Nuclear Issues

28 Items

Nigeria's Miniature Neutron Source Reactor was the last operational research reactor in Africa to make the conversion from HEU to LEU. Here, the HEU once used in the reactor is loaded for shipment back to China, the supplier (IAEA).

IAEA

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

Securing Nuclear Weapons and Materials Worldwide: Expanded Funding Needed for a More Ambitious Approach

| Apr. 19, 2019

The Trump administration budget request for programs to reduce the dangers of nuclear theft and terrorism is too small to implement the ambitious approach that is needed. Congress should increase funding in this critical area; direct the administration to develop and implement a comprehensive plan for improving security for nuclear weapons and materials worldwide; and exert expanded oversight of this effort. This brief highlights the importance of ongoing nuclear security work; describes the evolving budget picture; and outlines recommendations for congressional action.

A man holds a sign that reads "Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty"prior to a press conference during the Helsinki Summit with Trump and Putin.

(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Analysis & Opinions - The Hill

A Better Way to Confront Russia's Nuclear Menace

| Oct. 28, 2018

Ongoing Russian violations of the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty need to be effectively addressed because they defy a longstanding bilateral agreement and directly threaten our NATO allies. However, the Trump administration’s move to pull out of the treaty is misguided; instead, we should launch a major initiative to strengthen strategic stability between the United States and Russia, writes Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall.

Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant

Wikimedia Commons

Policy Brief - Foundation for Defense of Democracies

Iran Stockpiling Uranium Far Above Current Needs

| January 10, 2017

In a televised speech on January 1, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said that Tehran had imported 200 metric tons of yellowcake uranium and would import another 120 tons at an unspecified future date. The imports are permitted by the nuclear deal, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), but nonetheless significantly exceed Iran’s needs for natural (that is, unenriched) uranium over the next 15 years. Iran’s import of such high levels of uranium suggests it may be stockpiling uranium to reach nuclear breakout before the deal’s initial limitations expire in 2031.

The JCPOA permits Iran to buy natural uranium to “replenish” its stocks as it sells enriched uranium on the international market. To date, Iran has had difficulties locating a buyer for its enriched uranium stocks – unsurprising, given the current excess of commercially available enriched uranium. This, however, has not stopped Iran from buying and stockpiling more yellowcake.

China’s Nuclear Security: Progress, Challenges, and Next Steps

REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

Report - Managing the Atom Project, Belfer Center

China’s Nuclear Security: Progress, Challenges, and Next Steps

| March 28, 2016

In a new report from the Project on Managing the Atom, Senior Research Associate Hui Zhang finds that China has made important nuclear security improvements in areas ranging from its legal framework, to its approaches to physical protection and material accounting, to bolstering nuclear security culture. But China also faces ongoing threats. The possibility of insider theft of nuclear materials in China cannot be ruled out, espe­cially as China increasingly grows into a market-oriented society contending with corruption. Zhang also notes that Beijing faces a growing terrorism threat from separatists in China’s autonomous Xinjiang region.

Report - Managing the Atom Project, Belfer Center

Advancing Nuclear Security: Evaluating Progress and Setting New Goals

In the lead-up to the nuclear security summit, Advancing Nuclear Security: Evaluating Progress and Setting New Goals outlines what was accomplished in a four-year effort launched in 2009 to secure nuclear material around the globe—and what remains to be done. The effort made significant progress, but some weapons-usable nuclear materials still remain “dangerously vulnerable." The authors highlight the continuing danger of nuclear and radiological terrorism and call for urgent action.

Armed guards and police protecting a spent fuel convoy while at a stopping point.

Ministry of Public Security (Ch)

Report - Managing the Atom Project, Belfer Center

Securing China's Nuclear Future

| March 14, 2014

China’s approach to strengthening the security of its nuclear weapons, materials, and facilities plays an important role in facilitating strong global action on nuclear security. This report provides a better understanding of Chinese perceptions of the threat of nuclear terrorism and attitudes toward the nuclear security challenge; describes the current status of nuclear security practices in China and of planned improvements in rules and organization, management, and technologies; and recommends steps for further improvements.

Discussion Paper - Managing the Atom Project, Belfer Center

Beyond Nuclear Summitry: The Role of the IAEA in Nuclear Security Diplomacy After 2016

| March 11, 2014

There has been much speculation as to what might replace the Nuclear Security Summits after 2016. One candidate touted as a suitable inheritor of the summits’ mantle is the International Atomic Energy Agency. In this discussion paper, Trevor Findlay examines whether and to what extent the IAEA could and should do so, what form its role might take, and how the Agency and summiteers might prepare for such an eventuality.

Journal Article - Science & Global Security

Securing China’s Weapon-Usable Nuclear Materials

| Feb 18, 2014

This article describes the status of China’s military and civilian nuclear programs, fissile material production and associated nuclear facilities, and the Chinese nuclear experts and officials’ perspectives on the nuclear terrorism threat. It gives details of China’s nuclear security practices, attitudes, and regulations, as well as identifying areas of concern. The article recommends ways to strengthen China’s nuclear material protection, control, and accounting systems and suggests opportunities for increased international cooperation.

Policy Brief - Stanley Foundation

Planning for Success at the 2014 Nuclear Security Summit

| December 2013

In the dead of night on July 28, 2012, three senior citizens, including an 82-year-old Catholic nun, Sister Megan Rice, broke into the Y-12 National Security Complex near Oak Ridge, Tennessee, site of the US Highly Enriched Uranium Materials Facility (HEUMF). This self-proclaimed “Fort Knox of uranium” is America’s central repository for weapons-grade uranium.

....The security failings revealed by the nun and her fellow protesters are legion. The protesters were on the site for over an hour and 20 minutes, trekking about seven-tenths of a mile as the crow flies, but far longer as they traversed a steep ridge. They pierced fences equipped with sophisticated sensors. Yet the Y-12 Protective Force failed to spot them until they enjoyed unimpeded access to the exterior of the HEUMF forabout 20 minutes. Had these individuals been well-armed, well-equipped terrorists, instead of Bible-toting peace protesters, the incident would have been far more dire.