Nuclear Issues

89 Items

A satellite view of Shigatse, Tibet, home to the PLA’s 6th Border Defense Regiment, near the China-India border.

Maxar Technologies / CNES Airbus via Google, used with permission

Report - Managing the Atom Project, Belfer Center

The Strategic Postures of China and India: A Visual Guide

| March 2020

Fueled by aggressive rhetoric from both capitals, Indian and Chinese ground forces engaged in a standoff between June and August 2017. The Doklam crisis, as it became known, stimulated introspection among officials and experts in both states about the future of their relationship. Politically, both strategic communities largely concluded that the peaceful resolution of border disputes is now less likely, forecasting more rivalry than cooperation. Militarily, Indian discussions on the strength of its military position against China in their disputed ground frontier areas have converged on the view that China holds the conventional and nuclear edge over India in this domain.

Based on our analysis of data on the location and capabilities of Indian and Chinese strategic forces and related military units, we conclude that this assessment of the balance of forces may be mistaken and a poor guide for Indian security and procurement policies. We recommend that instead of investing in new nuclear weapons platforms that our analysis suggests are not likely to be required to deter China, New Delhi should improve the survivability of its existing forces and fill the gap in global arms control leadership with an initiative on restraint and transparency.

Paper - Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy

Stabilizing Sino-Indian Security Relations: Managing the Strategic Rivalry After Doklam

| June 21, 2018

The paper provides a detailed analysis of the contemporary Sino-Indian conventional ground and nuclear force balances and carefully reconstructs how mutual developments in these areas are perceived by both New Delhi and Beijing.

Civilians leave their houses, as Iraq's elite counterterrorism forces fight against Islamic State militants, in the village of Tob Zawa, about 9 kilometers (5.6 miles) from Mosul, Iraq, Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2016.

(AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)

Analysis & Opinions - Just Security

Recommendations to the New President on Countering WMD and Terrorism

| November 17, 2016

After the U.S. Presidential election, we are entering a particularly vulnerable period as militant Islamists seek to test the new American president just as al-Qaeda (AQ) tested President George W. Bush shortly after the 2000 election.

We are now 15 years into the fight against Islamic-inspired terrorism. The day after the September 11, 2001 attacks, the US and its allies launched a global anti-terrorism coalition to crush AQ and its allies; a fight that many expected to last a generation. The timing was not wrong, but the nature of the threat itself was both misunderstood and underestimated.

In this March 6, 2013 photo, a warning sign is shown attached to a fence at the 'C' Tank Farm at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation, near Richland, Wash.

(AP Photo)

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

Belfer Center Experts Provide Analysis and Commentary on 2016 Nuclear Security Summit

April 5, 2016

Leading up to and during the 2016 Nuclear Security Summit, Belfer Center experts released reports, published commentary, and provided insight and analysis into global nuclear security. In advance of the Summit, the Project on Managing the Atom set the stage for discussion with the report Preventing Nuclear Terrorism: Continuous Improvement or Dangerous Decline?

An in-progress compilation of the expert commentary and analysis is available here.

US Secretary of State John Kerry (right) and Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif meet in Paris to discuss the Iranian nuclear deal.

United States Department of State

Analysis & Opinions - The National Interest

Assessing an Iran Deal: 5 Big Lessons from History

| July 7, 2015

As the policy community prepares to assess an agreement between the U.S. and its P5+1 partners and Iran, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker asked me to review the history of analogous agreements for lessons that illuminate the current challenge. In response to his assignment, I reviewed the seven decades of the nuclear era, during which the U.S. negotiated arms-control treaties, including the Non-Proliferation Treaty of 1968; strategic arms limitation talks and agreements from SALT to New Start; the North Korean accord of 1994; the agreements that helped eliminate nuclear weapons in Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Belarus in the early 1990s; and the pact that eliminated the Libyan nuclear weapons program in 2003.

Among many lessons and clues from this instructive history, five stand out

Genie, the first air-to-air nuclear weapon, pictured at the missile park outside the White Sands Missile Range Museum in Dona Ana County, N.M., on April 25, 2015.

(AP Photo by: Alex Milan Tracy)

Analysis & Opinions - The Atlantic

A Nuclear Nightmare Averted

| May 22, 2015

"This week, with little fanfare, one of the world’s key restraints on the spread of nuclear weapons came under scrutiny, as a month-long review of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) concluded at the United Nations," writes Graham Allison. "Negotiated over the 1960s, the NPT was signed in 1968 and became international law in 1970. As specified by the treaty, members hold a conference every five years to assess the agreement. The exercise offers insight into our nuclear age, and perspective ahead of the coming debate over a treaty to constrain Iran’s nuclear ambitions."

Journal Article - Taylor and Francis Journal of Risk Research

Socio-Technical Challenges of Nuclear Power Production and Waste Management after Fukushima

This special issue of the Journal of Risk Research, guest edited by Behnam Taebi and Ibo van de Poel presents a number of papers that deal with the socio-technical challenges of nuclear power production and nuclear waste management in the post-Fukushima era, from nuclear power as a climate mitigation strategy to the participatory turn in radioactive waste management and responsible risk communication.

Chinese astronaut Yang Liwei, Nov. 9, 2012. China's astronauts remain banned from the International Space Station.

Wikimedia Commons

Analysis & Opinions - ISN Blog

Can Trust-Building Be Risk Free?

| November 29, 2013

"if both the top-down and bottom-up methods of trust building are never going to be risk free, is there a more plausible third option? For example, what if Washington and Beijing forget about trust-building and instead opt for a relationship based on mutual deterrence? Unfortunately, the risks of this option — arms racing, a return to a Cold War-like MAD doctrine, and forever teetering on the brink of conventional conflict — might not just upend US-China relations, they might sabotage regional and global security as well."

Report - Managing the Atom Project, Belfer Center

Plutonium Mountain: Inside the 17-Year Mission to Secure a Legacy of Soviet Nuclear Testing

| August 15, 2013

The Belfer Center’s Eben Harrell and Pulitzer Prize-winning author David E. Hoffman for the first time report the details of one of the largest nuclear security operations of the post-Cold War years — a  secret 17-year, $150 million operation to secure plutonium in the tunnels of Degelen Mountain.