Nuclear Issues

44 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.

U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz (left) and Secretary of State John Kerry (center) meeting in Vienna to discuss the Iran nuclear agreement.

Carlos Barria/Agence France-Presse

Newspaper Article - The New York Times

Crucial Questions Remain as Iran Nuclear Talks Approach Deadline

| June 28, 2015

Iran’s top nuclear negotiator was heading back to Tehran on Sunday to consult with his nation’s leadership, as negotiators remained divided over how to limit and monitor Tehran’s nuclear program and even on how to interpret the preliminary agreement they reached two months ago.

Analysis & Opinions - European Leadership Network

On the Road to Nowhere? New Proposals on the Middle East WMD-Free Zone May Backfire

| May 11, 2015

"One of the dramas playing out this month in New York at the 2015 Review Conference for parties to the Treaty on the Non-proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) concerns the future of discussions on establishing the weapons of mass destruction free zone in the Middle East..."

Journal Article - Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

Uranium Supplies: A Hitch to China’s Nuclear Energy Plans? Or not?

| May 6, 2015

China will triple the number of nuclear power plants it has in operation by 2020 according to official plans, and the country’s nuclear fleet will increase 20-fold by 2050 under some not-yet-approved proposals. But how and where will China get the uranium to fuel them all? Will China need to resort to breeder reactors and reprocessing, with all the proliferation problems they incur? Or is there another way? In this journal article for the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Hui Zhang suggests that between China’s domestic uranium mining, uranium purchased on the international market, and uranium mined by Chinese-owned companies overseas, China could meet even the most ambitious target, thus avoiding the troublesome and dangerous path of reprocessing.

News - Managing the Atom Project, Belfer Center

Fresh Ideas for the Future: Symposium on the NPT Nuclear Disarmament, Non-proliferation, and Energy

Apr. 30, 2015

On April 28, the Project on Managing the Atom joined the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, The Netherlands government, and the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA) in convening nuclear nonproliferation experts from around the world at the United Nations to participate in a Symposium on the 2015 Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference.

Analysis & Opinions - Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

Three Myths about the Iran Sanctions

| April 22, 2015

"Speaking from the White House earlier this month, President Obama announced details of a framework agreement between Iran and the P5+1—the United States, Russia, China, France, the United Kingdom, and Germany—that limits Iran’s path to building a nuclear weapon over the next 10 to 15 years. Although negotiators will finalize technical details between now and the June 30 deadline, the parameters provide Iran with sanctions relief in exchange for limits on its uranium enrichment, converting its Arak heavy water reactor, limiting the number and type of centrifuges, and agreeing to intrusive inspections. Should Iran cheat or fail to uphold its end of the bargain, however, the United States and its allies reserve the right to “snap-back” into place tough economic and financial sanctions..."

teaser image

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

Points of Progress

Spring 2015

Our faculty and fellows are immersed in studying and solving some of the world's toughtest policy challenges. Amid that sobering work, they sometimes spot positive developments. We asked them to share these findings in this new feature.

UMass Amherst campus

UMass Amherst

Analysis & Opinions - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

Don't Ban Students Based on Nationality: What Can We Learn from Europe?

| March 2, 2015

The decision of the University of Massachusetts Amherst to categorically ban Iranians was not only gross discrimination, but also a violation of academic freedom. A similar policy was adopted in the Netherlands a few years ago and later rebuked by the Dutch Supreme Court. Universities must remain open to people from all races, religions, and nationalities.