Monday’s Roll-up of Nuclear & Missile News
North Korea to shutdown nuclear plant by July 2007. Russia’s Interfax news agency is reporting this AM that North korea will be shutting down and sealing up its controversial nuclear plant by July. This is the plant that serves as North Korea’s main nuclear reactor and source for weapons grade plutonium. The development comes on the heels of the announcement over the weekend that IAEA reps will be invited to watch the shutdown and later to re-visit the site once the reactor is sealed. The move comes following the release last week of the funds blocked in Macau for almost two years due to suspicions of links to illicit activity by the North. US nuclear envoy, Chris Hill, in a separate statement is confirming progress this morning as well.
China: Pushing Forward on Developing Heavier Lift Rockets. In an article found in the International Herald Tribune today, China announced its intention to build heavier lift rockets capable of lifting components to assemble a space station and put a man on the moon by 2015. To accomplish this, the Long March series of current space launch vehicles will have to be drastically upgraded from 9.5 tons lift capacity to over 25 tons.
Iran says Russia to drop Radar Sharing Plan. Foreign Ministry Spokesman Mohammad-Ali Hosseini said Sunday that Tehran has received signals Russia would drop its plan to share the use of the Gabala radar station in Azerbaijan with the US to ensure better protection against a possible Iranian missile threat. The spokesman told reporters in Tehran that in meetings with the ambassadors of Russia and Azerbaijan there have been signals that Russian President Vladimir Putin would not allow the plan to be implemented for avoiding further regional instability.