Magazine article Arms Control Today

Editor's NOTE

Magazine article Arms Control Today

Editor's NOTE

Article excerpt

With oil prices high and concerns about global warming on the rise, more than a dozen countries in the Middle East have expressed an interest in pursuing nuclear energy. But recent U.S. claims about an alleged Syrian nuclear facility attacked by the Israeli Air Force illustrate one reason why these energy plans may be dangerous. The Middle East is the only region where countries have attacked and destroyed nuclear reactors.

Fortunately, none of these attacks to date has led to the deadly release of radiation from the targeted facilities. Yet, as Bennett Ramberg warns in this month's issue, that would not likely be the case if regional rivals or terrorists were able to mount a successful attack on Israel's Dimona reactor, which produces plutonium and tritium for its suspected nuclear weapons program. Ramberg urges Israel to shut down the reactor and use the closure as an opportunity to win regional support for efforts to prevent nuclear or radiological attacks.

One of the more hopeful trends in recent years has been the growing support for nuclear disarmament among the nuclearweapon states and across the political spectrum. If such efforts are to take root, however, states need to have confidence that agreements to dismantle nuclear weapons can be accurately verified. This month's issue includes two articles that focus on this question. Andreas Persbo and Marius Bjorningstad, participants in a Norwegian-British research project on the subject, take a broad look at the issues that designers of a nuclear weapons disarmament verification regime have to tackle. …

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