What’s next on nonproliferation and international security, in Washington and around the globe.
— Oct. 27-31: People hailing from more than 100 countries are expected to descend on Abu Dhabi for the International Atomic Energy Agency’s conference on the safety and security of radioactive sources. Sunday’s opening session will include a talk by IAEA Deputy Director General Denis Flory, who heads the agency’s Department of Nuclear Safety and Security. “Radioactive sources are extensively used for beneficial purposes around the world in medical, industrial, agricultural, research and educational applications,” organizers say. “To avoid accidents or malicious acts using such sources, safety and security measures must be observed throughout their lifecycle — from the moment they are manufactured to their safe disposal.” Conference participants will discuss the current version of the Code of Conduct on the Safety and Security of Radioactive Sources, which the IAEA Board of Governors and General Conference approved in 2003.
— Oct. 28: John Limbert, former U.S. deputy assistant secretary of State for Iran, will talk at George Washington University about — you guessed it — Iran. The discussion on “New Leadership in Tehran: Time for Rapprochement?” will examine the potential for a major change in U.S.-Iranian relations, and the ways to make it happen. The conference, at the university’s Elliott School of International Affairs, is intended to build on momentum created by the election of moderate Hassan Rouhani as Iranian president and subsequent thawing of relations between the nation and Western powers. The event is sponsored by the American Iranian Council and George Washington University International Affairs Society. Additional speakers include Shireen Hunter, director of the Carnegie Endowment Project on reformist Islam; Hooshan Amirahmadi, president of the American Iranian Council; and Patrick Clawson, director of research at the Washington Institute on Near East Policy.
— Oct. 28: Iran, West Coast-style. Across the United States, former Los Alamos National Laboratory head Siegfried Hecker will speak at a Stanford University Center for International Security and Cooperation seminar that promises a “comparative look at Iran’s nuclear program.” Hecker, now a Stanford professor, has made Iran’s nuclear aspirations a focus of his research. Hecker is an expert in sundry related areas as well, and recently penned a column for the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists on North Korea’s reactivation of an old plutonium-production reactor.
— Oct. 28: U.N. High Representative for Disarmament Affairs Angela Kane will deliver the keynote address at a luncheon on “Nuclear Weapons: Threats and Solutions” at the United Nations’ headquarters in New York. Thomas Graham, co-chair of the American Bar Association’s International Law Section’s Task Force on Nuclear Non-proliferation, will serve as a respondent to Kane’s remarks. The two top experts on eliminating weapons-of-mass-destruction are poised to highlight WMD-related deliberations in the U.N. system — including the General Assembly, Security Council and treaty-based regimes such as the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and the Chemical Weapons Convention. Kane has been a major player in the U.N. investigations into chemical-weapons use in Syria. Graham has been involved in negotiating most major arms-control treaties to which the United States is a party.
— Oct. 28-29: Technical experts from Iran and six countries are expected to meet in Europe to discuss a potential plan for defusing international tensions over Tehran’s nuclear program. The expert-level talks, expected in either Vienna or Geneva, will come before the next major meeting Iran is planning to attend with senior diplomats from the five permanent U.N. Security Council member nations and Germany. Before these technical talks, Iranian diplomats are expected to meet with International Atomic Energy Agency, which wants to investigate signs the Middle Eastern nation once may have engaged in scientific activities relevant to atomic-arms development.
— Oct. 29: Leading nuclear-weapons honchos will testify before the House Armed Services Committee during a hearing that previously was scheduled for Oct. 10. Donald Cook, deputy administrator for defense programs at the National Nuclear Security Administration, Madelyn Creedon, the assistant secretary of Defense for global strategic affairs, Paul Hommert, the director of Sandia National Laboratories, and Air Force Gen. Robert Kehler, commander of U.S. Strategic Command, are slated to testify. The hearing comes as lawmakers are looking to the Obama administration to reconsider plans to upgrade certain nuclear warheads due to cost concerns.
— Oct. 29-31: The Nuclear Regulatory Commission will hold meetings with the Federal Emergency Management Agency to discuss preliminary draft changes to the “Criteria for Preparation and Evaluation of Radiological Emergency Response Plans and Preparedness in Support of Nuclear Power Plants.” The Government Accountability Office in March charged the nuclear commission “needs to better understand likely public response to radiological Incidents” at nuclear-power plants.
— Oct. 30: George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs is planning another event, this time on U.S. nuclear energy-policy and interagency efforts. Joyce Connery, the director of nuclear energy policy at the National Security Council’s Office of International Economics, will talk at the event sponsored by the Nuclear Policy Talks and Institute for Nuclear Materials Management. Organizers say: “The U.S. nuclear industry faces challenges domestically, with low natural gas prices, a post-Fukushima regulatory environment and tight capital. Internationally, the U.S. is no longer the only supplier of nuclear technology and faces competition from state-backed suppliers.” Connery is expected to discuss “the role of the U.S. government in supporting the U.S. nuclear industry and how maintaining a strong nuclear industry enhances U.S. national interests to include nonproliferation, security, safety, commerce and prosperity,” they say.