U.S. Warns IAEA on Assessing Nuclear Risks of Syria Strike

Global Security Newswire Staff
See more stories about...
Global Security Newswire Staff
Sept. 9, 2013, 12:02 p.m.

As­sess­ing the po­ten­tial nuc­le­ar dangers of U.S. mil­it­ary in­ter­ven­tion in Syr­ia could place the In­ter­na­tion­al Atom­ic En­ergy Agency in vi­ol­a­tion of its man­date, Wash­ing­ton’s en­voy to the U.N. nuc­le­ar watch­dog said on Monday.

The Vi­enna, Aus­tria-based or­gan­iz­a­tion “must de­term­ine wheth­er there is a sci­entif­ic basis for con­duct­ing a highly spec­u­lat­ive in­vest­ig­a­tion of this kind,” Am­bas­sad­or Joseph Mac­manus in a state­ment pre­pared for de­liv­ery at a meet­ing of the 35-na­tion IAEA Board of Gov­ernors.

The warn­ing fol­lowed a Rus­si­an call for the agency to con­sider how a pos­sible at­tack on its Dam­as­cus ally might cre­ate new threats in­volving loc­ally stored atom­ic sub­stances.

Mo­scow’s push for the ana­lys­is brings up a range of con­cerns tied to stat­utes, polit­ics and im­ple­ment­a­tion, IAEA Dir­ect­or Gen­er­al Yukiya Amano said to re­port­ers on Monday. “I hope people un­der­stand that [re­spond­ing] takes time,” he ad­ded, not­ing that Mo­scow had pushed for a quick an­swer from his agency.

An at­tack would risk dis­pers­ing highly en­riched urani­um to the sur­round­ing en­vir­on­ment, Rus­sia has warned. The bomb-us­able ma­ter­i­al could not be tracked fol­low­ing an aer­i­al as­sault, Mo­scow in­dic­ated, pos­sibly al­lud­ing to the ma­ter­i­al’s vul­ner­ab­il­ity to seizure by non­state act­ors.

Amano said Syr­ia’s only known re­search re­act­or does not con­tain a “big amount” of highly en­riched urani­um, but he ad­ded that ad­di­tion­al ra­di­olo­gic­al ma­ter­i­als could be in stor­age at mul­tiple Syr­i­an med­ic­al and sci­entif­ic fa­cil­it­ies.

Former IAEA safe­guards chief Olli Heinon­en said the Middle East­ern coun­try “should have sub­stan­tial amounts” of atom­ic as­sets such as ra­dio­act­ive co­balt iso­topes.

Such hold­ings could be “of a great­er con­cern, if they end up in wrong hands,” Heinon­en told Re­u­ters by e-mail. “Nor­mally they are stored in pro­tec­ted vaults.”

What We're Following See More »
CNN/ORC
Clinton Ahead by 13 in Early Going
10 minutes ago
THE LATEST

"As Donald Trump captures the mantle of presumptive Republican nominee, a new poll finds he begins his general election campaign well behind Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton. The new CNN/ORC Poll, completed ahead of Trump's victory last night, found Clinton leads 54% to 41%, a 13-point edge over the New York businessman, her largest lead since last July. Clinton is also more trusted than Trump on many issues voters rank as critically important, with one big exception. By a 50% to 45% margin, voters say Trump would do a better job handling the economy than Clinton would."

Source:
ACCEPT OR RESIST?
Wall Street Journal, Kristol Reflect Schism on the Right
18 minutes ago
WHY WE CARE

In an editorial, the Wall Street Journal sets out to relieve conservatives of the temptation to back a third-party candidate over Donald Trump. "The thought is more tempting this year than most, but it’s still hard to see how this would accomplish more than electing Hillary Clinton and muddling the message from a Trump defeat. ... The usual presidential result is that the party that splinters hands the election to the other, more united party." But in the Weekly Standard, Bill Kristol is having none of it: "Serious people, including serious conservatives, cannot acquiesce in Donald Trump as their candidate. ... Donald Trump should not be president of the United States. The Wall Street Journal cannot bring itself to say that. We can say it, we do say it, and we are proud to act accordingly."

NOT WELL FOR THE GOP
The Trump Triumph: How’s It Playing?
1 hours ago
WHY WE CARE
  • Nate Cohn, New York Times: "There have been 10-point shifts over the general election season before, even if it’s uncommon. But there isn’t much of a precedent for huge swings in races with candidates as well known as Mr. Trump and Mrs. Clinton. A majority of Americans may not like her, but they say they’re scared of him."
  • Roger Simon, PJ Media: "He is particularly fortunate that his opposition, Hillary Clinton, besides still being under threat of indictment and still not having defeated Bernie Sanders (go figure), is a truly uninspiring, almost soporific, figure. ... She's not a star. Trump is. All attention will be on him in the general election. The primaries have shown us what an advantage that is. What that means for American politics may not all be good, but it's true."
  • The editors, The Washington Examiner: "At the very least, Trump owes it to the country he boasts he will 'make great again' to try to demonstrate some seriousness about the office he seeks. He owes this even to those who will never consider voting for him. He can start by swearing off grand displays of aggressive and apparently deliberate ignorance. This is not too much to ask."
FOLLOWS UNITEDHEALTH
Humana Will Also Exit Obamacare Exchanges
1 hours ago
THE LATEST

Humana announced it plans to "exit certain statewide individual markets and products 'both on and off [Obamacare] exchange,' the insurer said in its financial results released Monday." The company also said price hikes may be forthcoming, "commensurate with anticipated levels of risk by state." Its individual-market enrollment was down 21% in the first quarter from a year ago.

Source:
‘PRESUMPTIVE NOMINEE’
Priebus Asks Party to Unite Behind Trump
13 hours ago
THE LATEST
×