Nuclear Issues

364 Items

A building at a Pakistani naval aviation base burns during an attack by a substantial group of well-armed, well-trained militants, apparently with insider help, in May 2011. Nuclear weapons and materials must be protected against comparable adversary capabilities and tactics (AP Photo/Shakil Adil).

AP Photo/Shakil Adil

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

Combating Complacency about Nuclear Terrorism

Complacency about the threat of nuclear terrorism—the belief that nuclear and radiological terrorism threats are minimal and existing security measures are sufficient to address them—is the fundamental barrier to strengthening nuclear security. Many factors can lead to complacency, but the most significant contributors are lack of knowledge about: events related to nuclear terrorism; weaknesses of nuclear security systems; and the capabilities demonstrated by thieves around the world. People will be more likely to take action to strengthen nuclear security if they believe that nuclear terrorism poses a real threat to their own country’s interests and their actions can significantly reduce the threat. There have been many incidents in recent years that demonstrate the need for strong and sustainable security at both military and civilian nuclear facilities.

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Discussion Paper - Nuclear Threat Initiative

The IAEA's Role in Nuclear Security Since 2016

| February 2019

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the key multilateral global nuclear governance body, describes itself as the “global platform” for nuclear security efforts, with a “central role” in facilitating international cooperation in the field. Long concerned with the physical protection of nuclear materials and facilities, the Agency began to ramp up its involvement in the broader issue of nuclear security after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The series of Nuclear Security Summits, which ran from 2010 to 2016, drew high-level political attention to the threat of nuclear terrorism for the first time and boosted support for the IAEA’s nuclear security mission. The final summit, held in Washington, DC, in March 2016, lauded the Agency as “crucial for the continuing delivery of outcomes and actions from the nuclear security summits.” Participating governments agreed to a seven-page “Action Plan in Support of the International Atomic Energy Agency.” Three years after the final summit seems an opportune time to assess how the Agency’s nuclear security work has fared since then. Given the complexity of the Agency’s nuclear security activities, this paper cannot provide a comprehensive assessment, but will highlight the most important nuclear security activities and the constraints and challenges the IAEA faces in fulfilling its nuclear security role.

Dave Johnson coal-fired power plant is silhouetted against the morning sun

AP/J. David Ake

Magazine Article - Fair Observer

Sacrificing Nature Is Not an Option

    Author:
  • Kourosh Ziabari
| Feb. 27, 2019

In this edition of "The Interview," Fair Observer talks to Professor John Holdren, former science adviser to President Barack Obama and director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy from 2009 to 2017 about the impacts of global warming on the United States and the government's strategies to combat climate change.

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

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

A Vision for Nuclear Security

| January 2019

The goal of global nuclear security efforts should be a world in which all countries with nuclear weapons, highly enriched uranium (HEU), separated plutonium, and nuclear facilities whose sabotage could cause a major radiation release have reduced the risk of nuclear theft and sabotage to the lowest possible level. This will require policymakers, regulators, and operators to commit to a continuous process of striving for excellence in nuclear security performance.

Sensors and fencing at Japan's Integrated Support Center for Nuclear Nonproliferation and Nuclear Security (Dean Calma/IAEA).

Dean Calma/IAEA

Analysis & Opinions - The Hill

Presidential Candidates Need a Plan for Reducing Nuclear Terrorism Risks

| Jan. 29, 2019

As presidential candidates hit the campaign trail this year, voters should ask them: “What’s your plan for keeping nuclear weapons and the materials to make them out of terrorist hands?” Every candidate who is serious about national security should have an answer to that question; every president for more than two decades, including Donald Trump, has described nuclear terrorism as one of the gravest dangers the United States faces. There should be no disagreement between Republicans and Democrats — or between the United States and other countries — when it comes to measures to prevent terrorists from ever getting and using a nuclear bomb or sabotaging a major nuclear facility.

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).

REUTERS/David W Cerny

News

Project on Managing the Atom Releases New Report, "Revitalizing Nuclear Security in an Era of Uncertainty"

| Jan. 29, 2019

In their new report, “Revitalizing Nuclear Security in an Era of Uncertainty,” Matthew Bunn, Nickolas Roth, and William Tobey document the global community’s continuing steps to improve security for weapons-usable nuclear material in five areas that are key to nuclear security: broad protection against the full range of realistic threats; comprehensive programs to protect against insider threats; strong security cultures within nuclear organizations; realistic assessment and testing of security systems; and consolidation of weapons-usable nuclear materials. 

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.

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during his annual news conference in Moscow

AP/Alexander Zemlianichenko

Journal Article - Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

How the Next Nuclear Arms Race Will Be Different from the Last One

| 2019

All the world's nuclear-armed states (except for North Korea) have begun modernizing and upgrading their arsenals, leading many observers to predict that the world is entering a new nuclear arms race. While that outcome is not yet inevitable, it is likely, and if it happens, the new nuclear arms race will be different and more dangerous than the one we remember. More nuclear-armed countries in total, and three competing great powers rather than two, will make the competition more complex. Meanwhile, new non-nuclear weapon technologies — such as ballistic missile defense, anti-satellite weapons, and precision-strike missile technology — will make nuclear deterrence relationships that were once somewhat stable less so.

U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow following President Trump's announcement of U.S. plans to withdraw from the INF Treaty. October 23, 2018.

en.kremlin.ru

Analysis & Opinions - The Hill

Trump’s INF Announcement: Another Gift to Putin?

| Oct. 25, 2018

Pulling out of the INF Treaty would be a strategic blunder. It would free Russia to deploy currently prohibited missiles without constraint and further undermine U.S. credibility with our allies. The United States would shoulder the blame for the collapse of one of the two remaining U.S.-Russian agreements controlling nuclear weapons. U.S. withdrawal would remove valuable verification mechanisms and introduce additional U.S. and Russian uncertainty regarding the other’s nuclear forces and intentions.