Nuclear Issues

9 Items

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

Strengthening International Cooperation on Nuclear Materials Security

Nov. 04, 2014

Matthew Bunn, Will Tobey, Hui Zhang, and Nickolas Roth recently participated in a two-day roundtable discussion sponsored by the Stanley Foundation on U.S. nuclear security cooperation with Russia and China. The discussion, which involved experts from around the world, focused on overcoming challenges to nuclear security cooperation and ensuring that countries put in place effective and sustainable nuclear security measures with strong security culture.

Blog Post - Nuclear Security Matters

Don't Let Nuclear-Security Cooperation with Russia Lapse

July 03, 2014

Republicans and Democrats alike have traditionally understood that investing in nuclear security is a small price to pay compared with the devastating economic, political and social costs of nuclear terrorism. That’s why U.S. cooperation with Russia and other countries to secure vulnerable nuclear material has enjoyed bipartisan support.

Blog Post - Nuclear Security Matters

Tenth Anniversary of Global Threat Reduction Initiative

| May 29, 2014

September 11, 2001 convinced decision-makers in Washington that terrorists were capable of carrying out catastrophic attacks on the United States. The idea that an individual or group could make a bomb from nuclear or radiological material was no longer just an outlandish scenario, but a realistic threat that needed to be addressed. Ten years ago this week, the Bush administration responded to that threat by establishing the Global Threat Reduction Initiative (GTRI).

Blog Post - Nuclear Security Matters

Conflicting Views on Nuclear Security in House Armed Services Committee

| May 21, 2014

Funding U.S. programs that enhance nuclear security has been a controversial issue this year in Congress. The House Armed Services Committee (HASC) recently released its version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2015. The results are a mixed bag on the nuclear security front. The committee proposes picking up some of the slack the Obama administration left for nonproliferation programs — increasing the administration’s request by $10 million overall — but it also slashed a key nuclear security effort and called for putting all nuclear security cooperation with Russia on hold.

Blog Post - Nuclear Security Matters

Securing China’s Nuclear Energy Development

| Apr. 17, 2014

Chinese president Xi Jinping said in his address at the 2014 Nuclear Security Summit that, “we should place equal emphasis on development [of nuclear energy] and security, and develop nuclear energy on the premise of security.” He further emphasized that, “developing nuclear energy at the expense of security can neither be sustainable nor bring real development. Only by adopting credible steps and safeguards can we keep the risks under effective control and develop nuclear energy in a sustainable way."

Blog Post - Nuclear Security Matters

Eliminating Potential Bomb Material from Japan’s Fast Critical Assembly

| Mar. 24, 2014

Today, the United States and Japan announced that Japan would eliminate all the plutonium and highly-enriched uranium at its Fast Critical Assembly (FCA) at Tokai-mura.  This is a tremendous step forward for nuclear security; for terrorists, this would be some of the best material that exists in any non-nuclear-weapon state.  The material includes 331 kilograms of plutonium, most of it weapons-grade, and 214.5 kilograms of weapons-grade HEU.  (The FCA also includes over a ton of material just at the 20 percent U-235 mark that defines HEU.)   The weapons-grade HEU is enough for four simple terrorist “gun-type” bombs or a larger number of trickier-to-build implosion bombs.  The plutonium amounts to more than 40 bombs worth of material.

Blog Post - Nuclear Security Matters

Is China Complacent About Nuclear Security?

Mar. 13, 2014

Like dozens of other world leaders, Chinese President Xi Jinping is preparing to attend the third Nuclear Security Summit, which will take place in The Hague on March 24 and 25.  China actively participated in the first two summits, and since the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001, China has indeed made strides in strengthening its system for protecting nuclear facilities.  To make sure that nuclear security systems are actually implemented effectively, however, the development of a strong security culture—in which the relevant individuals hold a deeply rooted belief that insider and outsider threats are credible—is imperative.