Nuclear Issues

13 Items

Analysis & Opinions - Project Syndicate

The Global Economy Confronts Four Geopolitical Risks

| December 28, 2015

The end of the year is a good time to consider the risks that lie ahead of us. There are of course important economic risks, including the mispricing of assets caused by a decade of ultra-low interest rates, the shifts in demand caused by the Chinese economy’s changing structure, and European economies’ persistent weakness. But the main longer-term risks are geopolitical, stemming from four sources: Russia, China, the Middle East, and cyberspace.

Although the Soviet Union no longer exists, Russia remains a formidable nuclear power, with the ability to project force anywhere in the world. Russia is also economically weak because of its dependence on oil revenue at a time when prices are down dramatically. President Vladimir Putin has already warned Russians that they face austerity, because the government will no longer be able to afford the transfer benefits that it provided in recent years.

Chinese President Xi Jinping is displayed on a big screen in Beijing as Chinese battle tanks roll by during a Sept. 3, 2015 parade commemorating the 70th anniversary of Japan's surrender during World War II.

(AP Photo)

Magazine Article - The Atlantic

The Thucydides Trap: Are the U.S. and China Headed for War?

| September 24, 2015

The defining question about global order for this generation is whether China and the United States can escape Thucydides’s Trap. The Greek historian’s metaphor reminds us of the attendant dangers when a rising power rivals a ruling power—as Athens challenged Sparta in ancient Greece, or as Germany did Britain a century ago. Most such contests have ended badly, often for both nations, a team of mine at the Harvard Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs has concluded after analyzing the historical record. In 12 of 16 cases over the past 500 years, the result was war. When the parties avoided war, it required huge, painful adjustments in attitudes and actions on the part not just of the challenger but also the challenged.

Discussion Paper - Energy Technology Innovation Policy Project, Belfer Center

Energy Technology Expert Elicitations for Policy: Workshops, Modeling, and Meta-analysis

| October 2014

Characterizing the future performance of energy technologies can improve the development of energy policies that have net benefits under a broad set of future conditions. In particular, decisions about public investments in research, development, and demonstration (RD&D) that promote technological change can benefit from (1) an explicit consideration of the uncertainty inherent in the innovation process and (2) a systematic evaluation of the tradeoffs in investment allocations across different technologies. To shed light on these questions, over the past five years several groups in the United States and Europe have conducted expert elicitations and modeled the resulting societal benefits. In this paper, the authors discuss the lessons learned from the design and implementation of these initiatives.

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

Former Deputy Secretary of Energy Daniel Poneman Joins Harvard Kennedy School's Belfer Center as Senior Fellow

| October 14, 2014

Daniel Poneman, former Deputy Secretary of Energy, has joined Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs as a senior fellow.

Poneman was nominated by President Obama to be Deputy Secretary of Energy on April 20, 2009, and was confirmed by the United States Senate on May 18, 2009. Under the leadership of Secretaries of Energy Steven Chu and Ernest Moniz, Poneman also served as Chief Operating Officer of the Department. Between April 23, 2013, and May 21, 2013, Poneman served as Acting Secretary of Energy.

Analysis & Opinions - Asia Times

China Frets Over Japanese Nuclear Program

| May 30, 2014

Many Chinese worry that as Japanese politics moves rightward, it could result in the country seeking its own weapons. Beijing's concerns have intensified with its confrontation with the Abe administration over historical recognition and territorial issues. In this op-ed, Hui Zhang argues that it is time for Tokyo to stop reprocessing and eliminate its surplus plutonium as soon as possible. Tokyo should address concerns over its reprocessing plans and plutonium stocks. To reduce suspicions, Tokyo should take specific steps to abide strictly by its "no surplus plutonium policy".

Announcement - Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program, Belfer Center

STPP Fellowships, 2014–2015

November 25, 2013

Each year, the Science, Technology, and Public Policy (STPP) Program at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at the Harvard Kennedy School welcomes new pre- and post-doctoral fellows and visiting researchers to a select team of scholars exploring the critical role that science and technology play in everyday life.

In this Sept. 24, 2010, file photo the National Cybersecurity & Communications Integration Center (NCCIC) prepares for the Cyber Storm III exercise at its operations center in Arlington, Va.

AP Photo

Magazine Article - Bulletin of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences

The Future of Power

| Spring 2011

"The conventional wisdom among those who looked at the Middle East used to be that you had a choice either of supporting the autocrat or being stuck with the religious extremists. The extraordinary diffusion of information created in Egypt and other Middle Eastern countries reveals a strong middle that we weren't fully aware of. What is more, new technologies allow this new middle to coordinate in ways unseen before Twitter, Facebook, and so forth, and this could lead to a very different politics of the Middle East. This introduces a new complexity to our government's dealings with the region."

The world's first grid-scale, flywheel-based energy storage plant is being built in Stephentown, N.Y. The plant is being built by Beacon Power Corporation (NASDAQ: BCON) & is supported by a $43 million loan guarantee from DOE.

Beacon Power Corp. Photo

Report - Energy Technology Innovation Policy Project, Belfer Center

Transforming the Energy Economy: Options for Accelerating the Commercialization of Advanced Energy Technologies

"The focus of the workshop was on the demonstration stage of the technology innovation cycle. Current policies do not adequately address the private sector’s inability to overcome the demonstration "valley of death" for new energy technologies. Investors and financiers fear that the technology and operational risks at this stage of the cycle remain too high to justify the level of investment to build a commercial-sized facility."

Conceptual drawing of a single B&W mPower™ nuclear reactor module inside its own independent, underground containment.

Babcock & Wilcox Photo

Report - Energy Technology Innovation Policy Project, Belfer Center

Tranforming the Energy Economy: Options for Accelerating the Commercialization of Advanced Energy Technologies—Framing Statement

"There is broad political consensus that the current energy system in the United States is unable to meet the nation's future energy needs, from the security, environment, and economic perspectives. New energy technologies are required to increase the availability of domestic energy supplies, to reduce the negative environmental impacts of our energy system, to improve the reliability of current energy infrastructure (e.g., smart grid, energy storage), and to increase energy efficiency throughout the economy."