315 Items

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Analysis & Opinions - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

Center Experts Reflect on 75th Anniversary of Hiroshima Bombing

On August 6, 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan, launching the nuclear age. On the 75th anniversary of that somber event, Belfer Center experts reflect on the event and its aftermath. 

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Paper - Institute for Nuclear Materials Management

IAEA Nuclear Security Recommendations (INFCIRC/225): The Next Generation

In 2011, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) released the fifth revision of its Nuclear Security Recommendations on Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and Nuclear Facilities. This update of IAEA nuclear security guidance was a significant improvement upon its predecessors, suggesting new and strengthened approaches to nuclear security in a range of areas. Nearly a decade later, however, the global nuclear security landscape has changed. Nuclear security regulations and practices have improved. International institutions and norms supporting global nuclear security architecture are stronger. Countries have made new political commitments to strengthening their nuclear security. Legally binding agreements are more widely subscribed than they were before. Meanwhile, new global threats have surfaced, presenting new challenges to physical protection systems. A range of emerging technologies creates new opportunities, but also new risks.

US President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev sign the New START Treaty in Prague in 2010.

en.kremlin.ru

Analysis & Opinions - PRI's The World

Will New START nuclear treaty survive ‘hostile’ US-Russia relations?

| June 23, 2020

The United States and Russia have about 91% of the world's nuclear warheads. And the arms control pact — the New START Treaty — between the two nations expires next year. Matthew Bunn spoke with The World's Marco Werman about the implications of the treaty.

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Announcement

A statement on the death of George Floyd

| June 05, 2020

Fundamentally, nuclear weapons challenge humankind’s right to be “free from fear” – one of the four freedoms outlined by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.  But the death of George Floyd and so many others before him make clear that many black and brown Americans are unable to live free from daily fear or to fully enjoy other American freedoms given the systemic racism and structural inequalities in our country.  And the violent reaction to the protests in some parts of the United States is challenging another of the cherished freedoms enshrined in the U.S. constitution and in Roosevelt’s vision: freedom of speech and peaceable assembly.  It is past time for all people of good will to join in working to correct these wrongs and build a world of peace and justice in which all people can live in dignity, with their rights respected, and free from fear and want.  Those focusing on other policy issues, from nuclear weapons to climate change, cannot ignore the fundamental needs for justice and democracy – and must work themselves to build just, diverse, and inclusive communities.

Testimony

Public Testimony on Trump Administration Funding for Nuclear Theft Preventing Programs

| Mar. 31, 2020

A nuclear explosion detonated anywhere by a terrorist group would be a global humanitarian, economic, and political catastrophe. The current COVID-19 pandemic reminds us not to ignore prevention of and preparation for low-probability, high-consequence disasters. For nuclear terrorism, while preparation is important, prevention must be the top priority. The most effective strategy for keeping nuclear weapons out of the hands of terrorists is to ensure that nuclear materials and facilities around the world have strong and sustainable security. Every president for more than two decades has made strengthening nuclear security around the globe a priority. This includes the Trump administration, whose 2018 Nuclear Posture Review states: “[n]uclear terrorism remains among the most significant threats to the security of the United States, allies, and partners.”

Russian President Boris Yeltsin, left, American President Bill Clinton, Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma, and British Prime Minister John Major sign the Budapest Memorandum on Dec. 5, 1994 (Marcy Nighswander/Associated Press).

Marcy Nighswander/Associated Press

Paper - Managing the Atom Project, Belfer Center

Budapest Memorandum at 25: Between Past and Future

| March 2020

On December 5, 1994, leaders of the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Russian Federation met in Budapest, Hungary, to pledge security assurances to Ukraine in connection with its accession to the Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) as a non-nuclear-weapons state. The signature of the so-called Budapest Memorandum concluded arduous negotiations that resulted in Ukraine’s agreement to relinquish the world’s third-largest nuclear arsenal, which the country inherited from the collapsed Soviet Union, and transfer all nuclear warheads to Russia for dismantlement. The signatories of the memorandum pledged to respect Ukraine’s territorial integrity and inviolability of its borders, and to refrain from the use or threat of military force. Russia breached these commitments with its annexation of Crimea in 2014 and aggression in eastern Ukraine, bringing the meaning and value of security assurance pledged in the Memorandum under renewed scrutiny.

On the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the memorandum’s signature, the Project on Managing the Atom at the Belfer Center for Science & International Affairs at the Harvard Kennedy School, with the support of the Center for U.S.-Ukrainian Relations and the Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute, hosted a conference to revisit the history of the Budapest Memorandum, consider the repercussions of its violation for international security and the broader nonproliferation regime, and draw lessons for the future. The conference brought together academics, practitioners, and experts who have contributed to developing U.S. policy toward post-Soviet nuclear disarmament, participated in the negotiations of the Budapest Memorandum, and dealt with the repercussions of its breach in 2014. The conference highlighted five key lessons learned from the experience of Ukraine’s disarmament, highlighted at the conference.

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Announcement

Project on Managing the Atom Seeking Full-Time Research Associate

| Mar. 12, 2020

The Managing the Atom (MTA) project at the Harvard Kennedy School is seeking a full-time Research Associate to support research projects directed by Professor Matthew Bunn on a range of nuclear policy topics including strategic stability and the future of nuclear arms control, reducing the risks of nuclear theft and terrorism worldwide, stemming the spread of nuclear weapons, and addressing key constraints on and risks of nuclear energy. Reporting to the MTA co-principal investigator Prof. Matthew Bunn, the Research Associate will play a major role in researching and writing papers and reports in these areas. 

An Iranian security guard walks past a gate of the Bushehr nuclear power plant in Iran in 2010 (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi).

AP Photo/Vahid Salemi

Paper - International Atomic Energy Agency

The Need for Creative and Effective Nuclear Security Vulnerability Assessment and Testing

| February 2020

Realistic, creative vulnerability assessment and testing are critical to finding and fixing nuclear security weaknesses and avoiding over-confidence. Both vulnerability assessment and realistic testing are needed to ensure that nuclear security systems are providing the level of protection required. Systems must be challenged by experts thinking like adversaries, trying to find ways to overcome them. Effective vulnerability assessment and realistic testing are more difficult in the case of insider threats, and special attention is needed. Organizations need to find ways to give people the mission and the incentives to find nuclear security weaknesses and suggest ways they might be fixed. With the right approaches and incentives in place, effective vulnerability assessment and testing can be a key part of achieving and sustaining high levels of nuclear security.