23 January 2023: The Congressional Research Service releases a report on China's nuclear and missile proliferation.
❝ U.S. officials have described other concerns with regard to Chinese proliferation behavior, such as money laundering, the provision of illicit financial services, and illegitimate procurement by entities operating within China. According to a 2018 Department of the Treasury report, “Chinese entities and individuals” have engaged in proliferation financing activities “for the benefit of” Iranian and North Korean weapons of mass destruction (WMD) program. […]
China’s construction of civil nuclear reactors in Pakistan has been another source of congressional concern; the United States has argued that the projects violate Beijing’s NSG commitments. China has constructed four power reactors in Pakistan and is constructing two additional such reactors. Pakistan has IAEA safeguards agreements in force for all of these reactors. However, the NSG guidelines prohibit such projects in states, such as Pakistan, which lack IAEA safeguards on all of the country’s nuclear facilities. Islamabad’s nuclear weapons facilities are not safeguarded.
The United States argues that only the first two reactor projects are consistent with China’s NSG commitments; Beijing and Islamabad concluded contracts for these reactors before China joined the NSG in 2004. At that time, other NSG members agreed to “grandfather” only ongoing Chinese reactor projects in Pakistan, then-Assistant Secretary of State Thomas Countryman said during a May 2015 Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing. (For more information, see CRS Report RL34248, Pakistan’s Nuclear Weapons, by Paul K. Kerr and Mary Beth D. Nikitin.) ❞
Analyst's note: (1) aside from this what's revealed in this unclassified Congressional Research Service report, this analyst has concerns that China is helping a NATO member nation — which this analyst will not publicly name — to advance its missile program. (2) This analyst has long maintained that China should be designated a state-sponsor of terror unless it dials back oil/gas purchases from Iran to a level that would force Iran to cease both nuclear enrichment and missile/drone development, as China's effectively underwriting the survival of the terrorist-sponsoring Iranian regime with its purchases. (3) Obvious concerns about the NSG and IAEA safeguards (and Pakistan's increasing military-to-military closeness with Iran) notwithstanding, China continuing to be a member of the NSG while violating its NSG commitments vis-à-vis Pakistan is extremely unfair to India (see note on 7 July 2022) and undermines the entire global nonproliferation regime. China should be removed from the Nuclear Suppliers Group.
23 January 2023: Iran's Foreign Minister, Hossein Amir Abdollahian, says that Tehran might withdraw from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) if the EU follows a recommendation — passed in a non-biding resolution by the European Parliament — to add the IRGC to the EU's terrorist blacklist in response to “violent, indiscriminate, disproportionate and unrestrained” suppression of peaceful protests. As a signatory to the NPT, Iran has a binding legal obligation to honor its safeguards agreement with the IAEA and allow UN inspectors to fully verify its compliance with the treaty. Iran's withdrawal would end that cooperation and dramatically escalate tensions around its nuclear program, which UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said the previous week “has never been more advanced.”
24 January 2023: Coincidentally, one day after pointing out that these “classified documents” that are turning up everywhere are counterintelligence narrative devices (CINDs), Mike Pence's lawyer suddenly exclaims that “classified documents” were found in the Vice President's home as well.
Analyst's note: things are now clearly getting ridiculous. This is why honesty is always (eventually) the best policy. On a small scale, CINDs are useful because they allow counterintelligence investigators to notify the public that *something* is amiss without telling people what's *actually* amiss. As a virtuous lie from people who are simply trying their best (like we all are), that's theoretically acceptable in cases where there's actual oversight, but ideally the lie should be corrected once it's no longer necessary, and it should *never* be so big that it has to be reinforced (i.e., by a Vice President)… lest its discovery by the public imperil the legitimacy of the state itself.
If Trump is being honest that the FBI “planted” the documents at his home for a salacious, gratuitous, clearly-staged photo op (logic would suggest that he's possibly being honest, probably without understanding the larger picture) — perhaps for good reason (there are plenty of good reasons in this timeline to make life similarly unpleasant for Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Joe Biden, too), i.e., as a simple narrative device that the public could easily understand and digest — it still wasn't the brightest idea and it'd still be a violation of his Constitutional rights.
26 January 2023: IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi warns that Iran now has enough uranium for several nuclear weapons… 70 kilograms (154 pounds) of uranium enriched to 60% purity and 1,000 kilograms to 20% purity. All that remains is for Iran to enrich to 90%.
Grossi also claims there's “almost no diplomatic activity” over trying to restore the Iran nuclear deal, an agreement he now describes as “an empty shell,” but naively (or disingenuously) urges more diplomacy as Tehran still would need to design and test any possible nuclear weapon.
27 January 2023: At a public event, Mike Pence, who is a very kind man but a very bad liar, says that he did indeed have documents in his home. He says that he didn't know he had them, but that mistakes were made and it was absolutely wrong, that it was completely his fault, and that he takes full responsibility for it.
Analyst's note: *rolls eyes*
27 January 2023: NBC News somehow obtains a memo from four-star Air Force General Mike Minihan in which he predicts the U.S. will be at war with China in two years and tells his subordinates in Air Mobility Command to get ready to prep by firing “a clip” at a target during the month of February, telling them to “aim for the head.” In laying out his assessment, General Minihan writes
❝ SITUATION. I hope I am wrong. My gut tells me we will fight in 2025. [Chinese President Xi Jinping] secured his third term and set his war council in October 2022. Taiwan’s presidential elections are in 2024 and will offer Xi a reason. United States’ presidential elections are in 2024 and will offer Xi a distracted America. Xi’s team, reason, and opportunity are all aligned for 2025. We spent 2022 setting the foundation for victory. We will spend 2023 in crisp operational motion building on that foundation.aligned for 2025.” ❞
Describing the desired end state:
❝ END STATE. A fortified, ready, integrated, and agile Joint Force Maneuver Team ready to fight and win inside the first island chain. Maximize the use of the force and the tools we currently have and extract full value from things that currently exist. Close the gaps: C2, navigation, maneuver under attack, and tempo. ❞
Analyst's note: I concer with General Minihan that China is likely to use a distracted America to advance its geostrategic objectives. I remain concerned that China's first move (in 2024) will be to create a de facto UAV-enforced A2/AD zone in the South China Sea by unilaterally declaring an Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) there, along with seizing one or two strategic islands for future radar deployment. I further assess that 2027 is slightly a more realistic horizon for China's move on Taiwan. That operation is likely to involve a blockade of the Strait — which China has already successfully been goaded into demonstrating, via artillery, following Nancy Pelosi's visit (revealing significant amounts about the PLA's tactics, techniques, and procedures to observers like you humble analyst) — coupled with a de facto naval embargo of the island by the PLA Navy, augmented by grayzone forces in the form of coastguard, PAFMM 中国海上民兵 and conscripted commercial vessels. Projected order of battle is beyond the scope of this document.
• MEMORANDUM FOR 18 AF/CC, EC/CC, 22 AF/CC, 4 AF/CC, 618 AOC/CC, ALL AMC WING COMMANDERS https://www.airandspaceforces.com/read-full-memo-from-amc-gen-mike-minihan/
28 January 2023: The Daily Mail reports that a “Wi-fi deal 'let Beijing see Britain's nuclear secrets' after firm part-owned by China provided internet to UK military HQ”
29 January 2023: The Wall Street Journal runs a story with the headline: “China’s Top Nuclear-Weapons Lab Used American Computer Chips Decades After Ban”
❝ China’s top nuclear-weapons research institute has bought sophisticated U.S. computer chips at least a dozen times in the past two and a half years, circumventing decades-old American export restrictions meant to curb such sales.
A Wall Street Journal review of procurement documents found that the state-run China Academy of Engineering Physics has managed to obtain the semiconductors made by U.S. companies such as Intel Corp. and Nvidia Corp. since 2020 despite its placement on a U.S. export blacklist in 1997. ❞
29 January 2023: Bomb-carrying drones target an Iranian defense factory in the central city of Isfahan. According to the Associated Press, the Iranian Defense Ministry offered no information on who it suspected carried out the attack, which came as a refinery fire separately broke out in the country’s northwest and a 5.9 magnitude earthquake struck nearby, killing three people.
30 January 2023: Representative Bill Foster (D-IL), Representatives Don Beyer (D-VA), Representative Rick Larsen (D-WA), and Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) request a report to Congress regarding the government’s ongoing naval fuel research and development of low-enriched uranium-fueled reactors for submarines. (Our submarines currently run on 93.5% HEU as opposed to LEU.)
Almost as if he had someone whispering in his ear, Congressman Bill Foster wrote the following:
❝ “Reports from both the Naval Reactors office and JASON indicate that it may be feasible for the Navy to use LEU fuel for naval nuclear propulsion, as France and China already do. (ANALYST'S NOTE: FRENCH AND CHINESE SUBS ARE SLOWER THAN/LACK THE RANGE OF US SUBS. WHY IS BILL FOSTER ATTEMPTING TO STEER THE US NAVY TOWARDS LOWERING OUR STANDARDS TO ATTAIN SUBSURFACE WARFARE PARITY WITH THE FRENCH AND CHINESE?!?) To support this R&D effort, the FY2023 NDAA signed by President Biden includes an authorization of $20 million for Nuclear Fuels Development in NNSA’s Office of Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation R&D [...]
“Minimizing the global presence of HEU by reducing its use in military applications would reduce the risks associated with making and transporting HEU and demonstrate significant leadership on nonproliferation. It is more important than ever to promote the safe, secure, and peaceful use of nuclear technologies.” ❞
Analyst's note: Is it? Is it really “more important than ever to promote the safe, secure, and peaceful use of nuclear technologies?” Or is that simply very stupid DEI/ESG groupthink that's totally divorced from the reality of the intense global competition that we're now in? Maybe having our own, independent, self-sustaining nuclear fuel cycle is what's *actually* more important than ever? If promoting the safe, secure, and peaceful use of nuclear technologies were so important, why is France assisting China's MCF nuclear program?
Think about it: what more could China possibly want? The Clintons helped sell off a great deal of the production stage of our nuclear fuel cycle to Russia. Then Amos Hochstein helped to destroy our uranium enrichment capacity during the Obama administration, fostering a dangerous dependence on Russia for HEU. Now, after Hochstein's stint at Naftogaz and Hunter Biden's stint at Burisma, Ukraine and Russia are conveniently at war. (We even blew up the Nordstream 2 Pipeline that we never should have approved.) Russia and America (and the HEU that we unfortunately need from Russia) have never been further apart. Who benefits from that? China. And France, marginally, to the extent that the French have secretly betrayed the nuclear confidences of the West to the Chinese in exchange for “cooperation on climate change.”
So what's the solution to our enrichment problem? Let's not (a) decisively (or diplomatically) end the proxy war with Russia to re-secure access to the HEU that we'll need to modernize our nuclear triad and fuel our subs, or (b) embark on a Manhattan Project-scale uranium enrichment program. No, let's instead choose (c) listen to the one Congressman in all of Congress who used to work at Fermilab… a laboratory in the extremely corrupt state of Illinois which is also engaged in joint research with the Beijing Institute of High Energy Physics. Brilliant! (Pardon the sarcasm.)
Bill Foster has no business being in Congress. And he has no business asking NR for anything. The same goes for Beyer, Larsen, and Merkley. Their letter is not about “demonstrating significant leadership on nonproliferation.” Their letter is about unilateral disarmament, and if you've read this far in the timeline, then you now understand enough about the situation to realize that their letter reads as if it were written by persons intent on dismantling our nuclear industrial base (under NNSA), our naval reactors (NR), and ultimately, our strategic nuclear deterrent (STRATCOM).
Even Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear, Chemical, and Biological Defense Programs (ASD(NCB)) Rosenblum — who is also, for some reason (as of 5 February 2023), “Performing the Duties of Assistant Secretary of Defense for Industrial Base Policy (ASD(IBP))!” — is fluent in French! Surprendre! One supposes she and Robert Menaché, John Kerry, and Tony Blinken can discuss in their favorite language how to destroy America's strategic deterrent … perhaps while Susan Rice furtively cowers in the corner clutching her Legion of Honor (oh yes, and Kamala Harris speaks French, too, so she can join in as well!). And where'd Rosenblum work before? Nearly all of these interesting people who've boll weevil'ed their way into our nuclear policy are either connected to Stanford, the International Crisis Group, or the Nuclear Threat Initiative. In her case, it's the latter.
31 January 2023: In a galling betrayal of both America and his Jewish heritage — in the midst of a war in which Iran is supplying Russia with weapons — Secretary of State Tony Blinken authorizes waivers to allow Russia to continue helping Iran with its nuclear program. Congress, for its part, isn't notified of the decision until late on Feb. 3, after the Free Beacon begins making inquiries about the exemptions.
Analyst's note: it would appear that the 29 January 2023 drone bombings — which appear to have been a joint US-Israeli effort — were anticipatory of this and meant to placate those who might rightly be upset by the granting of these waivers, including Netanyahu's own constituency. Those bombings appear to have done nothing to slow Iran's sprint towards nuclear breakout.
2 Febrauary 2023: Hunter Biden's newly-retained lawyer, Abbe Lowell — who was formerly Jared Kushner's lawyer — inadvertently confirms beyond any doubt the unvarnished authenticity of Hunter Biden's infamous laptop. For reasons unknown, Hunter turned to the (allegedly Mossad-linked) lawyer for help and, shockingly, Mr. Lowell — against all better judgement — unwisely obliged. Hunter is a heckuva way to kill a career.
Analyst's note: one can barely fathom Abbe Lowell's thought process in agreeing to represent Hunter Biden. Even famed Democratic lawyer David “Black Cube” Boies — who employed Hunter at Boies Schiller Flexner LLP — was clearly smart enough to run the other way… his firm's own correspondence was exposed and yet he's clearly chosen to not represent Hunter.
For what it's worth, Lowell does attempt to walk back the confirmation of the laptop the next day, but by that point, the damage was done.
2 February 2023: Texas Department of Public Safety troopers detain the three Chinese nationals and a woman from Colombia after they illegally cross into Mission, Texas. The town lies near the southern tip of Texas, along the Rio Grande, and is a hotbed for illegal smuggling activity. The illegal migrants report having paid smugglers $35,000 to be trafficked across our porous and unsecured Southern border.
2-4 February 2023: On 2 February 2023, the Pentagon announces that it's tracking a Chinese high-altitude surveillance balloon over Montana. “The United States government has detected and is tracking a high-altitude surveillance balloon that is over the continental United States right now,” Pentagon Press Secretary Air Force Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder says during an impromptu briefing that evening. “The U.S. government, to include NORAD, continues to track and monitor it closely.” That particular area of Montana is home to a large portion of our strategic ground-based nuclear deterrent… our Minuteman III (AGM-30 Minuteman) ICBMs.
NORAD, several hours later, releases a one-paragraph statement saying that's tracking and monitoring the balloon closely. China disingenuously claims that it's merely an innocent weather balloon that's been blown off course. The balloon sparks a diplomatic crisis, with the weak and ineffectual Biden regime — eager to appease China's leaders in the name of addressing climate change — canceling Secrétaire d'État Blinken's long-planned trip to Beijing.
On 4 February 2023, the FAA issues a NOTAM covering Wilmington, Myrtle Beach, and Charleston. The ballon is subsequently intercepted by a USAF F-22 fighter jet and shot down off the coast of the Carolinas. The full list of (publicly-disclosed) military instillations that the balloon passed over/near is as follows:
Malmstrom Air Force Base (Montana): 341st Missile Wing (AFGSC)
Ellsworth Air Force Base (South Dakota): 28th Bomb Wing (AFGSC)
Joe Foss Field ANG (South Dakota): home of 114th Fighter Wing
Sioux City ANG (Iowa): National Guard Base
Offutt Air Force Base (Nebraska): US STRATCOM
Camp Ashland (Nebraska)
Lincoln ANG (Nebraska)
Whiteman Air Force Base (Missouri): Home of our B-52 bombers
Fort Leonard Wood (Missouri): Army training installation
St. Louis Army Human Resources (St. Louis, MO)
Scott Air Force Base (Illinois): Air Mobility Command
Fort Campbell (Tennessee): Screaming Eagles, the 101st Airborne
Nashville ANG (Tennessee)
Smyrna ANG (Tennessee)
Houston Barracks (Tennessee)
McGhee Tyson ANG (Tennessee)
Pope Air Force Base (North Carolina): Air Mobility Command
Fort Bragg (North Carolina): one of the largest military installations in the world
MCAS New River (North Carolina)
Camp Lejeune (North Carolina): military training facility
US Coast Guard Station Fort Macon
Subsequent reporting by Reuters notes that China's People's Liberation Army has been conducting research on balloons for some time:
❝ One paper published last April by researchers in a People's Liberation Army (PLA) institute focused on “special aircraft” said that one of the useful military applications of balloons was to test enemy air defences.
“(The balloon can) induce and mobilise the enemy's air defence system, providing the conditions for the implementation of electronic reconnaissance, assessment of air defence systems' early warning detection and operational response capabilities,” the researchers wrote. […]
While U.S. officials say that China has more discrete and sophisticated ways to gather intelligence on its rival, such as its network of spy satellites, the PLA paper also said the low cost of using balloons was one of the reasons China should further deploy them.
“In response to the growing threat posed by ground-based air defence systems to air attack forces, it is necessary to use cheap air balloons to create active and passive interference to effectively suppress enemy air defence early warning systems and cover air attack forces to carry out their missions,” it argued.
The PLA paper appeared in Shipboard Electronic Countermeasure, a journal owned by a Chinese state-run shipping conglomerate that publishes articles on topics including signals-jamming and electronic warfare.
“In order to shorten the gap with foreign countries when it comes to air-drift balloons, and to prevent China from being attacked by such weapons, we should actively carry out… research on related operational issues to enhance our military's offensive combat capability,” it said.
Some regional security analysts say balloons could also gather data on the upper atmosphere useful for China's missile programmes, or be used for high resolution photography to supplement intelligence material available via satellites. ❞
5 February 2023: China officially delivers two Hualong-1 nuclear power units — which were developed with technology stolen from the West (and/or extorted via forced technology transfer) — to the proliferative nation of Pakistan, according to the China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC).
10 February 2023: U.S. Senators Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA), Ted Cruz (R-TX), and 10 Senate colleagues introduce legislation to prohibit the Biden administration from waiving Congressional sanctions that prohibit cooperation on Iran’s nuclear program. These waivers were originally issued as a part of the Obama-Biden Iran nuclear deal, formally named the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
Analyst's note: from a nonpartisan perspective, as a matter of national security, nuclear nonproliferation, and human rights, this is objectively the correct policy. It's truly unfortunate that only Republicans signed onto this letter, especially given the Iranian regime's atrocious attacks on protestors following the murder of Mahsa Amini. It speaks volumes about the partisan sickness festering inside the Democratic Party, that they'd allow sanctions waivers on a regime whose barbaric morality police are known for beating, raping, and murdering teenage protestors.
13 February 2023: The Washington Post, in a retrospective fact-check, realizes that Hunter Biden's laptop is not Russian disinformation. Reached for comment, James Clapper tells WaPo that Natasha Bertrand (a serial purveyor of apparent state-sponsored, low-quality disinformation) deliberately distorted what those 51 disgraced, hyper-partisan former intelligence officials said. According to Clapper, they were merely trying to cautiously raise a “yellow flag” that the laptop could be Russian disinfo. (As the very suspicious, un-bar mitzvah'ed commentator Glenn Greenwald correctly notes in a Twitter thread, Clapper himself sung a very different tune during his paid dezinformatsia appearances propagandizing the American people on CNN.)
Analyst's note: that sound you hear is the sound of public figure Hunter Biden's “defamation” defense quickly crumbling.
14 February 2023: Iranian President Raisi and Chinese Communist Party Central Committee Chairman Xi Jinping meet in Beijing for leader-to-leader talks.
Former Trump administration officials rightly take note of their adversaries' meeting, and — being the decent people they are — again remind the world that China is committing genocide and that Iran is slaughtering protestors. Meanwhile, Biden administration officials and their social media allies, remain (as usual) generally silent about their friends' meeting, almost as if they fully approve of this clearly accelerating threat convergence.
Xi Jinping, a genocidal maniac who has clearly embarked on the greatest peacetime nuclear weapons buildup in human history, also calls for a quick resolution to the Iranian nuclear impasse while making clear that China won't constrain Iran's nuclear ambitions. “No matter how the international and regional situation changes, China will unwaveringly develop friendly cooperation with Iran and promote the continuous development of the China-Iran comprehensive strategic partnership,” Xi said.
Analyst's note: China's state-owned enterprises are overburdened with debt, Chinese banks are fundamentally insolvent, China's economic data is perennially unreliable… but the charade continues because nobody in a position of authority has the confidence and swagger required to simply and plainly speak the truth.
19 February 2023: Former Israeli Defence Force Lieutenant Colonel Gal Luft, currently a professor at an obscure Turkish university, is arrested for arms trafficking in Cyprus on an INTERPOL red notice requested by the United States. His alleged arms trafficking includes Libya and China. He claims in a tweet that his arrest is related to Joe, Jim, and Hunter Biden. Gal is the author of a book called “De-Dollarization.”
19 February 2023: IAEA inspectors confirm that Iran is enriching uranium to 84% purity… which is a hair under “weapons grade.” Iran had been enriching up to 60% since 2021. Major media incorrectly reports that Iran is on the cusp of enriching to bomb-grade levels. In actuality, 84% is bomb-grade.
Analyst's note: at 84%, Iran very close enough 93.5% HEU necessary for a *modern* U-235 fission bomb, if they continue making strides in refining their separative processing. At 84%, Iran has already crossed “the Hiroshima threshold” for a simple and inefficient “gun-type” bomb. The Hiroshima bomb, “Little Boy,” was a gun-type cannon that fired a shell of HEU into rings of HEU; it used 60 kilograms of HEU enriched to roughly 80%. This analyst assesses that Iran could test that type of crude gun-type device in a matter of months. The world has never been in greater danger. I strongly urge all readers to pray that our leaders react quickly and wisely to this litany of crises.
22 February 2023: A fire breaks out at the Y-12 National Security Complex uranium processing facility in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. The fire started in a uranium processing area in building 9212 on Wednesday at 9:14 a.m., Y-12 communications manager Taz Painter says in an email to Knox News. Per USA Today:
❝ Several hundred employees from building 9212 and others were evacuated. A 12:30 p.m. update from Y-12 stated all evacuated workers were accounted for and no injuries or contaminations were found.
Air monitors did not go off, which means there was no release of radioactive material, officials said. Officials said they did not yet know what caused the fire. […]
The security complex has been in Oak Ridge since 1943, when the 811-acre Y-12 was built as part of the Manhattan Project. Consolidated Nuclear Security has operated Y-12 since previous contractor B&W was fired after antinuclear protestors broke into the facility in 2012. […]
According to an August 2020 handout describing the facilities, building 9212 was completed in November 1945 to recycle uranium. It was the location of the first production of uranium metal at Y-12 and the earliest nuclear weapons production facility at Y-12. It continues to serve as one of the primary chemical processing and enriched uranium production facilities at Y-12.
A new uranium processing facility slated for completion by the end of 2025 would allow the National Nuclear Security Administration to stop certain operations in building 9212, which a U.S. Government Accountability report in 2020 called "the oldest building with the highest nuclear safety risk at the Y-12 National Security Complex," noting the building’s design predates modern nuclear safety codes. ❞
28 Februrary 2023: Bloomberg reports that China National Nuclear Corp. (CNNC) accepted delivery of some 6,477 kilograms (14,279 pounds) of highly-enriched uranium (HEU) from Rosatom on 12 December 200 for its CFR-600 nuclear plant on Chiangbiao Island in Fujian Province (see 28 December 2022). This delivery had not been previously reported publicly. Bloomberg cited the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), which obtained the data from commercial trade databases. According to the Bloomberg story:
❝ Between September and December, the RUSI data show Russia exported almost seven times as much highly-enriched uranium [HEU] to China for the CFR-600 as all the material removed worldwide under US and IAEA auspices in the last three decades.
China paid about $384 million in three installments for 25,000 kilograms of CFR-600 fuel from Rosatom in that period, according to the RUSI data, which is sourced from a third-party commercial provider and based on Russian customs records. ❞
The Bloomberg article also highlights another very important facility, which this analyst has shamefully neglected (thus far) to mention on this timeline:
❝ China is also building a desert factory in Gansu province designed to extract plutonium from the CFR-600’s spent fuel, once construction is finished in two years. Beijing ceased voluntarily reporting plutonium stockpiles to the IAEA since 2017. ❞
Analyst's note: as mentioned on 28 December 2022, each of the two fast-neutron breeder reactors at Changbiao will be capable of producing 200 kilograms of plutonium per year, which is enough for 50 plutonium pits (to be used in modern nuclear bombs) per year.
1 March 2023: CNN reports that two US Air Force commanders, and four others, have been relieved from duty at Minot Air Force Base, in North Dakota:
❝ Two US Air Force commanders and four of their subordinates at a key nuclear base in North Dakota were relieved of duty this week after their units failed an inspection designed to ensure that the nuclear weapons stockpile is safe and secure at all times, two defense officials told CNN.
The removals occurred at Minot Air Force Base, which is the only Air Force installation that houses two legs of the “nuclear triad” – ballistic missile silos and strategic bombers. The officials told CNN that the six service members were relieved of duty following the failed nuclear surety inspection at the base.
The nuclear surety inspection is a pass/fail test and the results are classified.
There is no indication that the failed inspection was related to the handling of a nuclear weapon itself. Another defense official said the failure was for “non-compliance vehicle and equipment safety inspections.”
Colonel Brus E. Vidal, director of public affairs at the Air Force Global Strike Command, would not confirm the specific nature of the inspection.
“We have deliberate and disciplined inspection protocols and we expect 100% compliance,” Vidal told CNN. “Anything less than 100% compliance is unacceptable. It’s that important to us.” ❞
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