added, "The system can easily identify these highly radioactive threats and do so with a virtually zero false alarms."

VeriTainer is taking orders on the VeriRAD system for delivery this spring.

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About VeriTainer

VeriTainer Corporation is a venture-backed leader in crane-based radiation detection technology for scanning of shipping containers to ensure that the world's ports are free from nuclear terrorism. VeriTainer's patented technology enables scanning of 100 percent of shipping containers, addressing a principal vulnerability of the world's population centers and allowing for rapid scanning of containers entering and exiting ports without disrupting the flow of commerce.

VeriTainer Corporation:
North America:
Joe Alioto, VP Sales (415) 699-3966 (joealioto@veritainer.com)
Asia:
Annie Chew, President VeriTainer Asia +65 9795 6546 (achew@veritainer.com)
Europe and the Middle East:
UK Kevin Orchard, Managing Director VeriTainer Europe, +44 7739 186733 (korchard@veritainer.com)


Japan Could Encase Nuclear Plant in Concrete

March 18, 2011 - Tokyo. Japan could encase the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in concrete and sand in a final attempt to stop massive quantities of radioactive material from escaping the site, the facility's operator indicated on Friday. Tokyo Electric Power's first reference to the option – employed in the aftermath of the 1986 Chernobyl disaster – suggested efforts to prevent materials at the facility's six reactors from overheating might prove unsuccessful, according to Reuters. Untreated material could melt down or even re-enter the fission process, potentially resulting in much larger radioactive material releases than have been seen so far from the plant crippled by a 9.0-magnitude earthquake and devastating tsunami, the New York Times reported. Officials have said the earthquake and tsunami caused no fewer than 10,000 deaths. From this point forward, it's a question of mitigating any further harm from the crippled reactor. "It is not impossible to encase the reactors in concrete. But our priority right now is to try and cool them down first," Reuters quoted a representative of the operator as saying.


Radioactive Container in Genoa Feared as Ticking "Dirty" Bomb

February 22, 2011 - Genoa, Italy. A HIGHLY radioactive container was discovered in the Italian Port of Genoa, raising fears it may be nuclear bomb ready to explode if opened, reports London's International Freighting Weekly.  "The container is very nearly glowing with Cobalt-60; its contents are unknown and there is no game plan for its disposal.  I wouldn't go near it," said Joe Alioto, vice president of VeriTainer, the container scanner manufacturer.  The radioactive box has been in Voltri Terminal complex since July 2010, but authorities were undecided of whether to open it by robot or remove it by barge.  It has since been isolated by other containers filled with stones and water.  It is understood that further tests this week concluded that the box contained a small but powerful source of radiation.  Mr. Alioto said it was likely that the container had been tampered with between Ajman in the UAE and Jeddah on the Red Sea.  The container is said to have come from Sun Metal Casting in Ajman in the UAE, and was supposed to be carrying 18 tons of copper for a customer north of Genoa.  It came through Jeddah and transshipped via Gioia Tauro to Genoa where it sat on the dock for days before a check found it to be highly radioactive.


U.S. and China Agree to Nuclear Security Center in China

January 20, 2011 - Washington, D.C. The United States and China yesterday inked an agreement to set up a collaborative nuclear security center inside the Asian power that would seek to spread best practices on the safeguarding and accounting of nuclear materials, the Associated Press reported.  U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu signed the deal in Washington with visiting China Atomic Energy Authority Chairman Chen Quifa.  Chu said the agreement was a significant milestone for efforts to improve global nuclear security.  President Hu Jintao first proposed collaborating on the installation last April during the Global Nuclear Security Summit in Washington.  This is a major achievement for the Obama Administration.  It significantly improves efforts to mitigate the risk of nuclear smuggling in maritime shipping containers.  Chinese ports account for fully 26% of the world’s container throughput.


North Korea Threatens Nuclear War

December 13, 2010 - Pyongyang, North Korea. The government of North Korea said today that continuing U.S.-South Korean-Japanese collaboration against the regime in Pyongyang could lead to nuclear conflict, the Associated Press reported.  Pyongyang's state-controlled Rodong Sinmun newspaper characterized the trilateral cooperation as "nothing but treachery escalating the tension between the North and the South and brining the dark clouds of a nuclear war to hang over the Korean Peninsula."  Washington, Seoul and Tokyo have increased their cooperation on the North Korean nuclear impasse amid a series of provocations this year.  Pyongyang's actions include the shelling last month of an inhabited South Korean island and the calculated unveiling of an advanced uranium enrichment facility at its Yongbyon nuclear complex.  Already proficient in developing weapons-grade plutonium, North Korea’s creation of an HEU capacity threatens the sale of this special nuclear material to terrorists.  The three nations have pledged not to resume paralyzed six-nation talks aimed at North Korean denuclearization until Pyongyang has taken demonstrable steps toward nuclear disarmament.  They have also rejected a Chinese proposal to participate in emergency talks intended to ease escalating tensions on the Korean Peninsula.


Two Nuclear Smugglers Tried to Sell 90% Enriched HEU

November 8, 2010 – Tbilisi, Democratic Republic of Georgia. A pair of Armenian nationals have admitted in court they attempted to sell weapon-grade uranium for $1.5 million to an undercover operative posing as an Islamic extremist, the former Soviet republic of Georgia announced today.  Georgian authorities detained Hrant Ohanian and Sumbat Tonoian in March (2010) once they had illicitly transferred three-fifths of an ounce of highly enriched uranium into the country, Agence France-Presse quoted Georgian Interior Ministry spokesman Shota Utiashvili as saying. The men transported the uranium from Armenia inside a cigarette carton coated with lead to conceal the nuclear material from radiation scanners at Georgian entry points, according to news reports.  The uranium had an enrichment level close to 90 percent.  It was offered as a representative quantity from a larger cache to which Tonoian and Ohanian claimed to have access, media reports quoted the smugglers as saying.


Al Qaeda Sends Bombs to U.S. in Air Cargo Containers

October 29, 2010 – Washington, D.C. This afternoon, President Obama announced that two packages in air cargo containers containing explosive devices originating in Yemen and bound for two places of Jewish worship in Chicago set off a global terror alert on Friday. One package was found at a FedEx facility in Dubai, and another was found early Friday morning at an airport in Britain, sparking a day of dramatic precautionary activity in the U.S. Speaking at the White House Friday afternoon, the President's top anti-terrorist official, John Brennan, confirmed the explosives were the work of Al Qaeda in Yemen. The wide-scale alert spread to the U.S. on Friday morning, when officials isolated two cargo planes at airports in Newark and Philadelphia and searched them for packages originating in Yemen. New York police also searched a delivery truck in Brooklyn. This is the first terrorist attack since 9/11 that has used cargo containers to deliver an explosive device to the U.S. "We have known for some time that air and sea cargo containers represent a significant opportunity for terrorists to attack the U.S.," said John Alioto, CEO of VeriTainer Corp. "With large percentages of un-scanned cargo entering our sea and air ports, this country is vulnerable," Alioto concluded.


White House Nuclear Czar: U.S. Lacks Proliferation Control

October 18, 2010 – Washington, D.C. President Obama’s Nuclear Czar, Gary Samore, said the United States has been "lucky" that nuclear war has not erupted between Pakistan and its atomically armed rival India, or that the civilian government in Islamabad has not lost control of its stockpile.  However, "things could go very badly in South Asia very quickly," he said during a panel discussion at the American Association for the Advancement of Science.  "We have extremely limited policy tools to affect that," he told the audience. "We can't occupy countries and hope to secure all of their nuclear material.  That's really beyond our capacity."  Samore later admitted his nightmare scenario is a "toss-up" between Pakistan falling into political chaos and North Korea selling its nuclear material and expertise to other countries.  Samore said the United States would continue to work with Islamabad to improve the country's nuclear security by providing additional training or equipment.

"Obviously in the case of North Korea we can't do that," Samore said. "We are at the mercy of forces we have very little control over."


Seven Tons of Iranian High Explosives Found in a Transhipment Container

September 21, 2010 – Gioia Tauro, Italy. Italian Customs authorities have found seven (7) tons of RDX explosives called T-4, a powerful military explosive, in a shipping container. Italian authorities said that the container with a "huge" amount of high explosives originated in Iran and was transhipped at the Italian port of Gioia Tauro bound for Syria. Regional police chief Carmelo Casabona told reporters the powerful RDX, or T4, explosives came from Iran and were destined for Syria. Casabona suspected that because of the large quantity of contraband, the shipment was intended for a terrorist organization and not the local mafia syndicate called Ndrangheta. The container with the explosives was on board the cargo ship "Finland" of the Swiss-Italian MSC shipping company. They were hidden in the container behind sacks of powdered milk.


Arab States Demand Israeli Nuclear Transparency

August 8, 2010 – Tel Aviv, Israel. The United States and other Israeli partner states should press Jerusalem to permit U.N. scrutiny of its nuclear activities, the 22-nation Arab League told the world powers in a letter today. The letter, signed by Arab League head Amr Moussa, calls on world powers to endorse a draft resolution noting "concern" over Israeli nuclear activities and pressing the nation to join the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and allow International Atomic Energy Agency audits. The Arab countries are expected to present the proposed resolution, titled "Israeli nuclear capabilities," at next month's IAEA General Conference meeting. The letter was submitted to top diplomatic officials in China, France, Russia the United Kingdom and the United States, said diplomats affiliated with the U.N. nuclear watchdog. An attached document requests that the Belgian Embassy in Egypt forward the letter to Belgian Foreign Minister Steven Vanackere, current president of the European Union.

Israel is the only Middle Eastern state believed to hold nuclear weapons, though it refuses to confirm or deny the existence of its atomic stockpile. Jerusalem has linked willingness to join the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty or to consider a nuclear weapon-free zone to success in the Middle East peace process. President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last month indicated they would "work together to oppose efforts to single out Israel" at next month's IAEA meeting. "Any efforts to single out Israel will make the prospects of convening [a regional nuclear weapon-free] zone conference unlikely," the leaders added in a statement. The Arab League countered: “Singling out a state assumes that there are a number of states in the same position and only one state was singled out," the organization's letter states. "The fact is that all the states in the region have acceded to the NPT except Israel."


VERITAINER RECEIVES NOTICE OF GRANTED PATENT
ON FUNDAMENTAL CRANE-MOUNTED SCANNING IN INDONESIA

July 12, 2010 – Fremont, California. Silicon Valley based VeriTainer Corporation, the world leader in crane-mounted maritime security solutions, has received notice of granted patent from the Indonesian Directorate General of Intellectual Property Rights for the fundamental crane-mounted scanning patent for Indonesia.

Because Indonesia is surrounded by water, it relies heavily on maritime trade for economic stability, making it an influential entity in the maritime industry. This patent adds to an already impressive list of international patents obtained by VeriTainer, positioning the company as a dominating force in maritime nuclear detection technology.

“We are extremely pleased to have the fundamental CMS patent in a jurisdiction as important as Indonesia” said John Alioto, CEO of VeriTainer. “Along with Singapore, Taiwan and New Zealand, this marks the 4th international issuance of this patent VeriTainer has received.  Office actions from around the globe indicate that VeriTainer will have the fundamental CMS patent in a great number of other key geographies,” Alioto continued.

Along with Indonesia, VeriTainer holds the fundamental CMS patent in Taiwan, New Zealand and Singapore. Two other key patents on VeriTainer’s technology, the Company’s 4th and 5th evolving out of VeriTainer’s Oakland trials in 2007 and 2008, were issued in the United States earlier this year. Those patents have also been filed internationally.  Additionally, VeriTainer has several other unique innovations in its patent program pipeline. 

“It has been a very strong 12 months for VeriTainer and our CMS technology”, Alioto added.  “In addition to our numerous patent wins, we entered into a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement with Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory to optimize our CMS technology as we prepare to roll out globally.”

###

About VeriTainer

VeriTainer Corporation is a venture-backed leader in crane-based radiation detection technology for scanning of shipping containers to ensure that the world's ports are free from nuclear terrorism. VeriTainer's patented technology enables scanning of 100 percent of shipping containers, addressing a principal vulnerability of the world's population centers and allowing for rapid scanning of containers entering and exiting ports without disrupting the flow of commerce.

VeriTainer Corporation:               
Seth Jacobson (310) 317-1966 (seth@jcipr.com)
Lawrence Alioto (415) 339 2102 (lawrencealioto@veritainer.com )


Iran Wants "Clear View" of Israel's Nukes

July 6, 2010 – Tehran, Iran. Iran's top nuclear negotiator today said his nation is willing to join new nuclear negotiations as soon as September 1st if six world powers will meet its demands. Senior Iranian nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili demanded that the powers provide a "clear view" on Israel's "nuclear arsenal." Israel is widely believed to possess the only nuclear stockpile in the Middle East, but Jerusalem has neither confirmed nor denied that assumption. Jalili told Germany and the five permanent Security Council members — China, France, Russia the United Kingdom and the United States — "Your response to the above questions can pave the way for forming talks to allay common global concerns for peace and justice with the presence of other interested countries from Sept. 1." He also asked the six powers to address whether new negotiations would entail "engagement and cooperation or continued confrontation and hostility towards Iranians." "Will you be committed to the logic of talks which calls for avoiding threats and pressure?" Jalili asked." The six nations have previously demanded that future talks focus exclusively on Iran's nuclear work.


Myanmar Begins a Nuclear Weapons Program

June 4, 2010 – Washington, D.C. The Global Security Newswire reports that there is new evidence that Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, has begun a nuclear weapons program. The military junta that rules Myanmar has started to covertly obtain the necessary equipment for building a nuclear arms program, according to a report that relied on photographs and documents smuggled out of the country by defector and ex- Burmese military officer Sai Thein Win. Win said he had traveled to sites involved with the nascent nuclear program and attended briefings where the nuclear technology was displayed. The documents demonstrate that the junta has started down the path of acquiring a nuclear weapons capability, a study of the situation by an independent nuclear expert and produced by the opposition group Democratic Voice of Burma found. The analysis concludes, though, that large amounts of missing Burmese nuclear knowledge show the nation has years to go before it could build a warhead, the Washington Post reported.  The study found with "high confidence" that Myanmar was pursuing nuclear components and that "this technology is only for nuclear weapons and not for civilian use or nuclear power." "The intent is clear, and that is a very disturbing matter for international agreements," according to the report, which was co-written by Robert Kelley, a former ranking nuclear inspector with the International Atomic Energy Agency.


LAWRENCE LIVERMORE NATIONAL LAB AND VERITAINER CORP. SIGN COOPERATIVE RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT AGREEMENT

Agreement will lead to enhanced nuclear detection capabilities for ports

May 10, 2010 – Livermore, California. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) and VeriTainer Corporation have entered into a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA). The CRADA will be used to refine and enhance VeriTainer's patented crane mounted scanning (CMS) technology.

The CRADA will be in place for three-and-a-half years and require approximately $4 million in funding. LLNL will work in cooperation with VeriTainer's scientists and engineers to enhance both gamma and neutron sensitivity, while maintaining the capabilities of VeriTainer's CMS. The system has been operated for the past four years in field tests run at three ports and in five different terminals.

"This agreement with an entity as accomplished and respected as Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is obviously a big step forward for our firm, the CMS technology and the overall security of the global supply chain," said John Alioto, CEO of VeriTainer. "Together, we will optimize the existing technology and continue to develop the overall CMS solution."

Steven Kreek, the leader of LLNL's Nuclear Detection and Countermeasures Research Program, stated that under the CRADA the Laboratory will use its expertise not only to optimize the sensitivity of the CMS, but also to leverage the platform to deliver an effective counterterrorism system.

"This technology occupies a unique security niche in that it will be used to scan cargo that is passed between ships, known as transshipment, that doesn't actually enter a country until reaching its final destination. This technology will help ensure that cargo containers are not used for transporting radiological or nuclear threats," Kreek added.

VeriTainer Corporation is a venture-backed leader in crane-based radiation detection technology for scanning of shipping containers to ensure that the world's ports are free from nuclear terrorism. VeriTainer's patented technology enables scanning of 100 percent of shipping containers, addressing a principal vulnerability of the world's population centers and allowing for rapid scanning of containers entering and exiting ports without disrupting the flow of commerce.

Founded in 1952, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is a national security laboratory that develops science and engineering technology and provides innovative solutions to our nation's most important challenges. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is managed by Lawrence Livermore National Security, LLC for the U.S. Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration.


Obama: "Nuclear Terrorism Is 'The Single Biggest Threat'"

 April 11, 2010 – Washington, D.C. On the eve of the Global Nuclear Summit, a Washington, D.C. conference attended by the leaders of nearly 50 nations, President Obama declared that nuclear terrorism is the "single biggest threat" to world peace and stability. "If there was ever a detonation in New York City, or London, or Johannesburg, the ramifications economically, politically and from a security perspective would be devastating," Obama said. Al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations are seeking a nuclear device, "a weapon of mass destruction that they have no compunction at using." Obama is seeking global cooperation on isolating non-secure nuclear materials that could be used to make a weapon. According to a White House press release, "The Summit would allow discussion on the nature of the threat and develop steps that can be taken together to secure vulnerable materials, combat nuclear smuggling and deter, detect and disrupt attempts at nuclear terrorism."