Nuclear Issues

700 Items

The Barakah nuclear power plant under construction in 2017.

Wikiemirati/Wikimedia Commons

Analysis & Opinions - Al-Monitor

Will the UAE’s Barakah Project Launch New Era of Peaceful Nuclear Power in the Middle East?

| Aug. 27, 2020

Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Egypt are following the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Iran in pursuing nuclear power. In a war-torn region where tensions are rising there is concern about where this may lead, even though it is not clear if these projects will ever be realized. Although the Barakah project marks a paradigm shift toward energy diversification in the region, the UAE’s results on the nuclear front may not be easily replicated.

A crane carries a bucket containing concrete to the foundation of a reactor during the first concrete pouring for the Light Water Reactor Project in North Korea on August 7, 2002.

AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon, File

Journal Article - Quarterly Journal: International Security

Normalization by Other Means—Technological Infrastructure and Political Commitment in the North Korean Nuclear Crisis

| Summer 2020

The 1994 Agreed Framework called for North Korea to dismantle its plutonium-production complex in exchange for civilian light water reactors (LWRs) and the promise of political normalization with the United States. Political and technical analysis reveals how the LWR project helped build credibility for the political changes promised in the Agreed Framework.

A nuclear advanced designated marksman assists in a launch facility exercise.

Beau Wade, 341st Missile Wing Public Affairs

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

A Sense of Purpose: The Bedrock of the U.S. Nuclear Deterrent

| June 2020

"The paradox of war is, the adversary will always move against your perceived weakness.  So a safe, secure and effective nuclear deterrent is there to ensure a war that can never be won, is never fought." Former Secretary of Defense James Mattis went on to say, "I am absolutely convinced that having this safe, secure, and effective deterrent is critical—the most critical piece of our nation's defense."  “At the end of the day, deterrence comes down to the men and women in uniform.” The question this paper addresses is: how do we motivate Airmen to give their best to perform this unsung duty, day after day, for years at a time?

 

A sign in Middletown, Pennsylvania

Wikimedia CC/Z22

Journal Article - Energy Research & Social Science

Public Opinion on Nuclear Energy and Nuclear Weapons: The Attitudinal Nexus in the United States

| October 2020

Does a lack of enthusiasm for nuclear energy among the U.S. public relate to connections with nuclear weapons? A critical area of public opinion remains understudied: the connection between nuclear energy and nuclear weapons. Scholars have theorized such a relationship in the public consciousness, but the premise has not been systematically investigated. The authors use two studies which provide evidence of psychological linkage. In fact, attitudes toward nuclear weapons may even drive those on nuclear energy.

A tractor works the land on a farm in front of a nuclear power plant in Doel, Belgium, Monday, March 23, 2020. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)

AP Photo/Virginia Mayo

Analysis & Opinions - Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

How to Keep Nuclear Power Plants Operating Safely During the Coronavirus Pandemic

As the COVID-19 pandemic devastates the world, nuclear power plants must remain safe and secure to provide electricity for food supply chains, emergency response teams, hospitals, and telecommunications in countries home to more than half of all people. Meanwhile, the Islamic State terror group has already announced its intent to exploit the pandemic, and other violent extremist organizations are also taking pains to use the crisis for their own purposes.

Security Line at an Airport

ahlynk/Flickr

Analysis & Opinions - The Atlantic

The Recurring Folly of ‘If You See Something, Say Something’

| Jan. 06, 2020

Bill de Blasio warned New Yorkers on Friday that their city might be subject to retaliatory attacks from Iran. “I’m not saying this to be alarmist,” the mayor said as he and his underlings ticked off—in a slightly alarming fashion—a series of defensive measures the city might take after the American air strike that killed the Iranian general Qassem Soleimani. Though the New York Police Department had received no specific, credible threats, de Blasio and other officials warned of more bag checks at the subways and increased police presence throughout the city. The city is no stranger to terrorism and would maintain a better-safe-than-sorry posture. “If you see something, say something,” de Blasio said.

Recent talk of homeland threats, and the just-in-case operational response, are based on nothing more than the rather uncontroversial assessment that Iran will feel obliged to do something to respond to the killing of Soleimani. The homeland-security practices to which Americans became accustomed after 9/11 long ago became a bad habit—one more divorced than ever before from the kinds of threats the United States might actually face. Intended to calm the public, gestures like the ones de Blasio described presume that Iran would be both reckless and capable enough to target an American city—and that greater vigilance alone would prepare us for that possibility. Now nearly two decades old, the post-9/11 style of security theater also risks masking the real vulnerabilities in the American homeland against a potential Iranian action.

Chinese military vehicles in parade.

(AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

Journal Article - Quarterly Journal: International Security

Dangerous Confidence? Chinese Views on Nuclear Escalation

    Authors:
  • Fiona S. Cunningham
  • M. Taylor Fravel
| Fall 2019

China and the United States hold opposing beliefs about whether nuclear war can be avoided in a potential crisis or armed conflict. Taken together, these opposing beliefs increase the risk of nuclear escalation and can lead to greater crisis instability.

The Chernobyl nuclear power plant sarcophagus (Petr Pavlicek/IAEA via Wikimedia).

Petr Pavlicek/IAEA via Wikimedia

Analysis & Opinions - The Washington Post

Chernobyl’s Effects Go Far Beyond What You’re Seeing on HBO. It Shook Up Geopolitics for Years.

| July 15, 2019

Chernobyl’s effects went well beyond radiation, rippling through the social and political fabric of a deteriorating society. Chernobyl helped to bring down the Soviet Union and constrained independent Ukraine’s nuclear options. It still reverberates today on the front lines of the war in eastern Ukraine and in Moscow’s denials that it is involved in undermining Ukraine’s territorial integrity.

Monument for victims of Chernobyl in front of covef

AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky

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

Thirty-three Years Since the Catastrophe at Chernobyl: A Universal Lesson for the Global Nuclear Power Industry

| Apr. 25, 2019

The world will soberly commemorate the 33rd anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant catastrophic accident on Friday, April 26, 2019.  Some may wonder why bother with a gone-by historical event that happened in a distant land — a country that no longer exists — the former Soviet Union (now Ukraine).  On the contrary, Chernobyl and its legacy, with its specters of lingering human toll, radiation contamination, and the massive new shelter ("New Safe Confinement") installed over the old sarcophagus encasing the reactor, will be with us for a long time.