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21 janvier 2016 4 21 /01 /janvier /2016 17:50
Defence Secretary Michael Fallon visiting HMNB Clyde.  Photo UK MoD

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon visiting HMNB Clyde. Photo UK MoD

 

21 January 2016 Ministry of Defence and The Rt Hon Michael Fallon MP

 

Defence Secretary has visited the home of the Royal Navy’s submarine service to make clear the Government’s commitment to the nuclear deterrent.

 

Michael Fallon met submariners today (Thursday) and visited the Vanguard class submarine HMS Vigilant at HM Naval Base Clyde, at Faslane near Glasgow.

Vigilant is one of the four 16,000-tonne vessels which patrol the oceans and make up the UK’s independent strategic nuclear deterrent, which the Royal Navy has operated for more than 40 years.

Mr Fallon was briefed on the submarine’s operations by Vigilant’s commanding officer, Commander Dan Martyn, who guided him through the boat’s control room, missile compartment and missile control centre.

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said:

Around the clock nuclear deterrent is as crucial to Britain’s defence now as it has ever been. It is the ultimate guarantee of the nation’s security.

We use our nuclear deterrent every day to deter a nuclear attack, nuclear blackmail and extreme threats that cannot be countered by any other means.

The Defence Secretary also had a chance to take in some of the infrastructure and world-class training facilities at the base.

Rear Admiral John Weale, Rear Admiral Submarines, said:

As a highly professional Service, the Royal Navy is entrusted with safely delivering continuous at sea deterrence. Since 1969 we have ensured at least one submarine was deployed at all times, as the nation’s ultimate security insurance policy.

We are now witnessing a resurgence in the Submarine Service; new submarines and driven personnel. Within the next four years all the UK’s submarines will be based in Scotland. This will lead to the creation of 1,400 new jobs taking the total number employed at HM Naval Base Clyde to 8,200 by 2022.

Commander Dan Martyn, Captain of HMS Vigilant, said:

The men and women of the Vanguard class submarines fully understand their role and responsibility in ultimately protecting the people of the United Kingdom.

The Submarine Service’s absolute professionalism ensures that the country’s nuclear deterrent provides safety and security for us all every hour of every day.

Vanguard Submarine infographic Photo UK MoD

Vanguard Submarine infographic Photo UK MoD

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22 mars 2015 7 22 /03 /mars /2015 07:30
Joint statement after today's discussion on nuclear negotiations with Iran

 

London, 21/03/2015 EEAS ref 150321_02_en

 

We, the Foreign Ministers of France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States, together with the EU High Representative, met this afternoon to review progress in the nuclear negotiations with Iran.

 

We agreed that substantial progress had been made in key areas although there are still important issues on which no agreement has yet been possible. Now is the time for Iran, in particular, to take difficult decisions. Our negotiators, together with those from China and Russia, will resume meetings with Iran next week in Lausanne.

 

We reaffirmed that we are all equally committed to finding a solution that ensures that Iran’s nuclear programme remains exclusively peaceful in line with its stated commitment. Any solution must be comprehensive, durable and verifiable. None of our countries can subscribe to a deal that does not meet these terms.

 

These negotiations are a shared effort among the E3+3 coordinated by the EU. Experts in different disciplines from every member of the group are contributing in depth to our coordinated negotiating positions and this coordination, as well as multiple bilateral talks with Iran, will continue to be a vital part of achieving success.

 

We are at an important moment in the negotiations. If we are able to resolve all the main issues, technical work will follow to convert a framework into a detailed text.

 

We will all continue to work together with unity of purpose to secure a successful outcome.

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21 mars 2015 6 21 /03 /mars /2015 13:30
source IISS

source IISS

 

21 mars 2015 Romandie.com (AFP)

 

Lausanne - Le secrétaire d'Etat américain John Kerry a vanté samedi l'unité des grandes puissance sur le dossier nucléaire iranien, après une semaine de négociations avec l'Iran à Lausanne, assurant aussi que Washington ne se précipitait pas pour sceller un accord.

 

Je souligne que nous sommes unis dans notre objectif, approche et détermination pour faire en sorte que le programme de l'Iran soit pacifique. Cette union a continué de jouer un rôle central, a insisté John Kerry à Lausanne, sur fond de rumeurs de tensions au sein du groupe 5+1 (Etats-Unis, Russie, Chine, France, Royaume-Uni, Allemagne) où Paris est considéré comme le plus intransigeant face à Téhéran.

 

Nous ne voulons pas n'importe quel accord (...) Nous ne nous précipitons pas, a martelé le chef de la diplomatie américaine après que des diplomates européens eurent exprimé ces dernières semaines leur scepticisme quant à la volonté prêtée aux Etats-Unis de conclure au plus vite un règlement sur le programme nucléaire controversé de Téhéran.

 

Les parties ont tenté de trouver un accord politique à Lausanne durant une semaine et ont une date butoir fixée au 31 mars.

 

Il est temps de prendre des décisions difficiles. Nous voulons le bon accord qui rende le monde, les Etats-Unis et leurs plus proches alliés et partenaires, plus sûrs et plus en sécurité, a insisté John Kerry dans une courte déclaration à la presse.

 

Vendredi, l'Iran et les Etats-Unis avaient annoncé la reprise des négociations internationales à partir du 25 mars -- peut-être le 26 mars, après une semaine de tractations marathon qui n'ont pas permis de sceller d'accord avant l'échéance du 31 mars.

 

M. Kerry a réaffirmé qu'il serait de retour à Lausanne la semaine prochaine, sans être plus précis.

 

Il a passé près d'une semaine dans un palace de la ville suisse avec son homologue iranien Mohammad Javad Zarif, et doit arriver samedi vers 16H00 à Londres pour consulter ses homologues français, allemand et britannique.

 

Les grandes puissances et Téhéran font tout pour trouver d'ici fin mars un accord de principe dit politique qui garantirait que l'Iran n'ait jamais la bombe atomique, en échange d'une levée des sanctions.

 

Ils se sont ensuite donné jusqu'au 30 juin-1er juillet pour finaliser tous les détails techniques d'un texte complet.

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20 mars 2015 5 20 /03 /mars /2015 11:50
source IISS

source IISS

 

20 mars 2015 Romandie.com (AFP)

 

Bruxelles - Les dirigeants allemand Angela Merkel, français François Hollande, britannique David Cameron et la chef de la diplomatie européenne Federica Mogherini se sont brièvement concertés sur les négociations avec l'Iran sur son programme nucléaire controversé, vendredi matin en marge d'un sommet à Bruxelles.

 

Cette réunion d'environ quarante minutes a permis de faire un point pour avoir une position européenne coordonnée parce que les jours avancent jusqu'au 31 mars, date-butoir fixée pour trouver un accord dit politique avant un accord final complet attendu pour le 30 juin/1er juillet, a-t-on indiqué dans l'entourage de la Haute représentante de l'UE.

 

C'était important d'avoir les trois (dirigeants) dans la même salle pour avoir une position ferme, coordonnée, a-t-on ajouté.

 

Le secrétaire d'Etat américain John Kerry et son homologue iranien Mohammad Javad Zarif ont vanté jeudi les avancées de leurs tractations à Lausanne (Suisse), mais un négociateur européen s'est montré réticent, estimant qu'on est loin d'un accord politique historique à l'approche de la date-butoir fin mars.

 

Les grandes puissances du groupe 5+1 (Etats-Unis, Russie, Chine, France, Royaume-Uni et Allemagne) et Téhéran mènent depuis lundi à Lausanne une course contre la montre pour sceller un accord dit politique avant le 31 mars, voire d'ici au Nouvel an iranien du 21 mars. Un tel document, très général, garantirait que l'Iran ne fabrique jamais la bombe atomique, en échange d'une levée des sanctions internationales.

 

L'Elysée a décrit, sans plus de précisions, une réunion efficace de concertation et de consultation informelle entre Européens à Bruxelles, alors que les pourparlers entre MM. Kerry et Zarif doivent reprendre vendredi à Lausanne.

 

Le ministre français des Affaires étrangères Laurent Fabius n'avait pas hésité à souligner il y a deux semaines les divergences dans les négociations. Lundi, il a insisté sur l'indépendance de la France par rapport aux Etats-Unis.

 

Nous souhaitons un accord, mais simplement si l'accord est vraiment solide. Il y a eu des avancées mais il reste des points importants qui ne sont pas réglés et on va voir si on peut avancer, avait-il commenté lundi juste avant une réunion au niveau des ministres des Affaires étrangères conviée par Mme Mogherini à Bruxelles.

 

A Washington, le président Barack Obama a appelé jeudi Téhéran à saisir l'opportunité historique de sceller un accord sur son programme nucléaire controversé qui bénéficierait à l'ensemble de la communauté internationale pendant de nombreuses années.

 

Les jours et les semaines à venir seront cruciaux. Les négociations ont progressé mais des différences demeurent, a souligné M. Obama dans un message vidéo, sous-titré en farsi, diffusé à l'occasion de la fête du Norouz, le nouvel iranien.

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20 mars 2015 5 20 /03 /mars /2015 08:45
Pelindaba Nuclear Research Center. (photo Douglas Birch - Center for Public Integrity)

Pelindaba Nuclear Research Center. (photo Douglas Birch - Center for Public Integrity)

 

19 March 2015 by Peter Fabricius, Foreign Editor, Independent Newspapers, South Africa - defenceWeb

 

In the early hours of 28 July 2012, three people, one of them an 82-year-old nun named Megan Rice, broke into the Y-12 Nuclear Security Complex near the city of Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Y-12 is where all of America’s highly enriched uranium (HEU) – for making nuclear weapons – is made or stored: about 400 000 kg of it, according to The New Yorker magazine.

 

Rice and two others from the Plowshare anti-nuclear activist group managed to cut through three fences, paint slogans and splash blood on the football-field-sized building housing the Y-12 arsenal before a few of the 500-odd security guards finally arrived to arrest them. This demonstration by Plowshare – one of many over the last 35 years – was designed in part to show that America’s nuclear weapons were not secure from theft by terrorists. Which it did.

 

Five years earlier, in November 2007, two groups of intruders cut through the security fences surrounding South Africa’s 118-acre Pelindaba Nuclear Research Centre, west of Pretoria. They got as far as the emergency operations centre before a barking dog alerted a stand-in security officer, who called for back up. The intruders fled after shooting a security officer’s boyfriend, though not fatally.

 

 

Read full article here.

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17 mars 2015 2 17 /03 /mars /2015 16:30
Credits : IISS

Credits : IISS

 

17 mars 2015 Romandie.com(AFP)

 

Téhéran - L'Iran et les Etats-Unis ont trouvé un accord sur 90% des questions techniques dans leurs négociations bilatérales sur le programme nucléaire controversé de Téhéran, a affirmé mardi un responsable iranien présent à Lausanne (Suisse).

 

Nous sommes parvenus à un accord sur 90% des questions techniques lors des discussions avec le secrétaire américain à l'Energie Ernest Moniz, a affirmé Ali Akbar Salehi, le chef de l'Organisation iranienne de l'énergie atomique, cité par le site internet de la télévision d'Etat.

 

Nous avons des divergences sur une seule question majeure, que nous allons tenter de combler lors d'une nouvelle réunion prévue mardi soir à laquelle doivent participer les chefs de diplomatie iranien Mohammad Javad Zarif et américain John Kerry, a ajouté M. Salehi, sans préciser la nature du contentieux.

 

Ses déclarations contrastent avec celles, plus mesurées, d'un haut responsable américain selon qui il restait mardi matin des sujets difficiles dans les discussions.

 

Après une première journée de négociations tous azimuts lundi -- entre Américains et Iraniens à Lausanne et entre Téhéran et les Européens à Bruxelles -- MM. Kerry et Zarif se sont revus pendant deux heures mardi dans un palace de la ville suisse, accompagnés d'Ernest Moniz et d'Ali Akbar Salehi.

 

Mais depuis lundi soir, les parties expriment plus ou moins clairement leur scepticisme sur les chances de conclure un accord dans les jours qui viennent.

 

Après 12 ans de tensions entre l'Iran et les Occidentaux et 18 mois de pourparlers intenses, la République islamique et les grandes puissances du groupe 5+1 (Etats-Unis, Chine, Russie, Royaume-Uni, France, et Allemagne) se sont donné jusqu'au 31 mars pour sceller un règlement politique qui garantirait que l'Iran n'aura jamais la bombe atomique, en échange d'une levée des sanctions.

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16 mars 2015 1 16 /03 /mars /2015 11:30
Photo F. Robineau, Dassault Aviation

Photo F. Robineau, Dassault Aviation

 

March 14, 2015 By Pierre Tran – Defense News

 

PARIS — The Rafale fighter jets sold to Egypt will be modified to remove nuclear missile capability and NATO standard communications, a source close to the deal said.

 

"There will be a few modifications," the source said.

 

Once adapted, the fighters will be delivered, with the first three in time for Egyptian pilots to fly the twin-engine fighter in Egyptian colors over the opening of a new waterway on the Suez Canal in August.

 

One of the Rafale upgrades to F3 standard in 2008 was the air-sol moyenne portée améliorée (ASMPA) missile tipped with the TN-200 nuclear warhead. That capability will be taken off the fighters for Egypt.

 

As Egypt is not part of NATO, the communication system will be adapted.

 

The Rafale was part of a French arms deal worth €5.2 billion (US $5.5 billion) and signed Feb. 16 in Cairo, comprising also a DCNS FREMM multimission frigate and missiles reported to be from MBDA and Sagem.

 

On the frigate, the systems will be translated into English and Arabic and the combat systems adapted to take out the naval cruise missile capability, a second source said. The warship had been built for the French Navy and due for handover as the Normandie.

 

Egypt has started paying for its order for 24 Rafales, the first export win for the fighter jet for which France has long struggled to find a foreign buyer, Dassault Aviation Chairman Eric Trappier said.

 

"The contract with Egypt is now in effect. The first check landed at the start of the week," he said at the March 11 press conference on the 2014 financial results.

 

Egypt paid a price similar to that paid by France for the fighters, he said.

 

Dassault will deliver five Rafales to France this year, and the first batch of three to Egypt, with a second three-strong batch in December or January, he said.

 

Modifying the fighters is a key factor in the timing of delivery to Egypt, the first source said.

 

The French authorities are discussing the schedule for Egypt, as there is a "substitution" effect on deliveries that had been due for the French Air Force and Navy, Trappier said.

 

Annual production will remain at 11 units, or one per month, and output could rise to a little more than 2.5 units per month, he said.

 

The company hopes for a second export deal this year, Trappier said on March 4, when President François Hollande visited the Merignac assembly line near Bordeaux, southwest France. This was the first visit by a French head of state to the aircraft factory, and Hollande welcomed the sale of the fighter to Egypt.

 

Hollande sat in a Rafale cockpit on his tour, a contrast with the widely reported political chill directed at Dassault when the Socialist party won the 2012 general election.

 

Trappier has said he expects a snowball effect, with other countries placing orders.

 

"I am sure there will be others," Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said at a March 11 press conference on his agenda for 2015, when asked about the potential sale to Qatar and Malaysia.

 

Government and industry worked together on the Egyptian order and it is the same approach with other countries, he said.

 

Then-French President Nicolas Sarkozy had set up a "war room" in the Elysées presidential office for selling the Rafale following Morocco's pick of the F-16 over the Rafale. Morocco is a former French protectorate.

 

On negotiations with India, Dassault has agreed for the first time that India's state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL) will be the co-contractor, not a subcontractor, on the Rafale, Trappier said. HAL would guarantee assembly of the Rafale in India, while Dassault would be guarantor for the French work.

 

Indian authorities had previously asked Dassault to assume overall guarantee for work in India.

 

India wants a maximum of work under the "Make In India" drive.

 

The speed at which the technology is transferred to allow full Indian domestic assembly is part of the negotiations, Trappier said. The first 18 units will be built in France, with the 19th to be assembled in India.

 

French industry will continue to build the subsystems, which will be shipped for assembly in Bangalore, he said. Over time the manufacture, including the active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar, will be "phased" over to Indian partners. The timetable is part of the negotiations.

 

Trappier said he was not worried about the Russian push to sell the Suhkoi Su-30 to India. "The Russians are worried about the Rafale," he said.

 

On the Indian agreement to study with Sukhoi a fifth-generation Su-35S, it is unclear what that entails as fifth-generation is a US classification, he said.

 

Dassault is patient and tenacious in its pursuit of the Indian deal for 126 fighters, Trappier said. India took some 22 years to pick the BAE Systems Hawk trainer over the Dassault Alpha jet, and that is a much simpler aircraft than the multimission fighter.

 

The first two Mirage 2000 fighters upgraded by Dassault and Thales are due to be delivered to India soon, he said. The Indian Navy expressed interest in a carrier-borne version of the Rafale.

 

Trappier declined to comment on Qatar and said talks are continuing with Malaysia. Discussions are being held with the United Arab Emirates, but these are not contract negotiations, he said.

 

Dassault has delivered 137 Rafales to France, with 43 remaining in the present fourth tranche. The company expects delivery in 2018 of the upgraded F3R version, adapted to fire the Meteor beyond-visual-range missile. Egypt will also receive that advanced version.

 

The French Navy has received two fighters upgraded to the F3 version from F1 with the remaining eight due to be modernized over two years.

 

Dassault reported net profit of €398 million, down from €487 million a year ago, on sales of €3.7 billion, down from €4.6 billion. The lower profit and sales stemmed from a weak market for the Falcon business jet. A bounce-back of Falcon orders to 90 last year from 64 signals a financial recovery for 2016.

 

New orders were worth €4.6 billion, up from €4.2 billion, with exports accounting for 89 percent. Net profit was 10.8 percent of sales.

 

Defense orders totaled €693 million, down from €1.26 billion. The 2013 figure included the F3R contract for the Rafale and upgrade for the Atlantique 2 maritime patrol aircraft.

 

The total order book is €8.2 billion. Cash fell to €2.4 billion from €3.7 billion, as the company bought Dassault shares sold by Airbus.

 

Expected large defense export orders will likely absorb the market impact of Airbus further selling down its stake in Dassault, brokerage CM-CIC said in a research note.

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13 mars 2015 5 13 /03 /mars /2015 08:50
UK Submarine Industry to Benefit from GBP285M Investment in Successor Programme

 

Mar 11, 2015 ASDNews Source : Ministry of Defence (United Kingdom)

 

    The Uk's Submarine Industry Will Benefit from GBP285 M of Investment to Continue Design Work for the Royal Navy's Next Generation of Nuclear Deterrent Submarines.

 

The release of funding for the design work is within the existing Successor programme’s £3.3 billion Assessment Phase. The funding forms part of the MoD’s commitment to spending £163 billion on equipment and equipment support over the next 10 years to keep Britain safe. That includes new strike fighters; more surveillance aircraft; hunter killer submarines; two aircraft carriers; and the most advanced armoured vehicles.

 

The Successor programme currently employs around 2,200 people in the UK, working for BAE Systems, Babcock and Rolls-Royce. For BAE Systems alone, the funding will sustain over 1,400 jobs on a programme that has already engaged with more than 240 suppliers.

 

The work is largely based at the home of the UK’s submarine manufacturing industry in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria but also across the UK including sites in Raynesway in Derby and Bristol.

 

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said:

''The UK has been committed to a continuous at-sea deterrent for more than 45 years. This is because it is the responsibility of the British Government to protect its citizens and provide this vital line of defence. It is therefore crucial that we continue to invest in the Successor programme to be ready for a final decision on renewal next year.''

''It is thanks to our long-term economic plan that we are able to invest in this latest wave of design funding, which will help to secure the jobs of hundreds of people working across the MOD’s three main industrial partners working on the Successor programme. This underlines how important this work is to the British economy as well as the future security of the UK.''

 

As a result of today’s announcement, BAE Systems will proceed with an additional £257 million worth of design work, with a further £22 million at Babcock and £6 million at Rolls-Royce.

 

The Successor submarine is designed to be one of the most stealthy submarines in the world. It will also be the largest, safest and most technically advanced submarine ever built in the UK.

 

Under current plans, four Vanguard submarines – which currently maintain the UK’s nuclear deterrent - will be replaced from 2028.

 

Tony Johns, the Managing Director at BAE Systems’ Submarines, said:

''Designing a new, nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine is one of the most challenging engineering projects in the world today. The Successor programme is the largest and most complex project we have ever faced. This funding will now allow us to mature the design over the next 12 months to enable us to start construction in 2016.''

 

Chief of Materiel (Fleet) Vice Admiral Simon Lister said:

''Today’s announcement on the third phase of design funding is another step forward in the programme to deliver the Successor submarine.''

''Over the next year, work on the design of the submarine will draw on cutting edge capabilities in innovation, design and engineering available in the UK to ensure we are able to meet the future defence needs of the UK.''

 

All Royal Navy submarines will be based at Faslane by 2020, including the Astute and Trafalgar class attack submarines.

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11 mars 2015 3 11 /03 /mars /2015 12:35
Shaheen III missile (Photo Rafay 15 Wikimedia Commons)

Shaheen III missile (Photo Rafay 15 Wikimedia Commons)

 

March 9, 2015 Defense News (AFP)

 

ISLAMABAD — Pakistan test-fired a nuclear-capable ballistic missile on Monday, the military said, less than a week after the first high-level talks with arch-rivals India for nearly a year.

 

The military said the Shaheen III surface-to-surface missile had a range of 2,750 kilometers (1,700 miles) and can carry nuclear and conventional warheads.

 

"The test launch, with its impact point in the Arabian Sea, was aimed at validating various design and technical parameters of the weapon system at maximum range," the military said in a statement.

 

India and Pakistan — which have fought three wars since independence from Britain in 1947 — have routinely carried out missile tests since both demonstrated nuclear weapons capability in 1998.

 

Pakistan's most recent missile test came last month with the launch of a low-flying, terrain-hugging cruise missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead.

 

Indian Foreign Secretary Subrahmanyam Jaishankar visited Islamabad last week for talks with his Pakistani counterpart.

 

It was the first senior-level dialogue between the nuclear-armed rivals since their prime ministers met in New Delhi last May.

 

Relations between the two countries, always fraught, soured further last August amid a rise in clashes along their borders and a row over a Pakistani diplomat meeting Kashmiri separatists.

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9 mars 2015 1 09 /03 /mars /2015 17:30
Credits IISS

Credits IISS

 

9 mars 2015 45eNord.ca (AFP)

 

Le président américain Barack Obama a affirmé dimanche que les États-Unis quitteraient la table des négociations avec l’Iran, si un accord vérifiable sur son programme nucléaire ne pouvait pas être conclu.

 

« C’est sûr que s’il n’y a pas d’accord alors nous partirons », a déclaré M. Obama dans un entretien à la chaîne de télévision CBS, diffusé dimanche.

« Si nous ne pouvons pas vérifier qu’ils ne vont pas obtenir une arme nucléaire, que nous aurons suffisamment de temps pour agir durant une période de transition, s’ils trichent, si nous n’avons pas ce genre d’assurances, nous n’accepterons pas un accord », a-t-il ajouté.

Cette déclaration intervient au lendemain de discussions à Paris où la France s’est montrée plus réservée que Washington sur le projet d’accord en discussion avec Téhéran.

Les États-Unis avaient assuré samedi partager avec la France la même analyse dans ces négociations avec Téhéran, même si Paris a laissé transparaître des réserves, souhaitant davantage de garanties.

Selon une source proche des négociations, Paris reproche à Washington de pousser parfois de manière précipitée à un accord avec Téhéran. « In fine, il y aura une décision politique mais ce ne sera pas un bon accord, moins que ce que veut la France », a jugé cette source s’exprimant sous couvert d’anonymat.

Fin 2013 déjà, Paris s’était opposé à la conclusion d’un accord négocié entre les seuls Américains et Iraniens, et avait obtenu de renforcer de manière substantielle un compromis sur la relance des négociations.

« C’est juste de dire qu’il y a maintenant urgence parce que ça fait plus d’un an que nous négocions. Et la bonne nouvelle c’est que l’Iran s’est conformé, pendant ce temps-là, aux termes de l’accord intérimaire conclu en novembre 2013 avec les grandes puissances du P5+1 (États-Unis, Russie, Chine, Royaume-uni, France et Allemagne) », a souligné le président Obama.

« En même temps, nous arrivons à un point dans ces négociations où ce n’est plus une question de problèmes techniques mais de volonté politique », a-t-il ajouté.

Il a noté que les Iraniens avaient négocié sérieusement et que des progrès avaient été accomplis pour réduire les divergences mais que ces fossés subsistaient.

« Au cours du prochain mois nous serons en mesure de déterminer si leur régime peut ou non accepter un accord extraordinairement raisonnable, s’ils sont, comme ils le disent, seulement intéressés par un programme nucléaire civil », a jugé le président américain.

Le premier ministre israélien Benjamin Netanyahu, qui avait dénoncé avec force mardi dernier devant le Congres américain le projet d’accord avec Téhéran, a réaffirmé dimanche ses craintes.

« Je ne fais pas confiance aux inspections dans les régimes totalitaires. Et de ce fait je serais beaucoup plus circonspect », a affirmé sur la chaîne CBS le dirigeant israélien, pour qui l’accord avec l’Iran ne l’empêchera pas de se doter de l’arme nucléaire.

Les négociations sont censées aboutir à un règlement politique avant le 31 mars, alors que la finalisation technique d’un accord est espérée d’ici le 1r juillet.

L’Iran et les grandes puissances tentent de s’entendre sur un accord global autorisant certaines activités nucléaires civiles mais qui empêcherait Téhéran de se doter de l’arme atomique, en échange de la levée des sanctions internationales qui pèsent sur son économie.

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5 mars 2015 4 05 /03 /mars /2015 17:30
Qatar hosts annual NATO conference on proliferation challenges

 

04 Mar. 2015 NATO

 

Participants from nearly 50 nations across five continents met in Doha, Qatar on 1-3 March to discuss current threats and challenges posed by the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) including in the Middle East and Asia. The event provided an informal forum to exchange views on key issues ahead of the 2015 Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty Review Conference in spring.

 

The three-day event marked the very first time that the Annual NATO Conference on WMD Arms Control, Disarmament and Non-Proliferation was held outside Europe and was hosted by a partner from the Gulf. It is one of NATO’s largest outreach activities involving Alliance member states as well as partners from around the world.

“This conference is a strong demonstration of the important role that NATO attributes to engaging with partner countries here in the Gulf region,” said NATO Deputy Secretary General Ambassador Alexander Vershbow. “The case of Syrian chemical weapons shows that it is possible to meet non-proliferation challenges … Further success will require two things: first, all countries and all international institutions must play their rightful part. And second, we need an open and frank debate on what the challenges are and how we can address them.”

Other key speakers included the Defence Minister of Qatar, Major General Hamad bin Ali Al Attiyah, NATO Deputy Secretary General Alexander Vershbow, the UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, Angela Kane, and Lord Desmond Browne, former UK Secretary of Defence.

 “This first NATO WMD conference in the region reflects the full commitment of ICI partners and Qatar to increased cooperation with NATO in the fight against WMD proliferation and terrorism and to peace and security in the region,” said Major General Hamad bin Ali Al Attiyah. “The meeting comes in times of serious turmoil in the Middle East challenged by regional conflicts and terrorism,” he added.

“The security situation in both the East and the South is of particular importance for NATO Allies,” said Ambassador Sorin Ducaru, NATO Assistant Secretary General for Emerging Security Challenges. “These new challenges have been addressed by NATO in a very timely manner at the Wales Summit in September 2014 where NATO leaders reaffirmed that the proliferation of WMD and means of delivery both by states and non-state actors continues to be a serious threat of global scope,” he also stated.

 

The future of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)

Weapons of mass destruction remain a pressing security issue worldwide despite the existence of major non-proliferation treaties and disarmament conventions in the fields of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons – as not all countries are yet parties to these instruments.

NATO’s WMD conference prepared the discussions for the 2015 NPT Review Conference, which will take place at the United Nations Headquarters in New York on 27 April - 22 May and will bring together all the NPT states to review the implementation of the treaty.

The discussion also addressed the conventions prohibiting chemical and biological weapons, and the challenges created by the nexus between technological change, terrorism and WMD proliferation.

 

Dealing with CBRN risks

 

“There is a growing concern that chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) material, still not all fully accounted for in Syria and Iraq, as well as remaining material in Libya could be used by terrorist organisations, such as ISIL and Al Qaida, as ’weapons of terror’ both in countries of the region, as well as beyond,” said Wolfgang Rudischhauser, Head of the NATO WMD Non-Proliferation Centre.

NATO is engaging its wide network of partners in practical cooperation on CBRN risks and nuclear security.

Last December, for example, a CBRN training course, open to all countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council, was hosted by Kuwait.

Also in 2014, the NATO Science for Peace and Security (SPS) Programme supported a training course, led by Italy and Morocco, to introduce diplomats, army and internal security officers from Morocco and Algeria to the key concepts of nuclear non-proliferation, security and safety. Coming up in June this year, an event involving Allies and partners will be organised in Vyškov, the Czech Republic, on how best to cope with new challenges in the area of CBRN defence.

Other SPS activities seek to improve resilience to nuclear and other weapons through training and multi-year projects in both NATO and partner countries.

 

---

 

Previous NATO conferences on the challenges of WMD proliferation were held in Italy (2004), Bulgaria (2005), Lithuania (2007), Germany (2008), Poland (2009), the Czech Republic (2010), Norway (2011), Hungary (2012), Croatia (2013) and Switzerland (2014).

Qatar is one of four countries – along with Bahrain, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates – participating in NATO’s Istanbul Cooperation Initiative (ICI). Launched in 2004, ICI seeks to promote political consultation and practical cooperation between NATO and countries in the Gulf region.

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4 mars 2015 3 04 /03 /mars /2015 12:30
Arak IR-40 Heavy Water Reactor, Iran photo Nanking2012

Arak IR-40 Heavy Water Reactor, Iran photo Nanking2012

 

March 3, 2015 By John T. Bennett – Defense news

 

WASHINGTON — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday warned a joint session of the US Congress that an emerging deal over Iran's nuclear program would "inevitably" trigger war.

 

Netanyahu was interrupted numerous times by US lawmakers' wild applause. Though the Israeli leader said his appearance and remarks were not political, Republicans clearly appeared more receptive and enthusiastic about his hawkish tone on Iran.

 

At times, Netanyahu sounded like a political analyst, arguing why the terms of a potential deal that would essentially freeze Iran's nuclear arms program would threaten Israel.

 

"This deal will not change Iran for the better," he said. "It will only change the Middle East for the worst."

 

Netanyahu said if Tehran agrees to the deal reportedly offered by the United States and other global powers, it would not bring about "a farewell to arms," but rather "a farewell to arms control."

 

Israeli officials would support existing and potential new sanctions and restrictions on Iran to be lifted only if Tehran "lifts its aggression on the region and the world."

 

Facing a re-election vote back home in mere days, Netanyahu warned US lawmakers that even while dealing with sanctions, Iran is interfering in Iraq, Syria and Yemen.

 

He challenged those in the chamber to imagine what else Iran would do if sanctions were lifted.

 

“One path leads to a deal that curtails [the program] for a while. The other leads to a nuclear-armed Iran … that inevitably leads to war.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

 

"The world should demand that Iran do three things: stop its aggression against its neighbors in the Middle East," he said. "Second, stop supporting terrorism around the world. And third, stop threatening to annihilate my country, Israel, the one and only Jewish state."

 

That was among the many lines that drew a standing ovation from many in the House chamber, especially on the Republican side.

 

"If Iran wants to be treated like a normal country," Netanyahu said, "let it act like a normal country."

 

At other times, Netanyahu channeled his inner nuclear physicist.

 

He told the joint session that the emerging deal would allow Iran to retain too much of its existing nuclear infrastructure. And he warned that US and other Western powers are proposing to allow Iran to develop too many nuclear centrifuges, a key component to one day fielding an atomic weapon.

 

"If anyone thinks this deal kicks the can down the road, think again.

 

"The alternative to this deal," Netanyahu said, his voice booming as he pounded the podium with his left hand, "is a much better deal.

 

"A better deal that doesn't leave Iran with a vast nuclear infrastructure and short breakout times," Netanyahu said. "A better deal that doesn't give Iran an easy path to the bomb. … This is a bad. A very bad deal. We're better off without it."

 

That line, too, was met with loud applause.

 

Netanyahu was very much a politician mindful that his political future is on the line. As he turned toward the speech's climax, the prime minister seemed to be preparing both voters back home and one of his country's closest allies for a possible war.

 

And his message to the domestic audience was clear: I am the man to lead it.

 

"We must now choose between two paths: One path leads to a deal that curtails [the program] for a while," he said. "The other leads to a nuclear-armed Iran … that inevitably leads to war.

 

"Even if Israel has to stand alone, Israel will stand," he said to raucous applause.

 

For the latest national security news from Capitol Hill, stay with CongressWatch

 

"But I know that Israel doesn't stand alone. I know that America stands with Israel. I know that you stand with Israel," he told the US lawmakers, who erupted in wild applause.

 

The day before, Susan Rice, President Barack Obama's national security adviser, told the American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference "the bottom line is simple, we have Israel's back, come hell or high water."

 

In a slightly less hawkish tone, Netanyahu advised US lawmakers against viewing the Shiite regime in Tehran as an ally in the fight against the Islamic State, a violent Sunni group.

 

"Iran and ISIS are competing for the crown of militant Islam. … They just disagree among themselves who will be the leader of that empire," he said, adding under an Islamic "empire" there would be "no room" for Americans, Israelis, women, nor any "freedom for anyone."

 

"When it comes to Iran, the enemy of your enemy," Netanyahu said in another applause line, "is your enemy."

 

At the start of his remarks, Netanyahu attempted to tamp down talk on both sides of the Atlantic about a deepening rift with Obama and his top aides.

 

"We appreciate everything that President Obama has done for Israel," Netanyahu said at the top of his speech.

 

He expressed appreciation for Obama's moves to bolster US-Israeli intelligence sharing and his pro-Israel actions at the United Nations.

 

Netanyahu said some things Obama has done for Israel is "less well known," including forest fire aid, and military assistance last year against Hamas.

 

Though some speculated during the run up to the address that he was there to criticize Obama, Netanyahu said: "That was never my intention."

 

The prime minister, who considers himself an expert on US politics, thanked Republicans and Democrats alike for what he described as their joint support of Israel "year after year and decade after decade."

 

"I know that whatever side of the aisle you sit, you stand with Israel," he said, banging the podium as he delivered the last four words to polite applause.

 

He also praised Congress for increasing funding for the joint American-Israeli "Iron Dome" missile defense system, which his military used to great fanfare in its conflict last year with Hamas.

 

"This Capitol dome," he said, "helped build our Iron Dome."

 

But the remarks were not met with wild applause from every member.

 

Reporters who watched the speech from the House press gallery reported a visibly angry House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

 

"The unbreakable bonds between the United States and Israel are rooted in our shared values, our common ideals and mutual interests," Pelosi said in a statement.

 

"As one who values the US-Israel relationship, and loves Israel, I was near tears throughout the prime minister's speech — saddened by the insult to the intelligence of the United States as part of the P5+1 nations," Pelosi said, "and saddened by the condescension toward our knowledge of the threat posed by Iran and our broader commitment to preventing nuclear proliferation."

 

House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash., through a spokesman, told CongressWatch before the speech that he "remains troubled by the timing of the speech and the lack of coordination with the White House."

 

Initial reaction from senior Republican members was much the opposite, however.

 

"Despite the sobering nature of the remarks themselves, Prime Minister Netanyahu delivered an important message that all of Congress, indeed all of America, needed to hear," Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., said in a statement. "At this critical juncture in history, the prime minister's warnings should also be heeded by President Obama, who appears to be on a dangerous and reckless path in negotiations with Iran.

 

"Even though the administration believes that a deal with Iran is possible, I remain deeply skeptical that the country will abide by any sort of agreement reached," Cole said. "As Prime Minister Netanyahu conveyed today, Israel shares that same concern and distrust of Iran. A nuclear armed Iran is a threat to the safety of the entire West, but also poses a direct threat to the very existence of Israel, as well as to the Sunni states of the Middle East."

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8 février 2015 7 08 /02 /février /2015 07:55
photo ASN

photo ASN

 

29 Jan 2015 By: Beth Stevenson - FG

 

The French government and its ANR national research agency are looking for technology that would be used to prevent unmanned air vehicles flying over nuclear facilities, bids for which need to be submitted by 2 February. Bidding teams – which must consist of at least one research organisation – will offer technology that would ideally detect, geolocate, identify and possibly neutralise small UAVs weighing less than 150kg (330lb), ANR says.

 

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23 octobre 2014 4 23 /10 /octobre /2014 16:50
HMS Trafalgar (library image) - Picture Darren MacDonald, UK MoD

HMS Trafalgar (library image) - Picture Darren MacDonald, UK MoD

 

16 October 2014 Ministry of Defence and Philip Dunne MP

 

Five UK nuclear facilities have been confirmed as potential sites to store waste from decommissioned nuclear-powered submarines.

 

A public consultation process will run from 14 November 2014 until 20 February 2015 to help determine which site is selected.

The sites, which already hold radioactive materials, are either owned by MOD, the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) or industry. They are:

  • the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) sites at Aldermaston and Burghfield in Berkshire which are owned by MOD and run by AWE plc
  • Sellafield in west Cumbria, owned by the NDA
  • Chapelcross in Dumfriesshire, owned by the NDA
  • Capenhurst in Cheshire, which is run by Capenhurst Nuclear Services 

Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology, Philip Dunne, said:

When the submarines in the Royal Navy fleet reach the end of their lives we need to dispose of them in a way that is safe, secure and environmentally sound.

This open and transparent public consultation process provides the opportunity to work closely with local communities near to potential sites to listen carefully to their views with the aim of delivering a solution that achieves these objectives.

We value the views of those who have something to say about the submarine dismantling project. All of them will be considered properly as part of our decision-making process.

After consultation we will publish a report on our findings and after we have selected a site, we will explain why we reached that decision.

The submarine dismantling project will oversee the disposal of 27 Royal Navy nuclear submarines that are due to have left Naval service by the mid 2030’s and be defuelled, including 19 submarines that have already left service and are stored afloat at Rosyth and Devonport.

The submarines can only be completely dismantled once reactor components, which are categorised as radioactive waste, have been removed. The initial dismantling process will support up to 60 skilled jobs.

There will be a series of exhibitions and workshops close to all 5 sites - which were previously announced on a provisional shortlist on 13 February 2014, plus 2 national workshops.

The site chosen will be used for interim storage of reactor components until after 2040, when the UK Geological Disposal Facility is planned to come into operation.

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2 juillet 2014 3 02 /07 /juillet /2014 07:50
Fresh Calls to Renew Britain's Trident Nuclear Deterrent

 

01.07.14 British Forces News

 

An influential group of public figures is urging the government to press ahead with renewing Britain's Trident nuclear weapons.

 

Foreign policy think tank, The British American Security Information Council, had asked a Commission of eight foreign policy figures to investigate the options for the country's nuclear arsenal.

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9 avril 2014 3 09 /04 /avril /2014 07:35
Is India About to Abandon Its No-First Use Nuclear Doctrine?

 

April 09, 2014 By Zachary Keck

 

The BJP election manifesto suggests that India may soon adopt a more aggressive stance on nuclear weapons.

 

The presumed next Indian government could drop India’s no-first use (NFU) nuclear doctrine, if its new election manifesto is any guide.

Ahead of the start of elections in India this week, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)—which is widely expected to win a plurality of seats and form a government under Narendra Modi—released its 2014 election manifesto.

In a section entitled, “Independent Strategic Nuclear Program,” the BJP promised that, if elected, it would “study in detail India’s nuclear doctrine, and revise and update it, to make it relevant to challenges of current times.” It also stated that it would “maintain a credible minimum deterrent that is in tune with changing geostatic realities.”

The BJP is a pro-Hindu, nationalistic political party that has generally taken a much more strident stance on nuclear issues relative to the Congress Party that is currently in power. It was under BJP Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee that India conducted its 1998 nuclear tests, formally declaring itself to be a nuclear weapons state. It is widely believed that Vajpayee had been planning on testing nuclear weapons during his previous 13 day stint as India’s premier in 1996, but was booted out of office before preparations were complete.

By contrast, under the current Congress-led government, India has focused more on developing its civilian nuclear energy sector, including signing the historic U.S.-India civilian nuclear deal. Moreover, just last week Prime Minister Manmohan Singh called for a global convention in which each nuclear-armed country adopted a no-first use doctrine. This would allow nuclear weapons to be taken off hair-trigger alert and theoretically could reduce the potential for accidental launches.

In the manifesto released on Monday, the BJP sought to reframe the nuclear debate by declaring: “BJP believes that the strategic gains acquired by India during the Atal Bihari Vajpayee regime on the nuclear program have been frittered away by the Congress. Our emphasis was, and remains on, beginning of a new thrust on framing policies that would serve India’s national interest in the 21st century. We will follow a two-pronged independent nuclear program, unencumbered by foreign pressure and influence, for civilian and military purposes, especially as nuclear power is a major contributor to India’s energy sector.”

Most news reports on the nuclear section of the manifesto said that the terminology was meant to signal that a BJP government would abandon India’s no-first use (NFU) nuclear doctrine if it prevails in the elections. In its 1999 draft nuclear doctrine, written by the BJP-led government that initiated the nuclear tests a year earlier, India adopted a no-first use nuclear doctrine and pledged to maintain a defense-oriented credible minimum deterrence.

That no-first use pledge was broadly upheld in a 2003 update to the nuclear doctrine, with the caveat that India reserved the right to use its nuclear arsenal to respond to chemical and biological weapons attacks. China also maintains a no-first use nuclear doctrine, but Pakistan has stated that it may use its nuclear arsenal under a number of different circumstances including to fend off a conventional attack and even if India tries to strangle it economically. There are also widely held suspicions that Pakistan is planning to deploy tactical nuclear weapons to blunt an Indian conventional attack.

Pakistan’s position, as well as fears that China is shifting its own nuclear doctrine, has spurred calls among some Indian analysts for a rethink of its own nuclear doctrine. Shashank Joshi has called attention to an alternative nuclear doctrine outlined by the Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies (IPCS) in Delhi in 2012.

That report called for India to declare: “In adherence to a policy of no first use, India will not initiate a nuclear strike.” However, as Joshi points out, the report goes on to define initiate as “mating component systems and deploying warheads” with the possible intent of carrying out a nuclear strike. Joshi explains that this “means that if Pakistan mates its warheads to missiles as part of nuclear alerting during a crisis, it can be understood to have ‘initiated’ a nuclear strike. That denudes NFU of all meaning.” The same report advocates labeling allies of nuclear-armed countries as nuclear weapon states themselves, paving the way for India to launch nuclear strikes against them as well.

It’s unclear how Pakistan would react to India abandoning its NFU nuclear doctrine. Its options would presumably be somewhat constrained by its already aggressive nuclear doctrine. Still, there is little doubt that India’s abandonment of the NFU nuclear doctrine would heighten Pakistan’s concerns of an Indian first strike against its arsenal. This would convince Islamabad of the necessity of continuing to expand and diversify its arsenal, as well as engage in risky behavior to keep Indian defense planners guessing.

Another troubling scenario is that China would respond to a change in India’s nuclear doctrine by also loosening restrictions on the circumstances in which it would use nuclear weapons. This could in turn intensify the nuclear triangle between China, India and Pakistan. However, a Chinese response is not guaranteed as Beijing has sought to diminish India’s status by largely refusing to recognize Delhi as a nuclear weapon states.

Still, the NFU controversy underscores that the world may witness a more muscular Indian foreign policy should Modi and the BJP prevail in the current elections.

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26 mars 2014 3 26 /03 /mars /2014 08:50
Le sommet de La Haye renforce la prévention contre le terrorisme nucléaire

 

25 mars 2014 Romandie.com(AFP)

 

LA HAYE - Une cinquantaine de chefs d'Etat et de gouvernement vont renforcer mardi à La Haye les mesures destinées à empêcher des groupes terroristes de s'emparer de matériaux nucléaires qui leur permettraient de construire l'arme atomique.

 

Après une première journée dominée par la crise ukrainienne et une réunion du G7 ayant isolé la Russie, le troisième Sommet sur la sécurité nucléaire (NSS) est entré mardi dans le vif du sujet.

 

Notre objectif est d'éliminer les maillons faibles de la sécurité nucléaire, a affirmé le ministre néerlandais des Affaires étrangères Frans Timmermans.

 

Certains Etats veulent aller plus vite que les autres, à l'image des 35 qui se sont engagés à appliquer des standards internationaux plus stricts et à renforcer la coopération.

 

La sécurité nucléaire relève de la responsabilité nationale mais il est essentiel d'apprendre des expériences des uns des autres et d'appliquer les lignes de conduite de l'Agence internationale de l'énergie atomique (AIEA), appelée à jouer un rôle de plus en plus central, a soutenu M. Timmermans.

 

Cette initiative a été lancée par les Etats-Unis, les Pays-Bas et la Corée du Sud, puis signée par 32 autres pays, dont la France, la Turquie, l'Ukraine et Israël.

 

Elle représente l'avancée la plus importante du sommet, a commenté Miles Pomper, un expert au centre James Martin pour les Etudes sur la non-prolifération. Mais il serait nécessaire que la totalité des pays qui participent au sommet signent également ce texte, surtout la Russie.

 

L'autre annonce importante du sommet a été l'engagement du Japon à renvoyer aux Etats-Unis plus de 300 kilos de plutonium et près de 200 kilos d'uranium hautement enrichi qui lui avaient été fournis à des fins de recherche pendant la Guerre froide.

 

Ces matériaux sont actuellement stockés dans des bâtiments à 140 kilomètres au nord-est de Tokyo, une cible facile pour des terroristes, selon les experts.

 

En cédant ces matériaux nucléaires, nous pouvons réduire le risque de terrorisme nucléaire, a déclaré le conseiller spécial du Japon sur le nucléaire, Yosuke Isozaki.

 

- Nouveau sommet en 2016 -

 

La lutte contre la menace terroriste nucléaire est au coeur de l'héritage politique que souhaite laisser le président américain Barack Obama, qui avait lancé le premier Sommet sur la sécurité nucléaire en 2010 et devrait accueillir la 4e édition en 2016 à Washington.

 

L'enjeu est de taille car il y a presque 2.000 tonnes de matériel prêt à être utilisé dans une arme en circulation dans le monde, a rappelé le Premier ministre néerlandais Mark Rutte.

 

Dans le communiqué final, les dirigeants devaient reconnaître que des progrès significatifs ont été effectués aux cours des quatre dernières années dans la mise en sûreté des stocks d'uranium hautement enrichi et de plutonium.

 

Au delà, les débats ont également porté sur la difficulté à faire respecter les accords existants dans le nucléaire, comme l'illustre la crise ukrainienne.

 

Après son indépendance en 1991, l'Ukraine avait accepté, en signant le Mémorandum de Budapest en 1994, de se débarrasser de son arsenal nucléaire en échange de la garantie que son intégrité territoriale ne serait pas violée.

 

Dans le cas de l'Ukraine, l'assurance de la sécurité (territoriale, ndlr) était une condition essentielle à son accession au traité sur la non-prolifération nucléaire, a déclaré lundi le secrétaire général des Nations unies Ban Ki-moon. Mais ces assurances ont été sérieusement minées par les événements récents, a-t-il ajouté, en faisant allusion au rattachement de la Crimée à la Russie.

 

Les implications sont profondes, aussi bien pour la sécurité régionale que pour l'intégrité du régime de non-prolifération nucléaire, a souligné Ban Ki-moon.

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17 mars 2014 1 17 /03 /mars /2014 07:35
Image Credit Aleksey Toritsyn

Image Credit Aleksey Toritsyn

 

March 14, 2014 By Andrew Gawthorpe - thediplomat.com

 

Could China’s East Asian neighbors be tempted to seek nuclear weapons? That would be a mistake.

 

Recent events in Eastern Europe raise the issue not only of Russia’s future actions but also the lessons that will be drawn regarding other revisionist states. In East Asia, a China that is nurturing territorial ambitions of its own and has recently become less shy about asserting them will watch to see how the West reacts to Vladimir Putin’s expansionism. So will China’s East Asian neighbors, who fear they may become the next Ukraine.

One of the most potentially disturbing effects of the situation in Ukraine is the possibility it may drive nuclear proliferation. The present crisis in that country could well have been a nuclear nightmare. When the USSR was unraveling in the early 1990s, a sizeable portion of its strategic forces, along with tactical nuclear weapons, were deployed in Ukraine. Had the new Ukrainian government in Kiev taken control of these weapons upon becoming independent, it would have been the third-largest nuclear power in the world. behind only the U.S. and the Russia.

Concerned about nuclear proliferation throughout Europe if new nuclear powers were created by the Soviet Union’s demise, the U.S. pressured Ukraine to denuclearize and to return its nuclear forces to Russia. Basking in a post-independence glow and seeking U.S. support on other issues, Kiev went along. This was the origin of the so-called Budapest Memorandum of 1994, in which Ukraine promised to give up its nuclear weapons in return for Russia, Britain and the U.S. guaranteeing its sovereignty and territorial integrity. With the wholesale invasion of Crimea by Russian forces in recent days, Kiev can be forgiven for asking if the agreement is any longer worth the paper it’s written on.

Since Russia’s occupation of Crimea, a former Ukrainian foreign minister has called for his country to restock its nuclear arsenal and some Western analysts have questioned whether Putin would have acted so boldly if Ukraine still had its nuclear deterrent. The question can be expected to occur to leaders of other countries who are concerned about the territorial ambitions of their neighbors or the sincerity of Western security assurances.

The issue is of particular salience in East Asia, where China has recently been flexing its muscles in a range of territorial disputes. Regional powers such as Japan and Taiwan must be watching America’s unwillingness to forcefully confront a nuclear-armed Russia and wondering how much backbone the exhausted and drained superpower would have if China made similar moves. This is especially the case since the Obama administration’s so-called “pivot” to the Asia-Pacific seems to be much more an excuse for disengaging from the Middle East than it is a real exercise in strengthening the American alliance system in the Asia-Pacific.

Any such moves towards proliferation would be unwise. Acquiring nuclear weapons may appear to provide an effective way for countries worried about their neighbors’ territorial ambitions to deter them, but the truth is not so simple. While nuclear weapons provide an effective deterrent against an all-out attack, they are not necessarily effective in deterring lower-level conflict. Just as it is implausible to imagine that Ukraine would have responded to the appearance of balaclaved soldiers in Crimea with a first strike, so it is equally implausible to imagine any country responding to the Chinese declaration of an Air Defense Identification Zone in the same manner.

Revisionist powers are adept at nibbling away at international norms and agreements slowly and avoiding big, sweeping gestures. Countries responding to such a nibble with nuclear brinksmanship risk making their adversaries look reasonable by comparison, giving nuclear weapons questionable utility in territorial disputes. And if their use is indeed threatened and taken seriously, the result can be a dangerous cycle of escalation.

U.S. security guarantees are also much more credible and likely to be honored in the event of a conventional war than if there is a risk of the conflict going nuclear. Defending an ally who might unilaterally take the war nuclear and hence make the U.S. homeland a target for retaliatory strikes from Beijing would be risky for a U.S. president indeed. Countries in the Asia-Pacific worried about their U.S. security guarantees ought to be giving Washington more reasons to trust them and stick by them, not fewer.

A more sensible course, for both Ukraine and countries worried about China, would be to bolster their conventional military capabilities. Russia and China may be large countries, but their militaries have not been seriously tested for a long time. The prospect of a grueling, expensive and unpopular war would serve to deter both Moscow and Beijing more than the unlikely chance of a nuclear exchange. U.S. guarantees to its allies also remain more credible in such scenarios. And although events in Ukraine may have shown it is a dangerous world even for those with such assurances, further nuclear proliferation would only increase the danger further.

Andrew Gawthorpe is a teaching fellow at the Defence Academy of the United Kingdom. The views in this article are his own.

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7 mars 2014 5 07 /03 /mars /2014 13:50
HMS Vanguard - photo Royal Navy

HMS Vanguard - photo Royal Navy

 

 

6 March 2014 Ministry of Defence and Defence Equipment and Support

 

The nuclear reactor in HMS Vanguard is to be refuelled, the Defence Secretary has announced.

 

 

In an oral statement to the House of Commons, the Defence Secretary, Philip Hammond, has announced his decision to refuel the nuclear reactor in HMS Vanguard during its planned deep maintenance period which begins in 2015.

The decision comes after low levels of radioactivity were detected in a prototype core that has been running at the Naval Reactor Test Establishment at Dounreay in Scotland since 2002.

The purpose of the prototype is to help assess how the reactor cores within submarines will perform over time. It has therefore been run for significantly longer periods and at a significantly higher intensity than those cores of the same type in submarines to allow MOD to identify early any age- or use-related issues that may arise later in the lives of the operational reactor cores.

Radiation exposure for workers and discharges from the site have remained well inside the strictly prescribed limits set by the regulators. Workers therefore remain safe and the local community is not at risk.

Indeed, against the International Atomic Energy Agency’s measurement scale for nuclear-related events this issue has been classed as ‘Level 0’, described as ‘below scale – no safety significance’. The Naval Reactor Test Establishment is, and remains, a very safe and low-risk site.

The refuelling of HMS Vanguard will enable her to operate successfully and safely in the future.

During his statement, Philip Hammond said:

The safety of the UK’s naval nuclear reactor at the test establishment at Dounreay and on our submarines is of critical importance to us, as is the maintenance of continuous at-sea deterrence. That is why I have taken the decision to apply the precautionary principle, even though there is no evidence at this stage that the problem detected with the test reactor is likely to present in the operational reactors.

The refuelling will increase our confidence that Vanguard will be able to operate effectively and safely until the planned fleet of Successor submarines begins to be delivered from 2028.

The refuelling will be conducted within the currently planned dry dock maintenance period for Vanguard, which starts in late 2015 and will last for around 3-and-a-half years, and is therefore expected to have no impact on deterrent operations. The additional cost of refuelling Vanguard is estimated to be around £120 million over the next 6 years.

These low levels of radioactivity are a normal product of a nuclear reaction that takes place within the fuel, but they would not normally enter the cooling water. This water is contained within the sealed reactor circuit, and there has been no detectable radiation leak from that sealed circuit.

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29 janvier 2014 3 29 /01 /janvier /2014 17:50
De nouvelles bombes nucléaires américaines en Belgique ?

 

 

29.01.2014 Par Olivier Berger, grand reporter à La Voix du Nord. – Défense Globale

 

Une chaîne de TV néerlandaise et deux journaux flamands ont révélé qu'un accord secret entre les Etats-Unis, la Belgique et les Pays-Bas, porterait sur l'arrivée d'une nouvelle génération d'armes atomiques, des bombes B-61 de type 12, sur la base de Kleine-Brogel. Emotion et polémique politique en Belgique où l'on n'a jamais admis officiellement la détention d'armes nucléaires américaines...

 

Un spécialiste du programme nucléaire américain, Hans Kristensen de la Federation of American Scientists, a émis cette hypothèse pour 2019-2020 devant la commission de Défense de la Chambre des Etats-Unis. Il y aurait aujourd'hui une vingtaine de bombes atomiques américaines sur le sol belge. Sur les 183 déployées dans cinq pays d'Europe, a même précisé l'expert.

 

Ces bombes seraient entreposées à la base de Kleine-Brogel, située dans la ville de Peer, dans la province du Limbourg au nord, frontalière avec les Pays-Bas. La présence de troupes américaines sur cette base confirmerait cette possibilité.

 

La polémique enfle en Belgique car aucun accord de gouvernement n'évoque cette question. La Belgique n'a même jamais confirmé officiellement la présence de bombes américaines sur son sol. « Au niveau gouvernemental, nous n’avons pris aucune décision. D’aucune façon - qu’elle soit formelle ou informelle -, il n’y a eu de moment de décision », a déclaré le ministre de la Défense, Pieter De Crem, rapporte notre confrère Le Soir.

 

M. Kristensen va plus loin en imaginant que la prochaine génération d’avions de chasses belges ait une capacité de transport atomique... Ce qui paraît très peu probable malgré les liens historiques belges avec l'OTAN et les Etats-Unis (notamment le quartier général du commandement des opérations de l'OTAN au Shape à Mons). Voilà qui serait une étonnante contradiction avec le traité de non prolifération des armes nucléaires.

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11 décembre 2013 3 11 /12 /décembre /2013 12:30
Iran nuclear accord means NATO missile defence unnecessary: Russia

 

 

December 11th, 2013 defencetalk.com (AFP)

 

The accord with Iran to curb its nuclear program means a planned NATO anti-missile system in Europe, hotly opposed by Moscow, is no longer necessary, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavarov argued Wednesday.

 

Moscow fears the system would compromise its own defences while NATO says the project is meant only to protect Europe from Iranian development of long-range missiles.

 

The prospect that Iran would also develop a nuclear weapon — strongly rejected in Tehran — added to the momentum for the NATO defence system.

 

Now, if the agreement with Iran “is fully implemented… then there will no reasons to create a missile defence system in Europe,” Lavrov said.

 

Lavrov reiterated that, for Russia, the system is a major problem in relations with NATO, the military alliance set up by Washington to counter the Soviet Union in the Cold War.

 

Last month, the five permanent members of the UN Security Council — Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States — plus Germany agreed an accord with Iran to curb its nuclear programme in return for an easing of sanctions.

 

The initial deal is supposed to lead to a comprehensive accord which would bring Iran’s nuclear programme back under full international oversight to ensure it is a civilian not military project, with crippling sanctions progressively lifted.

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11 décembre 2013 3 11 /12 /décembre /2013 08:40
Russie: les forces nucléaires rééquipées à 45% d'ici la fin de 2013

 

 

MOSCOU, 10 décembre - RIA Novosti

 

Les forces nucléaires russes seront rééquipées à plus de 45% d'ici la fin de 2013, a annoncé mardi à Moscou le ministre russe de la Défense Sergueï Choïgou.

 

"Les Forces nucléaires stratégiques russes seront rééquipées en nouveaux armements et matériels à 45%, l'Armée de terre à 21%, l'Armée de l'air à 42%, la Marine à 52% et les Troupes de défense aérospatiale à 62% d'ici la fin de l'année dans le cadre de la réalisation de la commande militaire d'Etat", a indiqué M.Choïgou lors d'une réunion élargie du collège du ministère de la Défense.

 

Le ministère de la Défense œuvre en outre pour limiter le nombre des types d'armements et de matériels ayant des fonctions et paramètres techniques similaires ou identiques. "Cela permet de réduire les dépenses publiques pour l'achat et la maintenance des armements et matériels", a expliqué le ministre.

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9 décembre 2013 1 09 /12 /décembre /2013 17:35
Pyongyang posséderait un 2e site d'enrichissement d'uranium (expert US)

 

 

SEOUL, 9 décembre – RIA Novosti

 

La Corée du Nord posséderait un site d'enrichissement d'uranium en plus de son complexe nucléaire de Yongbyon, estime David Albright, scientifique américain spécialiste de la prolifération nucléaire cité par l'agence Yonhap.

 

"Compte tenu de l'expérience de Pyongyang dans la conception de l'arme nucléaire, le régime n'a pas mené tous les travaux sur le site de Yongbyon", a indiqué l'expert américain dans une interview à l'agence sud-coréenne.

 

Selon M.Albright, l'Etat communiste préparerait un nouvel essai nucléaire à base d'uranium et de plutonium. Afin de miniaturiser l'ogive nucléaire, il faudra augmenter sa puissance explosive. Le moyen le plus facile de le faire serait de "créer un grand noyau à base d'uranium et de plutonium".  D'après l'expert, le centre de ce noyau pourrait être en plutonium et son enveloppe en uranium.

 

En octobre dernier, le renseignement sud-coréen a rapporté que le site de Yongbyon, situé à 90 km de Pyongyang, aurait redémarré en août. Avant la suspension de ses activités en 2008, cette usine nucléaire produisait du plutonium. La semaine dernière, les employés d'un institut américain de recherche scientifique ont fait savoir que ce site produisait de l'uranium en vue de son enrichissement.

 

La Corée du Nord, qui s'est proclamée puissance nucléaire en 2005, a réalisé trois essais nucléaires souterrains, provoquant les protestations de la communauté internationale.

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8 décembre 2013 7 08 /12 /décembre /2013 08:30
Arak IR-40 Heavy Water Reactor, Iran  - photo Nanking2012

Arak IR-40 Heavy Water Reactor, Iran - photo Nanking2012

 

07 décembre 2013 Par RFI

 

Après l'accord de Genève qui a permis de débloquer le dossier du nucléaire iranien, et en attendant la levée partielle des sanctions européennes, censée intervenir ce mois-ci, l'Iran a invité ce dimanche 8 décembre les inspecteurs de l'Agence internationale de l'énergie atomique (AIEA) à visiter l'un des sites les plus sensibles en Iran : le réacteur d'Arak.

 

C'est à Arak, à 240 km au sud-ouest de Téhéran, que la République islamique a entrepris la construction d'un réacteur à eau lourde. Une installation qui relève de la filière plutonium et dont l'Iran assure qu'elle doit servir à la recherche médicale.

Le problème c'est qu'en Occident beaucoup doutent de cette version officielle et il plane sur le projet d'Arak le même soupçon que sur les sites d'enrichissement d'uranium de la République islamique : et s'il s'agissait d'un programme militaire destiné à produire une bombe atomique ?

 

→ A (RE)LIRE : L'Iran invite l'AIEA à inspecter le site nucléaire d'Arak

 

Le sort d'Arak a été l'un des points les plus délicats à négocier en octobre et novembre dernier, lors des longues séances de discussions entre l'Iran et ses interlocuteurs du Groupe des Six (les 5 membres permanents du Conseil de sécurité et l'Allemagne).

À l'arrivée, Téhéran a accepté de geler les travaux de construction d'Arak. Mais l'accord de Genève n'est qu'un document intérimaire. Les uns et les autres doivent désormais travailler à un règlement définitif. Et là encore, se pose la question d'Arak. Pour l'Iran, pas question de démanteler ce site. « C’est une ligne rouge », selon le chef de l'Organisation iranienne de l'énergie atomique.

 

Démantèlement

À l'inverse, aux Etats-Unis, la secrétaire d'Etat adjointe Wendy Sherman a récemment déclaré qu'elle ne voyait pas d'autre issue que le démantèlement d'Arak. « À quoi peut bien servir un tel réacteur si vous n'avez que des intentions pacifiques ? », s'est publiquement interrogée cette responsable américaine.

L'accord conclu à Genève ne devrait pas d'ailleurs avoir une incidence dans l'immédiat quant à la présence militaire des Etats-Unis dans la région. C'est en tout cas ce qu'a laissé entendre Chuck Hagel, le secrétaire américain à la Défense, lors d'une conférence sur la sécurité régionale qui se tient en ce moment à Manama.

 

 → A (RE)LIRE : Les Etats-Unis réaffirment leur présence militaire dans le golfe Persique

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4 décembre 2013 3 04 /12 /décembre /2013 17:35
INS Viraat, the lone aircraft carrier in use now, in Mumbai on Tuesday

INS Viraat, the lone aircraft carrier in use now, in Mumbai on Tuesday

 

 

4 décembre 2013, Portail des Sous-Marins

 

La marine indienne envisage de construire un porte-avions nucléaire, si les couts le permettent.

 

La marine indienne souhaite avoir 3 porte-avions mais le seul dont elle dispose actuellement, l’INS Viraat, est « vieux, dépassé et trop couteux à entretenir, » explique le chef de la marine indienne, l’amiral D.K. Joshi.

 

L’état-major de la marine prend graduellement conscience qu’il faudra probablement désarmer le porte-avions avant la date prévue.

 

Le porte-avions, âgé de 55 ans, a déjà subi plusieurs modernisations, très couteuse pour le budget de la défense.

 

Le mois dernier, la marine a admis au service l’INS Vikramaditya, l’ancien Gorshkov russe. Le porte-avions est actuellement en route vers l’Inde. Il faudra encore 6 mois après son arrivée à Karwar sur la côte ouest, pour le rendre entièrement opérationnel. Il est attendu en Inde en janvier.

 

Seuls les Etats-Unis disposent de plusieurs porte-avions, tous à propulsion nucléaire. L’importance des porte-avions en océan Indien, est l’objet d’une attention particulière pour les stratèges après la mise en service du porte-avions chinois, le Liaoning.

 

La Chine a aussi annoncé la semaine dernière la mise en place d’une zone d’identification aérienne en mer de Chine Orientale, dans une zone qui est aussi revendiquée par le Japon et la Corée du Sud. Les porte-avions sont le meilleur outil pour le « contrôle maritime ».

 

La marine indienne prendra une décision définitive sur son projet de porte-avions nucléaire IAC-2 — d’un déplacement de 65.000 t — après avoir étudié les expériences de la Grande-Bretagne et de la France.

 

L’état-major de la marine s’est fixée une échéance de 2 mois pour fixer le type de propulsion. La propulsion nucléaire donnerait une meilleure autonomie au porte-avions, mais le réacteur est cher à construire.

 

La Grande-Bretagne a abandonné l’idée de la propulsion nucléaire pour son porte-avions Queen Elizabeth II à cause du cout. La France est le seul pays, à part les Etats-Unis qui ait construit son propre porte-avions nucléaire, le Charles de Gaulle.

 

L’autre décision concerne le type d’équipements : catapulte et brins d’arrêt (comme les porte-avions américains et français) ou sky-jump (comme le britannique).

 

Le projet de porte-avions IAC-2 de 65.000 tonnes, qui pourrait être baptisé le Vishal, suivra le Vikrant, ou IAC-1, un porte-avions classique de 44.700 t actuellement en construction à Kochi.

 

Le Vikrant a été mis à l’eau en aout dernier. Il pourrait être admis au service actif en 2017. Le Viraat, le seul porte-avions dont dispose actuellement la marine indienne, serait désarmé à cette date.

 

Référence : Calcutta Telegraph (Inde)

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