Nuclear Issues

150 Items

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.

The Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine USS Pennsylvania transits the Hood Canal in Washington.

U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Amanda R. Gray

Journal Article - Quarterly Journal: International Security

Escalation through Entanglement: How the Vulnerability of Command-and-Control Systems Raises the Risks of an Inadvertent Nuclear War

    Author:
  • James Acton
| Summer 2018

The risks of nuclear escalation are greater than ever given the possibility of misinterpreted cyber espionage and military strikes against early warning systems. 

The Nuclear Security Summit in Washington in 2010 (Chuck Kennedy/White House via Flickr).

Chuck Kennedy/White House via Flickr

Journal Article - Nonproliferation Review

Nuclear Security in Russia: Can Progress Be Sustained?

| May 08, 2018

Nuclear security in Russia has continued to evolve since the suspension of nearly all US–Russian nuclear-security cooperation in 2014, but the United States and the rest of the world now know much less about the directions of this evolution. This article assesses the current state of nuclear security in Russia based on an examination of key drivers of Russia’s nuclear-security system, from allocation of resources to regulatory oversight. It then outlines four scenarios for the future of evolution of nuclear security in Russia, describing potential causes, implications, and observable indicators for each scenario. It closes with recommendations designed to maximize the chance of moving onto a path of continuous improvement of nuclear security.

In this Oct. 16, 2016, file photo, a man in Seoul, South Korea watches a TV news program showing an image of a missile launch conducted by North Korea. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon, File)

AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon, File

Newspaper Article - The New York Times

Is Nuclear War Inevitable?

| Dec. 28, 2017

Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un trading threats with words like “fire and fury”; Pakistan deploying tactical nuclear weapons to counter Indian conventional threats; Russia enunciating an Orwellian doctrine of “escalate-to-de-escalate” that calls for early use of battlefield nuclear weapons; and major nuclear-weapons states modernizing their arsenals — nukes are back. The cruel irony: This is happening after eight years of a president who won the Nobel Peace Prize largely for his vision of a world free of nuclear weapons.

A U.S. Navy Grumman F-14A-90-GR Tomcat.

U.S. Navy

Journal Article - Strategic Trade Review

Tomcat and Mouse: Iranian Illicit Procurement of U.S. Legacy Military Technologies, 1979–2016

| Autumn 2017

Since the 1979 revolution, Iran has sought to illicitly procure parts for the U.S. origin fighter aircraft sold to the country under the rule of the Shah. The U.S. has taken steps to quash this trade—these efforts have constituted a relatively large proportion of U.S. export control enforcement over the past near-to-four decades. 

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Journal Article - Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

The future of US–Russian nuclear deterrence and arms control

| June 19, 2017

During the latter part of the Cold War, many strategists thought of nuclear deterrence and arms control as two of the most essential stabilizing elements of the same strategy in managing an adversarial relationship. The renewed crisis between the West (the United States and NATO member states) and Russia demonstrates how critical these elements are to the strategic nuclear relationship. As a result of recent setbacks between Washington and Moscow in the past few years, arms control has taken a back seat, and the risk of conflict due to miscalculation is the highest it has been since the 1980s.

Reactor Building of the Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant

AP Photo/Mehr News Agency/Majid Asgaripour

Journal Article - Afkar/Ideas

Nuclear Energy in the Middle East? Regional Security Cooperation Needed

| Spring 2017

Nuclear power in the Middle East has appeared poised for dramatic growth for more than a decade.  Iran’s nuclear power plant at Bushehr, the first of its kind in the Middle East, began producing electricity in 2011. Tehran has plans or proposals for additional 11 reactors, according to the World Nuclear Association. Saudi Arabia has announced plans to build 16 nuclear power reactors by 2040. The UAE has four nuclear power reactors under construction, the first of which is expected to come online later this year.  Egypt, Turkey, and Jordan, are each pursuing the development nuclear energy at their own pace.  The appearance of activity is impressive. 

Journal Article - 1540 Compass

Evolving State and Nonstate Proliferation Threats

| Winter 2016

UN Security Council resolution 1540 has come a long way since it was approved over a decade ago. Initially, many countries questioned the legitimacy of the Security Council “legislating” requirements for countries all over the world, and there were wide gaps in both reporting and action. Today, UNSCR 1540 is a broadly accepted part of the international landscape, only a few countries have not yet provided at least basic reporting on steps taken under the resolution, and many countries have taken action to fulfill the resolution’s requirements, ranging from enacting export control laws to strengthening security for biological pathogens.

Korea Wolsong Nuclear Power Plant

IAEA Imagebank

Journal Article

Improving Nuclear Safety, Security, and Nonproliferation in Northeast Asia through Multinational Approach

| December 31, 2016

Reviewing recent developments in nuclear energy, it is clear that Northeast Asian countries have become the leading customers and suppliers of nuclear technology worldwide. However, regional cooperation in the nuclear field remains inadequate when compared to the close economic interaction between these states and their need for solutions to pressing issues, such as supply assurance and spent fuel management. At the same time, with events like the Fukushima accident or the ongoing nuclear crisis in North Korea, there is an urgent demand for Northeast Asia to improve the safety, security, and nonproliferation status of the regional nuclear programs as any nuclear-related incident in any regional state will have transnational impact on the economic and social stability of the whole region.