Nuclear Issues

395 Items

In this file photo taken April 3, 2008, the control panel for Hanford nuclear reservation's famous B Reactor is shown in Richland, Wash. The B Reactor, the world's first full-sized reactor, will be part of the Manhattan Project National Historical Park, the nation's newest national park. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)

AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

Journal Article - Quarterly Journal: International Security

Death Dust: The Little-Known Story of U.S. and Soviet Pursuit of Radiological Weapons

    Authors:
  • Samuel Meyer
  • Sarah Bidgood
  • William C. Potter
| Fall 2020

A comparative analysis of the United States’ and the Soviet Union’s previously underexplored radiological weapons programs identifies the drivers behind their rise and demise. The findings of this analysis illuminate the factors likely to affect the pursuit of radiological weapons by other states in the future.

teaser image

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. 

icbm

Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP, File

Journal Article - Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

'What About China?' and the Threat to US–Russian Nuclear Arms Control

| 2020

The administration of President Donald J. Trump has consistently used fear of China to undermine nearly five decades of bipartisan consensus on US–Russian nuclear arms control. The negative consequences of these actions may last far beyond the Trump presidency. If generations of agreement between Democrats and Republicans on bilateral nuclear treaties with Russia erode, it will pose a significant setback to US national security and global stability. Future leaders may ultimately need to consider new approaches to nuclear risk reduction that preserve the benefits of the arms control regime.

bleached radiation warning sign

Wikimedia CC/ArticCynda

Analysis & Opinions - The Washington Post

The Deadly Fallout of Disinformation

| July 08, 2020

Calder Walton writes that autocratic regimes — China, Russia and Iran — have been using social media to try to influence U.S. public opinion. History reveals how and why a one-party regime used disinformation to salvage its reputation following a disaster — the Soviet Union's 1986 Chernobyl nuclear catastrophe, whose history also reveals how such disinformation can be countered.

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.

Analysis & Opinions - Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

The Postponement of the NPT Review Conference. Antagonisms, Conflicts and Nuclear Risks after the Pandemic

The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists has published a document from the Pugwash Conference on Science and World Affairs concerning nuclear problems and tensions in the time of COVID-19. The document has been co-signed by a large number of Pugwash colleagues and personalities.

Chinese military vehicles carrying DF-41 ballistic missiles roll during a parade to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the founding of Communist China in Beijing, Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2019. Trucks carrying weapons including a nuclear-armed missile designed to evade U.S. defenses rumbled through Beijing as the Communist Party celebrated its 70th anniversary in power with a parade Tuesday that showcased China's ambition as a rising global force.

(AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

Journal Article - Quarterly Journal: International Security

Living with Uncertainty: Modeling China's Nuclear Survivability

| Spring 2020

A simplified nuclear exchange model demonstrates that China’s ability to launch a successful nuclear retaliatory strike in response to an adversary’s nuclear first strike has been and remains far from assured. This study suggests that China’s criterion for effective nuclear deterrence is very low.

Russian President Vladimir Putin with U.S. President Donald Trump

Wikimedia CC/Kremlin.ru

Analysis & Opinions - Project Syndicate

How to Deal with a Declining Russia

| Nov. 05, 2019

It seems unlikely that Russia will again possess the resources to balance U.S. power in the same way that the Soviet Union did during the four decades after World War II. But declining powers merit as much diplomatic attention as rising ones do. Joseph S. Nye worries that the United States lacks a strategy to prevent Russia from becoming an international spoiler.

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.