CND Press Roundup Monday 9th May 2022

Posted: 9th May 2022

War in Ukraine

  • The head of the CIA said there is no “practical evidence” to suggest that Russia will use nuclear weapons in the war in Ukraine. Bill Burns made the comments during an appearance at the Financial Times conference. “We don’t see, as an intelligence community, practical evidence at this point of Russian planning for the deployment or even potential use of tactical nuclear weapons,” he said.

  • The Financial Times writes on how the West “became less anxious” about Russia’s nuclear threat. Officials in Washington and European capitals believe the cost of deploying nuclear weapons is too high for Moscow, who instead is posturing to ensure NATO doesn’t get any more involved in helping Ukraine. One former nuclear policy adviser to Joe Biden, Leonor Tomero, said the whole world would be “galvanised” against Russia in the event a so-called ‘tactical nuke’ was used. “We don’t want them to miscalculate,” Tomero said. “We should make clear that it would have devastating consequences.”

  • However, former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbot poses a less optimistic scenario in The Telegraph. He asked: “How can the nuclear genie be kept in the bottle in a fight against a nuclear armed state?” His answer is for those countries supporting Ukraine to make clear that “any use of nuclear weapons would guarantee Ukraine’s immediate NATO accession. Though no threat of nuclear retaliation or of an attack on Russia itself, this would mean Ukraine would no longer fight alone and make the current battlefield impasse the best outcome Russia could hope for.”


  • The Daily Express quotes anonymous sources who claim the UK has increased the number of warheads each Trident nuclear missile carries on board its submarines. Each sub can carry a maximum of eight missiles which in turn can contain up to ten warheads each. It was believed that the subs had been carrying less than the maximum payloads, but “it was not until Vladimir Putin ordered his troops into Ukraine that steps began to be taken to increase the nuclear payloads carried by the Trident fleet,” the sources told the Express.

Iran Nuclear Deal

  • The EU’s top negotiator representing the bloc at talks aimed at renewing the 2015 Iran nuclear deal – will visit Tehran on Tuesday as part of last minute efforts to break the current impasse in discussions. Enrique Mora’s visit was announced by Iran’s Nour News, who described the visit as a chance for a “new step in constructive consultations on the few but important issues that have remained in the Vienna talks.” The ongoing deadlock to reviving the deal surrounds the inclusion of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corp on a US list of designated terrorist organisations – soemthing officials in Washington are reluctant to waiver on. Meanwhile Russia, an ally of Iran at the talks, is looking to have trade between Tehran and Moscow immune from any sanctions demands made by the US.

  • Meanwhile, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell spoke to the Financial Times about efforts from Brussels to keep the Iran deal talks moving. He said the EU was seeking a “middle way” through the negotiations, labelling the push as “the last bullet.” One suggested compromise put forward by analysts is that Washington lifts the terrorist designation from the wider Revolutionary Guards organisation, while maintaining it for the Quds force – the unit responsible for the guard’s overseas operations and who have close ties with non-state actors and militant groups in the wider Middle East.

Nuclear Korea

  • North Korea fired a submarine-launched ballistic missile on Saturday, its fifteenth missile test this year. It comes as analysts anticipate that Pyongyang will soon conduct a nuclear test between the inauguration of South Korea’s president-elect Yoon Suk-yeol on Tuesday, and a visit by US President Joe Biden to Seoul on 21st May.

  • South Korea’s liberal outgoing-president Moon Jae-in defended his record of pursuing a dialogue with North Korea – in a televised speech to mark the end of his five-year term on Monday night. “Peace is the condition for our survival and prosperity. I heartily hope that efforts to resume dialogue between South and North Korea and establish denuclearization and peace would continue,” Moon said. His successor, the conservative Yoon Suk-yeol, has previously called Moon “subservient” to North Korea, and has promised a tougher stance on North Korea’s nuclear programme.

  • CNN looks at North Korea’s missile testing in the context of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine – arguing the conflict has given Pyongyang the cover to ramp up its nuclear ambitions: “Not only will North Korea use Ukraine’s plight to bolster its narrative that it needs nukes to guarantee its survival, but leader Kim Jong-un may find that, with all eyes on the war in Europe, he can get away with more than ever.”

UK Nuclear Energy

  • Nuclear energy firm EDF has warned that the Bradwell B nuclear reactor project in Essex may collapse – unless the UK government doesn’t drop its opposition to Chinese investment. Delivering its annual report to investors, EDF said it may also need to pump billions of pounds of extra financing into the Hinkley Point C project, in the eventuality China refuses to participate in the next round of funding scheduled for next year. Beijing came on board as a close nuclear collaborator in 2015 – but has since fallen out of favour with the UK government amid allegations of corporate espionage. But with Boris Johnson looking to bet big on nuclear energy as a way out of the energy crisis, Whitehall has been left scrambling to find willing private investors to make up the shortfall in capital. 

Best wishes,

Pádraig McCarrick

Press and Communications Officer
Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament

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