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  Timeline of the Nuclear Age 2010s  2010


The Arab Atomic Energy Agency (AAEA) announces the creation of an Arab nuclear inspectors’ network.

Brazilian officials seize half a ton of uranium-rich urnaninite in an isolated rain forest region.

North Korea threatens war after a statement by South Korea that hints at invasion if there were ever a nuclear strike.

Global Zero Summit in Paris takes place.200 international political, military, spiritual, business, and civic leaders attend in order to call for a world without nuclear weapons.

Russia announces a new military doctrine which reduces the role of nuclear weapons.The new doctrine avers the “right to use nuclear weapons in response to a use of nuclear or other weapons of mass destruction against her and (or) her allies, and in a case of an aggression against her with conventional weapons that would put in danger the very existence of the state.”Whereas in 2000, Russia permitted the use of nuclear weapons “in situations critical for the national security of Russia,” now the doctrine states that they may only be used when Russia is faced with an imminent existential threat. While it is not a large departure from the old policy, the new policy limits the role of nuclear weapons, and thus sets a new tone for Russian security policy.

Russia claims that UN sanctions for Iran over uranium enrichment are possible.

The Vermont Senate votes to close the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant when its original operating license expires in 2012. Officials from Entergy, the company that owns Vermont Yankee, had been lobbying for a 20-year extension to the plant that has been plagued with high-profile accidents.

A torpedo--allegedly from a North Korean source--hit and sunk the South Korean ship Cheonan, killing 46 sailors.South Korean President Lee vowed swift and harsh economic punishment, while the DPRK stated it would respond with "all-out war."

It is announced that Iranian nuclear scientist Shahram Amiri--after disappearing almost a year prior--defected to the CIA.

G-8 leaders affirm support for the NPT.

The United States releases its 2010 Nuclear Posture Review, which will guide U.S. nuclear decisions for years to come.

The U.S. Government shifts policy on nuclear weapons, officially stating that the United States will no longer consider using nuclear weapons on a non-nuclear state as a strategic option.

U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitri Medvedev sign the New START agreement to replace the expired Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty of 1991.

The U.S. hosts the first Global Nuclear Security Summit in Washington D.C., in which 49 world leaders participated.The Summit concluded with the issuance of a Communiqué

which highlights concerns about nuclear terrorism and the adoption of President Obama's plan to secure the world's fissile material within four years.

Ukraine officials announce they will eliminate its stockpiles of highly enriched uranium.

North Korea announces it will engage in any talks about nuclear weapons only on "equal footing" with other nuclear weapons states. This signals North Korea's belief that it should be treated as a nuclear power and should only be held to the standards expected of other nuclear powers.

American officials, for the first time, release the number of nuclear weapons maintained by the U.S.According to the report, the U.S. holds 5,113 nuclear warheads which are actively deployed, in reserve, or in storage.

Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates publishes an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, in which he states that New START, an arms control treaty between the U.S. and Russia, has the unanimous support of American military officials.

Turkey, Brazil, and Iran agree to a fuel swap program in an effort to end Iranian uranium enrichment. The Vienna Group (USA, Russia, France, IAEA) ultimately rejected the deal, citing lack of transparency and accountability.

The United States deploys Patriot interceptors 70km from the Russian border.The Russians, who have always opposed any U.S.attempts at missile defense, immediately responded with a threat to place Iskander missiles in Kaliningrad.

Trinidad and Tobago and Indonesia announce plans to ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT).

Britain announces that it maintains 225 nuclear warheads, 160 of which are operational.

The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review ends.All participating nations reached a consensus, which they published in a final document.  Highlights of this document include the five nuclear powers agreeing to expedite disarmament as well as decrease the role of nuclear weapons in their respective security policies, the agreement between all parties that the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) should be entered into force, and a call for Israel’s accession to the NPT and relinquishment of all nuclear weapons.Perhaps most notably, the final document also calls for a weapons free zone in the Middle East.

The IAEA issues a report on the implementation of NPT safeguards in Iran.The group concludes that Iran is modestly increasing low enriched uranium production at Natanz, and that no progress has been made as to the intentions of Iranian nuclear activities.The IAEA also concluded that Iran lacks adequate safeguards at enrichment plants.

Reports surface that India is expanding its uranium enrichment capacity at its Rare Earth Minerals plant.

Fire breaks out at UK’s main Nuclear Trident weapons facility in Berkshire. The fire takes nine hours to extinguish, and residents of Berkshire are forced to evacuate the city.

Russia and Armenia seal a nuclear energy cooperation agreement. 

Russia begins installation of uranium-packed fuel rods into Iran's Bushehr reactor.

The International Day against Nuclear Tests is observed each year on August 29. It was established on December 2, 2009 at the 64th session of the United Nations General Assembly by the resolution 64/35, which was adopted unanimously.

Because of North Korea’s continued nuclear program, President Barack Obama signs an executive order that puts greater restrictions on North Korean finances. 

The STUXNET security worm infiltrates Iranian nuclear computers and temporarily halts production of enriched uranium.

Two employees who previously worked at Los Alamos National Laboratory are arrested on suspicion of providing information to Venezuela for nuclear development. 

Showing clear security issues, French nuclear company Areva has seven of its employees’ family members kidnapped in Nigeria while working for the company.

South Africa announces plans to cut coal reliance in half and move toward nuclear energy. 

Despite major cutbacks in nearly all sectors, the United Kingdom decides one sector that should not be cut is its budget for a nuclear arsenal. 

Increased activity at a North Korea nuclear site leads American officials to announce that North Korea may be planning for a third nuclear test. 

It is revealed that, during the Clinton Era, the nuclear launch codes were lost by the employee meant to carry the codes along with the President at all times. 

It is revealed that two Armenian spies in Tblisi, Georgia nearly escaped with highly enriched uranium that was stored in a pack of Marlboro cigarettes. Sources believe there was more uranium, but that it has yet to be found. 

North Korea reveals to a visiting delegation that it has created a 2,000-centrifuge uranium enrichment facility. North Korea also confirms that it is capable of producing uranium hexaflouride, the necessary element for reprocessing and weaponizing. 

North Korea attacks South Korea in one of the most violent border incidents since the end of the Korean War in 1953. The attack kills two soldiers and injures three civilians.

The Department of Energy releases a report, “Inspection of Allegations Relating to Irregularities in the Human Reliability Program and Alcohol Abuse within the Office of Secure Transportation”, which finds that federal agents designated to transport nuclear materials sometimes got drunk while on convoy missions.

Wikileaks, a government leak website, releases over 250,000 U.S. diplomatic cables, many of which are related to nuclear programs in the United States and worldwide.

Two Iranian nuclear scientists experience similar accidents on the same day, with one of them dying in a motorcycle accident and another being attacked in his car. The Iranian government blames foreign intervention.

North Korea begins work on developing nuclear landmines and torpedoes.

Russia announces that it has opened the world's first nuclear fuel bank. Nations, under the auspices of the International Atomic Energy Agency, can store nuclear fuel for power plants at the bank safely. 

Julian Assange, founder of the government leak website Wikileaks, threatens to release reams of documents concerning the United States nuclear arsenal should anything ever happen to him. 

Five anti-nuclear protesters are convicted and face up to 10 years in prison after cutting fence at the Kitsap-Bangor Naval Base in the state of Washington. 

The United States Senate ratifies the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START), which will reduce both US and Russian deployed strategic nuclear weapons to 1,550 each and deployed delivery vehicles to 700 each.

Three Swiss engineers are indicted for providing nuclear intelligence to Libya

A judge in Austin, Texas prevents a bill allowing corporations to dump low-level toxic waste in West Texas.