70 Items

The Enrico Fermi Nuclear Generating Station in Michigan. In May 2020, the facility reported numerous infections during the midst of a planned refuelling and maintenance outage.

Nuclear Regulatory Commission

Journal Article - The RUSI Journal

Security Under Strain? Protecting Nuclear Materials During the Coronavirus Pandemic

| June 28, 2021

The coronavirus pandemic has had a significant impact on the nuclear industry, complicating operations and altering the delivery of both safety and security. This has generated concerns over the ability of governments and industry to provide vital services, while also protecting against changing threats that have evolved to take advantage of the pandemic. Christopher Hobbs, Nickolas Roth and Daniel Salisbury examine the nuclear security community’s response to this challenge, exploring how the risk landscape has been changed by the pandemic and the efficacy of new security solutions.

An illuminated traffic barrier is seen on the Capitol grounds before sunrise in Washington, Monday, March 8, 2021.

AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster

News - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

Domestic Terrorist Plots Against the U.S. Government: How Serious is the Threat?

We asked several of our experts in intelligence and political violence to share their thoughts on the U.S. Capitol Police statement that militia groups may be planning to blow up the Capitol and “kill as many members as possible” during the upcoming (and still unscheduled) State of the Union address.  Erica Chenoweth, Paul Kolbe, Farah Pandith, and Nickolas Roth share their views. 

The logo of Atomwaffen Division, a neo-Nazi terrorist network based in the United States.

Skjoldbro/Wikimedia Commons

Analysis & Opinions - Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

A Threat to Confront: Far-Right Extremists and Nuclear Terrorism

| Jan. 14, 2021

Every president serving in the last two decades has said that nuclear terrorism is a significant national security threat. Analysis of this threat has been, for good reason, mostly focused on foreign extremist groups, but recent events raise questions of whether there should be greater focus in the United States on far-right, domestic extremist threats. These extremists represent a unique danger because of their prevalence in federal institutions such as the military and the potential that they might infiltrate nuclear facilities, where they could access sensitive information and nuclear materials.

teaser image

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.

Nuclear test

Creative Commons/Pixabay

Report - American Nuclear Policy Initiative

Blundering Toward Nuclear Chaos

| May 2020

Edited by former Project on Managing the Atom (MTA) Associate Jon Wolfsthal and featuring papers authored by Wolfsthal and MTA Associate Nickolas Roth, this report from the American Nuclear Policy Initiative details the Trump administration's first three years of efforts on nuclear proliferation, strategic stability, nuclear modernization, Iran, and North Korea. The authors provide an objective summary of nuclear policy under the current administration and its record on protecting the United States and its allies against perhaps the greatest national security danger facing humanity.

Sensors and fencing at Japan's Integrated Support Center for Nuclear Nonproliferation and Nuclear Security.

Dean Calma/IAEA

Paper - American Nuclear Policy Initiative

The Trump Administration on Preventing Nuclear Terrorism

| May 2020

An act of nuclear terrorism anywhere in the world would be a humanitarian, economic, and political catastrophe. This is why reducing the risk of nuclear terrorism has been a priority for every US president for more than two decades. The most effective strategy for reducing this risk is to keep weapons-usable nuclear material out of the hands of terrorists by strengthening security at nuclear facilities around the globe. While the Trump administration continues to move forward with this mission, it has decreased the US focus on the most effective strategies for accomplishing it. Greater resources and political attention to international initiatives are needed to ensure that nuclear terrorism risks continue to decline. This paper reviews the key factors impacting nuclear terrorism risks and analyzes how much progress the Trump administration has made reducing that risk.

A tractor works the land on a farm in front of a nuclear power plant in Doel, Belgium, Monday, March 23, 2020. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)

AP Photo/Virginia Mayo

Analysis & Opinions - Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

How to Keep Nuclear Power Plants Operating Safely During the Coronavirus Pandemic

As the COVID-19 pandemic devastates the world, nuclear power plants must remain safe and secure to provide electricity for food supply chains, emergency response teams, hospitals, and telecommunications in countries home to more than half of all people. Meanwhile, the Islamic State terror group has already announced its intent to exploit the pandemic, and other violent extremist organizations are also taking pains to use the crisis for their own purposes.

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.”

The 2010 Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, D.C.

Chuck Kennedy/Official White House photo

Paper - International Atomic Energy Agency

The Past and Potential Role of Civil Society in Nuclear Security

| February 2020

Civil society has played a very important role in nuclear security over the years, and its role could be strengthened in the future. Some nuclear organizations react against the very idea of civil society involvement, thinking of only one societal role—protesting. In fact, however, civil society has played quite a number of critical roles in nuclear security over the years, including highlighting the dangers of nuclear terrorism; providing research and ideas; nudging governments to act; tracking progress and holding governments and operators accountable; educating the public and other stakeholders; promoting dialogue and partnerships; helping with nuclear security implementation; funding initial steps; and more. Funding organizations (both government and non-government) should consider ways to support civil society work and expertise focused on nuclear security in additional countries. Rather than simply protesting and opposing, civil society organizations can help build more effective nuclear security practices around the world.

President Obama at the 2016 Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, D.C. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

Paper - International Atomic Energy Agency

Assessing Progress on Nuclear Security Action Plans

| February 2020

Participants at the final Nuclear Security Summit in 2016 agreed on “action plans” for initiatives they would support by five international organizations and groups—the International Atomic Energy Agency, the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism, INTERPOL, the United Nations, and the Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Destruction. These institutions were supposed to play key roles in bolstering ongoing nuclear security cooperation after the summit process ended. The action plans were modest documents, largely endorsing activities already underway, and there have been mixed results in implementing them. To date, these organizations have not filled any substantial part of the role once played by the nuclear security summits.