Nuclear Issues

736 Items

The USS Vesole, foreground, a radar picket ship, steams alongside the Soviet freighter Polzunov, outbound from Cuba, for an inspection of her cargo in the Atlantic Ocean, Nov. 11, 1962

AP Photo/Pool

Analysis & Opinions - Arms Control Today

The Cuban Missile Crisis at 60: Six Timeless Lessons for Arms Control

| October 2022

As the best documented major crisis in history, in substantial part because Kennedy secretly taped the deliberations in which he and his closest advisers were weighing choices they knew could lead to a catastrophic war, the Cuban missile crisis has become the canonical case study in nuclear statecraft. Over the decades since, key lessons from the crisis have been adapted and applied by the successors of Kennedy and Khrushchev to inform fateful choices.

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Dynamics of Nuclear and Radiological Terrorism Threats to Post-Soviet Russia

  • Angelina Flood
| June 21, 2022

Simon Saradzhyan was invited to publicly brief the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) committee addressing the adequacy of strategies to prevent, counter, and respond to nuclear terrorism, and identify technical, policy, and resource gaps. The consensus study is a congressionally mandated analysis included in the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (Section 1299I) sponsored by the Office of the Secretary of Defense (Policy).  Nearly 60 stakeholders concerned about this topic from the Department of Defense, US Department of Energy, National Nuclear Security Administration, State Department, National Security Council, US Congress, the National Labs, and many non-governmental organizations were in attendance. The briefings are available at the NAS event website. Video of the presentation can be found here.

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Analysis & Opinions - Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

The Ukraine Invasion Highlights Why Biden’s Nuclear Posture Review Should Endorse Bold New Vision for Nuclear Security

| Feb. 28, 2022

The political crisis and human tragedy unfolding in Europe as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine will dominate national security debates for the foreseeable future. As the world’s eyes focus on this conflict in the coming days and weeks, the Biden administration will likely also be rolling out key nuclear policy documents. There will be many issues to consider, but one that shouldn’t be missed—the urgency of which has been highlighted by recent developments in Ukraine, and particularly around the Chernobyl site—is the security of nuclear materials.

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Analysis & Opinions - The Guardian

Fears mount for safety of Ukraine’s nuclear reactors amid Russian invasion

| Feb. 25, 2022

Concerns are mounting about the safety of Ukraine’s 15 nuclear reactors and the possibility of an ecological disaster in the midst of the Russian invasion.

“There are contingencies but I doubt that these power plants have prepared for a full-scale invasion,” said Mariana Budjeryn, a Ukrainian research associate with Harvard University’s project on managing the atom. “In the middle of a large scale conflict, there’s a myriad of things that could happen, for which normal, even very robust, safety procedures at a nuclear power plant [would be insufficient].”

A guard passes the entrance to the International Atomic Energy Agency office in Vienna, Austria (AP Photo/Ronald Zak).

AP Photo/Ronald Zak

Analysis & Opinions - Stimson Center

Nuclear Security Year in Review, 2021

| Jan. 20, 2022

With tensions growing between the United States and other nuclear-armed rivals, it is easy to forget that non-state actors continue to pose a serious nuclear threat. Yet, despite continuing evidence of this threat, in 2021, the headwinds confronting those working to reduce it only got stronger. 

Efforts to reduce nuclear terrorism risks have entered a new era. Nuclear operators must defend against threats they have been aware of for decades—like well-funded and sophisticated non-state actors with global reach, malicious insiders, corruption—while learning to be resilient against new threats, such as those posed by adversaries employing new technologies or evolving pathogens that could cripple security forces.

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

Analysis & Opinions - Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

Twenty Years After 9/11, Terrorists Could Still Go Nuclear

| Sep. 16, 2021

The probability of terrorists getting and using a nuclear bomb appears to be low—but the consequences if they did would be so devastating that it is worth beefing up efforts to make sure terrorists never get their hands on a nuclear bomb’s essential ingredients. To see the possibilities, we need to look at motive, capability, and opportunity.

Presidents Putin and Obama in 2015.

Wikimedia Commons

Book Chapter - James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies

US-Russian Cooperation to Improve Security for Nuclear Weapons and Materials

| August 2021

Today, US-Russian political relations are as poisonous as they have been in decades. Former Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz and former Senator Sam Nunn have warned that “not since the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962 has the risk of a US-Russian confrontation involving the use of nuclear weapons been as high as it is today." In Washington, there is more talk of new sanctions than of paths to cooperation. Nevertheless, there are some hints in both capitals that despite the larger political confrontation, both sides would like to find areas of common interest where cooperation might be possible. The next time the US and Russian presidents meet and issue a joint statement, they should include direction for their nuclear experts to begin working together again— on an agenda that includes nuclear energy, nuclear security, nonproliferation, technologies for verifying future arms agreements, and more.