The development is likely to make American military chiefs extremely nervous.
Previous reports have indicated the Dongfeng-41 could be operational at some point during 2016.
Mark Stokes, an expert on the Chinese military and ex-Pentagon analyst, said: “China and Russia are increasingly coordinating their military forces against the United States and that China’s program of enabling North Korea and Iran to become nuclear missile powers is nearing completion.”
A number of states near China are now armed with weapons of mass destruction.
Just days after Washington hosted a summit of world leaders to confront the threat of nuclear terrorism, Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs hosted American officials for a two-day joint workshop on the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD).
The joint training program took place in Haifa this Tuesday and Wednesday, and brought together officials from multiple ministries and agencies in both the United States and Israel.
Made in conjunction with the US State Department, the workshop was part of the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI), an international effort to prevent the spread and use of weapons of mass destruction and delivery vehicles including ballistic missiles.
As part of the workshop, US and Israeli officials participated in simulated, scenario-based interdiction table top exercises (TTX), with instruction given on courses of action for inspecting, identifying, and safely removing WMD.
The bilateral Israel-US training exercise focused on threats from ballistic missiles, the use of WMDs by terror organizations, and nuclear weapons.
The Council for Higher Education is starting a new program to recruit seven new nuclear scientists.
According to documents obtained by Walla! news, the project is designed to “rehabilitate the nuclear physics research and instruction for the national need.”
A budget of seven million shekels ($1.8 million US) has been set aside to find the candidates, who will be chosen from outstanding physics graduate students. Those selected will receive generous scholarships and will become university faculty members within three years. According to the Council, two will be picked next year, followed by another two in 2018 and the final three in 2019.
An inside source explained to Walla! that Israel is falling behind in the field of nuclear engineering. “Israeli nuclear research needs to bring people into this field.”
He added that the scientists will be affiliated with universities, but that their work could also involve national security issues. “These people are performing research, but part of their experiments will be with the nuclear reactor in Dimona.”
Education Minister Naftali Bennett (Jewish Home), who also heads the Council for Higher Education, has commented: “These grants join a series of scholarships that we give to advance excellence in research in various fields. Promoting achievements in physics is a national need no less than an academic need. The field of physics, in addition to being essential research, will help developments in numerous fields that are better left unsaid.”
Israel built two nuclear reactors in the 1960s, one in Nahal Sorek and the second in Dimona. Foreign sources claim that Israel has also developed nuclear weapons, though Jerusalem maintains a policy of nuclear ambiguity, refusing to either confirm or deny the reports.
A small fire ignited early Wednesday in one of the pump motors for TVA’s newest reactors, forcing the federal utility to declare the lowest of emergency classifications at the plant even before it has produced any power. TVA crews were testing equipment in its Watts Bar Unit 2 reactor Wednesday when the fire was noticed at 3:42 a.m. in one of the three hotwell pump motors used in the turbine building on the non-nuclear side of the new unit. The fire was extinguished within 19 minutes, but TVA was still required to declare a “Notice of an Unusual Event” — the lowest of the four NRC emergency classifications. The notice was exited by 5:08 a.m. after operators confirmed that all plant systems were operating as designed. “Plant personnel extinguished the motor fire, and there was no danger to the public,” TVA spokesman Jim Hopson said. “Other Watts Bar Unit 2 systems were unaffected. Watts Bar Unit 1 was also unaffected and remained safely online throughout the event.” Joey Ledford, a spokesman for the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, said utilities are required to make such notifications when there is a fire in any part of a nuclear plant. NRC inspectors are still evaluating the incident, but Hopson said he did not expect the fire to set back plans to begin generating limited power at the Watts Bar Unit 2 within the next month. “We have to complete our evaluation of what happened, but on the surface this does not appear to be something that should significantly affect the startup of this unit,” Hopson said. TVA plans to have the new reactor in full production as a commercial nuclear unit by June. Hopson said the fire was isolated to the pump motor area and did not affect other plant equipment or have any impact on Watts Bar’s other operating nuclear reactor. Hotwell pumps are part of the unit’s condenser system and help recirculate water condensed from steam after it passes through the turbines used to generate electricity. They are located on the power generation side of the plant and are not directly associated with the reactor or with the reactor cooling system. The Watts Bar Unit 2 reactor will be the first new nuclear reactor added to America’s nuclear grid since the other Watts Bar unit started up in 1996. TVA has spent more than $5 billion to build the unit through a series of starts and stops in construction since the project began in 1973.