Nuclear Issues

10 Items

Could There Be a Terrorist Fukushima?

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Analysis & Opinions - The New York Times

Could There Be a Terrorist Fukushima?

| April 4, 2016

The attacks in Brussels last month were a stark reminder of the terrorists’ resolve, and of our continued vulnerabilities, including in an area of paramount concern: nuclear security.

The attackers struck an airport and the subway, but some Belgian investigators believe they seemed to have fallen back on those targets because they felt the authorities closing in on them, and that their original plan may have been to strike a nuclear plant. A few months ago, during a raid in the apartment of a suspect linked to the November attacks in Paris, investigators found surveillance footage of a senior Belgian nuclear official. Belgian police are said to have connected two of the Brussels terrorists to that footage.

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Testimony

U.S. and Russia Share a Vital Interest in Countering Terrorism

| September 30, 2015

Simon Saradzhyan testified before the U.S. House of Representatives' Europe, Eurasia, and Emerging Threats Subcommittee Hearing on "The Threat of Islamist Extremism in Russia," on September 30, 2015. 

In his testimony, Saradzhyan asked: "Can the United States and Russia cooperate against the threat posed by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria and other international terrorist organizations, even though the bilateral relationship has deteriorated in the wake of the crisis in Ukraine? My answer is they can and they will if they act in their best interest."

Fighters of the Azov Battalion cook food during a break in the town of Shyrokyne, eastern Ukraine, Sunday, March 22, 2015. Government and Russian-backed separatist forces face off against one another across an unseen line cutting through the town.

(AP Photo/Mstyslav Chernov)

Analysis & Opinions - Financial Times

Knowing when it's war and how to avoid it

| March 18, 2015

To hear Vladimir Putin say it, Russia is not at war with Ukraine. “I think that this apocalyptic scenario is highly unlikely, and I hope it never comes to that,” Putin said when asked on Russia’s Defender of the Fatherland Day whether his fellow citizens may “wake up one day to learn we are at war” with Ukraine. It can be inferred that the commander-in-chief of the Russian armed force believes (or wants us to believe) that there will be no war between Russia and Ukraine for as long as Moscow refuses to admit to its involvement in the conflict. But is there such a thing as a declared war any more? And how should other European nations respond if they become the target of an undeclared war? What can be done to prevent repetition of the Ukraine scenario elsewhere in Europe?

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko gestures during a press conference in Kiev, Ukraine, Dec 29, 2014. He on Monday signed a bill dropping his country's nonaligned status but signaled that he will hold a referendum before seeking NATO membership.

(AP Photo/Sergei Chuzavkov)

Analysis & Opinions - Moscow Times

NATO-Russian Relations Can Still Be Saved

| January 12, 2013

It is indisputable that the Ukraine crisis has dealt a serious blow to Russia's relations with core members of NATO. It would take many years for Moscow, Washington and Brussels to fully mend the fences even if the conflict in Ukraine were resolved tomorrow.

But as Russia's new military doctrine indicates, the Rubicon in NATO-Russian relations has not been crossed — at least not yet. While naming Russia's allies, the doctrine, which was published on Dec. 26, avoids designating either NATO as a whole or any of its specific members as adversaries.

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

Spotlight: William Tobey

| Summer 2012

William H. Tobey, spotlighted in the Summer 2012 Belfer Center newsletter, is a senior fellow in the Belfer Center, and is director of the Center’s U.S.-Russia Initiative to Prevent Nuclear Terrorism. He joined the Belfer Center in 2009 after serving in senior counterproliferation roles in the George W. Bush Administration. In March, Tobey was named chairman of the board of directors of the World Institute for Nuclear Security.

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

What Happened to the Soviet Superpower’s Nuclear Arsenal? Clues for the Nuclear Security Summit

| March 2012

Twenty years ago Russia and fourteen other newly-independent states emerged from the ruins of the Soviet empire, many as nations for the first time in history. As is typical in the aftermath of the collapse of an empire, this was followed by a period of chaos, confusion, and corruption. As the saying went at the time, “everything is for sale.” At that same moment, as the Soviet state imploded, 35,000 nuclear weapons remained at thousands of sites across a vast Eurasian landmass that stretched across eleven time zones. 

Today, fourteen of the fifteen successor states to the Soviet Union are nuclear weapons-free. This paper will address the question: how did this happen? Looking ahead, it will consider what clues we can extract from the success in denuclearizing fourteen post-Soviet states that can inform our non-proliferation and nuclear security efforts in the future. These clues may inform leaders of the U.S., Russia, and other responsible nations attending the Seoul Nuclear Security Summit on March 26-27, 2012. The paper will conclude with specific recommendations, some exceedingly ambitious that world leaders could follow to build on the Seoul summit’s achievements against nuclear terrorism in the period before the next summit in 2014. One of these would be to establish a Global Alliance Against Nuclear Terrorism.

Journal Article - Journal of International Security Affairs

Preventing the Unthinkable

| Spring/Summer 2011

During the Cold War, the threat of a nuclear attack came mainly from the U.S.-Russian nuclear arsenals, writes Kevin Ryan. Today, however, the United States and Russia have been forced to adapt to a new nuclear threat—that of dedicated terrorists with money and technological access who seek to obtain and use a nuclear device.

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News

Retired Brigadier General Kevin Ryan to Direct Belfer Center Research

| May 27, 2010

Kevin Ryan, a retired brigadier general with extensive experience in political-military affairs, missile defense, intelligence, and US-Russian military relations, has been selected to become the new executive director for research at Harvard Kennedy School's Belfer Center of International Affairs, director Graham Allison announced today.

Book - Managing the Atom Project, Belfer Center and Nuclear Threat Initiative

Securing the Bomb 2010

| April 2010

Associate Professor of Public Policy and Project on Managing the Atom Co-Principal Investigator Matthew Bunn provides a comprehensive assessment of global efforts to secure and consolidate nuclear stockpiles, and a detailed action plan for securing all nuclear materials in four years.  Securing the Bomb 2010 was commissioned by the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI). The full report, with additional information on the threat of nuclear terrorism, is available for download on the NTI website.

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks with his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev on Nov. 15, 2009. Obama said the U.S. and Russia would have a replacement treaty on reducing nuclear arms ready for approval by year's end.

AP Photo

Analysis & Opinions - International Relations and Security Network

Nuclear 'Constraint' in Russia

| February 16, 2010

"... [W]hile references to NATO-related threats have won more play in the media, the innovations in the doctrine's provisions on nuclear weapons are clearly more significant. For the first time since the adoption of the first-use policy, the Russian leadership has decided to constrain, if only somewhat, the use of nuclear weapons in a strategic document."