Nuclear Issues

38 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? 

US Secretary of State John Kerry (right) and Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif meet in Paris to discuss the Iranian nuclear deal.

United States Department of State

Analysis & Opinions - The National Interest

Assessing an Iran Deal: 5 Big Lessons from History

| July 7, 2015

As the policy community prepares to assess an agreement between the U.S. and its P5+1 partners and Iran, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker asked me to review the history of analogous agreements for lessons that illuminate the current challenge. In response to his assignment, I reviewed the seven decades of the nuclear era, during which the U.S. negotiated arms-control treaties, including the Non-Proliferation Treaty of 1968; strategic arms limitation talks and agreements from SALT to New Start; the North Korean accord of 1994; the agreements that helped eliminate nuclear weapons in Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Belarus in the early 1990s; and the pact that eliminated the Libyan nuclear weapons program in 2003.

Among many lessons and clues from this instructive history, five stand out

Analysis & Opinions - Power & Policy Blog

The Plutonium Mountain Mission: Lessons

| Sep. 27, 2013

In Summer of 2013, The Project on Managing the Atom released “Plutonium Mountain: Inside the 17-Year Mission to Secure a Dangerous Legacy of Soviet Nuclear Testing.” In the report, Eben Harrell and David Hoffman tell how dedicated scientists and engineers in three countries overcame suspicions, secrecy, bureaucracy, and logistical obstacles to secure more than a dozen bombs worth of plutonium that had been left behind at the Semipalatinsk Test Site in Kazakhstan after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Although the outline of the Semipalatinsk operation had been made public before, the report filled in new details.

Analysis & Opinions - The Washington Post

Saving the World at Plutonium Mountain

| August 16, 2013

Last October, at the foot of a rocky hillside near here, at a spot known as Degelen Mountain, several dozen Kazakh, Russian and American nuclear scientists and engineers gathered for a ceremony. The modest ribbon-cutting marked the conclusion of one of the largest and most complex nuclear security operations since the Cold War — to secure plutonium (enough to build a dozen or more nuclear weapons) that Soviet authorities had buried at the testing site years before and forgotten, leaving it vulnerable to terrorists and rogue states. The effort spanned 17 years, cost $150 million and involved a complex mix of intelligence, science, engineering, politics and sleuthing. This op-ed is based on documents and interviews with Kazakh, Russian and U.S. participants, and reveals the scope of the operation for the first time.

Presentation

Cyber Disorders: Rivalry and Conflict in a Global Information Age

| May 3, 2012

The risks posed by the proliferation of cyber weapons are gaining wide recognition among security planners. Yet the general reaction of scholars of international relations has been to neglect the cyber peril owing to its technical novelties and intricacies. This attitude amounts to either one or both of two claims: the problem is not of sufficient scale to warrant close inspection, or it is not comprehensible to a non-technical observer. This seminar challenged both assertions.

June 5, 2008: Gotthard Lerch, right, watches the judges entering the courtroom in Stuttgart, Germany. He admitted to helping procure centrifuge parts for Libya, was convicted in 2008 on minor charges, and sentenced to time served in pretrial detention.

AP Photo

Magazine Article - TIME / time.com

Nuclear Proliferation: The Crime with No Punishment?

| September 16, 2011

"Nuclear proliferation is a crime that pays well. Those involved in the Khan network were made very wealthy for their efforts, and the inability of the international community to effectively punish them has resulted in a missed opportunity to provide a deterrent against future black-market salesmen."

President Barack Obama greets German Chancellor Angela Merkel during the official arrivals for the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, April 12, 2010.

AP Photo

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

A Call for German Leadership in Combating Nuclear Terrorism

| April 12, 2010

"...Germany has an opportunity at the Washington summit — and thereafter — to step up and lend non-American leadership to the problem. Recognizing that in many of the world's capitals the threat of nuclear terrorism is not yet being taken seriously, and when in some of them the very notion is even considered an American pretext for an entirely different, potentially hostile political agenda, non-American leadership is most urgently needed."

Journal Article - Washington Quarterly

The Day After: Action Following a Nuclear Blast in a U.S. City

Failure to develop a comprehensive contingency plan, such as the one proposed here, and inform the American public, where appropriate, about its particulars will only serve to amplify the devastating impact of any nuclear attack on a U.S. city