Nuclear Issues

236 Items

Report - International Panel on Fissile Materials

China’s Fissile Material Production and Stockpile

| January 2018

China began producing highly enriched uranium (HEU) and plutonium for nuclear weapons in the 1960s and is believed to have halted production the 1980s. Despite the passage of thirty years there has been no official policy declaration in this regard. This report uses newly available public information from Chinese sources to provide an improved reconstruction of the history of China’s production of HEU and plutonium for nuclear weapons. This allows improved estimates of the amount of HEU and plutonium China has produced and of its current stockpiles.

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Analysis & Opinions - The Nautilus Institute

China's Nuclear Spent Fuel Management and Nuclear Security Issues

| Nov. 10, 2017

In this essay, Hui Zhang reviews the status of spent fuel storage in China.  He suggest that China should take steps to improve physical protection, reduce insider threats, promote a nuclear security culture, and improve nuclear cyber security. He also recommends China, South Korea, and Japans’ nuclear security training centers should cooperate and exchange best practices on insider threat reduction, contingency plans for emergency response, and discuss regional cooperation for long-term spent fuel storage, including building a regional center of spent fuel storage.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, shakes hands with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani

AP Photo/Sergei Karpukhin

Analysis & Opinions - Foreign Policy

What Would U.S. Withdrawal From the Iran Nuclear Deal Look Like?

| Aug. 31, 2017

Judging the Trump administration to be incapable of formulating a diplomatic campaign in support of one of its highest foreign policy priorities, John Bolton, a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, published an Iran deal exit strategy in the National Review on Monday. The document is less about why the United States should leave the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, and more about how to do so.

In this Thursday, Aug. 10, 2017, file photo, a man watches a television screen showing U.S. President Donald Trump, left, and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during a news program at the Seoul Train Station in Seoul, South Korea. North Korea has announced a detailed plan to launch a salvo of ballistic missiles toward the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam, a major military hub and home to U.S. bombers. If carried out, it would be the North's most provocative missile launch to date. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon, Fil

AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon, File

Analysis & Opinions - Politico

Why Kim Jong Un Isn’t Afraid of Donald Trump

| Aug. 29, 2017

Most Americans think North Korea is a crazy place, led by a crazy man bent on global destruction. This view, of course, is almost completely wrong and explains in part why the current public discussion about what to do with a nuclear North Korea is so unsatisfying. Far from crazy, Kim Jong Un has been methodical and careful enough in advancing his nuclear and missile programs to suggest that he is deterred by America’s overwhelming military capabilities, and at the very least is not eager to spark a military conflict—at least not yet.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Joseph Dunford, left, shakes hands with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe prior to a meeting at Abe's official residence in Tokyo on Friday, Aug. 18, 2017. (Kazuhiro Nogi/Pool Photo via AP)

Kazuhiro Nogi/Pool Photo via AP

Analysis & Opinions - Foreign Policy

Tokyo and Washington Have Another Nuclear Problem

| Aug. 17, 2017

This week, Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono and Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera are meeting in Washington with their U.S. counterparts, Rex Tillerson and James Mattis, to discuss how the United States and Japan should respond to the latest North Korean provocations. This is wise; only through close cooperation with Japan and South Korea, and by working with China, will we be able to address effectively the nuclear threat Pyongyang poses.

From left, Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera, Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, and Defense Secretary James Mattis, shake hands

AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

Analysis & Opinions - Foreign Policy

Tokyo and Washington Have Another Nuclear Problem

| Aug. 17, 2017

This week, Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono and Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera are meeting in Washington with their U.S. counterparts, Rex Tillerson and James Mattis, to discuss how the United States and Japan should respond to the latest North Korean provocations. 

Mansudae Grand Monument Pyongyand, DPRK

Clay Gilliland/Flickr

Analysis & Opinions - The Diplomat

Weaponizing US Courts Against North Korean Proliferators

| Aug. 01, 2017

In July, North Korea test fired a ballistic missile said to be capable of reaching the United States. Not surprisingly, Kim Jong-un’s provocations have been met with increased calls by congressional leadership and policymakers to ratchet up the pressure on China — North Korea’s lifeline to the international financial system, according to a recent UN report. A difficult question for policymakers now is how far should the United States go to increase pressure against China?

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Paper

The History of Highly Enriched Uranium Production in China

| July 2017

China initiated its nuclear weapon program in 1955 and began to construct its fissile-material production facilities in the late 1950s. China has produced highly enriched uranium (HEU) for weapons at two complexes: Lanzhou gaseous diffusion plant (GDP, also referred as Plant 504) and Heping GDP (the Jinkouhe facility of Plant 814).

In 1958, China started the construction of the Lanzhou plant with advice from Soviet experts. Moscow withdrew all its experts in August 1960, however, forcing China to become self-reliant. On January 14, 1964, the GDP began to produce 90% enriched uranium, which made possible China’s first nuclear test on 16 October 1964.

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Paper

The History of Plutonium Production in China

| July 2017

China has produced plutonium for weapons at two sites: 1) Jiuquan Atomic Energy Complex (Plant 404) in Jiuquan, Gansu province. This site includes China’s first plutonium reactor (reactor 801) and associated reprocessing facilities. 2) Guangyuan plutonium production complex (Plant 821), located at Guangyuan in Sichuan province. This “third line” site also included a plutonium reactor (reactor 821) and reprocessing facility. While China has not declared officially that it has ended HEU and plutonium production for weapons, it appears that China halted its HEU and plutonium production for weapons in 1987.1