Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Group Foresees No "Real" Nuke Curbs in Short Term

Global Security News-wire, Tuesday, June 7, 2011


Group Foresees No "Real" Nuke Curbs in Short Term


The world's total quantity of nuclear warheads has fallen by more than

2,000 since 2009, but the reduction's relevance is undercut by updates

that governments are pursuing to their atomic arsenals, the Stockholm

International Peace Research Institute said in an annual report

published on Tuesday.


"More than 5,000 nuclear weapons are deployed and ready for use,

including nearly 2,000 that are kept in a high state of alert," Agence

France-Presse quoted the group as saying in the assessment, SIPRI

Yearbook 2011.


The organization said in excess of 20,500 nuclear warheads are

presently held by the eight nuclear-armed countries: China, France,

India, Israel, Pakistan, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States.


"The nuclear weapons states are modernizing and are investing in their

nuclear weapon establishments, so it seems unlikely that there will be

any real nuclear weapon disarmament within the foreseeable future,"

SIPRI Deputy Director Daniel Nord said in an interview. The five

nations deemed legitimate nuclear powers under the Nuclear

Nonproliferation Treaty -- China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom

and the United States -- have all either begun to field updated

nuclear-weapon technologies or signaled they intend to modernize their

systems, Nord noted.


The analysis says the United States held 2,150 launch-ready nuclear

warheads and 6,350 in reserve as of January, while Russia held 2,427

launch-ready warheads and 8,573 in reserve at that time. A bilateral

strategic arms control treaty that entered into force in February

would require each nation to deploy no more than 1,550 strategic

nuclear warheads by 2018.


Nord said the rivalry between nuclear powers India and Pakistan now

comprises the greatest atomic danger. The South Asia region is "the

only place in the world where you have a nuclear weapons arms race," he said.


North Korea, the report states, "is believed to have produced enough

plutonium to build a small number of nuclear warheads".

Iranian atomic activities do not yet constitute a major danger, said

Nord, who expressed greater concern about "the consequences when the

concerned states like Israel or the United States decide that they

will have to intervene and do something about the program in Iran".


The SIPRI report also warns of the threat posed to the Biological

Weapons Convention by "the increasing overlap between the chemical and

biological sciences".


Separately, Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons

Director General Ahmet Üzümcü has "established an advisory panel to

review the implementation of the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention,

with a focus on how the convention's activities should be structured

after the destruction of chemical weapon stockpiles ends, sometime

after 2012," a summary of the report says.

"Iran and Russia questioned whether the United Kingdom and the United

States had fully complied with CWC provisions for the declaration and

OPCW-verified destruction of chemical munitions recovered in Iraq in 2003.


"The parties to the CWC must achieve a clearer understanding of the

role of the convention in support of international peace and security

once chemical weapon stockpiles are essentially destroyed," the

document says. "Failure to do so risks undermining the perceived daily

operational-level value of the regime. Determining what constitutes

noncompliance with a convention obligation is a recurring theme that

states must continue to actively and constructively address"

(Stockholm International Peace Research Institute report, June 7).


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