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from The Wall Street Journal

Waste Lands

Waste Lands America's forgotten nuclear legacy: During the build-up to the Cold War, the U.S. government called upon hundreds of factories and research centers to help develop nuclear weapons and other forms of atomic energy. At many sites, this work left behind residual radioactive contamination requiring government cleanups, but the government's own records about many of the sites unclear. The Journal compiled a database to trace this historic atomic development effort and its…

from The Japan Times

North Korea's nukes are much scarier than its hacks

While the world’s attention focuses on North Korea’s cyberwar with Sony Pictures, it is rapidly increasing its stockpile of nuclear weapons, with little pushback from the US. A new analysis of North Korea’s nuclear program estimates that North Korea could have enough material for 79 nuclear weapons by 2020. The analysis, part of a larger project called “North Korea’s Nuclear Futures” at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced and International Studies hasn't been previously published.

from WSJ

When Sub Goes Silent, Who Has Control of Its Nuclear Warheads?

When Sub Goes Silent, Who Has Control of Its Nuclear Warheads? China’s growing fleet of nuclear-missile submarines poses a delicate question: Can a highly centralized communist system entrust a submarine commander to carry nuclear weapons far from China’s shores? A Cold War episode illustrates the risks - a diesel-powered Soviet sub, the B-59, in the Sargasso Sea.

NPT Brief: Keeping Chinese Nuclear Weapons Off Hair-Trigger Alert - May 18, 2015: An overwhelming majority of NPT member states agree that keeping nuclear weapons on hair-trigger alert presents an irresponsibly high risk of an accidental or mistaken launch. The final report of the last NPT review conference, held in 2010, included a requirement to lower alert levels. The United States is doing its best to make sure that requirement is stripped from the final language of the 2015 report…

The most recent results of Kelp Watch 2014: Cesium-137 was detected in all West Coast samples at very low levels. This isotope is still detectable in the marine environment due to above-ground nuclear weapons testing that took place mostly in the 1950s and 1960s. The very low limits set on the shorter-lived Cesium-134 mean that the Cs-137 cannot be directly tied to the Fukushima releases and is more likely due to these "legacy" sources.

Sir Joseph Rotblat Nuclear physicist and Nobel peace prizewinner who quit the Manhattan Project and whose Pugwash initiative helped thaw the cold war

The original tree at Zenpukuji Temple in Tokyo is 1200 years old. It also survived a bomb in the 2nd World War and still has a big black scar running down its side. Zenpukuji was the site of the first US Consulate in Tokyo.