Nuclear Issues

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Analysis & Opinions - U.S.-Russia Initiative to Prevent Nuclear Terrorism, Belfer Center

Applying Lessons of U.S.-Russian Space Cooperation to Revive Nuclear Security Partnership Between Moscow and Washington

| 2017-03-14

Note: This is an expanded version of an article with a similar title published 3.7.17 in the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists.

The interdependence between the U.S. and Russian space programs persists despite the fact that the two countries are now living through what some pundits describe as a new Cold War. However, there was a time not so long ago when the two nations viewed space solely as an area of strategic competition. The steps that Washington and Moscow took to transform their space rivalry into cooperation can serve today as a model for working together to help prevent nuclear terrorism, no matter how strained relations may seem.

Journal Article - 1540 Compass

Evolving State and Nonstate Proliferation Threats

| Winter 2016

UN Security Council resolution 1540 has come a long way since it was approved over a decade ago. Initially, many countries questioned the legitimacy of the Security Council “legislating” requirements for countries all over the world, and there were wide gaps in both reporting and action. Today, UNSCR 1540 is a broadly accepted part of the international landscape, only a few countries have not yet provided at least basic reporting on steps taken under the resolution, and many countries have taken action to fulfill the resolution’s requirements, ranging from enacting export control laws to strengthening security for biological pathogens.

President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe

AP

Analysis & Opinions - The Fletcher Forum of World Affairs

How Trump Can Strengthen the U.S.-Japan Alliance

| Feb. 17, 2017

Last week’s meeting between President Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe went surprisingly well, but if this summit is the baseline test of Mr. Trump’s capacity to handle foreign policy and national security challenges, then the bar may be set too low, because rising tensions in East Asia will almost surely test the administration in the future.

Strategies of Nuclear Proliferation: How States Pursue the Bomb

AP

Journal Article - Quarterly Journal: International Security

Strategies of Nuclear Proliferation: How States Pursue the Bomb

| Winter 2016/17

Understanding which nuclear proliferation strategies are available to states and how to thwart them is crucial for global security. Analysis of the strategies chosen by potential proliferators, and particularly the history of India’s nuclear program, shows how states choose among four possible proliferation strategies: hedging, sprinting, hiding, and sheltered pursuit. Each strategy has vulnerabilities that can be exploited to prevent proliferation.

Rouhani

Russia President

Blog Post - Iran Matters

A Possible Trump Administration’s Iran Policy: Constraints and Options

    Author:
  • Ephraim Kam
| Jan. 20, 2017

A key foreign affairs issue for the Trump administration will be its policy on Iran, as was the case also for the Obama administration. But we have no idea what approach it will take, an uncertainty amplified by the fact that Trump has no experience whatsoever in foreign policy, and no idea whose input he will accept in shaping it. It’s not as if we have no information about his attitude – during the election campaign, Trump made his intention on Iran very clear – but, as with other topics, it is unclear how he will act when once he is forced to translate his intentions into action and realizes that reality is far more complicated than he imagined.

Japanese Flag

Grantuking/Flickr

Analysis & Opinions - Japan Forward

Japanese Nuclear Weapons Would Make Japan Less Safe, Not More

| January 18, 2017

This is not the first time that the idea of a Japanese nuclear capability has been floated: In the late 1960s, after the first Chinese nuclear test, the Japanese government under Eisaku Sato sanctioned multiple feasibility studies on how much time and money Japan would need to develop nuclear weapons. However, these studies unanimously argued against making the political decision to build the bomb, citing the tremendous losses Japan would incur in the forms of insecurity, economic costs, and damage to its diplomatic relations in the international community.

Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant

Wikimedia Commons

Policy Brief - Foundation for Defense of Democracies

Iran Stockpiling Uranium Far Above Current Needs

| January 10, 2017

In a televised speech on January 1, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said that Tehran had imported 200 metric tons of yellowcake uranium and would import another 120 tons at an unspecified future date. The imports are permitted by the nuclear deal, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), but nonetheless significantly exceed Iran’s needs for natural (that is, unenriched) uranium over the next 15 years. Iran’s import of such high levels of uranium suggests it may be stockpiling uranium to reach nuclear breakout before the deal’s initial limitations expire in 2031.

The JCPOA permits Iran to buy natural uranium to “replenish” its stocks as it sells enriched uranium on the international market. To date, Iran has had difficulties locating a buyer for its enriched uranium stocks – unsurprising, given the current excess of commercially available enriched uranium. This, however, has not stopped Iran from buying and stockpiling more yellowcake.

Korea Wolsong Nuclear Power Plant

IAEA Imagebank

Journal Article

Improving Nuclear Safety, Security, and Nonproliferation in Northeast Asia through Multinational Approach

| December 31, 2016

Reviewing recent developments in nuclear energy, it is clear that Northeast Asian countries have become the leading customers and suppliers of nuclear technology worldwide. However, regional cooperation in the nuclear field remains inadequate when compared to the close economic interaction between these states and their need for solutions to pressing issues, such as supply assurance and spent fuel management. At the same time, with events like the Fukushima accident or the ongoing nuclear crisis in North Korea, there is an urgent demand for Northeast Asia to improve the safety, security, and nonproliferation status of the regional nuclear programs as any nuclear-related incident in any regional state will have transnational impact on the economic and social stability of the whole region.