Nuclear Issues

33 Items

A U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer uses a handheld GR135- Radiation Isttope Identifier to check a container that was stopped after passing through a radiation detection device at the port of Newark in February 2006 (AP Photo/Mel Evans).

AP Photo/Mel Evans

Journal Article - Nonproliferation Review

Combating Nuclear Smuggling? Exploring Drivers and Challenges to Detecting Nuclear and Radiological Materials at Maritime Facilities

| June 03, 2019

International concern over nuclear terrorism has grown during the past few decades. This has driven a broad spectrum of efforts to strengthen nuclear security globally, including the widespread adoption of radiation-detection technology for border monitoring. Detection systems are now deployed at strategic locations for the purported purpose of detecting and deterring the smuggling of nuclear and radioactive materials. However, despite considerable investment in this area, few studies have examined how these programs are implemented or the operational challenges they face on a day-to-day basis. This article seeks to address this with a focus on radiation-detection efforts at maritime facilities. Utilizing practitioner interviews and a survey, this article identifies the factors that influence the planning and use of these systems in this fast-moving environment. The results clearly demonstrate that the implementation of these systems varies significantly across different national and organizational contexts, resulting in a fragmented global nuclear-detection architecture, which arguably undermines efforts to detect trafficked nuclear-threat materials. Greater consideration should therefore be given to developing international standards and guidance, designing and adopting tools to support key parts of the alarm assessment process, and broader sharing of good practice.

Trump Wouldn’t Owe Putin a ‘Thank You’ for Selling More Oil

Kremlin.ru/Wikimedia Commons

Analysis & Opinions - Bloomberg Opinion

Trump Wouldn’t Owe Putin a ‘Thank You’ for Selling More Oil

| July 14, 2018

After a tumultuous week of unpredictable twists and turns during President Donald Trump’s visit to Europe, anxiety levels have risen among experts and policy makers about the coming summit between Trump and President Vladimir Putin. As President Trump himself has noted, there is no shortage of issues demanding the attention of the two leaders: Syria, Iran, arms control and — who knows — maybe even Russia’s interference in America’s elections. But energy could snake its way onto the agenda, and Trump needs to be careful not to give Putin concessions in exchange for something the Russian president already plans on doing.

Blog Post - Nuclear Security Matters

Bunn, Tobey, and Roth on Nuclear Smuggling

May 20, 2015

Matthew Bunn, William Tobey, and I have a new op-ed in The Hill’s Congress Blog, “Don’t weaken our defenses against nuclear smuggling.” We wrote it in response to proposed legislation that would prohibit funding for fixed radiation detectors to catch nuclear smugglers – both for installing new ones and even for maintaining the ones U.S. taxpayers have already paid billions to install.

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

Former Deputy Secretary of Energy Daniel Poneman Joins Harvard Kennedy School's Belfer Center as Senior Fellow

| October 14, 2014

Daniel Poneman, former Deputy Secretary of Energy, has joined Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs as a senior fellow.

Poneman was nominated by President Obama to be Deputy Secretary of Energy on April 20, 2009, and was confirmed by the United States Senate on May 18, 2009. Under the leadership of Secretaries of Energy Steven Chu and Ernest Moniz, Poneman also served as Chief Operating Officer of the Department. Between April 23, 2013, and May 21, 2013, Poneman served as Acting Secretary of Energy.

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.

Blog Post - Nuclear Security Matters

Reducing the Risk of “Dirty Bombs”

Mar. 10, 2014

In the spectrum of threats to nuclear security, highly radioactive materials such as cesium-137 and cobalt-60 represent a set of concerns and challenges which is much different from that of fissile materials like highly enriched uranium. Unlike the latter, they cannot be used to build a nuclear weapon. However, terrorists could use such sources to construct a so-called “dirty bomb”, an improvised explosive device which spreads the radioactive substances in a populated area. Although, according to most planning scenarios, such a “dirty bomb” would likely cause few radiation-related casualties, its economic effects could still be in the billions of dollars – especially if parts of a city needed to be shut down for weeks or months while they are being decontaminated.