Nuclear Policy News – March 25, 2020

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Top News:

Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty Review Likely Postponed
Associated Press

Y-12 Reports First Case of COVID-19
Exchange Monitor

PODCAST: The PLA rocket force’s rapid expansion
Arms Control Wonk

United States

Initiatives to protect U.S. energy grid and nuclear weapons systems
To deter attempts to disable U.S. electrical utilities and to defend U.S. nuclear weapon systems from evolving technological threats, Sandia National Laboratories has begun two multiyear initiatives to strengthen U.S. responses.

Y-12 Reports First Case of COVID-19
Exchange Monitor3/24/20
COVID-19 has hit the Department of Energy’s nuclear weapons production complex, with one employee at the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tenn., testing positive for the respiratory disease, a spokesperson for the site’s management and operations contractor said Tuesday.

OPINION: The U.S. military’s behind the scenes moves to protect nuclear readiness amid coronavirus
The Defense Department shifted many of its domestic bases to “health protection condition” Charlie on Sunday, the latest in a series of moves to protect military forces, families and bases from coronavirus. HPCON Charlie – also known as “substantial threat of sustained community transmission” – is the fourth highest of five levels.

East Asia

North Korea to convene parliament April 10 amid stalled nuclear talks
North Korea said Saturday it will hold on April 10 a session of its top legislature for the first time since August, amid the continuing deadlock in its denuclearization negotiations with the United States.

OPINION: China wants to rule the waves; here’s how the U.S. can stop it
Japan TimesJames Stavridis
Just over a century ago, in the run-up to World War I, Britain and Germany were locked in a naval arms race. Inspired by the strategic thinking of U.S. Adm. Alfred Thayer Mahan, German Kaiser Wilhelm decided to build a huge battle fleet that could credibly challenge the dominant British on the high seas.

PODCAST: The PLA rocket force’s rapid expansion
Arms Control Wonk3/24/20
China’s People’s Liberation Army Rocket Force (PLARF) has been very busy in the last few years, testing new high-tech missiles and standing up new launch brigades.

Middle East

OPINION: Did American learn the wrong lessons from its clash with Iran?
War on the Rocks – Eric Brewer, Henry Rome
The United States and Iran are once again on the verge of conflict.

U.S. to build new base in Iraq for Patriot missile deployment
International News3/24/20
An Iraqi security source says the U.S. military intends to construct a new military base in the country’s western province of al-Anbar for the deployment of Patriot missile systems.

Russia and Europe

Two Russian Tu-95MS strategic bombers perform flight over Sea of Japan and Pacific
Two Tupolev Tu-95MS strategic missile-carrying bombers of Russia’s Aerospace Force performed a scheduled flight in the airspace over the neutral waters of the Sea of Japan and the north-western part of the Pacific Ocean, the Defense Ministry of Russia reported on Tuesday.

South Asia

The lesser known history of the Maralinga nuclear tests — and what it’s like to stand at ground zero
Maralinga is 54 kilometres north-west of Ooldea, in South Australia’s remote Great Victoria Desert.

Multilateral Arms Control

Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty Review Likely Postponed
Associated Press3/24/20
A major U.N. conference to review the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, considered the cornerstone of global efforts to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons, is “likely to be postponed” because of the coronavirus pandemic, a U.N. official said Tuesday.

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