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Nuclear Security Matters

Analysis on Reducing the Risk of Nuclear Terrorism

For more information on this publication: Please contact the Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation:Nuclear Security Matters,” http://www.belfercenter.org/publication/nuclear-security-matters.

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Nuclear Security Matters

Nuclear Security Matters

“There are precautions so imperative that even their universal disregard will not excuse their omission.”  Last month, at the IAEA’s International Conference on Nuclear Security:  Commitments and Actions, Kathryn Rauhut reminded participants of this finding by Judge Learned Hand in The T. J. Hooper v. Northern Barge Corporation (1932) case http://guweb2.gonzaga.edu/~dewolf/torts/pdf/TJHooper.pdf .  Judge Hand’s opinion is a pillar of U.S. tort law, but subsequent statutes (e.g. the Price-Anderson Act, and its international ilk), regulations, and international borders, complicate direct application of the “Hooper” principle to nuclear security, at least in a legally binding manner.

Nuclear Security Matters

Nuclear Security Matters

Steve Brill’s terrific article “Are We Any Safer?” – the cover of the September Atlantic – describes both the progress and the follies of homeland security in the 15 years since the tragedy of 9/11.  Brill provides a readable (and highly opinionated) overview of vulnerabilities that have been largely fixed, areas where hundreds of billions have been wasted, and remaining gaps.

Nuclear Security Matters

Nuclear Security Matters

Andrei Zolotov at Russia Direct (RD) has published an interview with U.S. Representative to the IAEA and former National Security Council Senior Director for Weapons of Mass Destruction Terrorism and Threat Reduction, Laura Holgate (LH). I have posted some excerpts.

Nuclear Security Matters

Nuclear Security Matters

In mid-July, as an attempted coup was taking place in Turkey, many in the United States wondered whether U.S. tactical nuclear weapons stored at the Turkish airbase, Incirlik, were adequately protected against theft. Congressional Research Service Nuclear Weapons Policy Specialist, Amy Woolf, recently published a short article describing some of the security systems surrounding those weapons.

Nuclear Security Matters

Nuclear Security Matters

On May 8, after more than a decade, the 2005 amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (CPPNM) entered into force.The amendment summarizes nuclear security principles and obligates states to develop rules and regulations for physical protection.

Nuclear Security Matters

Nuclear Security Matters

Matthew Bunn and Gary Samore just published an op-ed arguing that the program to build a factory that converts excess plutonium from dismantled nuclear weapons into plutonium-uranium mixed oxide fuel for nuclear reactors has become too expensive. Although the two helped to launch the program in the mid-90s, they argue "It is time to stop throwing good money after bad and pursue cheaper alternatives that will serve our national security better" and "whatever we do with this plutonium in the long term, we should move to put it under international monitoring, and commit never again to use it in weapons..." You can read their complete argument here.

Nuclear Security Matters

Nuclear Security Matters

The Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism (GICNT) is an informal international partnership dedicated to combatting nuclear and radiological terrorism. It was launched by Russia and the US at the G8 meeting in 2006, based on their shared concern about that threat, as well as determination to develop partnership capacity to address it. Over time, the GICNT has evolved into a vibrant international partnership with an action-oriented approach to enhancing nuclear security within and among its 86 partner states.

Nuclear Security Matters

Nuclear Security Matters

The sports world was recently in a tizzy over revelations by the former head of Russia’s anti-doping laboratory – who has now fled the country – that he helped run a massive doping operation and cover-up that contributed to Russia’s impressive haul of medals at the 2014 Olympics.  (Russian officials and athletes denied the charges.)

Nuclear Security Matters

India and the Nuclear Security Summit

    Author:
  • Rajeswari Pillai Rajagopalan
| Apr. 26, 2016

Nuclear Security Matters

The fourth and final Nuclear Security Summit took place in Washington DC from March 31-April 01, 2016.  Despite the initial apprehension about the summits in certain parts of the world, it has been a useful process.  With more than 50 countries represented from across the world, the summits elevated the level of awareness of nuclear security. Leaders of established nuclear states began to think about nuclear security in a new way, reducing complacency about the risks of terrorism and sabotage.  This thinking took shape in national and multilateral commitments in areas including nuclear security regulation, physical protection of nuclear materials, nuclear forensics, protection against nuclear smuggling, and insider threats and nuclear terrorism.