Nautilus Peace and Security Weekly – 23 May 2013

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"Nautilus Peace and Security Weekly – 23 May 2013", NAPSNet Weekly Report, May 23, 2013,

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DETERRENCE: Handbook to support assessment of radiological risk arising from management of spent nuclear fuel, Gordon Thompson, NAPSNet Special Report, Nautilus Institute (14 May 2013)

Radioactive materials may be released from power reactor spent fuel pools by accident or attack, exposing humans to radiological risk from ionizing radiation. This handbook supports independent assessment of post-Fukushima need to change spent fuel storage practices and its exposure to attack.

Image source: DPRK: North Korea-Japan relations: the normalization talks and the compensation/reparations issue, Mark E. Manyin, Congressional Research Service Report for Congress (12 September 2002)   [PDF, 32 KB]

North Korea launched a number of artisanal (no interchangeable parts; each one is handmade) short range missiles, took a Chinese boat hostage almost exactly a year after doing so and met a Japanese senior official.  They all share the same root cause; getting around the sanctions regime.  Engaging Japan splits alliances and holds the promise of several billions of dollars in assistance IF North Korea and Japan normalize relations.

Image source: Richard Sprenger/The GuardianENERGY SECURITY: Impossible choice faces America’s first climate refugees, National Public Radio (18 May 2013)

More likely, refugees in their own lands, as water flows change, until warming helps develop Alaska. “The river is basically stealing the land out from underneath the village.” And fish shift their milieu as ocean temperatures change.  The New York Times Editorial Board’s solution? Why, carbon emission reductions by fiat, not law. It is so easy to preach for action knowing well that it won’t be coming any time soon, no matter how modest. Besides, the US has gone from “the biggest” climate polluter to merely a “major” one; portends the end of the hot (gas) war.

Image source: ReutersGOVERNANCE AND CIVIL SOCIETY: Japan tips its hand via North Korea, Peter Lee, Asia Times (21 May 2013)

The US and ROK have expressed their displeasure with Japan’s decision to unilaterally engage the DPRK without prior notice. Some analysts feel it is an attempt by Japan to leverage itself in the foreign affairs of the region—particularly as Japan has seemingly not been included in the “united front” presented by the US, ROK and China on the DPRK and the strained ties Japan is experiencing with China and the ROK over territorial and historical issues.

Image source: CHANGE ADAPTATION: Functional resilience of port environs in a changing climate – assets and operations, Prem Chhetri et al., Enhancing the resilience of seaports to a changing climate report series, RMIT University and NCCARF (2013) [2.77 MB, PDF]

In order to understand the vulnerability of port logistics operations to climate-related extreme events, a first key step is to develop a comprehensive assets register. This can then be used as the platform to inform the spatial modelling of ports and their environs, as well as enabling the development of a decision support system to assist with evidence-based port infrastructure planning and operations management.

Image source: flickr user DocJ96 (Ian Jacobs)CLIMATE CHANGE AND SECURITY: Backdraft: the conflict potential of climate change adaptation and mitigation, Environmental Change & Security Program Report, Vol. 14, Issue 2, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars (May 2013)

One potentially dangerous – but counterintuitive – dimension has been largely ignored. Could efforts to reduce our carbon footprint and lower our vulnerability to climate change inadvertently exacerbate existing conflicts? How do we ensure mitigation and adaptation strategies do not create new conflicts? How can policymakers anticipate and minimize these potential risks? More ambitiously, can these efforts actually help build peace?


The Nautilus Peace and Security Weekly Report presents articles and full length reports each week in six categories: Austral security, nuclear deterrence, energy security, climate change and security, the DPRK, climate change adaptation and governance and civil society. Our team of contributors carefully select items that highlight the links between these themes and the three regions in which our offices are found—North America, Northeast Asia, and the Austral-Asia region. 


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