The overarching question imparting urgency to this exploration is: Can U.S.-Russian contention in cyberspace cause the two nuclear superpowers to stumble into war? In considering this question we were constantly reminded of recent comments by a prominent U.S. arms control expert: At least as dangerous as the risk of an actual cyberattack, he observed, is cyber operations’ “blurring of the line between peace and war.” Or, as Nye wrote, “in the cyber realm, the difference between a weapon and a non-weapon may come down to a single line of code, or simply the intent of a computer program’s user.”
In the aftermath of the March 2011 Fukushima Daiichi accident, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission maintained that U.S. reactors were safe, but also convened a task force to assess whether it needed to make any changes to its safety regulations. The task force found plenty of problems and produced a 100-page report with 12 detailed recommendations for fixing them. Yet the NRC decided on a course of action that falls far short of the fundamental reforms sought by the task force. In this Project on Managing the Atom Seminar, Edwin Lyman, Senior Scientist at the Union of Concerned Scientists, will describe some of the lessons of Fukushima and the NRC’s progress to date in addressing them.