The U.S. Energy Department on Monday disclosed plans to secure hundreds of pounds of vulnerable uranium and plutonium around the world by October 2015.
In its 2014-2018 Strategic Plan, the department listed as a “priority goal” for the fiscal 2014-2015 period the removal or confirmed disposal of roughly 700 pounds of highly enriched uranium and plutonium. The document did not specify source countries for the nuclear weapon-sensitive materials, or in what quantities.
If the department’s semiautonomous National Nuclear Security Administration is able to successfully secure the plutonium and uranium, it would bring the total amount of weapons-sensitive material secured by the United States to 11,755 pounds.
The plan was released on the heels of a Nuclear Security Summit last month in the Netherlands. There the United States joined 22 other nations in pledging to comply with international guidelines for securing materials that could be used in a so-called “dirty bomb” — one capable of spreading radiation by detonating conventional explosives paired with sensitive atomic materials.
The Energy Department also outlined additional nuclear-security goals in its 32-page plan. These include:
— Finishing the disposal of 154 metric tons of unneeded domestic highly enriched uranium by the end of fiscal 2018.
— Fielding fixed radiation-detection equipment at roughly 622 global sites and providing 148 mobile radiation-monitoring systems and technology training to 44 nations before fiscal 2019.
— Safeguarding a projected 2,327 facilities containing especially sensitive atomic and radiological substances by fiscal 2018.
— Cooperating with 38 nations by the end of fiscal 2018 to enhance their respective export-control regulations to limit the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction-sensitive materials and technologies.
The department said efforts to reduce global nuclear-security threats were one of its 12 “strategic objectives.” Other objectives include ensuring a safe and reliable nuclear deterrent absent a return to testing, and the modernization of the country’s atomic national security infrastructure.
The Strategic Plan made no mention of the future of the mixed-oxide fuel fabrication facility, currently under construction in South Carolina. Energy officials earlier this year said they want to halt work on the project. They have yet to determine an alternative for the program, which is intended to dispose of surplus weapons-grade plutonium as mandated under a nonproliferation pact with Russia.
What We're Following See More »
"Two chief fundraisers for the Clinton Foundation pressed corporate donors to steer business opportunities to former President Bill Clinton as well, according to a hacked memo published Wednesday by WikiLeaks. The November 2011 memo from Douglas Band, at the time a top aide to Mr. Clinton, outlines extensive fundraising efforts that Mr. Band and a partner deployed on behalf of the Clinton Foundation and how that work sometimes translated into large speaking fees and other paid work for Mr. Clinton."
House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz plans to spend "years, come January, probing the record of a President Hillary Clinton." Chaffetz told the Washington Post: “It’s a target-rich environment. Even before we get to Day One, we’ve got two years’ worth of material already lined up. She has four years of history at the State Department, and it ain’t good.”
Priorities USA, the super PAC aligned with the Clinton campaign, which has already gotten involved in two Senate races, is now expanding into House races. The group released a 30 second spot which serves to hit Donald Trump and Iowa Rep. Rod Blum, who is in a tough race to win re-election in Iowa's first congressional district. The super PAC's expansion into House and Senate races shows a high level of confidence in Clinton's standing against Trump.
Republican House leaders are planning on taking up a vote to renew the Iran Sanctions Act as soon as the lame-duck session begins in mid-November. The law, which expires on Dec. 31, permits a host of sanctions against Iran's industries, defense, and government. The renewal will likely pass the House, but its status is unclear once it reaches the Senate, and a spokesman from the White House refused to say whether President Obama would sign it into law.
Just two weeks from Nov. 8, Donald Trump's campaign is not scheduling anymore high-dollar fundraisers, the type which usually benefit the Republican Party as a whole. The move comes as a surprise and could be a big blow to the GOP's turnout operations. Many down-ballot candidates are relying on the party apparatus to turn out voters in their districts and/or states, something that could be compromised. The last formal fundraiser occurred on Wednesday, Oct. 19.