Nuclear Issues

141 Items

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.

Journal Article - Quarterly Journal: International Security

Correspondence: New Era or New Error? Technology and the Future of Deterrence

    Authors:
  • Ryan Snyder
  • Benoît Pelopidas
  • Keir A. Lieber
  • Daryl Press
| Winter 2018/19

Ryan Snyder and Benoît Pelopidas respond to Keir A. Lieber and Daryl G. Press's spring 2017 article, “The New Era of Counterforce: Technological Change and the Future of Nuclear Deterrence.”

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.

Visitors walk across the Yalu River Broken Bridge, right, next to the Friendship Bridge connecting China and North Korea in Dandong in northeastern China's Liaoning province.

(AP Photo/Emily Wang)

Journal Article - Quarterly Journal: International Security

Conflict and Chaos on the Korean Peninsula: Can China’s Military Help Secure North Korea’s Nuclear Weapons?

    Author:
  • Oriana Skylar Mastro
| Fall 2018

China’s military could play a vital role in securing or destroying Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons if the North Korean regime collapsed.

Wargame participants seated around a table

Courtesy of the MIT Political Science Department

Journal Article - Quarterly Journal: International Security

Would U.S. Leaders Push the Button? Wargames and the Sources of Nuclear Restraint

| Fall 2018

Declassified U.S. wargame records reveal that nuclear nonuse is partly a result of deterrence, but also because participants worried about their reputations or thought conventional weapons would be effective.

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. 

Journal Article - Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

New Ways to Detect Nuclear Misbehavior

| Jan. 08, 2018

If we had the technology to detect nuclear materials remotely it could help deter smuggling and make it easier to monitor international nuclear agreements. Several recent breakthroughs, if followed up with continued research and funding, could deliver on this promise. They include technological advances in x-ray and neutron radiography; a method that measures how plasma breaks down when exposed to a radioactive source; and developments in antineutrino detection. While all require more development and testing, they are important steps as the global need for ways to detect nuclear materials grows.

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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.

The New Era of Counterforce: Technological Change and the Future of Nuclear Deterrence

AP/Wong Maye-E

Journal Article - Quarterly Journal: International Security

The New Era of Counterforce: Technological Change and the Future of Nuclear Deterrence

    Authors:
  • Keir A. Lieber
  • Daryl Press
| Spring 2017

For decades, nuclear deterrence has depended on the impossibility of a first strike destroying a country’s nuclear arsenal. Technological advances, however, are undermining states’ abilities to hide and protect their nuclear arsenals. These developments help explain why nuclear-armed states have continued to engage in security competition: nuclear deterrence is neither automatic nor permanent. Thus, the United States should enhance its counterforce capabilities and avoid reducing its nuclear arsenal.