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Greater Middle East & Africa
Nov 14, 2019 Taking Erdogan's critique of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty seriously
One topic President Trump and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan did not discuss in November but should have was the future of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT). As Victor Gilinsky and Henry Sokolski write in the Bulletin of Atomic Scientist piece, “Taking Erdogan’s critique of the Non-Proliferation Treaty seriously,” (see below) Erdogan objected to the NPT regime at the United Nations (UN) General Assembly, September 24th. Referencing the treaties recognition of only five nuclear weapon states, Erdogan stretched out to the fingers of his right hand, and to wide applause, “the world is bigger than five.” Earlier in September, Erdogan complained, "Some countries have missiles with nuclear warheads… this, I cannot accept.” His UN pronouncement makes clear that his objection to the NPT, however, is much broader than any restriction it might place just on Turkey. What Erdogan wants is a world either with no nuclear arms state or no restrictions on nuclear weapons whatsoever. Erdogan’s challenge is brassy but he has a point: either the NPT gets stronger or it goes away. Victor and Henry make the case for strengthening the NPT and suggest, at a minimum, what it might require. The alternative is to let the treaty continue to decline as leaders like Erdogan and Saudi Arabia’s crown prince Mohammed Bin Salman publicly threaten to withdraw.  
Op-Eds & Blogs
Oct 22, 2019 The Ultimate Middle East Missile Target: Nuclear Reactors
Four weeks ago, a fleet of highly precise, low-flying missiles struck Saudi Arabian oil facilities at Abqaiq and Khurais, taking out five percent of the world's oil supply. What was most significant about the attack, however, wasn't the damage it did, but the damage it presaged.  As Mark Dubowitz and I explain in "The Ultimate Middle East Missile Target: Nulear Reactors" in The Washington Examiner, missile attacks in the future could include large, nuclear reactors that once hit could produce Chernobyl-scale disasters. If Iran, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Jordan, and Egypt stick to their plans to build nuclear power plants, there will be plenty of targets to choose from.  Also, given the pinpoint accuracy of the radar-evading drones and missiles now available (think of precision measured in meters, not kilometers), these plants will be radioactive sitting ducks. The missiles need not penetrate the thick containment structure protecting the reactor's core to do real harm. Instead, they would be aimed at the reactor's control room, diesel generating building, spent reactor fuel pond, or the incoming grid electrical wires. Hit two or more of these aim points and you dramatically increase the risks of a reactor meltdown or radiological release that would force an evacuation of massive proportions.  What's the bottom line? As Mark and I write, "The lesson should be clear: Don't build more large reactors in the region. They're radioactive sitting ducks." 
Op-Eds & Blogs
Oct 04, 2019 The Nonproliferation Gold Standard: The New Normal?
Two years ago, the possibility of a U.S.-Saudi nuclear cooperative agreement that would allow Riyadh to enrich uranium or reprocessing spent fuel now seemed a sure cert. Today, at best, it seems a distant possibility. As Victor Gilinsky and Henry Sokolski write in the piece, "The Nonproliferation Gold Standard: The New Normal?" in Arms Control Today, the gold standard is no longer viewed as extreme, inpractical, or unnecessary. Just the opposite. Not only has Secretary of State Pompeo publicly stated that America wants both Riyad and Tehran to forswear enriching uranium and reprocessing spent fuel, but even the best known boosters of selling Saudi Arabia-U.S. reactors (IP3), now think acceptance of the gold standard is essential. This does not mean that the White House won't seal a deal with Riyad or that Congress will have the strength or will to demand the gold standard, but now opponents of the standard have some explaining to do.  At a minimum, three problems demand attention. First, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman announced on 60 minutes that he would be willing to violate the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty if he thought Iran had acquired a bomb. Second, the murder of Jamal Khashoggi and the Saudi government's attempted cover up raises first order questions about how trustworthy any Saudi nuclear promises might be. Finally, the Kingdom's indiscriminate bombing of Yemen has undermined congressional faith in the Crown Prince's judgement. All of these points have strengthened demands that Riyad adhere to the gold standard. There are other reasons besides, including Israel's opposition to any deal that would allow Riyad to enrich or reprocess.  Of course one can question if it makes sense for any nation in the Middle East to be building large reactors. More recently, the drone attacks against Saudi oil refining plants reinforced already strong apprehensions Middle East nations have about the military vulnerability of nuclear facilities in the region.  At the very least, if there is to be nuclear exports to the Middle East, or to any other state that lacks nuclear weapons, the gold standard provides "welcome protection" and ought to be the new normal. 
Sep 23, 2019 Victor Gilinsky at UC San Diego: "1979 Israel Nuclear Test?"
On September 23, 2019, NPEC sent Program Advisor, Victor Gilinsky to give a public lecture at UC San Diego, "1979 Israel Nuclear Test?"
Presentations; Audio & Video
Sep 22, 2019 How the 1979 Nuclear Flash Might Test Us Yet
September 22nd marked the 40th anniversary of a series of nuclear tests conducted off the coast of South Africa. Israel has long been suspected of being responsible for these tests. When these tests occured, the Carter administration was eager to deflect intelligence that confirmed they were nuclear and that suggested Israel was behind them. Since then, more information has been released making it all but impossible to deny Israel's culpability. Foreign Policy has published six pieces laying out the latest evidence. Included in those six is my own essay, "How the 1979 Flash Might Test Us Yet". In it, I explain the legal, nuclear proliferation, and diplomatic implications of the United State's unwillingness to confirm Israel's violation of the Limited Test Ban Treaty, which Israel signed and ratified. In fact, it is now illegal for U.S. officials to discuss this matter: They are all subject to a federal gag order. For a variety of reasons that I lay out in my piece, it's in everyone's interest that this order be rescinded.
Op-Eds & Blogs
Aug 25, 2019 What Enforcement of the NPT Now Requires
Earlier this month, it was reported that the White House wants a new deal with Iran that would eliminate uranium enrichment and the reprocessing of spent reactor fuel. Whatever Iran's answer to such a request might be, this principle needs near universal application if nuclear power is to remain compatible with international security. The reason why is simple: When it comes to enrichment and reprocessing, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) cannot reliably confirm military diversions in a timely fashion. If we are serious about enforcement -- the touchstone for any effective nuclear agreement -- we have to start saying "no" to civilian nuclear cooperation with non-weapon states that are unwilling to forswear enrichment and reprocessing. This piece, "Nuclear Power Must Not Lead to Nuclear Bombs," by NPEC Executive Director, Henry Sokolski, and NPEC's Program Advisor, Victor Gilinsky was published in The National Interest.
Op-Eds & Blogs
Jun 27, 2019 John Batchelor Show Interview on Nuclear Reactor Sales to Saudi Arabia
John Batchelor interviews NPEC's Executive Director on proposed US sales of nuclear reactors to Saudi Arabia.
Jun 23, 2019 Only Congress Stands Between Saudi Arabia and Nuclear Weapons
A piece by NPEC Executive Director, Henry Sokolski, and NPEC Advisor, Victor Gilinsky, on selling nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia in The National Interest called "Only Congress Stands Between Saudi Arabia and Nuclear Weapons."
Op-Eds & Blogs
May 09, 2019 No One in the Sun- and Gas-Soaked Middle East Needs Nuclear Power
A piece by NPEC's Executive Director, Henry Sokolski, and Chief Executive of Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, Mark Dubowitz, in the Washington Examiner called "No one in the sun- and gas-soaked Middle East need nuclear power."
Op-Eds & Blogs
Apr 25, 2019 UC San Diego Guest Lecture: "Nuclear Exports to Riyadh: Risky Business"
In April 2019, NPEC's Executive Director gave a guest lecture at the University of California, San Diego on the possibility of US nuclear cooperation with Saudi Arabia.
Presentations; Audio & Video
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The Nonproliferation Policy Education Center (NPEC), is a 501 (c)3 nonpartisan, nonprofit, educational organization
founded in 1994 to promote a better understanding of strategic weapons proliferation issues. NPEC educates policymakers, journalists,
and university professors about proliferation threats and possible new policies and measures to meet them.
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