Nuclear Issues

17 Items

Rouhani

Russia President

Blog Post - Iran Matters

A Possible Trump Administration’s Iran Policy: Constraints and Options

    Author:
  • Ephraim Kam
| Jan. 20, 2017

A key foreign affairs issue for the Trump administration will be its policy on Iran, as was the case also for the Obama administration. But we have no idea what approach it will take, an uncertainty amplified by the fact that Trump has no experience whatsoever in foreign policy, and no idea whose input he will accept in shaping it. It’s not as if we have no information about his attitude – during the election campaign, Trump made his intention on Iran very clear – but, as with other topics, it is unclear how he will act when once he is forced to translate his intentions into action and realizes that reality is far more complicated than he imagined.

Blog Post - Nuclear Security Matters

India’s Nuclear Security

    Author:
  • Rajeswari Pillai Rajagopalan
| Jan. 04, 2016

Situated in a difficult neighborhood, New Delhi has laid strong emphasis on both nuclear safety and security for a couple of decades now. Almost three decades of state-sponsored terrorism and insurgencies of varying scale and proportion within India have meant that security of nuclear materials and installations has been a great worry to India’s security and atomic energy establishments. India’s concerns even predate the Western focus on WMD terrorism, which gained prominence only after the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the United States.  Unfortunately, India’s excessive caution and secrecy in the nuclear arena has led the world to assume that India does not pay much attention to this issue or that it has inadequate security, which is far from the truth.

Blog Post - Iran Matters

Cardin introduces Iran Policy Oversight Act of 2015

| Oct. 04, 2015

Henry Rome reviews the latest version of the Iran oversight legislation drafted by Sen. Ben Cardin (D, Maryland). Since publishing a “discussion draft” last month, Cardin removed language related to Iranian production of highly enriched uranium (HEU) but retained sections permitting new terrorism sanctions and increasing defense assistance to Israel.

Blog Post - Nuclear Security Matters

The Dannemora Prison Break: Lessons for Nuclear Facilities

| Sep. 09, 2015

In prisons as in nuclear facilities, employees are tasked with guarding something highly dangerous in high-stress environments. Both face high costs in the event of failure, and both are especially vulnerable to complacency and insider threats. Given these parallels, two inmates’ dramatic break-out from a New York prison in early June offers nuclear security practitioners valuable insights into how to avert an equally dramatic (and potentially much more consequential) breech.

Blog Post - Nuclear Security Matters

Two Recent Incidents of Insecurity

| July 21, 2015

Are nuclear sites secure?  There are some who might assume the answer is yes and that we should not worry about the possibility of nuclear bomb material being stolen. Yet, recent history has repeatedly demonstrated that high security facilities thought to be secure were actually vulnerable. Two such incidents last month illustrated this idea.

new start treaty closing negotiations

US Department of State

Blog Post - Iran Matters

Lessons Learned from Past WMD Negotiations

| June 26, 2015

Graham Allison, Director of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on lessons from prior weapons of mass destruction negotiations for the current talks with Iran over its nuclear program. Drawing on arms control agreements during the Cold War and the post-Cold War era, he argued that negotiated agreements on nuclear weapons are a crucial part of American national security although they are complementary to, and not an alternative to, other military, diplomatic, covert, and economic means of geopolitical competition, that no arms agreement is perfect from the perspective of both sides as they are by nature negotiated settlements, claims that the United States can't or should make agreements with "evil" regimes or those that cannot be trusted are false, the United States can make agreements with regimes that it is trying to contain or subvert in other ways, and which are in turn engaging in other actions that are threatening American citizens and soldiers, arms control agreements overall have reduced the number of nuclear weapons and helped reduce the likelihood of war, and that there is no "good" or "bad" agreement on its own, but only when assessed against alternative options.

Blog Post - Iran Matters

How to Make Sure Iran's One Year Nuclear Breakout Time Does not Shrink

| June 20, 2015

Olli Heinonen, Senior Fellow at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, and Simon Henderson, Baker Fellow at the Washington Institute for Middle East Policy, write for the Washington Institute for Near East Policy that the final agreement with Iran over its nuclear program needs to take into account the efficiency of Iranian centrifuges when calculating breakout time, and not just the number of centrifuges allowed to enrich. They note that the exact efficiency in Separative Work Units (SWUs) of the Iranian IR-1 centrifuge is not exactly known, and therefore it is very possible that American estimates of Iran's enrichment capacity dangerously underestimates how much Iran is able to enrich, meaning that estimates putting its breakout time at one year are are inaccurate. They argue that it is necessary to understand exactly how efficient the Iranian centrifuges are in order to understand how many Iran needs to maintain a breakout time of about one year, and that this figure cannot only be calculated from the number of centrifuges Iran possess.

Blog Post - Nuclear Security Matters

Why Security Fails

    Author:
  • Roger G. Johnston
| Feb. 11, 2015

In thinking about how nuclear security and safeguards can fail, it is useful to keep in mind why security usually fails in general.  Most security managers and organizations have a good understanding of the assets they are trying to protect, the resources available to them to protect those assets, and the consequences should security fail (though this is sometimes greatly underestimated).  They often have a reasonably accurate understanding of the threats they face—who might attack, why, how, when, and with what goals and resources.  What is often lacking is a good understanding of the vulnerabilities—the weaknesses in the security that can be exploited by the threats—and how those vulnerabilities can be mitigated or eliminated.

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.