CSIS: Project on Nuclear Issues Newsletter


CSIS Project on Nuclear Issues


Nuclear Policy News – March 17, 2023

Middle East

Missing uranium found in Libya, military forces say
The Washington Post 
March 16, 2023
Military forces in eastern Libya said Thursday that they recovered a stockpile of uranium declared missing this week by the International Atomic Energy Agency. The barrels, containing roughly 2.5 tons of natural uranium, were found several miles from the warehouse where they were previously stored, the Libyan National Army said in a statement.

Saudi crown prince is plotting to get US nuclear secrets by playing the White House, Russia, and China off against each other, report says
Business Insider 
March 15, 2023
Saudi Arabia's de-facto ruler, Mohammed bin Salman, is trying to get better access to US nuclear technology by playing global powers against each other, Saudi officials told The Wall Street Journal. In recent months, Saudi Arabia has provoked the ire of the US, traditionally its closest international ally, while drawing closer to US adversaries including China and Russia.

East Asia
North Korea says it launched ICBM to warn US, South Korea over drills
March 17, 2023
North Korea said that Thursday's launch was its largest Hwasong-17 intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), fired during a drill to demonstrate a "tough response posture" to ongoing U.S.-South Korea military drills, state media reported. The North's ballistic missiles are banned under United Nations Security Council resolutions and the launch drew condemnation from governments in Seoul, Washington and Tokyo.

Chinese study: North Korean missile could reach US in 33 minutes
March 16, 2023
Chinese scientists are examining a potential weakness in the US missile defense system. According to the Chinese study, a North Korean missile could reach the US in 33 minutes if the US fails to intercept it. CNN's Will Ripley reports. 


Australia’s nuclear-powered submarines and ASEAN’s reaction
Al Jazeera
March 17, 2023
Australia has made its single greatest investment in military capability since World War II, signing a deal with the United States to buy three Virginia class nuclear-powered attack submarines over the next decade and two more vessels if required. Several countries in Southeast Asia – where Beijing has laid claim to almost the entire South China Sea – have expressed concern over the impact of the deal.

Chinese official asks if Australia’s Aukus nuclear submarines intended for ‘sightseeing’
The Guardian 
March 16, 2023
A Chinese embassy official asked Australian officials during an Aukus briefing whether the nuclear-powered submarines were intended for “sightseeing”, according to multiple sources. It is believed to have been made in the context of Beijing’s longstanding claims that the Aukus deal is a breach of either the letter or spirit of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). 

IAEA to inspect future nuclear-powered submarines built in Australia
The Guardian 
March 15, 2023
The UN nuclear watchdog will insist on inspecting Australia’s future nuclear submarines before and after deployments as part of a “watertight” agreement to ensure no fissile material is diverted, the agency’s chief has said. Rafael Mariano Grossi, the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said the agency and the partners in the Aukus nuclear sharing agreement – the US, UK and Australia – will hold further negotiations on how to make sure it does not conflict with their non-proliferation obligations.

United States
U.S. Says Russia Leaving Nuclear Treaty Violates Nuclear Treaty
March 17, 2023
The U.S. State Department has said that Moscow can’t just leave the last remaining nuclear weapons treaty between Russia and the U.S. if it wants to. Unilaterally leaving the treaty, it said, is a violation of the treaty itself. According to Washington, Russia is still bound by the treaty even if it said it’s not.

Russia Helping China Speed Up Its Nuclear Buildup. US Unprepared to Counter It
The Daily Signal
March 16, 2023
Policymakers are increasingly concerned about evidence of increasing cooperation between the United States’ two greatest adversaries, Russia and China. While recent discussion has focused on China providing Russia with lethal aid to support its aggression in Ukraine, a potentially more dangerous element to this budding relationship has just come into public view: Russian support for China’s nuclear buildup. China is pursuing a significant nuclear expansion as part of its strategy to supplant the U.S. as the leading global power. It recently surpassed the United States in its number of long-range missile launchers, it has tested new and novel nuclear technologies, and it is now projected to possess at least as many nuclear weapons as the U.S. does by 2035, if not sooner.

The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) is a bipartisan, nonprofit organization founded in 1962 and headquartered in Washington, D.C. It seeks to advance global security and prosperity by providing strategic insights and policy solutions to decisionmakers.

The views expressed in the articles and analysis above do not necessarily reflect those of the individual sending the newsletter, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, or the Project on Nuclear Issues.

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