In early November Russia stated there was no longer enough time left for Moscow and Washington to negotiate a full-fledged replacement for the New START nuclear arms control treaty before it expires in February 2021. The New START accord is the last major nuclear arms control treaty between the world’s two biggest nuclear powers. The fate of the accord has been in the spotlight since Washington recently pulled out of another landmark strategic arms accord – the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF).
The US’ Missouri Department of Natural Resources officials said over 740 of containers containing pesticides and other chemicals have made their way downstream on the Missouri River into Nebraska and Iowa following extensive flooding. These containers were suspected of carrying chemicals such as ammonia, diesel fuel, pesticides and other farm chemicals.
38 more municipalities in Colombia are now considered free of landmines and unexploded ordnance, President Ivan Duque said on Tuesday, as civilian and military efforts to remove improvised explosives continue despite ongoing conflict in some areas. More than 700 of Colombia’s 1,122 municipalities once had landmines, but 391 of those are now certified as mine-free.
In early November at least six persons, including five police commandos, were injured in a powerful IED blastin the city of Imphal in India’s Manipur province. The blast was the second in four days in Imphal. Three days earlier, an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) blast triggered by unidentified persons in the Imphal East district injured three BSF jawans.
China has begun a nationwide safety crackdown on its massive chemical industry after an official investigation into a deadly plant blast that killed 78 people and injured dozens more in March. The explosion, at the Tianjiayi chemical factory in Yancheng in eastern coastal Jiangsu province, has already resulted in the closure of dozens of small plants and China expects to relocate more than 80% of hazardous chemical production by the end of 2020.
Violence involving IED explosions has continued throughout the Middle East. Nine children were killed when a planted roadside bomb exploded as they walked to school in a northeastern province of Afghanistan in early November, and a car explosion in Kabul killed at least 7 and injured 10. An IED blast in northern Iraq killed and injured multiple Italian soldiers. Furthermore, multiple bombings took place in the Turkish-controlled areas in north-eastern Syria, killing 8 and 10 people respectively.
Iran has escalated its pressure on international actors by further scaling down its compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal. The country has announced a launch of advanced centrifuges to accelerate uranium enrichment and resumed uranium enrichment at its Fordow site which is to be elevated to the status of a nuclear site – a move specifically banned under the deal. Additionally, the country has officially taken the first symbolic steps towards building a second nuclear power plant with Russian help in the city of Bushehr.
An attack on a convoy transporting workers of Canadian gold miner Semafo in eastern Burkina Faso killed 37 civilians and wounded more than 60, when gunmen ambushed it following the military vehicle carrying them being struck by a roadside IED.
Spent fuel storage at South Africa’s Koeberg nuclear plant – Africa’s only commercial nuclear power plant – is expected to reach full capacity by April, as the state power utility Eskom awaits regulatory approval for new dry storage casks. Storage of high-level radioactive waste is a major environmental concern in the region, as South Africa looks to extend Koeberg’s life for another two decades and mulls extra nuclear power plants.