Nuclear Issues

35 Items

Blog Post - Nuclear Security Matters

Nuclear Security in Turkey

Aug. 04, 2016

In mid-July, as an attempted coup was taking place in Turkey, many in the United States wondered whether U.S. tactical nuclear weapons stored at the Turkish airbase, Incirlik, were adequately protected against theft. Congressional Research Service Nuclear Weapons Policy Specialist, Amy Woolf, recently published a short article describing some of the security systems surrounding those weapons.

Blog Post - Nuclear Security Matters

Cancel the plutonium fuel factory

July 19, 2016

Matthew Bunn and Gary Samore just published an op-ed arguing that the program to build a factory that converts excess plutonium from dismantled nuclear weapons into plutonium-uranium mixed oxide fuel for nuclear reactors has become too expensive. Although the two helped to launch the program in the mid-90s, they argue "It is time to stop throwing good money after bad and pursue cheaper alternatives that will serve our national security better" and "whatever we do with this plutonium in the long term, we should move to put it under international monitoring, and commit never again to use it in weapons..." You can read their complete argument here.

Blog Post - Nuclear Security Matters

India and the Nuclear Security Summit

    Author:
  • Rajeswari Pillai Rajagopalan
| Apr. 26, 2016

The fourth and final Nuclear Security Summit took place in Washington DC from March 31-April 01, 2016.  Despite the initial apprehension about the summits in certain parts of the world, it has been a useful process.  With more than 50 countries represented from across the world, the summits elevated the level of awareness of nuclear security. Leaders of established nuclear states began to think about nuclear security in a new way, reducing complacency about the risks of terrorism and sabotage.  This thinking took shape in national and multilateral commitments in areas including nuclear security regulation, physical protection of nuclear materials, nuclear forensics, protection against nuclear smuggling, and insider threats and nuclear terrorism.

Blog Post - Nuclear Security Matters

Fresh Thinking on Highly Enriched Uranium Research Reactor Conversions

| Feb. 03, 2016

Last week, a National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine panel affirmed the goal of eliminating highly enriched uranium (HEU) from civilian use, while recommending step-wise conversion of high performance research reactors using weapon-grade uranium fuel and that the White House coordinate a 50-year national roadmap for neutron-based research. (Full disclosure:  I sat on that committee, and oversaw the NNSA reactor conversion program from 2006-9; this post, however, represents my views, not necessarily those of the committee or NNSA.)

Blog Post - Nuclear Security Matters

All HEU Removed from Georgia, Again

| Jan. 12, 2016

In 1998, in Operation Auburn Endeavor, the U.S. government helped fly 4.3 kilograms of highly enriched uranium (HEU) and low-enriched uranium (LEU) from vulnerable facilities in war-torn Georgia to the Dounreay reprocessing plant in the United Kingdom. At the time, those in the U.S. government involved in the project, myself included, thought that was all the HEU there was in Georgia. So it was a surprise when the IAEA announced the removal of another 1.83 kilograms of HEU from Georgia – apparently now really the last of the HEU there.

Blog Post - Nuclear Security Matters

India’s Nuclear Security

    Author:
  • Rajeswari Pillai Rajagopalan
| Jan. 04, 2016

Situated in a difficult neighborhood, New Delhi has laid strong emphasis on both nuclear safety and security for a couple of decades now. Almost three decades of state-sponsored terrorism and insurgencies of varying scale and proportion within India have meant that security of nuclear materials and installations has been a great worry to India’s security and atomic energy establishments. India’s concerns even predate the Western focus on WMD terrorism, which gained prominence only after the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the United States.  Unfortunately, India’s excessive caution and secrecy in the nuclear arena has led the world to assume that India does not pay much attention to this issue or that it has inadequate security, which is far from the truth.

Blog Post - Nuclear Security Matters

The Dannemora Prison Break: Lessons for Nuclear Facilities

| Sep. 09, 2015

In prisons as in nuclear facilities, employees are tasked with guarding something highly dangerous in high-stress environments. Both face high costs in the event of failure, and both are especially vulnerable to complacency and insider threats. Given these parallels, two inmates’ dramatic break-out from a New York prison in early June offers nuclear security practitioners valuable insights into how to avert an equally dramatic (and potentially much more consequential) breech.

Blog Post - Nuclear Security Matters

Dirty bomb efforts and uranium seizure in Ukraine may be less than meets the eye

    Author:
  • Artur Saradzhyan
| Aug. 12, 2015

Ukraine-based journalist Maxim Tucker has just published two articles to claim that pro-Russian rebels in Eastern Ukraine are plotting to manufacture a dirty bomb with the help of Russian scientists, using radioactive waste from a storage facility at the Donetsk Chemical Factory.

Blog Post - Nuclear Security Matters

Two Recent Incidents of Insecurity

| July 21, 2015

Are nuclear sites secure?  There are some who might assume the answer is yes and that we should not worry about the possibility of nuclear bomb material being stolen. Yet, recent history has repeatedly demonstrated that high security facilities thought to be secure were actually vulnerable. Two such incidents last month illustrated this idea.