422 Events

Oak Ridge National Lab

Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Seminar - Open to the Public

Unclear Physics: Why Iraq and Libya failed to build nuclear weapons

Wed., Sep. 20, 2017 | 10:00am - 11:30am

John F. Kennedy School of Government - Littauer Building, Fainsod Room, Littauer-324

Speaker: Målfrid Braut-Hegghammer, Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Oslo

Many authoritarian leaders want nuclear weapons, but few manage to acquire them. Autocrats seeking nuclear weapons fail in different ways and to varying degrees—Iraq almost managed it; Libya did not come close. In this seminar, Målfrid Braut-Hegghammer compares the two failed nuclear weapons programs, arguing that state capacity played a crucial role in the trajectory and outcomes of both projects. 

Seminar - Open to the Public

India and the NSG

Wed., Apr. 26, 2017 | 10:00am - 11:30am

John F. Kennedy School of Government - Littauer Building, Belfer Center Library, Room L369

Speaker: Ji Yeon-jung, Stanton Nuclear Security Postdoctoral Fellow, International Security Program/Project on Managing the Atom

This seminar will examine India’s strategy, agenda setting, and coalition-building to gain membership to the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) as well as India’s broad efforts to build a reputation as a major stakeholder in the nuclear nonproliferation regime as a de facto nuclear weapons state. For the last two decades, India has been steadily working to gain international acceptance of its de facto nuclear status. Following the Indo-US nuclear deal in 2008, India concluded eleven civil nuclear agreements creating an unofficial forum for India’s bid for membership in the NSG. Although India’s setback to its NSG bid at the Vienna meeting in November 2016 highlighted the challenges that India must continue to address, Ji Yeon-jung will argue that the number of achievements and engagements that New Delhi addressed in the past few years explicitly demonstrates India’s transitional status in the changing global nuclear order.

Two Pressurized Water Reactors (PWRs) under construction at the Kudankulam nuclear power plant, India.

IAEA Imagebank

Seminar - Open to the Public

Nonproliferation and Security Implications of the Evolving Civil Nuclear Export Market

Wed., Apr. 19, 2017 | 10:00am - 11:30am

John F. Kennedy School of Government - Littauer Building, Fainsod Room, Littauer-324

In recent decades, the global nuclear export market has observed a marked shift of demand from traditional customers in the Western world to developing countries, especially in Asia. At the same time, there has been a consequential decrease in industrial and financial capabilities among the once-dominant nuclear suppliers from the United States, France, and Japan. On the other hand, Russia has signed numerous contracts to introduce nuclear technology to new customers, and China will likely become another major player in this competition. In this presentation, Viet Phuong Nguyen will discuss the nonproliferation and security risks associated with the introduction of new nuclear suppliers and new recipients with lesser governance capabilities, with a focus on the implementation of safeguards and export control measures. A new contribution scheme for IAEA safeguards, and enhanced participation in the nonproliferation and export control regimes are proposed to address the potential risks of the “old” and the “new” nuclear exporters in the market, as well as the rise of the new customers.

Donald Trump speaks at the Polish National Alliance, Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2016, in Chicago.

John Locher/AP

Seminar - Open to the Public

Presidential Control of Nuclear Weapons: Then and Now

Thu., Apr. 6, 2017 | 10:00am - 11:30am

John F. Kennedy School of Government - Littauer Building, Fainsod Room, Littauer-324

United States law vests the power to control the use of nuclear weapons exclusively in the person of the President or his legal successor. The degree to which this power has been located in a single individual has come into question several times in the history of nuclear weapons, including much more recently. In this talk, I will discuss the somewhat convoluted and unintuitive history of how this system was established during the Cold War, the moments at which it has been previously called into question, and discuss some of the policy questions that seem to face us on this matter in the post-Cold War. 

Seminar - Open to the Public

Reconciling Strategic Stability Disconnects with China

Thu., Mar. 30, 2017 | 12:15pm - 2:00pm

John F. Kennedy School of Government - Littauer Building, Belfer Center Library, Room L369

Speaker: Barry Little, Research Fellow, International Security Program/Project on Managing the Atom

The speaker will discuss U.S. and Chinese perspectives on strategic stability, sticking points in the nuclear relationship, and recommendations on how to bolster stability.

Please join us! Coffee and tea provided. Everyone is welcome, but admittance will be on a first come–first served basis.

Seminar - Open to the Public

Asia-Pacific Nuclear Governance: Feeble, Fragmented but Fixable?

Wed., Mar. 29, 2017 | 10:00am - 11:30am

John F. Kennedy School of Government - Littauer Building, Fainsod Room, Littauer-324

Nuclear governance at the regional level in Asia-Pacific is alarmingly fragmented and feeble. An array of disparate, small bodies with varying memberships seek to address safety, security, nonproliferation, and disarmament, but without adding much to the global arrangements. Dr. Findlay will examine the future likely trajectory of nuclear energy in the region, the regional drivers of and constraints on strengthened regional governance, and the likelihood of a comprehensive, integrated nuclear governance regime emerging.

Oct. 25, 2012 - A SM-2 Block IIIA missile is launched from the USS Fitzgerald during the FTI-01 flight test.

Creative Commons

Seminar - Open to the Public

In the Shadow of the Umbrella: U.S. Extended Deterrence and Nuclear Proliferation in East Asia, 1961–1979

Thu., Mar. 16, 2017 | 12:15pm - 2:00pm

John F. Kennedy School of Government - Littauer Building, Belfer Center Library, Room L369

The United States has been remarkably successful at using the security guarantee as a non-proliferation tool, but during the Cold War, three countries — Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan — were in danger of slipping out from under the U.S. nuclear umbrella. Why did these states feel the need to start down the nuclear path, despite being under the protective wing of its nuclear-armed superpower ally? Relying on declassified national security archival documents, this seminar sheds light on the interplay between alliance dynamics and nuclear weapons decision making.

Please join us! Coffee and tea provided. Everyone is welcome, but admittance will be on a first come–first served basis.

Seminar - Open to the Public

Nuclear Weapons and Coercive Diplomacy

Thu., Mar. 9, 2017 | 2:00pm - 3:30pm

John F. Kennedy School of Government - Littauer Building, Fainsod Room, Littauer-324

Are nuclear weapons useful for coercive diplomacy? Since 1945, most strategic thinking about nuclear weapons has focused on deterrence - using nuclear threats to prevent attacks against the nation's territory and interests. But an often overlooked question is whether nuclear threats can also coerce adversaries to relinquish possessions or change their behavior. Can nuclear weapons be used to blackmail other countries? The prevailing wisdom is that nuclear weapons are useful for coercion, but this book shows that this view is badly misguided. Nuclear weapons are useful mainly for deterrence and self-defense, not for coercion. The authors evaluate the role of nuclear weapons in several foreign policy contexts and present a trove of new quantitative and historical evidence that nuclear weapons do not help countries achieve better results in coercive diplomacy. The evidence is clear: the benefits of possessing nuclear weapons are almost exclusively defensive, not offensive.

event

Seminar - Open to the Public

Inheriting the Bomb: Soviet Collapse and Nuclear Disarmament of Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan

Wed., Mar. 8, 2017 | 10:00am - 11:30am

John F. Kennedy School of Government - Littauer Building, Fainsod Room, Littauer-324

The disintegration of the Soviet Union in 1991 left the world's largest nuclear arsenal of some 29,000 nuclear weapons, under the sovereign power of four new states: the Russian Federation, Belarus, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan. While Russia succeeded the Soviet Union as a recognized nuclear power, the status of nuclear weapons in the three non-Russian states was more ambiguous. Whose weapons were they, what claims could these new states convincingly and legitimately make in relation to the nuclear weapons on their territory, and who would carry out Soviet Union’s arms control obligations under START I and NPT? The presentation explores how the deliberations and decisions made during and immediately after the Soviet collapse framed much of the ensuring negotiations over the fate of Soviet nuclear legacy, leading, in the end, to the denuclearization of Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan.