Nuclear Issues

28 Items

The nuclear archive warehouse outside Tehran (Satellite image via Google).

Satellite image via Google

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

The Iran Nuclear Archive: Impressions and Implications

In mid-January, a team of scholars from the Belfer Center’s Intelligence and Managing the Atom Projects traveled to Tel Aviv, Israel to examine samples of, and receive briefings on, an archive of documents related to Iran’s nuclear weapons program. The large cache includes some 55,000 pages of documents and a further 55,000 files on CDs that included photos and videos. A clandestine Israeli intelligence operation spirited the materials out of Iran in early 2018.

The documents that the Belfer group were shown confirm that senior Iranian officials had decided in the late 1990s to actually manufacture nuclear weapons and carry out an underground nuclear test; that Iran’s program to do so made more technical progress than had previously been understood; and that Iran had help from quite a number of foreign scientists, and access to several foreign nuclear weapon designs. The archive also leaves open a wide range of questions, including what plan, if any, Iran has had with respect to nuclear weapons in the nearly 16 years since Iran’s government ordered a halt to most of the program in late 2003. 

This brief report summarizes the group’s conclusions about what the archive reveals about Iran’s program and questions that remain open.

Report - Managing the Atom Project, Belfer Center

Proliferation Alert! The IAEA and Non-Compliance Reporting

| Oct. 20, 2015

In this new report, Trevor Findlay provides the first comprehensive study of the IAEA's handling of states not complying with their non-proliferation obligations. The report finds that none of the cases have followed the non-compliance process outlined in the Agency's Statute and safeguards agreements. Rather, each case has posed unique challenges to the non-proliferation regime. The report concludes that creativity and deft statecraft are key to the handling of complex non-compliance cases.

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

Sanctions Against Iran: A Guide to Targets, Terms, and Timetables

| June 2015

To assist Members of Congress and observers in analyzing these issues and judging a potential comprehensive agreement, the Belfer Center prepared this brief to outline the key facets of sanctions against Iran. Written as an addendum to our April policy brief, ‘Decoding the Iran Nuclear Deal,’ this report is driven by the policy debate’s leading questions.

Report - Managing the Atom Project, Belfer Center

IAEA Verification of Fissile Material in Support of Nuclear Disarmament

| Apr. 27, 2015

This report proposes a framework for IAEA verification of steps toward nuclear disarmament, premised on IAEA verification of fissile material, in any form, whether classified or not, submitted by any state possessing nuclear weapons. It identifies technical, legal, and financial solutions to the challenges posed by such verification, and offers a way forward to the implementation of the proposed framework. The tool that Rockwood and Shea offer is ready for any state with nuclear weapons to take up, finish the final details, and implement.

Report - Managing the Atom Project, Belfer Center

Fresh Ideas for the Future: Symposium on the NPT

| April 26, 2015

The abstracts in this booklet summarise the research presented at an academic symposium convened on the sidelines of the 2015 NPT Review Conference. As we write this, journalists and seasoned experts in the nuclear policy field have been speculating about the particularly difficult challenges facing the Review Conference this year. To address those challenges, we would urge all concerned to consider the ideas and analyses presented at this symposium. Experts would be hard-pressed to find a better collection of fresh ideas and approaches for assessing and strengthening the NPT.

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

Decoding the Iran Nuclear Deal

| April 2015

On April 2, 2015, the E.U. (speaking on behalf of the P5+1 countries) and Iran announced agreement on “key parameters” for a comprehensive agreement on Iran’s nuclear program. The E.U.-Iran Joint Statement is buttressed by unilateral facts sheets issued by the U.S. and Iran, which provide further details of the framework accord. Negotiators now turn to translating this framework accord into a final comprehensive agreement by June 30, 2015. Members of Congress and their staffs, as well as informed citizens, are now focusing on the Iranian challenge and assessing the framework accord. The Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at the Harvard Kennedy School has prepared this Policy Brief summarizing key facts, core concepts, and major arguments for and against the current deal aimed at stopping Iran from developing nuclear weapons. The purpose of this Policy Brief is not to advocate support for or opposition to the tentative deal that has been negotiated, but rather to provide an objective, nonpartisan summary to inform Members and others in coming to their own conclusions. The team of experts who prepared this report includes Democrats, Republicans, Independents, and internationals, who have many disagreements among themselves but who agree that this Brief presents the essentials objectively.

Paper

Nuclear Disarmament: The Legacy of the Trilateral Initiative

| March 23, 2015

In 1996, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the United States and the Russian Federation entered into a cooperative effort – the Trilateral Initiative – aimed at investigating the feasibility and requirements for a verification system under which the IAEA could accept and monitor nuclear warheads or nuclear warhead components pursuant to the NPT Article VI commitments of both States. Although the Initiative ended in 2002, the Model Verification Agreement produced could still serve as the basis for bilateral or multilateral agreements between the IAEA and nuclear-weapon States.

In this paper, Thomas E. Shea and Laura Rockwood examine the potential role for international verification of fissile material in relation to nuclear disarmament, what was accomplished under the Trilateral Initiative and, more importantly, what should be done now to preserve its legacy and take concrete steps towards such verification.

The National Nuclear Security Administration’s Pantex Plant is the only U.S. serial  production facility.

NNSA

Report - Nuclear Threat Initiative

Innovating Verification: New Tools & New Actors to Reduce Nuclear Risks

    Author:
  • Verifying Baseline Declarations of Nuclear Warheads and Materials Working Group
| July 2014

Part of NTI's Innovating Verification reports series, Verifying Baseline Declarations of Nuclear Warheads and Materials analyzes how baseline declarations can contribute to near- and long-term arms control and non-proliferation goals and how to verify them without compromising sensitive information.

Paper - Managing the Atom Project, Belfer Center

Shadow Wars of Weapons Acquisition: Arms Denial and its Strategic Implications

| July 01, 2014

In trying to prevent adversaries from acquiring new military capabilities, countries often employ strategies of arms denial; e.g., “unilateral diplomacy,” supply chain interdiction, covert sabotage, and targeted military strikes. Using a game-theoretical model of weapons acquisition and denial, the authors posit that the prevalence of this approach gives rise to strategic effects that affect all players’ behavior.

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

Blocking All Paths to an Iranian Bomb: How the West Can Avoid a Nuclear Maginot Line

| June 2014

"In concentrating so much of their mindshare on imposing constraints on Iran's known nuclear facilities at Natanz, Fordow, and Arak, are the US and its five negotiating partners at risk of creating a nuclear Maginot line?" In this discussion paper, Director of the Belfer Center Graham Allison and MTA/ISP Research Fellow Oren Setter explore what the US might be missing: alternative pathways for Iran to acquire nuclear weapons.