Nuclear Issues

1166 Items

Photo taken on Feb. 15, 1989, people and relatives greet Soviet Army soldiers driving on their armored personnel carriers after crossing a bridge on the border between Afghanistan and then Soviet Uzbekistan near the Uzbek town of Termez, Uzbekistan.

(AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

Analysis & Opinions - Russia Matters

Lessons for Leaders: What Afghanistan Taught Russian and Soviet Strategists

| Feb. 28, 2019

The following is a selection of military-political lessons gleaned mostly from the recollections of Soviet strategists who were involved in making and executing the fateful decision to send troops to Afghanistan, as well as from writings by some of post-Soviet Russia’s prominent military analysts. Where possible, the author made an effort to relay these strategists’ analysis of the failures and successes of the intervention because he felt that such assessments, based on first-hand experience, are not always given their due in English-language literature on the subject. 

A member of the Czech Army takes part in an anti-terrorism drill at the Temelin nuclear power plant near the town of Tyn nad Vltavou, Czech Republic, April 11, 2017.

REUTERS/David W. Cerny

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

Revitalizing Nuclear Security in an Era of Uncertainty

| January 2019

Nuclear security around the world has improved dramatically over the last three decades—which demonstrates that with focused leadership, major progress is possible. But important weaknesses remain, and the evolution of the threat remains unpredictable. The danger that terrorists could get and use a nuclear bomb, or sabotage a major nuclear facility, or spread dangerous radioactive material in a “dirty bomb,” remains too high. The United States and countries around the world need to join together and provide the leadership and resources needed to put global nuclear security on a sustained path of continuous improvement, in the never-ending search for excellence in performance.

Heads of delegation for 2016 Nuclear Security Summit gather for family photo in Washington, D.C. on April 1, 2016.

Ben Solomon/U.S. Department of State

Analysis & Opinions - The Hill

Rhetoric Aside, the US Commitment to Preventing Nuclear Terrorism is Waning

| Apr. 19, 2018

With the world focused on the United States and North Korea, it’s easy to forget that every president for a quarter-century has said preventing nuclear terrorism was a national security priority. This includes the Trump administration, which identified in its Nuclear Posture Review that nuclear terrorism is one of “the most significant threats to the security of the United States.” It appears, however, despite this strong rhetoric, the administration may not be putting its money where its mouth is.

Hiroshima

U.S. Army

Analysis & Opinions - Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

The Effects of a Single Terrorist Nuclear Bomb

| Sep. 28, 2017

The escalating threats between North Korea and the United States make it easy to forget the “nuclear nightmare,” as former US Secretary of Defense William J. Perry put it, that could result even from the use of just a single terrorist nuclear bomb in the heart of a major city.

At the risk of repeating the vast literature on the tragedies of Hiroshima and Nagasaki—and the substantial literature surrounding nuclear tests and simulations since then—we attempt to spell out here the likely consequences of the explosion of a single terrorist nuclear bomb on a major city, and its subsequent ripple effects on the rest of the planet. Depending on where and when it was detonated, the blast, fire, initial radiation, and long-term radioactive fallout from such a bomb could leave the heart of a major city a smoldering radioactive ruin, killing tens or hundreds of thousands of people and wounding hundreds of thousands more. Vast areas would have to be evacuated and might be uninhabitable for years. Economic, political, and social aftershocks would ripple throughout the world. A single terrorist nuclear bomb would change history. The country attacked—and the world—would never be the same.

People watch a TV screen showing file footage of a North Korean missile launch, at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea on Aug. 29. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon

Analysis & Opinions - The Atlantic

The North Korean Threat Beyond ICBMs

| Aug. 28, 2017

From the moment that President Barack Obama told President-elect Donald Trump during the transition about the impending threat of North Korean nuclear-tipped ICBMs, Trump’s basic stance has been: not on my watch. From his tweet of January 2 (“won’t happen!”) to his August statements that the U.S. military is “locked and loaded” to unleash “fire and fury” on North Korea if it threatens America, Trump has sought to draw a red line that makes it clear he will do whatever is necessary to halt North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs—before they can target the continental United States.

Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall

U.S. Department of Energy

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

Former Deputy Secretary of Energy Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall Named Senior Fellow With Harvard's Belfer Center

| July 12, 2017

Former Deputy Secretary of Energy Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall is joining Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs as a Senior Fellow, the Center announced today. Sherwood-Randall, who has served in the White House and Departments of Energy and Defense, is returning to the Center where she worked in the 1990s to help establish two pioneering projects – the Strengthening Democratic Institutions Project with Graham Allison, who this month stepped down as the Center’s director, and the Preventive Defense Project with Ash Carter, the former Secretary of Defense who is the new Belfer Center director.

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

Q&A with Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall

| July 12, 2017

Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall, former Deputy Secretary of Energy who has served in high-level positions at the White House and Pentagon, joined Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center as a non-resident Senior Fellow in July. Sherwood-Randall is returning to the Kennedy School where she previously collaborated with Ash Carter, the Belfer Center’s newly appointed director, and Graham Allison, who stepped down as Center director this month. We asked Sherwood-Randall to give us some background on her Harvard connections, why she returned, and what she hopes to accomplish as a Senior Fellow.

Cathryn Cluver Ashbrook on NDR

NDR

Analysis & Opinions - Norddeutscher Rundfunk

Cathryn Cluver Ashbrook discusses importance of wording of the G-20 communique on NDR Aktuell Extra (in German)

| July 07, 2017

Cathryn Cluver Ashbrook, Executive Director of the Future of Diplomacy Project, discusses the importance of the final wording of the G-20 communique, particularly with respect to the climate change and energy policy dossiers, noting different approaches to achieve transatlantic compromise. She underlines the importance of high-level meetings such as the G-20 to address critical global challenges, including multilateral responses to North Korea’s provocations and the ongoing conflict in Syria.

Los Alamos National Laboratory, National Security Science, July 2015

Los Alamos National Laboratory

Discussion Paper - Managing the Atom Project, Belfer Center

When Did (and Didn’t) States Proliferate?

| June 2017

In this Project on Managing the Atom Discussion Paper, Philipp C. Bleek chronicles nuclear weapons proliferation choices throughout the nuclear age. Since the late 1930s and early 1940s, some thirty-one countries are known to have at least explored the possibility of establishing a nuclear weapons program. Seventeen of those countries launched weapons programs, and ten acquired deliverable nuclear weapons.