Links – October 8, 2015

A very overhyped article on nuclear smuggling. A few things to put this in perspective: A market requires buyers and sellers. Typically these articles report on sting buyers from various law-enforcement organizations. They do not count as a market. Only one “real” possible buyer is mentioned in the article. Also, more and more of these materials are locked up every year. Russia, after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, was the largest potential source of illicit nuclear materials. In 24 years, there has been no serious incident of nuclear material getting loose. And Russia’s security has improved greatly. I commented further on Twitter: start here and here and follow the linked tweets.

David Ignatius buries the lede: The US is negotiating with Pakistan to get its nuclear weapons and delivery systems under more control in return for, possibly, a nuclear trade deal like the one made with India. Pakistan has badly wanted such a deal. It has been widely recognized as the country most likely to lose control of its nuclear weapons, so an agreement would be a significant contribution to a safer world.

Paul Goble has been covering Moscow’s attempts to place a Russian military base in Belarus. Belarus’s president, Aleksandr Lukoshenka, has been wary of Moscow since Russia’s seizure of Crimea and has said he does not want the base. Moscow continues pressuring him. This is the latest of Goble’s reports, but you can find more by searching his website. Also, beautiful bird photos from Belarus. I am thinking of visiting. Top photo is from here.

Report from Chatham House on cybersecurity at nuclear plants, and the NEI’s response. I haven’t read this yet and thus can’t comment.

An underground fire and a Manhattan-Project-era nuclear waste site are too close to each other.