Nuclear Issues

1129 Items

FBI agents leave a raid in Trenton, N.J. on July 19, 2012

Julio Cortez/AP

Discussion Paper - Managing the Atom Project, Belfer Center

The Long Arm

| February 2019

The networks of middlemen and intermediaries involved in the illicit procurement of weapons of mass destruction (WMD)-related goods and technologies often operate outside of the United States, which presents several legal and political challenges regarding U.S. trade control enforcement activities. This report considers the extraterritorial efforts of U.S. law enforcement in counterproliferation-related activities and their implications. In other words, how does the United States contend with violations of its weapons of mass destruction (WMD)-related trade controls in overseas jurisdictions, and what are the implications for broader U.S. and international nonproliferation efforts, as well as wider international security and economic concerns? 

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.

Ambassador Douglas Lute speaks at the Future of Diplomacy Project

Benn Craig/Belfer Center

Analysis & Opinions - Future of Diplomacy Project

NATO and Russia: An Uneasy Relationship

| Nov. 08, 2017

Ambassador Douglas Lute, former ambassador to the North Atlantic Council, NATO's principal decision-making body, spoke at the Future of Diplomacy project on NATO's role today, adapting to current threats, and Russia's relationship with NATO and its member States.

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.